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SEEing Your Community

26 Sep

I thought of this entry after taking a second to truly look at my surroundings. I realized that I was still able to find new sites and treasurers on a trip I had easily taken more than 50 times.
 
Upon “discovering” the new objects, places, and colors, I was able to understand spaces, events, and scenery that were once foreign or unexplainable to me. 

It all happened when I was leaving the north side of Chicago to return to school in Urbana- Champaign. Currently surrounded by agricultural landscape, the city view that I thought I knew all to well, came alive.
 
As I drove down lake shore drive I found myself going slower and slower, observing, appreciating, and seeing the intentionality of the design. I was beginning to see that everything had its place in the city and I longed to stay put so that I could receive all that the clear sky was trying to show me about Chicago.
 
I’m sure that my urban planner eye was kicking in, but either way, it was not until I truly looked at my surroundings that I understood what was there for me to learn from.
 
The new views made me feel creative and I wanted nothing more than to find the words to describe what I was experiencing. For me, this experience confirmed that people MUST travel outside of their community to SEE their community, suggest improvements, and ultimately to know more than we already do in order to be builders of the future.  

Leaving Chicago was the only way for me to SEE Chicago. As a planner, I know that I will have amazing opportunities to go into communities and suggest changes. I hope to always remember this experience and find ways to help residents SEE more outside of their community so that they can think of innovative solutions for the problems in their communities.

When did you begin to SEE your community?

Below is a link to the Education for Sustainable Development website. The page provides an activity readers can use to work with residents to SEE the effects of local development.

http://www.esdtoolkit.org/community_goals/sust_lens.htm

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