Virtually every city
in the country faces some form of serious challenge whether in housing,
literacy, poverty, drug use, unemployment or crime. But where does the
interested citizen, city councillor, public servant, service provider
or voluntary organization go to find out about alternatives to our present
On October 25th in Ottawa, selected experts from various countries, including
the UK, US, Australia and Canada, convened for a special invitational
forum to explore ways in which government can work more effectively to
assist local neighbourhoods in their efforts to grapple with complex local
Organized by the Caledon Institute of Social Policy, the forum attracted
an estimated 160 participants representing communities participating in
Action for Neighbourhood Change (ANC) and Vibrant Communities as well
as representatives from federal government departments.
On this webpage we profile the Forum, which built on the experience of
the ANC local sites and was structured around three major themes:
- Making the case for government
investment in neighbourhood revitalization.
- Working horizontally within government
(setting common objectives and the machinery required for complex
- Evaluating comprehensive community
On this page you’ll
find a summary of the forum, speaker biographies and presentations, an
audio recording of one of the presentations, some additional resources
and related links.
Making the Case for
What’s the case for investing in
comprehensive neighbourhood and community initiatives? What mechanisms
enable governments and communities to better align their efforts? How
do we evaluate these initiatives to ensure resources are well used and
that lessons are captured to strengthen the work?
On October 25, 2005, the Action for Neighbourhood
Change Policy Forum brought together an estimated 160 participants to
explore these key questions. Included were representatives from fifteen
federal government departments, as well as community practitioners from
the Action for Neighbourhood Change and Vibrant Communities initiatives.
The spirit of the event was captured
in an opening video prepared by the National Film Board. Powerful images
of concerned citizens signalled the extent of the challenges faced by
some communities. Yet residents also expressed both determination and
hope. Working together, with appropriate support from government, they
saw concrete measures local people could take to revitalize their communities.
Guest speakers from Canada, the UK, Australia,
the Netherlands and the US expanded on this theme. The Honourable Joe
Fontana, Minister of Housing and Labour, signalled the Canadian government’s
commitment to the work initiated through Action for Neighbourhood Change.
He called for renewed efforts to break down ‘silos’ that weaken
the ability of federal government departments to collaborate in support
Duncan Maclennan, a leading international
researcher, described the logic that has led other governments to support
place-based initiatives. Neighbourhoods, he said, are where a wide range
of ‘people policies’ interact. By coordinating these policies
and customizing them to address the realities of individual communities,
local capacity can be more effectively built. Such ‘micro policy’
enables households and communities to take advantage of the opportunities
that ‘macro policies’ create.
Other presenters shared experiences from
various countries. Alan Riddell, Director Operations at the Neighbourhood
Renewal Unit (NRU) in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, described
the mechanisms the UK government has employed to support its extensive
neighbourhood renewal program. He emphasized the role played by Local
Service Partnerships that link government and other participants in community
initiatives. Anne Kubisch, Co-Director of the Aspen Roundtable on Community
Change, considered the American experience, she highlighted the need for
community groups to strengthen their capacity to influence external structures
such as national governments. She proposed strategies communities can
use and described the expanded role that governments can play in support
of community initiatives.
An underlying theme of the Forum was
the importance of citizen involvement. Dr. Wendy Sarkissian, a social
planner specializing in community participation, described the role that
citizen engagement processes can play. While they require time, effort
and skilled facilitators, such processes are crucial for enabling local
residents to take the lead in renewing their communities.
In the end, the Forum returned to community
stories as a focal point for this work. A discussion of evaluation emphasized
the need to use stories to give meaning to the work. Quantitative outcomes
are important, presenters said, but stories are needed to show their real
significance and to capture the dynamics of these initiatives.
A major outcome from the day was a list
of priority issues for advancing this work in Canada. Four key areas were
identified: governance, capacity-building, accountability and funding.
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et conférencières (notes biographiques) cliquez ici.
#1: Making the case for neighbourhood revitalization
Revitalisation by Duncan Maclennan
- Duncan Maclennan is currently a visiting professor at RMIT University
in Melbourne, the University of California and at the University of Glasgow.
He also chairs the Joseph Rowntree Foundation committee on Easing Shortages
Maclennan was Director of the UK’s leading research centre for Housing
and Urban Research from 1983-1999 and directed the UK national research
program on Cities (1996-99) while also acting as Economic Advisor to the
Joseph Rowntree Foundation (1988-2000). He has advised OECD, the World
Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the United
Nations, the European Union, the governments of Sweden, Spain, France
and Poland on housing and city issues. He has acted as an advisor to the
UK Treasury and other Departments. In Scotland, Duncan Maclennan served
on the Board of the National Housing Agency (Scottish Homes) from 1989
to 2000 and from 1999-2003, he was one of five key policy advisors to
the First Minister (Premier) of Scotland.
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#2: International perspectives on neighbourhood revitalization
Urban Renewal, Neighbourhood Revitalization and the Role
of Housing Associations: The Dutch Experience by
Dr. Hugo Priemus - Dr. Hugo Priemus
is Dean of the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management and a professor
in System Innovation Spatial Development at Delft University of Technology
in the Netherlands.
Priemus has worked as researcher, lecturer, professor and administrator
at universities in the Netherlands, Sweden, France and the UK. He was
a professor of Housing and Dean of the School of Architecture at Delft
University of Technology. He was a professor of Policy Studies and Technology,
European Facility for Land Use and Development in Straatsburg, France.
He also has been a visiting professor, School of the Built Environment
at the Montfort University in Leicester, UK and at the Department of Urban
Studies, University of Glasgow.
Dr. Priemus is a member of several engineering
councils and editorial boards, and a Commissioner of the Dutch Municipalities
Dr. George Galster
George Galster earned his Ph.D. in Economics from M.I.T., with undergraduate
degrees from Wittenberg University and Case Western Reserve University.
He has published more than 100 scholarly articles and several books, primarily
on the topics of metropolitan housing markets, racial discrimination and
segregation, neighborhood dynamics, residential reinvestment, community
lending, and insurance patterns and urban poverty. Dr. Galster has acted
as consultant to government, nonprofit and for-profit organizations and
has taught at several American universities. He served as Director or
Housing Research at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC, before assuming
his current position as Clarence Hilberry Chair of Urban Affairs at Wayne
State University in Detroit, Michigan.
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#3: Engaging citizens in neighbourhood revitalization
Engaging citizens in neighbourhood revitalization: Some Insights
from Australian Practice by Wendy Sarkissian
Wendy Sarkissian - Dr. Wendy Sarkissian is a planner specializing
in community participation and social planning. Dr. Sarkissian’s
1996 doctoral dissertation received the 1998 National Award for Excellence
for Planning Scholarship from the Royal Australian Planning Institute.
Her academic career has included teaching in schools of architecture,
landscape architecture and planning in Australia and abroad. Dr. Sarkissian
is a Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia. Her firm, Sarkissian
Associates Planners Pty Ltd, has been active in community consultation
and participation processes for many years. She is co-author of the multi-award
winning series, Community Participation in Practice (1994-2002), which
produced practical advisory material for planners and others conducting
participation processes. Dr. Sarkissian is currently the Consultation
Advisor in the New South Wales Department of Housing, managing community
consultation for the Department’s first Public Private Partnership
in suburban Sydney.
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#4: The mechanics of comprehensive community initiatives
National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal by Alan Riddell
Alan Riddell - Alan Riddell
has been Director Operations at the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit (NRU) in
the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (UK) since January 2002.
The NRU is responsible for leading efforts in England to narrow the gap
between the most disadvantaged communities and the rest, through a mixture
of working with the major relevant government departments to achieve targets
for change in their policy areas; providing supplementary funds to the
most deprived local authority areas and both working with them and challenging
them to improve delivery for their most disadvantaged areas; and developing
specific initiatives at the neighbourhood level such as New Deal for Communities,
neighbourhood management and community empowerment. Alan Riddell has direct
responsibility for all but the first of these workstreams.
Before taking up his present
post Alan Riddell spent three and a half years as Director of the Government
Office for the East of England, as the Senior Civil Servant coordinating
the work of a number of Government Departments in that region, and many
years before that with the Department of the Environment, latterly heading
the Division dealing with the Single Regeneration Budget and European
Funds. He was Principal Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for
the Environment from 1992 to 1994, and Secretary to the Committee on Standards
in Public Life (The Nolan Committee) from 1994 to 1997.
Alan Riddell is Chair of the Standards
Committee of Sevenoaks District Council, and a Lay Chair for the NHS SE
Region Complaints Panel. He was a founding committee member of the Empty
Homes Agency, and recently has joined the board of Town and Country Housing
C. Kubisch - Anne Kubisch is the Co-Director
of the Roundtable on Community Change at The Aspen Institute. The 21 members
of the Roundtable are leaders in the field of community revitalization
and social policy, representing the policy, funding, academic and practitioner
communities. The members meet regularly to distill lessons that are being
learned by the current generation of comprehensive, community-building
initiatives and to work on cross-cutting problems facing the field.
Anne directs a number of Roundtable projects
on topics such as evaluation, structural racism, and public and private
sector engagement in community change. She is the lead author on the Roundtable’s
two books on lessons learned about comprehensive community initiatives
across the country (titled Voices from the Field I and II) and has co-edited
two books on new approaches to evaluating community initiatives. She is
co-author of the Roundtable’s 2004 publication Structural Racism
and Community Building, and has written numerous papers and articles about
various aspects of community building and community change.
Prior to directing the Roundtable, Anne
spent 10 years at the Ford Foundation, initially working on Latin American
programs, then as Representative in Nigeria, and finally as Deputy Director
of the Urban Poverty Program.
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#5: Evaluating Comprehensive Community Initiatives
Dr. John Mayne - John
Mayne is an independent advisor of public sector performance. He has been
working with a number of organizations, including the International Development
Research Centre, the OECD, the European Union, the World Conservation
Union and Heritage Canada on performance measurement, evaluation and accountability
issues. Until 2004, he was at the Office of the Auditor General where
he led efforts in developing practices for effective performance measurement,
managing results and performance reporting in the government of Canada,
as well as leading the Office’s audit efforts in accountability
and governance. He has authored numerous articles and reports, and edited
five books in the areas of program evaluation, public administration and
performance monitoring. In 1989 and in 1995, Dr. Mayne was awarded the
Canadian Evaluation Society Award for Contribution to Evaluation in Canada.
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Action for Neighbourhood Change was in
operation from 2005-2007. This site exists to capture and share the learnings
that emerged from this initiative, but new material is no longer being
added on a regular basis. ANC is not responsible for the content of external
links, which may change; however, if you find a broken link, please let