Inclusion comes from the word include, the opposite is exclusion, excluded from
Let’s think of that feeling for a moment…
When someone feels separated from the crowd, they cannot see themselves in the plural, they do not belong, there is nothing to cling on to, to be inspired from, and connect to. Not accepted, unwanted, unacknowledged, bringing about negative thoughts and emotions. That may be the extremity of the experience, but we all want to feel a sense of belonging to a place. Most definitely on your home turf, your neighborhood, home town, park, community center, city exc.
How do we foster a sense of belonging? Resonating acceptance, healing or connection?
On my first encounter with Placemaking, at a workshop I took in my city, we were asked to ‘Make a Place’ from an existing spot in hour home. I noticed in my home that we have a busy corridor we walk through many times over, with no meaning or sentiment just empty white walls. And so that is how my corridor, became a mini gallery for my kid’s drawings and paintings, we replace the collection together every so often, which has become a fun uplifting family ceremony in itself. This empty uninspiring place in our home turned into a special bonding and inspiring spot to linger in. When we see ourselves in a certain place, we are more connected to it, we feel valued in it. It can be through a reflection of some positive past experience, our history, identity, or it can be through a value we admire to acquire in the near future, a certain inspiring trait/person we aspire to be, or even a fragrance in the street reminding us of our grandma’s home cooking, exc.
That is why when working to foster a place people feel connected to, with a positive sense of belonging, we want to encourage personal and community creativity in that space. It is crucial to welcome individuals’ wisdom and know-how to be incorporated in the creative process. It’s about knowing each other, talking to each other, collaborating with each other, that will create a real inclusive community.
"Inclusion is the deliberate act of welcoming diversity and creating an environment where all different kinds of people can thrive and succeed. ... Diversity is what you have. Inclusion is what you do.”
The term inclusion refers even more so, to an all-embracing societal ideology, regarding individuals with disabilities and special education and other minority groups in the community, to make sure their needs are not marginalized, providing equal access and opportunities in the workforce, education and so to in the public space.
Therefore, a successful Place-making outcome would be one that incorporates the diversity of the group involved, the design and creative elements in the space would be the community’s own ideas and doings, and members would feel a sense of belonging, acceptance in that renewed place, mirroring their values, aspirations and heritage.