Guelph's Community Plan Wins IAP2 Canada's Project of the Year

Posted on October 28, 2020
By Lisa Attygalle

Guelph IAP2The International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) Canada Core Values Awards help to raise the bar in the field of public engagement through friendly competition to encourage new approaches and innovative uses of existing ones.

Each year, IAP2 and its affiliates around the world recognize leaders in the profession, and this year the City of Guelph’s project A United Vision: Guelph’s Community Plan was the winner in the category of Creativity, Contribution and Innovation in the Field, and was also selected as Project of the Year.

The awards go to projects which best demonstrate IAP2's Core Values, trust uniqueness, innovation, and evaluation of results. We recently wrote a case study about Guelph’s process which was truly authentic, emergent, community-owned, integrated across City departments and community partners, and anchored in utility.

The authenticity of the process was validated in the judges’ comments which recognized the following:
  • Transparency – the honesty and openness of the process was innovative and brave, especially within a city community plan process

  • Trust – The realization that to build trust and relationships the City needed to start in their own house. The acknowledgement of the need to be humble and recognize limitations due to past mistrust. Understanding that decisions made together are better, stronger and sustainable.

  • Emergence – giving up control to allow for new insights, relationships, and opportunities to adjust and improve along the journey

  • Engagement as a practice – the focus on engagement as a practice and not just an outcome, or a one-time project

  • Influence – Clearly understanding and stating what is within the circle of influence, what is outside it, and what partnerships are required.

  • Integration – An integrated implementation as City Council uses the Community Plan to act as the foundational vision for it’s shorter-term City Strategic Plan, and community organizations use the Plan to collaborate and align their work.

As a living document, Guelph’s Community Plan continues to be activated and is now also being used as the foundation for their efforts to set the community standard for the elimination of systemic racism. Their community-led approach in the Plan’s initial development has kept doors open to new and difficult conversations as the Plan is used as a platform for dialogue, alignment, action and innovation.

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Community Engagement, Lisa Attygalle, Blog, Community Change, Cities Deepening Community, Authentic Engagement

Lisa Attygalle

By Lisa Attygalle

In her role at Tamarack, Lisa works with cities and organizations to improve the way they engage with their communities. Over the last seven years, her work has focused on creating engagement strategies for municipalities and organizations, integrated communications planning, and the use of technology and creativity for engagement. Lisa constantly advocates for simplicity in infrastructure, frameworks, and design and loves applying the principles of marketing, advertising, loyalty, and user experience to community initiatives.

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