A Spring Update from Cardus Social Cities
I hope this email has found you well. We are busy working, listening, reading, and learning here at Cardus Social Cities and wanted to send an update on recent happenings.
Just last week we said goodbye to our Winter intern, Christopher Konrad. Christopher joined the Ottawa office as a Laurentian Leadership Centre intern with the Cardus Social Cities program. His semester was spent developing an Ottawa Context Report on faith based organizations and city planning, writing an article for Convivium, reading a wide range of city planning texts, and attending city and capital region planning meetings.
Next week, I will be presenting a paper at the Complexity and Policy Studies Conference in Washington, DC. This paper builds on my dissertation research. If you would like a copy of the paper, "Planning for Social Environments" please feel free to email me for an advanced copy. The CAPS conference brings researchers and practitioners together to discuss the advancement of social good in an increasingly complex world. I look forward to exploring and discussing the gaps between social policy and complex needs that individuals and communities face.
I currently have the privilege of serving as the research lead on the Community Space in Faith Places: Counting the Community Usage of Faith Buildings in Ontario project. In certain geographic areas, faith buildings are sold or are being closed. This reality will affect the groups that use those particular spaces. This project is devoted to trying to understand the size and scope of this effect.
This survey is part of a project researching the extent to which faith buildings support other community and non-profit groups across Ontario. The survey collection will be province-wide but has four ‘deep dive’ areas: Toronto, Peterborough, Huron County, and Sudbury. Stay tuned for the website and survey link, which are coming your way in the near future! This collaborative project includes: Faith & the Common Good, The National Trust for Canada, Cardus Social Cities, Ontario Non Profit Network, The City of Toronto, The Ontario Trillium Foundation, The Rural Ontario Institute, Artsbuild Ontario, Artspond, and SPARC.
I am working to develop a case study for the Westminster Economic Development Initiative. In the coming days, I'll have more to say about this case study exploring how best to economically empower disadvantaged citizens in Buffalo, NY. To learn more about the Westminster Economic Development Initiative, click here.
We continue to advance various projects that are in the planning, data collection, and construction phrases. To that end, I continue to serve as a member of the Cardus’ Social Isolation Work Group seeking to explore the effect of social isolation on a wide range of Cardus-related areas of interest. I also continue to work with McMaster University to ensure ongoing clean up and public hosting of updated Canada Revenue Agency data on chairtable organizations to support version 2.0 of the Halo Project. Other charitable sector research also continues. Keep watch for more information pertaining to this area in the future.
As always, I welcome any opportunity to discuss these activities with you.
Program Director, Social Cities
What is Milton Reading?
Novels are an important means of exploring cities. One place to turn for something readable and imaginative is Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines. The book has been around for a few years but the film has driven recent attention and will spike renewed readership. The premise is that cities have become mobile, able to move around the landscape as massive machines that stalk, overtake and consume other smaller villages, towns and cities. London is the central character on the machine side, representing a pinnacle of sorts in the so-called “municipal Darwinism” that structures the narrative arc. For those so inclined, there are a wide range of social, political and cultural allegories to be prized from plot. Urban planning can always use more creative juice and this may be the ticket for your next presentation to a local council, taking transportation planning to unimagined heights.
“The animals of the world exist for their own reasons.” This quote from Alice Walker begins Shean Tan’s remarkable book of short stories and images titled Tales from the Inner City. The table of contents is simply a two-page spread of animal silhouettes with numbers on them indicating both the page number and subject of the story. Like the much-loved cartoonist’s litany of animal subjects that are mostly about our human habits, Shean Tan has blended fantastic animals, humans and our lives in the city into a remarkable artistic work provoking thought and feeling. Cities are the location of a great deal of human experience, including our experience of animals. Tan draws us to the inner city – both the place where there are high densities of building and people and our interior lives as individuals. The inner city is magic for those who can see, hear, taste, touch and smell what may otherwise pass unnoticed.
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