About Words of Imagination and Appreciation in Neighbourhoods

I did some some work for a fledgling project about appreciating neighbourhood in a few Melbourne suburbs called Imagine Blackburn: Appreciating Neighbourhood 3130. This was my stab at some definitions of those words for the "About Us" section of the website.

Imagine: a word which apparently shares little-known roots with the word “presence.” We like that connection. It takes “imagine” out of the realm of wild dreams and crazy schemes and puts it into a place of deep respect for others in our midst. “Imagine” then becomes about gentle listening and understanding the variety of possibilities in our midst………in a word, presence.

Appreciating: a word that is so often associated with “accentuating the positive.” Yet that is far too narrow an understanding of it. It’s really about empathy. This is the understanding that, because I am not you I can never see the world as you do. However I can respect the different view you have on to the world. To "appreciate" means to want to hear the stories that formed another’s worldview, warts and all. It also means that we want all of those stories and worldviews to play with each other to form a new possibility.

Neighbourhood: literally “the art of lingering in nearness to one another.” “Art” = this is delightfully inexact and messy; “lingering” = there is a sense of patience, waiting to see what might come; “nearness” = not just physical proximity, but the realisation of deeper connections.


  1. When do you expect the website to move beyond the "fledgling"phase?
    People not necessarily linked to the UC in Blackburn are waiting to feel the impact on a suburb where there's not a lot of "lingering in nearness" going on.

  2. Thanks not-so-anonymous anonymous commentator.... The website development is a gradual process. Hope you, a few of your broader Blackburn contacts and maybe one or two of those Habitat characters can come along to our little community building immersion on 20 February (http://www.imagineblackburn.net/abcd-immersion.html)