Community Identity is our personal and shared sense of neighbourhood and place: the feeling, emotion, and psychological colour that we attach to the spot where we live on the planet. E.g. Neighbourhoods in Mosa Township (and the rest of rural Canada no doubt) are still defined by the catchment areas of the one room school houses, even tho’ the schools were closed in 1962.
History, culture, economy, character, ecology combined with all of our senses give us a common identity and sense of place.
The Municipality of Southwest Middlesex has done an exceptionally good job of linking the communities together since amalgamation. Municipal councils have very limited mandates to build and manage infrastructure. That’s it. Municipal Corporations and their elected representatives are not responsible for building community.
Building community is the job of citizens, businesses, organizations, sports groups, churches, historical societies, and farmers’ coffee klatches. The people build communities and neighbourhoods, not government. Governments at all levels try to enable community building (with various degrees of success) but they don’t actually do it. The people create communty.
And as the old adage goes: “Lead, follow, or get out of the way”. So all you big school boards, hospital corporations, provincial ministries, crown corporations, and every other type of public or quasi-public institution that’s running the show: Get with the program and learn the art of capacity building. Cuz it ain’t easy. Above all, do not suppress community identity. Mobilize. Enable. Celebrate and preserve community identity.
– Mary Simpson