Each week we are asking one member from each Working Group to share what they discussed at each meeting and plan to do for the next session. Here is the second Ecology Working Group overview:
Last week the Ecology group concluded that we have natural and built assets at different scales all over the district, not all obvious, some hidden, sometimes combined, but those assets are very disconnected. Not only physically but also in the story of Winchester. So our task in the week was to think of one key and personal barrier between assets that we care about and that we would like to see removed.
The conversation started off on the topic of the entrances into Winchester, including the walk in from the train station and roads leading into the city. The main issue being the lack of clear sign posts and directions into the main attractions. A few members of the group admitted they’d been asked on a number of occasions by visitors to the city how to get to the cathedral once they’d stepped off the train. This was a prime example of how the city needs to adapt its streets and roads to ensure pedestrians are able to get around and enjoy all areas Winchester has to offer. We spoke about encouraging more “organic” routes into and across town.
But this extended to the idea that improved way finding could be used to do more than improve routes to key “assets” of Winchester or even join up green and heritage spaces better but also signal Ecology values appearing in other daily aspects of Winchester life, such as sustainability in businesses.
We then moved on to a much less physical barrier between assets, the connection between different cultures in Winchester, where the divide occurs and also where it doesn’t. The initial discussion was around the lack of connection between the older and younger generation and what the city and areas around it mean to them. One member of the group gave an example of how the skatepark and parks where young people congregate were often tarnished in a negative light but actually offer an abundance of positive opportunities for all people. These green spaces and areas around Winchester are prime examples of where Diversity and Inclusion work hand in hand and show a true representation of the people of Winchester.
By making connections with people and places we are able to create a much bigger sense of community and this is vital in pushing a city forward. We then talked about areas in where this already occurs and the River Park proximity was a common vocal point. With the green spaces, rivers, play park, school, sporting facilities and University blocks its almost its own mini cultural hub and with this we agreed transitioning more areas into something similar was a possibility.
We also felt that events in such spaces could be catalysts. Natural spaces to celebrate more widely shared values about the whole life web of Winchester’s Ecology. One of us observed that their business promoting a healthy holistic approach to food has attracted many more types of people to them than they knew lived in Winchester, while many of the traditional “lifestyle” spaces are most often used by the same types of people.
A theme coming out both weeks is that of valuing how we co-exist with all living things here, animal and plant and microbial life. But this week we also felt the challenge of how our Ecology thinking might help us co-exist better with our fellow humans and their communities here.
Share your views on what you might like to see for Winchester in the comments box below and stay tuned for the next update from the Ecology Working Group next week! Don’t forget you can also join the conversation on social media, you can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram