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Disruptive Times Require Skilled Changemakers

Posted by Liz Weaver in February 2019

In this paper, Liz Weaver describes three elements that every changemaker needs when approaching complex challenges - a mindset shift, an agile and adaptable approach, and knowledge and skills in each of the five interconnected practice areas.

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Building A Neighbourhood Strategy From The Outside In

Posted by Heather Keam on March 18, 2019

As Cities grow, populations change and become more diverse, new neighbourhoods are built, and older neighbourhoods are being intensified. So, how do you deepen the sense of community? This is the question that the City of Waterloo’s was tasked with when they started to develop their neighbourhood strategy.  The City wanted to build a strategy to help define how to support neighbourhoods, facilitate continued growth, and support community members to be empowered to create strong neighbourhoods.

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Kitchener’s Love My Hood

Posted by Justin Williams on September 20, 2018

The City of Kitchener recently received an award for planning excellence from the Canadian Institute of Planners. Kitchener’s Love My Hood strategy was awarded the prize for New and Emerging Planning initiatives for its innovative and unique methodology - providing small groups of residents the tools and permission to work with their community to formulate an action plan and make decisions.

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It’s a Block Party and You’re Invited: Celebrate National Volunteer Week

Posted by Jessica Fisher on April 11, 2018

What better time to thank the volunteers that give their time and skills to neighbourhood projects than National Volunteer Week April 15-21, 2018? This year’s theme, “Celebrating the Value of Volunteering – building confidence, competence, connections and community”, is fitting as volunteers are integral to the work of Cities Deepening Community members as they utilize the the power of citizens to strengthen communities and neighbourhoods and develop strategies.

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Cultivating the Power of Residents to Build Community: Lessons from Kitchener

Posted by Heather Keam on March 12, 2018

Over the past three decades, there has been a shift in how we connect with one another. Today, people report fewer informal social ties, decrease in tolerance and trust, and an eroding political and civic engagement atmosphere in our communities. Robert Putnam’s book Bowling Alone: the Collapse and Revival of American Community suggests that our overall experiences of being in community have been steadily declining since the 1960s. Research by Holt-Lunstad et al. suggests that social isolation has serious negative consequences for our health and well-being – the impact is likened to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Building communities that bring residents together and help them feel a sense of belonging and connection are more likely to live longer, be healthier, be happier, and act for the common good.

While municipalities have traditionally focused on the built components of a neighbourhood -  paving sidewalks and roads or building houses, parks and arenas - cities across Canada are now realizing that city building also includes the people who live, work and play in each neighbourhood. 

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Three Pillars for Action: Waterloo's Proposed Neighbourhood Strategy

Posted by Natasha Pei on February 12, 2018

On January 16, 2018, Waterloo's City Council unanimously approved the proposed neighbourhood strategy, and have given the go-ahead to pursue feedback from the community.

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Neighbourhood Development is about Collaboration

Posted by Heather Keam on February 12, 2018

I was reading a 2015 article called Deepening Community, Realizing the Potential of Citizen Leadership by Sylvia Cheuy, Director of Engagement at Tamarack.  The article talks about community wellbeing and collaboration - how change requires organizations, groups, governments and citizens to work together. No one sector working alone can effectively address complex community issues.  Building neighbourhoods is about strengthening relationships, trust and sharing their unique skills, knowledge and perspectives to work towards shared action.

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