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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered



  1. @Jane – It sounds like Edmonton is indeed an engaged and an engaging city. Having been there in the past for the Jazz fest, I found the enthusiasm of the residents for their city is indeed notable.

    The sentence which most caught my attention was your “My dream is that the passion can be harnessed to be constructive and creative, two important elements in effectively dealing with some of our current and upcoming challenges.”

    This is about process: to harness this passion and energy, you need a process that is designed to achieve that outcome. Unfortunately, town-hall-like meetings don’t achieve a high score in this department for a number of reasons so the payback on invested energy can be disappointing. It always feels good to get together to discuss a common concern, but did we actually break ground and make headway in terms of resolving it?

    I’d like to propose e-Deliberation for your consideration. This is a web-based process which can support groups meeting face to face or entirely on-line, or a mix of both. The process is designed to give an equal voice to all participants, and to surface all the perspectives relevant to the focus of the e-Deliberation event. The process guides the participants through a divergent thinking phase, and then gets them to converge on practical and complementary strategies to address the focus being dealt with. It is a consent-based process, meaning that the final outcomes will be consented to by most if not all the participants, and for those that do not consent, they will have the opportunity to very clearly state the nature of their objection.

    The benefit of this, of course, is that time spent in participation has a much higher payback. The energy goes from individual complaints to collaborative deliberation and solution building, creating a consent-based critical mass to get things done.

    I will be happy to discuss this with you in more detail. Lets harness the passion to create and construct an amazing future!

    Jean-Daniel Cusin

  2. I too am optimistic about the future of public engagement in Edmonton given the number of great initiatives that have emerged. Many that you have mentioned I am familiar with. Thank you for giving credit to those people through their organizations who are striving to make positive change and engage citizens in creating a better City for all.

    Having spent over 20 years in the Community League I must agree with you that this is an under-appreciated resource in the City.

    “It seems to me that over the past few years, many Edmonton residents (me included) are realizing the full scope of citizenship. That is, recognizing that our citizenship rests both on rights AND duties, not just the former. ”
    Well stated Jane!

    This is the shift in thinking that I hope more Edmontonians will embrace in the years to come. I couldn’t agree with you more on that. Thank you for sharing your optimism.

  3. Thank you for your thoughts Colleen. I would like to think that we could even strive to have people participate in their communities not just out of duty, but out of pure desire and pleasure. It would take a shift, I think, but I am ever-hopeful.

  4. Thank you for your thoughts and information about your product Jean-Daniel. I am particularly intrigued by the notion of supporting in-person events. I will certainly keep it in mind for future processes and take a look at your website.

  5. You are right on that note Jane. I think the more leaders/individuals who strive to create connection and public engagement, with the intention to serve the community, will keep us moving in the right direction. I have been inspired by some amazing people who have done the work “out of pure desire and pleasure” so I know that it already exists. My hope it that more people will get on board.