Kirkland wanted to celebrate the accomplishments of our neighborhoods and inspire new interest in neighborhood leadership and participation. Peter Kageyama, the author of "For the Love of Cities" and "Love Where You Live," was the ticket. On January 23, Peter came to Kirkland and spoke to over 160 people, including residents, business owners, artists, and elected officials.
As Peter outlines in his book “For the Love of Cities,” he talked to participants about “The mutual love affair between people and their place is one of the most powerful influences in our lives, yet rarely thought of in terms of a relationship. As cities begin thinking of themselves as engaged in a relationship with their citizens, and citizens begin to consider their emotional connections with their places, we open up new possibilities in community, social and economic development by including the most powerful of motivators—the human heart—in our toolkit of city-making.”
Attendees sat with their neighbors at tables. Peter led an exercise to identify what we already love about Kirkland. These “Love Notes” to Kirkland mentioned the "Cross Kirkland Corridor (CKC), Kirkland waterfront, 4th of July parade, walkability, parks, and small town feel."
Peter showed examples of t-shirts for citizens (as opposed to t-shirts for tourists), and said they can be a great “public display of affection” for your city. Each table then designed a Kirkland T-Shirt. Maybe some local artist entrepreneur wants to run with some of these ideas!
Project Ideas: Surprise and Delight
Peter showed examples from around the world of how people express love for their cities and find ways to surprise and delight their community.
After seeing examples, participants were asked to come up with ideas for fun events or projects that citizens could do, that cost less than $500, and that encourage citizen engagement and increase our affection for Kirkland and our neighborhoods. Each table presented their idea and every participant voted. These are the top five project ideas:
Food event on the CKC, possibly to benefit a local organization. Progressive bites and sips along the trail with every neighborhood participating. Music and fun along the way. Meet your neighbors and make new friends. Possibly align with National Trails Day on June 3 or do a summer solstice “walk the night.” Engage local businesses to sponsor food and beverages. (38 votes)
- Play in the rain (covered playground pilot project) using tent-like inexpensive temporary cover over playground. (16 votes)
- Kirkland Welcomes All (glad you are here). Follow up on the “inclusive cities” proclamation. Series of banners that have the word “welcome” in different languages representing all the diversity in Kirkland. Banners would be made by residents (schools, libraries, senior centers, teen center, special event at City Hall). Traveling banners could move around town. Could have a scavenger hunt event to find all of the banners. (12 votes)
- Downtown car-free Sundays (summer days in Kirkland—June–August). (12 votes)
- KANG X-ing signs on the pavement at 124th Avenue NE and NE 80th Street (Lake Washington High School). Consider one for Rebels near Juanita High School. (7 votes)
Love of Kirkland Project Ideas
Call to Action! How to stay involved.
It was an amazing evening. Let’s keep the momentum going! How can you stay involved?