It’s the month of love, February. We all have things in our lives that we love – our families, our pets, our friends, and even our favorite foods. But, how often do we say we love where we live? How many of us think that much about the place we call home and what makes it so loveable? Whether we think of it this way or not, we are all in a relationship with the community in which we live.
I had the pleasure of reading a couple of urban planning books over the last few weeks in preparation of meeting the author later this month at the Brevard Tourism + Transit Summit. Peter Kageyama is an urban planner who lives here in Florida and talks about what makes people love their cities and love where they live. If you ever have some spare time, I would recommend watching one of his talks on YouTube or even reading his books. He talks about creating a “loveable” city – a city that grabs you by the heart and never lets go.
One of his unique concepts that he writes about is the notion of “love notes” to your city. There are several different areas and activities that he counts as “love notes”, but one of those is dog parks. Dog parks use green space, allows people to interact with one another, creates a sense of movement and activity, and even promotes safety in the community. He explains that people are out walking their dogs, talking to other people, being social, and looking all around them on their travels. They are noticing what is happening around them and there are more eyes on the street. So, it makes sense that communities with dog parks would be safer than those without. And, The Viera Company took notice of this concept and is continuing the planning of future dog parks. The first CVCA off-leash dog park opened in November 2015 at the Addison Dog Park on Lake Andrew Drive next to Quest Elementary. Next, the Town Center Dog Park just opened last November in the new Viera Town Center on Rodina Drive and it is also our first dog park with artificial turf. If you haven’t been to this park yet, you are missing out! There is also another CVCA dog park planned for the new park at center of the new Reeling Park neighborhood (Prado Vista Park) as well as another new dog park planned in the upcoming new neighborhood, Sierra Cove. As you can see, we agree that dog parks can be a catalyst for creating a safe and functional community and we will continue to look at innovative ways to bring neighbors together.
You might recall an article I wrote over a year ago about community and volunteerism and, yes, I am writing about it again because it is near and dear to my heart. Mr. Kageyama has done a great job explaining how we can create an atmosphere of loving where we live. Here are a few nuggets of his wisdom:
- Play is important and central to the relationships with people. Play with your community. Find surprise and delight wherever you can.
- Woo co-creators (those who are committed to our community – entrepreneurs, organizers, and good citizens who make things and make things happen.
- Start a philanthropic culture. “A giving community is a lovable community because its members have a generous spirit and have learned to look beyond themselves.”
- Aim low. Find easy executable projects that do not require big budgets and a lot of red tape.
- Be emotionally true. Telling your story is important – just be genuine. We have a great story here in how Viera came to be and the Duda family’s legacy.
- Find your signature event. (I would say Light Up Viera qualifies!)
- Use “love notes”. This can be public art or a community project – something unique to your community such as our alligator statue at The Avenues or remember all of the hidden painted rocks (Brevard Rocks)?!? What’s the next big thing, Viera?
Well, I really think Mr. Kageyama has a point with his philosophy and, although I am not a planner by trade, he makes a really compelling argument about creating a loveable community and doing the little things that makes you love where you live.
So, until next time, please remember … “we need to start thinking about how we make our cities more lovable. When we love something, we cherish it; we protect it; we do extraordinary things for it.” (Peter Kageyama)
Eva M. Rey, President
Central Viera Community Association, Inc.