WORKSHOP

Kitchissippi Talks

Kitchissippi imagined.

Summary

Nineteen people gathered at Causeway Work Centre in January 2018 to come up with a vision of Kitchissippi for Civcs Talks. This is a process developed by Synapcity to help people understand the power of coming together, discover a shared connection to place, and inspire people to take action to make their neighbourhoods even better. This kind of dialogue promotes CityMaking, empowering people to look at community issues together, forming bonds.

Participants explored reasons some people don’t have the spirit of community engagement and explored how they can encourage them to get involved. Finally, they came up with ideas that could help Kitchissippi thrive even more.

Participants recognized that Kitchissippi is a very engaged neighbourhood, with bustling main streets, unique shops and restaurants, and lots of green space. At the same time, more people are moving into Kitchissippi and the area is growing and developing. This changing demographic is affecting the ward’s landscape.

Participants wanted every voice in their ward to be heard. They feared that those who are currently engaged will eventually burn out and they want to make sure that there is a strong sense of community cohesion. Two ideas for initiatives came out of Kitchissippi Talks, one of which was Jane’s Mob, held on May 3rd 2018.

Findings

JANE’S MOB

Participants felt that they needed to disrupt the expectation of space. One way to do this is to encourage the co-creation of spaces in which people gather. This co-creation of spaces creates instant connections between people, which in turn has the potential to build lasting relationships between people.

Participants asked themselves how they achieve this. The Parkdale Park was identified as a public space already available. Successful parks bring diverse people together. The group noted Jane’s Walk Ottawa as a perfect opportunity that already brings people together.

Using the momentum of a well-established festival, participants began to think about making Jane’s Walk Ottawa even better and more diverse. They decided that they would organize a place-based event called Jane’s Mob. Jane’s Mob would help build meaningful connections amongst those who participated in the Jane’s Walk festival. This is an ideal way to re-energize hardworking CityMakers, while also inspiring and empowering new CityMakers to get involved in the community.

This idea sparked interest amongst participants and one even decided to organize it, since community organization was part of their daytime job. This made the idea even more tangible.

MENTORSHIP PROGRAM

A mentorship program can help bridge gaps between people, including between the engaged and disengaged. To create such a program, it is important to engage different institutions that serve the Kitchissippi community. This would help identify the community’s needs and develop a mentor/mentee and buddy system across institutions. It would be important to establish a steering committee that is comprised of all of these stakeholders, including charitable partners, churches, etc.

It would also be useful to develop a map of the communities in Kitchissippi and identify their access points. This would ensure that the program is inclusive.

Report

If you’d like to learn more, download the report here.