Archive for February, 2011

February 15, 2011

What’s important to you about community services in your Toronto neighbourhood?: City consultation open

The City of Toronto is looking for our help as part of the development of its Community Partnership Strategy. The Community Partnership Strategy is an  initiative that will help the City make sure that Toronto neighbourhoods have community services that work well for residents, and a strong community service sector to deliver them.

Together, with the Centre for Research on Inner City Health (CRICH) at St. Michael’s Hospital, they have gathered 50 ideas about the things that the City could pay attention to so that it knows how well community services are working for residents in Toronto neighbourhoods.

They are now asking Toronto residents, community service organizations, funders, businesses, and others to say which of these ideas are the most important. The City will use these opinions to help decide what work needs to be done to ensure Toronto has community services that work well.

Our input  is invited. There are three ways to do this:

  1. A researcher from CRICH can come to your organization and to meet with a group for about 30 minutes. They would explain the study and ask participants to fill out a short questionnaire and rate the collected ideas.
  2. Attend one of the two ‘open houses’ that being held:
  3. Participate online by sending an e-mail to for more information.

Participation is set to run from February 22, 2011 – March 15, 2011.

(My thanks to Sarah Rix for forwarding this to me.)

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February 11, 2011

A successful city

It had been a long day at the Civic Action GTA Summit of, as Ursula Franklin calls it, “awfulizing.” Transit woes, labour market mismatches, social inequities.

Then the final speaker, Carol Colleta, the Chief Executive Officer of CEOs for Cities, arrived. Coletta is  a city builder a few times over, an advocate for the creative force of cities as described by Edward Glaeser and Richard Florida.

“With cities, there is no permanent success, and there are no permanent failures,” Coletta, in a rousing speech, told the 700 delegates who had been there since early morning.

The success of cities, she explained, is directly related to a city’s:

  • quality of talent
  • quality of place, and
  • quality of opportunity

Toronto, Coletta said, has to be a place where talent sticks, and to make talent stick, a city needs each of these.

Investments in quality of place last a very long time, and so, she reminded the crowd, it is important to get them right.

Opportunities have to be apparent and good, so that people see a future for themselves.

Getting all these things right means tapping into wider knowledge circles. This means finding creative ways to invite those who aren’t in the room to be part of city-building. She pointed to Give A Minute as an example of a new crowd-sourcing initiative already in a few American cities.

So how then to move towards success? Long-terms goals are not achieved without short-term behavioural changes. Colleta outlined three steps:

  1. Have a measurable goal. It drives behaviour;
  2. Have an achievable goal. It gets buy-in; and
  3. Have a short-term goal. That drives short-term behaviour.

All of this, Coletta explained, is propelled by a final element: quality of leadership. She left the crowd with a final question, “Does Toronto have the leadership in place to make this happen?”

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