Slide 1: 

Welcome everyone! Thank you so much for attending today’s workshop. My name is Halie Gilmore and I am a co-op student from the University of Waterloo. At the City, I am working alongside the neighbourhoods team to help with a variety of projects related to the neighbourhood strategy.  

 In today’s workshop we are going to be discussing one of the key projects I am working on, the Gathering Spaces Asset Map.


Slide 2: 

Before we begin today’s presentation, I want to acknowledge that I am delivering this workshop on the traditional territory of the Anishnawbe, Haudenosaunee, and Neutral peoples.


Slide 3: 

We have three items on today’s agenda.

First, we want to give you some background information on the Gathering Spaces Asset Map project. We are going to discuss, what asset mapping is? What is a gathering spaces asset map? And why is this project so important?

Second, we are going to talk about how you can get involved in the project. We are prioritizing user engagement throughout this project! There are many opportunities to get involved and provide your input.

Third, we are going to encourage you to participate today!


Slide 4: 

Let’s get stared on agenda item number one, the project overview.


Slide 5: 

What is asset mapping? Asset mapping is a collective process where community members identify and map resources of value in their neighbourhoods. This could be physical assets, like locations, playground equipment, ponds, etc. or it can be intangible assets – like skilled neighbours or community organizations.

Asset mapping is all about community involvement and participation.

It is also about adopting a different mindset. When we are asset mapping, we are positively looking at the resources our community does have. Not the typical… “I wish we had…” mentality.

Overall, asset mapping involves identifying resources, gathering information, and plotting assets on a map. This process showcases valuable resources and identifies areas of opportunity.


Slide 6: 

So now you might be wondering, what is a Gathering Spaces Asset Map?

Our project is a little more specific. We aren’t mapping all assets, but rather focusing on gathering spaces across Waterloo.

Gathering spaces are locations where people host events, meetings, and informal gatherings. Some spaces may include: meeting room at a local recreational facility, private community room at a coffee shop, or a picnic pavilion at a local park.

Why are we focusing on gathering spaces specifically?

In 2018, consultation for the neighbourhood strategy showed that residents wanted more access to spaces to hold meetings and events with neighbours. Developing an asset map allows us to capitalize on the spaces we already have.


Slide 7: 

We envision collecting data on gathering spaces and displaying in an online interactive map. This map will be housed on the neighbourhood website (which is currently under development). With this tool, users will be able to:

  1. Search their area for gathering spaces
  2. Check out the features offered at each location (like capacity, amenities, hours of operation) and view photos of the space
  3. If the space is ‘bookable’, necessary instructions and contact information will be provided

There is a variety of different categories of gathering spaces in Waterloo, and we want to display them all. To give you an idea, some examples of gathering spaces include: parks and playgrounds, recreational facilities, places of worship, and local businesses.


Slide 8: 

As we mentioned previously, the gathering spaces asset map is going to make it easier to access spaces to host events and meetings with your neighbours. There are also other benefits of this project! Developing a gathering spaces asset map will:

  1. Make hosting neighbourhood events and meetings easier. Without access to spaces, many neighbours are left hosting meetings at their home. This is often a lot of work for the host and can lead to concerns surrounding accessibility. By displaying all the gathering spaces in an online map, neighbours can browse locations near them, and find a space to host their gatherings.
  2. Facilitate more gatherings and promote neighbourhood engagement after the pandemic. When things are easier to do, we are often more inclined to do them. With a gathering spaces asset map tool, planning gatherings will be easier. This will facilitate more gatherings. More gatherings = more community engagement!
  3. A third benefit is economic development. By mapping gathering spaces across Waterloo, we will be able to see what areas have certain spaces, and what neighbourhoods do not. This will help both the City and businesses identify needs in the community. For example, if a neighbourhood lacks a coffee shop with a meeting space, coffee shops in that area might take notice of this need/opportunity and develop a community room.
  4. The fourth benefit involves space utilization. Currently, people are unaware of many gathering spaces. This lack of awareness results in under utilization. By identifying spaces and presenting them on an online map, people will be able to take advantage of these places!
  5. And finally, gathering and holding events is going to be particularly important as we recover after COVID-19. Many of us are craving human interaction and in-person meetings. Isn’t odd that we miss meetings? By identifying gathering spaces, across Waterloo, we will be equipped to hold events when it is safe to do so.


Slide 9: 

Now that you know a little more about the project, let us move on to discussing how you can help.


Slide 10:

On the screen is an overview of the basic project timeline. Currently our team is working on the research and planning phase. We are deciding what types of locations we want to feature on the map, what information we will use, and how to collect this data. Over the next couple months, we will spend considerable time collecting necessary data and designing the online asset map platform.

So where do our neighbourhood volunteers and leaders fit in?

In winter 2021, we are going to reach out for some user engagement. We will be seeking input on the data we collected and advice on the online platform design. At this point, we want to ensure we have gathered all the information we need, and are on the right track with the online tool.

In spring 2021, you are going to hear from us again during platform testing. We are going to recruit a small group of volunteers to trial the platform and log their feedback. We are going to want to know things like… what part of the platform do you like? What did you struggle with when using the tool? How was your overall user experience?

Finally, later in spring 2021 we will be releasing the platform for a soft launch. At this time, we will be looking for your help to test the final platform.


Slide 11: 

But for now, we need the inside scoop on all the awesome places to gather in Waterloo, and who knows this information better than you!


As we begin data collection, we want your input. We want to know all of your favourite places to gather. Do you know of a cool outdoor gathering space in your neighbourhood? Are their any places of worship with community spaces, gymnasiums, or kitchens available for public use? Do you have a favourite café with a designated gathering room? 


Slide 12: 

We are asking you to participate today. Online we have a Gathering Spaces Asset Map Engage Page. We encourage you to visit this page and provide us with ideas of unique and interesting gathering spaces in Waterloo.


Slide 13: 

To participate in the future, I encourage you to subscribe to the neighbourhoods e-newsletter and follow the Gathering Spaces Asset Map project on Engage.


Slide 14: 

Thank you for attending this event. I hope you now know a little bit more about asset mapping and Waterloo’s Gathering Spaces Asset Map project.