From British Columbia Recreation and Parks Magazine, Spring, 2009
Civic institutions, such as parks, libraries, city halls and cultural facilities, are the foundations of a civil society and the cornerstones of democracy. At their best, they nurture and define a community’s identity by instilling a greater sense of pride, fostering frequent and meaningful contact between citizens, providing comfort in their public spaces and encouraging an increasingly diverse population to use them. When civic institutions are located in places that are easily accessible by pedestrians and transit, they help to make a city more walkable and reduce dependence on the automobile. Civic institutions can also help to support and build local economies by encouraging small-scale businesses and local entrepreneurship through vending programs, farmers’ markets, festivals and other locally-sponsored activities.