The social vision of the Garden City Lands

A social vision of the Garden City Lands has been presented to Richmond council and the community many times, though perhaps never with that label. I thank Richmond’s Social Planning Strategy Public Survey for prompting me to focus on that vision.

The simple way to get a basic sense of the social vision is to realize that Terra Nova Rural Park and the envisioned Garden City Lands are similar in social culture. Several posts, including “Terra Nova—an inspiring saga” and “More dreaming big,” touch on what the Terra Nova culture is. The Richmond Heritage Commission is particularly good at getting to the essence of Terra Nova, as it did in its annual reports for 2008 and 2009, years in which the park won major provincial and national awards.

The Heritage Commission 2008 Annual Report says, in part:

What makes Terra Nova Rural Park so unique? It’s the background story about individual and community aspirations and values, and a City Council dedicated to making this vision a reality. That vision is one of sustainability where we respect the past and live our future through linking residents and visitors with nature, heritage and urban agriculture, all in one very special park.

The Heritage Commission 2009 Annual Report says, in part:

The vision for Terra Nova Park is to preserve the unique rural character while providing a balance between agricultural heritage, wildlife conservation and recreational uses.

Key to the park’s success is the ongoing recognition of its unique eco-system, the preservation of heritage assets, and the support of community partners such as the Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Project, which shares fruit and vegetables with the community, and the Terra Nova Schoolyard Society, which brings children into the Terra Nova outdoor classroom, where they learn about gardening and growing their own fruits and vegetables.

Unique programs at Terra Nova have included “Decreasing Barriers, Increasing Wellness,” a seniors’ outreach program that brings frail and isolated seniors into Parks’ recreation programs and services.

The Garden City Lands are larger than Terra Nova Rural Park, more urban, and unique in different ways. However, they share the same kind of visionary thinking. It is an ecological vision, an agricultural vision, and a park vision, but it is essentially a social vision.


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