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Creating Containers and Co-Design: Transforming Collaboration

Posted by Liz Weaver in July 2018

In 'Creating Containers and Co-Design: Transforming Collaboration', Liz Weaver identifies the role of collaboration in Collective Impact initiatives, and community change efforts more broadly, as well as framing the roles and tasks of community collaboratives as containers for change.

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The Thick and Thin of Community Engagement

Posted by Sylvia Cheuy on October 10, 2018

I recently had the opportunity to attend a workshop co-hosted by Public Agenda, non-profit organization based in New York City in partnership with the City of Toronto.  Public Agenda, “helps cities, states and countries integrate the principles, practices and tools of sound public engagement.”

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Building your Practice of Authentic Community Engagement

Posted by Sylvia Cheuy on June 12, 2018

Community change initiatives are often set against complex and systematic problems – problems that cannot be solved in isolation and without authentic support from community stakeholders.

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Investing to Create a Network of Community Change Agents - A Case Study

Posted by Sylvia Cheuy on March 2, 2018

For more than 100 years, the Lehigh Valley, a metropolitan region in northeastern Pennsylvania, was renown as an industrial powerhouse, and manufacturers like Bethlehem Steel, Mack Truck and Coplay Portland Cement were its heart.  But by the 1980's, these industries had closed, moved out of the region or were downsized due to national and global competition.  The urban areas- Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton- went into a sharp economic decline, which lasted for nearly three decades.

By 2014 however, the city of Allentown was gaining global recognition for its “innovative, forward-looking approach to design and development.” The economic renaissance of Allentown is a testament to the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of its ancestors.  The establishment of a Neighbourhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) in Allentown’s downtown core was the spark that launched the city’s economic revitalization, which has included: a 10,000-seat multipurpose arena, several office towers, restaurants, green spaces, restored historic buildings as well as residential and retail spaces.  Downtown Allentown is now “a regional centre of excellence for business, culture and metropolitan living."  In 2011 only 9,000 people worked downtown but by 2018, that number had grown to 16,000.

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Trust: An Essential Ingredient in Authentic Community Engagement

Posted by Sylvia Cheuy on February 12, 2018

I recently had the privilege to travel across Ontario to facilitate five workshops exploring an essential ingredient of community change: authentic community engagement.  Participants at each session identified community engagement challenges that were “top of mind” for them.   Common themes included:  finding adequate resources for engagement; needing to address diverse audiences and/or span vast geographies; retaining engagement once it had been initiated; and, a need for more capacity-building in this area.  A root community engagement challenge that surfaced was that residents and communities are often unwilling or, at best, reluctant to participate in organizationally-led engagement efforts. 

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Fostering Connection, Sharing Stories, and Creating Community

Posted by Sylvia Cheuy on July 6, 2017

“People become the stories they hear and the stories they tell.”

- Elie Wiesel

Over the past several weeks I have had the opportunity to learn, and be inspired by, examples that illustrate how powerful the simple act of engaging in heart-felt conversation and listening can be when it is is rooted in compassion and curiosity.

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Berrett-Koehler Birthday Book Sale July 10–16!

Posted by Sylvia Cheuy on July 6, 2017

Since it’s release in 2015, Paul Born’s book, Deepening Community: Finding Joy Together in Chaotic Times has become a national best-seller.  As growing levels of loneliness and isolation are reported amongst people of all ages across the country, the need to discover new ways to foster connection between neighbours has never been greater. 

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