Wow! This is our 50th post – how exciting! When I started this blog back in September I was hoping that it would last and that we would start building this type of consistency.
So for this 50th post, I’ve decided to take a moment and rap serious about the importance of honesty. First of all, I’d like to say that I truly do love the city we live in. If I didn’t I wouldn’t live here, and wouldn’t spend the time I do thinking of ways to make it better.
The City of Regina recently launched it’s new brand “Infinite Horizons” as well as a website. While I can support our city trying to create a collective message, and I know that brands are meant to focus on the positive (i.e. no one is attracted to a city because of it’s weak points), I think that consistency says a lot.
If I focus just on the “Regina Living” Section – we have a better quality of life, a shorter commute, and spend less on homes, and generously voluteer our time more than a lot of cities… well, selective cities. This is where the consistency comes in. I do not think it is fair or accurate to compare ourselves to larger centres in one context (i.e. we have a better quality of life, a shorter trip to the airport, and less expensive homes than those in Toronto and Montreal) and not another (i.e. we have a higher percentage of people who bike, and more doctors per 1000 people than those in Kitchener and Oshawa). I am sure all of this is true, but I think it is more accurate to compare ourselves to similarly sized cities like Oshawa and Kitchener, than Toronto and Montreal. Of course it takes longer to get to the airport there: the island of Montreal is 4 times the size of our city; and of course it will cost less here: the population of Toronto is over 10 times as large and space is at a premium.
Now, again, I understand that positive branding is important, but I think we could do it with more accurate comparisons and not give ourselves the impression that life is just perfect here, when it isn’t. We need to look at ourselves in the mirror and be honest. For example, we are one of only a very few Canadian municipalities that do not have a comprehensive recycling program.
It is akin to the times when I have tried to placate myself with the impression that I am doing everything I can to lessen my impact on the environment and therefore need try no more. I know that I am very consientious of my ecological impact and try hard to live a life of relative “voluntary simplicity“, but it isn’t until I fill out a survey or questionnaire that measures my impact (and am very honest about what I do and consume, etc), that I see what I could be doing better. And really, that is all I am saying – that through hard honesty you see the opportunity to change for the better.
I am all for positive branding and positive momentum in this City – I simply don’t want to see this become another “I love Regina” movement where it devolves into settling for what we are, instead of striving for what we could be.