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

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.

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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