Establishing Cambridge's Sense of Place

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Establishing Cambridge's Sense of Place

A Journey into Cambridge

Cambridge is still a relatively new thing. Though individual communities date back a couple of centuries, in present form Cambridge only surfaced in 1973.

And, though unified in name, a sense of community unity has been more elusive at times.

Part of it relates to the world we live. Notions of community have been challenged everywhere. Where and how we relate to one another is very different today than it used toe be. That, we are told, is a pattern that will continue.

Locally, the new commercial core near the 401 offers convenience, but is more scattered, diffuse and auto dependent than those Main Streets of generations past.

Finally,  though the original communities of Galt, Preston, Blair and Hespeler have come together well in the years since amalgamation, they began life apart. Those who grew up and lived as citizens of those original communities retain strong connections to those places. Their sense of place and sense of self was often tied to those places.

As the City of Cambridge puts it at their own website:

"...A healthy sense of rivalry had always governed relations among our three communities. Even today, while our residents will tell the outside world that they call Cambridge home, they will often identify themselves to each other as citizens of Galt or Preston or Hespeler".

In a changing and often confusing world, continuity is reassuring. Change is inevitable, but how we react to the change is within our control. Community cannot to forced upon someone. The challenge is to establish common emotional bonds as well as legal ones. It is one thing to mark boundaries and create civic instruments that establish a place in name. That relatively new place will truly be home to all when a new sense of commonality can be finalized that, one mindful of the area's diverse past, integrates it seamlessly into the equally diverse but different present and future .

Establishing Cambridge's Sense of Place