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Four Days Halifax (week of sustainability events, Halifax Nova Scotia, 2009)

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Doors of Perception helped to organize Four Days Halifax – a time-compressed mini-festival whose aim was to help the city get its hands muddy in a green economy
Our starting point in Four Days was that many elements of a resilient Halifax already exist in embryonic form – but not all of them are visible in their own backyard. The most important preparation work was to identify these local assets: people, mainly, but also projects and places.
Peter Wuensch and Rachel Derrah from Breakhouse, a Halifax a design firm that’s headed strongly into social innovation, and Joanne Macrae and Sera Thompson from The Hub Halifax, duly rounded up some inspiring people and projects.
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We told Peter and Rachel to think of Doors of Perception as a “Hubble Telescope turned backwards” – the idea being that it often takes an outsider to help grassroots people and groups, who are the acorns of a sustainable future, become better known or visible in their own backyard.
Our next step, and the value-creating element of the week, was to figure out what practical steps might help these projects improve and multiply.
First off, we kick-started five “social innovation charrette” teams from Nova Scotia College of Art + Design (NSCAD).
Next, we did a Dragon’s Lair event in which social enterprise start-ups pitched their case for investment to local entrepreneurs; the pitchers included a car-share start-up, and a chef with a roof-top herb garden.
The next evening, a local team staged a mini TEDx conference.
This was followed by a Four Days workshop for politicians, officials and business people.
Friday night there was?a Pecha Kucha in which, inter alia, the design student teams reported back.
The final event was a street party where we exchanged stories about who we’d met and what steps needed to be taken next.
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