Workshops, Meetings, and Dialogues
The form of the public dialogue on sustainable neighbourhoods took shape over nine months of meetings, workshops and discussions with people and groups from all sectors involved in sustainability work at the neighbourhood level, including:
- Neighbourhood groups
- City staff
- Non-profit and private sector organizations
The Commission set out to engage organizations, to be represented by individuals, rather than individuals for two reasons:
- To have a process representing the diversity of participants based on interests and location; and,
- To involve not only the participating individuals, but also potentially all the members of their group and associated networks.
Input from neighbourhoods was essential to the shaping of the planned city-wide dialogue event. In order to invite participation from the city’s 23 local areas, the Commission developed objective neighbourhood engagement criteria. The project officially launched in July 2010 at a meeting with one representative from a neighbourhood group in each of the local areas were invited. This proved to be more of a challenge that anticipated for reasons outlined in the meeting notes for the July meeting and in the project report.
Out of this first city-wide neighbourhood groups meeting, a Neighbourhoods Advisory Group emerged. The group met with Commissioners on three occasions. They also helped develop the themes for the public dialogue event and the criteria for the invitation list.
The Commission also workshops with City staff who work at the neighbourhood level to carry out City sustainability policies. We also met with private and non-profit sector professionals working in neighbourhoods to meet a range of needs including housing, culture and social services.
Shaping the Dialogue
As a result of these discussions, the focus for the public dialogue changed. Initially, the Commission expected a practical task-oriented session organized around sustainability information and expertise. What emerged was a dialogue structured more around values and concerns. One of the most prominent themes that developed was that the term ‘sustainability’ is problematic as a framework for exploring the future of our ‘city of neighbourhoods.’ The symposium of community organizations was built around these ideas.
Workshops and Meetings
More information on the Sustainable Neighbourhoods project: