Mapping out charity
For many, Canada Day serves as the proverbial start of summer even if the wall calendar tells us that June 21 is the official day to mark the change of seasons. As we welcome summer, I wanted to take a moment to reach out and fill you in on what has been unfolding in this past season in the Social Cities world.
First, here is a Policy Options piece I wrote on the physical distribution of charities – The Geography of Charity. The impetus for this piece came from a UK paper that examined the relationship between charity locations and volunteering levels. We need to think about this issue from a land use and urban planning standpoint.
Second, I participated in the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Trade Show in Quebec City in early June. The booth (see a picture below) featured the aspects of Social Cities work most directly relevant to a wide range of municipal councilors and administrators – Halo Project 2.0, new social infrastructure prototypes, and development of capacity for transforming under-used physical spaces for community building. Each year, FCM is a welcome opportunity to share our work and listen to the work being undertaken by councilors, administrators, and other practitioners across the country.
Third, the Community Spaces in Faith Places initial survey cycle concluded June 19. More than 1000 surveys have been completed and an early review of responses suggests that local places of worship provide significant shelter for arts and community groups across Ontario. We look forward to sharing a formal release of those results in the early Fall with you but ask that you continue to promote and fill in the survey.
Finally, we are continuing to develop our Chamber of Registered Religious Charities prototype in Ottawa and in other potential communities. I also presented a peer-reviewed paper at the Complexity and Policy Studies Conference in Washington, DC in April that explores the role of computer modeling in policy decision making processes, including urban and community policy.
If we are too simplistic, we run the risk of promoting solutions that may do nothing or even make things worse. On the other hand, we can get tangled up in techno-bureaucratic pathways that add power to the powerful, fog our thinking with complications, and overlook how vital our actual human relationships are in working toward the changes our communities need. The sub-title of the conference captured some of this challenge: “Research and Practice for Social Good in a Complex World.”
You likely have more to read than you can get to for your Summer List so I won’t add to it beyond the above.
As always, send a note or call to engage further on what I’ve noted or on things you are seeing that I should be paying attention to.
Have a great summer.
Program Director, Social Cities
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