by Laine Johnson

CityMaking in 2018


17 January 2018

Posted In

Welcome back to a fresh calendar year, CityMakers! With a new year comes a new set of resolutions and good intentions. It’s a wonderful time to take a deep breath, take stock of what worked in 2017, and figure out how to channel more of that into the new year. We might try to amplify our blessings and gratitudes from the past year, to “crowd out” what we want to let go of. (ok, I borrowed that from my yoga teacher, but it’s a nice approach!)

At Synapcity, we are grateful for the tidal wave of inspirational relationships that came in 2017. More people than ever before are taking co-ownership of developing Ottawa’s inclusive culture of participation. Co-created cities are successful cities. Likewise, this is how we  engage with each other, and with you. We do this because we know that cities are more resilient when made together.

Moving into 2018, we want to appreciate more the small things that have great impact. Canada150 was a celebration, to be sure, but the grassroots level of local vibrancy are what we think makes a city truly great. The city is its people. Our work in 2018 is to better showcase and celebrate the incremental, the tireless, the underappreciated act of CityMaking, every day.

Photo Credit: Danielle Allard

Sharing Our Thinking – And Yours!

Our biennial Community Impact Report will give us the opportunity to further share with you our thinking for 2018, while highlighting the community’s, too. We’ve organized this  around our newly formulated Theory of Change,  developed through the McConnell Foundation’s Innoweave Program. This helped to clarify our value as a bridge-builder between people, sectors and organizations who all share similar values to our own. These partnerships are at the core of Synapcity’s programs, from which come both wisdom and clarity of civic issues. We can’t wait to share their stories with you. Watch for its release this March.


Beyond 2036

One of these partners continues to be the City of Ottawa, who is currently looking ‘Beyond 2036’ to think through scenarios that can affect planning and development. We recently participated in an extremely comprehensive meeting where nothing was off the table: all potential drivers and disruptors of growth were considered. It’s intended to use these drivers and disruptors to scope out future scenarios that the City may have to face:

  • What if climate change creates a new floodplain?
  • What if rising land costs eradicate the possibility of public space?
  • What if people all work from home remotely and never have to leave the house?


Having binge-watched much of Black Mirror on Netflix over the break, none of these possibilities seem too remote.

I’m encouraged to see the City create a flexible and adaptable planning tool to develop the future forecast. The next task will be the implementation of this tool, a big part of which will require the support of the public. We understand Steve Willis, our current General Manager, Planning, Infrastructure & Economic Development intends the next Official Plan to be functional, legible and practical, so that citizens can better connect their personal observations and experiences to the great vision for the city.

Photo Credit: Danielle Allard

As part of better integrating the citizen perspective, the City will be hosting public engagement on these scenarios in the coming weeks. This includes new videos and a survey on the future of Ottawa.

What are you waiting for, CityMakers? Have your say – check out the Beyond 2036 website!