Are people in your city rude, kind, or somewhere in the neutral zone? Christopher Rouleau moved to Toronto from Calgary in June 2009, and found that there was an fast-paced hustle and bustle of the city that could sometimes make people behave rudely towards one another–and he wasn’t content to sit by and let it happen. But the paradox he saw was that most people were too polite too say anything about it! Hence, the Urban Etiquette Project was born.
What if you could say to your fellow transit riders, cell phone users, drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and others — hey, let’s make this city a nice place? Would you mind keeping your phone call on quiet while we share this ride? Or better yet, what if you could say, “Dear Fellow Kind Person,” I just wanted to point out that you’re what makes my city awesome? This is what Rouleau did–by making a set of cards that you can download, print, and share while meandering and using each of your own cities. This is what the cards look like:
I reached out to Rouleau, who describes Toronto as “a city of hustle and bustle, with lots of busy people from many difference cultural backgrounds with places to go and people to see.” Toronto’s architecture and perpetual urban re-invention captured the recent attention of Christopher Hume, who details the plethora of architects and landscape architects working on projects throughout the city:
“Toronto has quietly brought some of the most distinguished landscape architects in the world to town and given them large chunks of the city to remake. That includes Michael van Valkenburgh and James Corner from the U.S., Adriaan Geuze from Rotterdam and Claude Cormier from Quebec. They are here thanks to Waterfront Toronto, which has also signed deals with developers who have hired major international architects such as Moshe Safdie and Cesar Pelli to work in Toronto.”
“Sometimes,” Rouleau continued, “I noticed that people in Toronto can get caught up in the fast-paced world they live in and forget about others around them. That pace, in conjunction with the new digital age we live in–with smart phones and headsets and iPads and Facebook–people often forget about the real world and real people right in front of them.”
As for the feedback, he says the project has gone much more viral than he expected–and he’s received feedback from users that the project has made them more inclined to just speak up in situations and be more vocal if they see bad behavior. “I think if the cards and the project can empower people to stand up for common courtesy and make the world a better place, then the project is a success.”
Tell me, would you use the cards? And what would you say if someone handed YOU a good (or bad!) citizen behavior card?