Fleming: Calling on you to ReThink London

It’s time to ReThink London.

As the director of land use planning and a city planner, I’m calling on all Western University students, faculty and staff to get involved in a year-long conversation about London’s future, with the aim of developing a future vision and a ‘roadmap’ of how to get there. This creative vision and our strategy to achieve it will form the foundation for London’s new 20-year master plan.

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FLEMING

We ask: Twenty years from now, what do you want London to look like? What do you like about London and what do you want maintained? How can we attract, and retain, creative talented professionals like yourself? How can we plan for our city to compete and succeed on the global stage? What kind of city do we need to create, together, to realize our dreams for a future sustainable, prosperous city?

Interested in getting involved? Join us and have a say in the future of your city.

The community-engaged ReThink London project officially launches at 6:30 p.m. May 3 at the London Convention Centre where Peter Mansbridge, chief correspondent for CBC News and anchor of The National, will speak about the significance of cities and the importance of getting involved in their planning

At that event, you’ll have the opportunity to check out the ‘Exploration Zone’ – a collection of interactive displays and experts that will bring you up to speed on the many programs and plans currently underway. You’ll learn about the multitude of ways you can get involved in the ReThink London campaign – new and different ways that allow you to get engaged in the project on your own terms.

Through ReThink London we hope to engage a very broad and wide range of Londoners to get an authentic understanding of their hopes, dreams and aspirations for our city.

We’ll organize the discussion into five broad areas – rethinking how we: move, green, grow, live and prosper.

Following the launch, the city will host an information day in mid-June, whereby a cycle of presentations will be made to bring Londoner’s up to speed on the work completed or currently underway on projects such as: the Strengthening Neighbourhoods Strategy, Forestry Master Plan, Million Tree Challenge, Transportation Master Plan, Age-friendly London, Transit Master Plan, Great Near Campus Neighbourhoods Strategy, London Prosperity Plan, etc.

June will present the next big step in the process when we get together with the community to have a discussion about Londoner’s vision for the future.

We’re exploring ways to allow Londoner’s to engage, interactively in real-time, with the live event from their own computer or mobile phone.

All of our community engagement events, including the May 3 launch will be posted on Rethinklondon.ca for everyone to view on their own time. If you can’t make it to an event, you won’t be left out.

We’re taking a very different approach to engagement through ReThink London. We’re developing a series of tools people can use to engage themselves in the process in ways that are most convenient to them.

For example, we’ve created a ‘Show and Tell’ mobile phone app that will allow you to take a photo of a place, use, building, streetscape, event or other feature you think can help us define London’s vision. In showing us the photo, we’re asking that you tell us what it is about the subject you like, or dislike, and how you think it should factor into shaping our vision.

We’ve also developed a ‘Workshop in a Box’ tool you can download from our website. It will allow you to gather your friends, colleagues or family to develop your vision for London. You can then easily submit your results to our ReThink Team so they can be incorporated in shaping Londoner’s vision for London.

There will also be blogs, Twitter feeds, and website communications throughout. The website will be packed with more ways to get involved.

Western University students, staff and faculty will play a massive role in our city’s future and we need you to get involved as we set our vision and chart our course for the next 20 years. Take some time out to get involved so, together, we can build the city that you want to live in.

John Fleming is the director of planning and city planner for the City of London. Working in the field of planning for almost 25 years, he holds an Honours Degree in Geography from Western’s Urban Development Program and a Masters Degree in Planning from the University of Toronto.