Like a book club on strategic planning

By Jill McCubbin

City

I want to bring this book – Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design – to the attention of anyone who’s involved with community building, strategic planning, economic development and the stewardship of our environment.

A brilliant book – I can’t recommend it enough. It’s intelligent, well researched, easy to read and inspiring. Canadian author, Charles Montgomery enthusiastically discusses how the design of cities and towns designs our lives and our futures. If you are an urban planner, a smart-city scholar, an economic developer or armchair strategic planner, professional or amateur, you’ll learn from this book – and love it. Community builders will find much that confirms common sense approaches as well. I think any resident who has ever contributed or thought of contributing to planning and designing our towns will enjoy it.

“Happy City is not only readable but stimulating. It raises issues most of us have avoided for too long.” – The New York Times

Excerpts:

“Cities must be regarded as more than engines of wealth, they must be viewed as systems that should be shaped to improve human well-being and happiness…
A city should strive to maximize joy and minimize hardship…
It should build resilience against economic or environmental shocks…
It should enable us to build and strengthen the bonds between friends, families and strangers that give life meaning – bonds that represent the city’s greatest achievement and opportunity.”

I believe the towns in Mississippi Mills are engines of happiness for residents (they are at least for me!) We’ve got a great trend going here. This month, the Community and Economic Development Committee (CEDC) is getting together with Council and staff to discuss and review strategic planning for Mississippi Mills. Council as elected leaders are collecting residents’ and committee members’ suggestions and then making decisions.

Our town does have a current strategic plan, but like all plans, a review with additions, subtractions and re-visions needs to happen. There was a (advertised) public meeting on this topic on Monday, Oct. 26, and about 40 people attended and contributed. Ongoing suggestions can be sent to Council and/or taken to the CEDC. The strategic planning review continues through to mid November. Call or email your councillors.

The author of Happy City states: Building a town is ultimately a shared project. Everyone makes some effort.

Happy City was published in 2013. Ask for it at the Library or at your local bookstore (Mill Street Books in Almonte).