The Making of a Vibrant City

The fundamental role of design and architecture in contributing to the creation of vibrancy!



Creating a vibrant city is a high priority for many municipalities. Civic leaders put much thought and effort into forging a dynamic community through art and cultural projects.

But what does vibrancy mean, and why is it the focus of many municipalities, including our own?

Vibrancy means pulsating with vigour and energy. Vibrant cities are stimulating, vital, and resonate with high energy, optimism, and active engagement. Vibrant communities are attractive to live in and visit. Vibrancy encourages curiosity and deeper connections and adds richness and meaning to people's lives.

Galleries, theatre and celebrations can create cultural dynamism, but the base and bedrock beneath these events is the physical environment upon which buoyant communities are built. Architecture, design, and the infusion of natural elements create a lively ambience for all, but colour completes this vision. Vibrant colours impact our daily experience and play an essential role in our communities’ vitality.

For many years there has been a tendency in North America to choose exterior colours that blend in with nature, and muted pallets are still seen in cities across Canada. Although harmony with nature is a great concept in rural areas, this approach doesn't necessarily apply to urban developments. When we consistently use a limited neutral palette on the exterior of structures with no or little detail, pattern or texture, we turn our cities into a dull, uninspiring place. In turn, such environments elicit similar feelings in their occupants.

And since, for most of the year—due to our long, frigid winters—nature doesn't provide lively colours, textures and patterns naturally, we ought to create this effect intentionally. Colour can boost the energy and excitement of our streets, communities, cities and people, increasing fun, play, and sense of belonging. These are the very ingredients of a beautiful and attractive place to live and flourish, as individuals and as a collective.

By being mindful in our thinking and design, we can all contribute to the creation of a vibrant city.

nora bouz
Wellbeing Design Consultant