The ultimate goal of London’s 2012 Cultural Prosperity Plan is to have “cultural workers continue to live, incubate new ideas and thrive in our community”. According to the Spring Newsletter, the Plan is meant to bolster and create sustainability within London’s cultural sector through municipal cultural planning that was first started in 2005 (with the Creative City Task Force). Since then many changes have taken place in the Forest City, amongst them, the realization that every Londoner’s voice matters. I think that this is the most successful aspect of the plan so far, the fact that individual opinions are considered imperative and are the driving force behind the proposed future changes. This project was launched this past December, there was a Culture Fair in April, and a recent newsletter has chronicled the changes thus far. The process has been fairly rapid which is comforting and promising and is potentially bringing us that much closer to an ideal London with sustainable growth and further cultural vibrancy.
I was having a conversation the other day about things that bring people into London or ‘put London of the map’ so to speak and I was pretty shocked with how few well known things we could come up with (that we figured would be known outside of London). The list essentially was: The JLC, Springbank Park, The Grand Theatre, and Museum London. For this reason, I was very happy to read the Plan’s Newsletter because they are focusing on some generally overlooked areas, things that London already has, that just need to be appreciated. The culture planners have come up with 15 areas that define London’s cultural makeup and the best part is, these areas were a result of the input in April 3rd’s Culture Fair (aka from the general public). Some of the more unexpected areas included Food & Agriculture, Libraries, and the Thames River.
The newsletter really does do well to observe why these things are important, how they are neglected, and what we can do in the future to improve them. It is important to consider everything that is characteristic to London as a cultural asset because it’s what defines our city. So, if these updates and newsletters are going to further educate the public on why the Plan is necessary and how much good it can do for the city, I am all for it, and look forward to future editions.
I have heard a variety of opinions on this subject. Some people have been enthusiastically for it and others adamantly opposed. That’s natural when it comes to a social initiative that affects a diverse collective and not just facets of a community. As I said in my previous article, no matter which perspective you side with, it is so very important to have the general public thinking about what it is London should be proud of and known for. This focus will generate regional pride and ultimately, a stronger cultural fabric and better atmosphere as a whole.
Since the launch in late December, the Plan has instigated lots of public discussion. According to this recent newsletter update, these interactions and changes will only continue. Coming up in June there’s the Principles and Strategic Directions Workshop, consultations with key stakeholders throughout the summer and fall, and then in October the public will have the chance once again to offer input on the working draft of the Plan. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved and it would be a great idea because this is a period of rapid, significant, and hopefully permanent change.
For anymore info visit www.london.ca/cultureplan