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Social Commentary – Building Community

Building Bridges - CC Jordin Lewin At times this blog is an appropriate outlet for my professional activities, but for the most part, I try to stick to offering commentary on what I see in the world around me particularly when it comes to Urban Design and Engineering. In the past two years while writing on this blog, I’ve come to realise the importance of community and neighbourhood in my job – Creating places for people to live and interact, and designing services such as roads, water networks and sewer systems to support a higher quality of life all comes back to community and neighbourhood.

As an Engineer, I’m often in the firing line for my designs, policies, suggestions or other commentary on various issues. It’s hard not to stereotype those who choose to make a sport out of asking questions and generally objecting to everything in sight. I do believe that dissent is a critical part of decision making, either for offering an alternative viewpoint or for galvanising the supporters on a particular issue. But dissent, just like decision making itself, needs to be undertaken with respect for community. There are real people involved, real issues that affect real lives. Part of my job is to build bridges between those who make the decisions and those who disagree with the decisions.

As I write this I have a draft post sitting of to the side -  One that I feel needs to be said, one that many people I know won’t want to hear. I wrote this as a substitute for tonight, kind of my way of not saying what I need to say.

Peace.

Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. If I post something here that you find helpful as you navigate the world of engineering, planning and building communities, that’s wonderful. But when push comes to shove: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.