In this message I want to explore the value of membership in the Edgemont Community Association. I was drawn to this topic by a recent article in Metro News written by Tristan Cleveland *. In it he cites a book by Charles Montgomery called Happy City** which says that “cities can be designed to support the human connections that that make life richer and happier”. I took a leap of faith and felt that much of Montgomery’s thinking could be applied at the community level, and in particular Edgemont, as well.
The following are some relevant extracts from Happy City that by extension apply to communities and especially Edgemont:
“Casual interactions can boost happiness in the same way that having close families and friends does”. As I said in my previous President’s Message, we are social beings by nature. Our community provides opportunities for casual interactions to occur and this is part of the Edgemont Community Association’s (ECA) mandate and vision. Interactions of this sort lift our spirits.
- Park It
“Studies have shown that access to green space, even if it is just seeing it from a window, can have a positive impact on mental health”. Edgemont is blessed with an abundance of green spaces in both natural and park settings. We took this important aspect even one step higher with our LEAF Program. I know I was personally uplifted by the visual transformation of our community on an ongoing basis. Remember this program is now operated by your Edgemont Community Association. Another great reason to take out a membership.
- Get Involved
I love this one. “Volunteers tend to be happier because they feel a sense of meaning when they work with others on something bigger than themselves”. I covered this important aspect in my previous President’s Message. Our board is operated by a strong team of dedicated ECA volunteers. We have instituted a concept of “super supporters”. Volunteer opportunities abound within the ECA and membership is your entry point.
- Common Space
This feature deals with our ability to connect with each other in common space areas. A great example is our Edgemont Community Centre. This lovely facility, under direction of the ECA, has served us well over the past 25 years. It is the hub of our community and buzzes with activity. The fact that it is integrated with Edgemont Public School makes it an even greater asset. ECA membership makes it that much better.
This aspect is an extension of 4. “Public facilities should have areas designed for people to hang out. Montgomery says, “We need more “loitering encouraged “signs”. I believe with an ECA membership more “loitering” is a natural outcome. Another relevant socializing aspect is the operation of programs and activities designed to encourage interaction. ECA has a number of these in place and is seeking more direction and new ideas from our community through our recent survey.
In closing, I learned from my career in industry that the best way to make a sale, in this case an ECA membership, is to promote features and benefits. I hope this message has got you thinking about membership and the happiness it can bring. Your board is continually working on enhancing the benefits of membership. Please consider signing up.
*Happiness by Design, Tristan Cleveland for Metro News
** Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design, Charles Montgomery, 2013