KITCHENER, ONT. — Kitchener, Ont.’s first neighbourhood strategy, Love My Hood, has been recognized with an Award for Planning Excellence by the Canadian Institute of Planners in the category of New and Emerging Planning Initiatives.
The strategy, first conceptualized in February 2017 by a project team of city staff and volunteers, was developed over the course of 18 months and included nearly 1,000 hours of meetings, states a release issued by the City of Kitchener. The project team also led the city’s community engagement process, where over 5,000 community members participated in surveys, workshops, neighbourhood parties and other activities. As a result of the public consultation, the Love My Hood strategy document, Kitchener’s Guide to Great Neighbourhoods, was created.
From a total of 48 submissions received, the strategy was awarded along with eight others who received the honour for their approach to traditional municipal planning. The jury, comprised of planning professionals from across the country, evaluated projects over a three-month period, the release indicated. Award recipients were recognized at the joint Canadian Institute of Planners and Manitoba Professional Planners Institute National Conference.
“Love My Hood took an unprecedented approach to traditional municipal planning,” said Michelle Drake, project manager at the City of Kitchener, in a statement. “By adopting a unique methodology focused on investing in social infrastructure, volunteers were given the tools and permission to engage the community, make decisions and formulate actions. Residents may take the lead with the support of the city.”