We gave a brief presentation and held some discussions with people attending the Victoria West Community Association Annual General Meeting on Nov. 26. Reviewing the notes from the discussion groups, some interesting learnings emerged. Many people who’d never seen our Resilience Checklist spontaneously identified many of the same characteristics of a resilient neighbourhood that years of research have revealed. However, amongst VWCA members, it seems that “walkability” of a neighbourhood is a key characteristic across all the dimensions. For example, many members identified neighbourhoods that are enjoyable and accessible on foot as a top characteristic in resilient neighbourhood economies, as a key aspect of infrastructure, and for improving social cohesion.
VWCA members also valued good facilitation across all dimensions, talking often about the importance of gatherings, events and meetings that are fun, inclusive, well-run and participatory. What was particularly interesting about this for us was the way in which these ideas connected up with how VWCA members understood “leadership” and what motivates or inhibits people from volunteering in the community. Rather than emphasizing the qualities of individuals, members tended to focus more on ways of engaging citizens in democratic processes — that is, seeing good leaders primarily as being good facilitators.
Come visit us at the Living the New Economy conference starting this week, and stay tuned for our next steps in Victoria West and regionally!