Small Steps to Better Cities

When thinking about how to make better cities, we often focus on the splashy potential of mega projects. While a new skyscraper or bridge can be transformational, these projects often deliver less than expected, at a much greater cost. Sometimes, mega projects are essential, like when an entire sewage system needs to be overhauled. But while mega projects can...

Date

March 1, 2017

When thinking about how to make better cities, we often focus on the splashy potential of mega projects. While a new skyscraper or bridge can be transformational, these projects often deliver less than expected, at a much greater cost. Sometimes, mega projects are essential, like when an entire sewage system needs to be overhauled. But while mega projects can be a make-or-break deal for many cities, it’s hard to find a city that wouldn’t benefit from small, resident-led, improvements. From little libraries to pop-up playgrounds, community tables to outdoor movies screenings, there are no shortage of ways for people of all backgrounds and ages to help make better cities. Recognizing the benefits of resident-led improvements, many cities offer small grants to support community initiatives. In Vancouver? Check out the Neighbourhood Small Grants program. New York? The Citizens Committee for New York City. The UK? Prince’s Trust Community Projects. Not in these places? See what your city has to offer. Nothing available? Lobby local government or just get started! More than just folksy short-term activities, these types of activities support the third wave of smart cities, which emphasize citizen co-creation. So, with spring just around the corner, the big question is: What small steps will you take to make your neighbourhood better?