Sustainable City of Sustainable Neighbourhoods


Outreach and Project Development - Workshops, Meetings, Dialogues

The form of the public dialogue on sustainable neighbourhoods took shape over nine months of meetings, workshops and discussions with individuals 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. The first reason was to have a process to ensure range and diversity of participation based on focus of interest and locus of activity. The second reason was to incorporate into our process the capacity to involve not only the participating individual but also potentially all the members of their group and their associated networks.


Input from neighbourhoods was essential to the shaping of the planned city-wide dialogue event. In order to invite participation from each of the city’s 23 neighbourhoods or local areas, the Commission developed objective criteria for the neighbourhood engagement component. The project was officially launched in July 2010 at a meeting to which the Commission invited one representative from one neighbourhood group in each of the local areas. 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 (see below).

Out of this first city-wide neighbourhood groups meeting, a smaller group came together as the Neighbourhoods Advisory Group for the project. The group met with Commissioners on three occasions and was part of email communication to develop the themes for the public dialogue event and the criteria for the invitation list of neighbourhood and community organizations.

Sustainability Practitioners

The Commission also held workshops with City staff who work at the neighbourhood level to implement City sustainability policies, and with professionals in the private and non-profit sectors who work 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 from what the Commission originally expected would be a practical task-oriented session organized around sustainability information and expertise, to a dialogue structured more around values and concerns. One of the most prominent themes that emerged 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

Workshops and meetings

Meeting Notes and Reports

Meeting Notes, Final Report to Council and other documents availablehere.

More on the Sustainable Neighbourhoods project: Symposium