KITCHENER – Love My Hood, Kitchener’s first neighbourhood strategy, has been recognized by the Canadian Institute of Planners with an Award for Planning Excellence in the category of New and Emerging Planning Initiatives. Honoured for its unique approach to city building, whereby residents take the lead on neighbourhood projects and the city supports them along the way, the award represents the Institute’s highest level of recognition for professional planning.

“Love My Hood took an unprecedented approach to traditional municipal planning,” says Michelle Drake, project manager at the City of Kitchener, who led the development of the strategy. “By adopting a unique methodology focused on investing in social infrastructure, volunteers were given the tools and permission to engage the community, make decisions and formulate actions. Residents may take the lead with the support of the city.”

The strategy, first conceptualized in February 2017 by a diverse project team of city staff and volunteers, was developed over the course of 18 months and included nearly 1,000 hours of meetings. The project team also led the city’s largest and most inclusive community engagement process, where over 5,000 community members participated in surveys, workshops, neighbourhood parties and other activities.

From this public consultation, the Love My Hood strategy document, Kitchener’s Guide to Great Neighbourhoods, was created. The document, developed by the project team to help residents better understand the Love My Hood vision, includes photographs and quotes from Kitchener residents and reflects how neighbourhoods benefit when neighbours come together with a shared passion and purpose.

“At the core of Love My Hood was a dedicated team of skilled volunteers who took the idea of creating the city’s first-ever neighbourhood strategy from a vague concept to reality,” said Michael May, deputy chief administrative officer at the City of Kitchener. “Our community is forever grateful for their passion and commitment to spend over 800 hours working to make Love My Hood something that is now being embraced by residents across our entire community.”

The strategy was awarded along with eight others who received the honour for their approach to traditional municipal planning. A total of 48 submissions were put forward for planning initiatives taking place across Canada and around the world. The Award Planning Excellence Jury, comprised of planning professionals from across the country, rigorously evaluated projects over a three-month period. Recipients of the 2018 Awards for Planning Excellence and Merit were formally recognized at the joint Canadian Institute of Planners and Manitoba Professional Planners Institute National Conference.


For more information:
Marissa LaBianca
Communications and Marketing Associate
City of Kitchener
519-741-2200 x7191