When you think social innovation, you might think micro loans in developing countries, or hand-ups to help people in from the fringes here at home. Or a wide range of ways to build social capital or how charitable institutions backstop community with philanthropy. But for those of you who are working in the city planning trenches every day, using collaborative design workshops to engage the people, you’re really running a form of social innovation lab.
Coming in from my slow run on this morning’s packed snow, I am grateful again for my old, walkable neighbourhood that tempts me out of doors, even in the cold weather. And that’s saying a lot, since I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, one of the three coldest cities on earth of a population of 600,000 or higher.
Walkability mitigates the most extreme climates by providing interesting places to warm up, linger, and connect. And plenty of options about how and where to turn around and circle back.
Heading to the Wilmington, North Carolina region this week, I’m excited about seeing a city that’s one of my favourite running buddies. Last week, I was enjoying a run in Winnipeg as well, when someone pointed out, “But it’s raining.” I had barely noticed since this satisfyingly walkable neighbourhood dares people to live outdoors.
Facebook handily reminded me that this time last year, I was in Venice, where it was resolutely rainy. Perhaps Venice is not the best comparison for “mere mortal” cities, as the idyllic urbanism tends to romanticize the rain. The weather certainly didn’t stop the millions of tourists who had come just to walk the streets.
Being back in the south for a couple weeks has given me a chance to reflect on the Adventure Canada Heart of the Arctic expedition. The biggest imprints are three things: the inclusivity of the people, the vastness of the land, and the need to continue to do all we can to develop in compact settlement patterns as one of the many things that can help keep us from further damaging earth’s cooling system. The images on my mind for today happen to be from the one day of our expedition that did not upload successfully, due to intermittent internet access.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
After sailing up one of the longest fjords in the world, the delightfully scenic Söndre Strömfjord, we disembarked Ocean Endeavour for the last time, to explore the community of Kangerlussuaq. One group went off for a walk on the ice cap and the other on a nature hike, before we flew out of Greenland midafternoon. We headed for Toronto, stopping in Goose Bay, Labrador, to refuel. Tomorrow, we’ll disburse to Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain, Israel, across the US and Canada.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
We crossed the Arctic Circle at 07:37 today!
Early in the day, we landed at Itilleq, a tiny community of 97 people, set in a hollow between two hillsides. Itilleq means hollow. The tiny colorful wooden homes are a complete switch from Canada’s Arctic communities, here arranged as compactly as the stony landscape will allow.
Sunday, July 26, 2015
We docked in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, around dawn. We had successfully crossed the Davis Strait, formed 65 million years ago by a rift, thanks to a massive movement in the earth’s crust.
Our landform today was a peninsula, which is what the word “Nuuk” means, or some would say that the word means “the headland.” It’s actually a peninsula on a peninsula, at the mouth of a complex fjord system. Dominant rocks here include gneiss, schist, and basalt.
Friday, July 24, 2015
The Canadian Coast Guard has given us a strong warning to not enter Cumberland Sound due to the 9-10/10 ice. This sea ice is 9 to 10 years old, with sporadic glaciers that are much older. So we sadly didn’t make it into Pangnirtung.
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Leaving Kimmerut, we headed for Baffin Bay, anchoring at Lower Savage Island just at the end of Frobisher Bay. We spent a couple hours on the zodiacs, not able to set foot on the island due to the possibility of polar bears and walrus. We were hoping to see walrus from the ship as we circumnavigated the island, and polar bear while going through the interior channels on the zodiacs.
However, luck wasn’t with us, and the only wildlife we saw were birds through a heavy fog. The interesting rock formations, sea ice, icebergs, birds, and cold Arctic air made up for it.