Connecting to place through empathy

 Honing my empathy skills with these on-the-go reads.

Honing my empathy skills with these on-the-go reads.

If the people Warnick cites are right, empathy for a city’s shocks or stresses can be a “harbinger of place attachment."

Empathy, according to Brené Brown in this adorable video involves “perspective taking, staying out of judgement, recognizing emotion in other people, and then communicating that. Empathy is feeling with people.”

Before moving on, it’s important to recognize that empathy is not a neutral concept/practice. For example, there are different perspectives about whether or not empathy should be expressed towards those who have created hardship towards others, and in particular, by those who have suffered from this hardship.

However, in the context of my upcoming role as a city councillor empathy is one of the key practices I need to be working on. I want to stay curious and get a better perspective on some of this community’s stresses, including the following:

  • Transportation (cars & bikes; accessibility)

  • Uncertain funding models and commitments from the provincial government.

  • This community’s point of view towards difference, diversity, and inclusion, particularly as these ideas relate to race, income, gender identity, and truth and reconciliation.

  • Geographical distribution of poverty.

  • Tensions and lack of support for the arts and culture sector.

  • The seeming unending delay of the ION trains from Bombardier.

What Waterloo-specific shocks or stresses am I missing? What are the stresses or shocks in your community?