CRC 2011 Winter Newsletter


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Policy Agenda

New Videos

Upcoming Publication



New Case Studies


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Welcome to Issue 13 of the Community Research Connections Newsletter

I am always impressed with the collaboration we receive from colleagues that makes such a meaningful contribution to our work. I would particularly like to highlight the collaboration of Donna Chiarelli and her staff at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and Adam Ostry, OECD, who so kindly peer reviewed our policy agenda.

I would also like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a joyous Christmas and a riotous New Year, and peace throughout the world in 2012.

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A Policy Agenda for Local Change

In early October, we published a policy agenda for Canadian Municipalities, a step-by-step manual on how to implement sustainable development locally. The agenda was developed from a series of e-Dialogues on sustainable community development that brought together municipal decision-makers, practitioners, planners and researchers from 20 Canadian municipalities and organizations. In addition, the paper incorporates findings from six international climate change adaptation case studies, available from the CRC case study library.

There are two key agenda highlights we wish to highlight. First, clear multi-level governance arrangements must be in place to ensure that all key actors sit around the same table to articulate a clear vision for their community, the outcomes-based strategies and plans to implement the visions, a clear delineation of the roles and responsibilities of each actor in implementing the vision, the specific policy/regulatory/fiscal tools each will bring to the table with a robust accountability, and reporting arrangement to monitor progress, adjust planning and keep citizens engaged. Second, data, everything from baseline information on the starting points (environmental and other) describing where the municipality is in terms of sustainable development performance, to performance indicators and metrics of success to measure progress toward strategic outcomes. Key to data relevance is comparability. In Canada and elsewhere, this is the real challenge, but it is also critical to enabling municipalities to engage effectively in the virtuous cycles: each municipality needs to be able to compare itself to see what works where and why.


Latest and Upcoming Videos

The most recent video on the our YouTube Channel explores a more experimental method of communicating ideas on density, transportation and sustainable community development. The video uses stop motion clay animation to illustrate the differences between poorly planned urban sprawl and sustainable community planning.  Visit the CRC YouTube Channel to see this recent addition to the CRC HEAD Talks video series.

Another recently produced video available from the CRC YouTube Channel tells the story of the unsung heroes found below our feet and all around us, soil microorganisms. This video blends an informative interview with Dr. Val Behan-Pelletier, one of Canada’s foremost biodiversity experts, with images of the bizarre and fascinating creatures that dwell underneath us.


Upcoming Publication - Urban Sustainability

A manuscript entitled Urban Sustainability: Reconciling Space and Place has been prepared by myself, Dr. Bill Dushenko and Dr. Pamela Robinson, and has been submitted to the University of Toronto Press for publication. This book brings together sustainable development researchers, planners and practitioners to discuss lessons learned from the first and second generation sustainability responses, while exploring the implications of these lessons for the third generation.  We anticipate this book to be published in the Spring of 2012.


Meeting the Climate Change Challenge (MC3)

The MC3 website is now live and active. This research project brings together researchers, practitioners and policy-makers from non-governmental organizations, provincial ministries, and three British Columbia universities to identify emerging best practices and innovations in community climate change responses. MC3 will develop strategies to share policy innovations, facilitate peer-to-peer learning exchanges, and stimulate the widespread knowledge mobilization needed to move communities beyond the changes required by current legislation and policies in the province. Visit the website to read blogs on the latest news in climate change work and the current state of the art research on climate change policy in British Columbia.

This work is being led by myself, with colleagues, Drs. John Robinson and Stephen Sheppard, UBC and Mark Roseland and Meg Holdren from SFU. We are privileged to have as our research associate, Dr. Sarah Burch, who is cross-appointed between Royal Roads and UBC. Ten case study communities have now been identified—Victoria; City of Vancouver; Prince George; Dawson Creek; T’Sou-ke, Eagle Island; C

ity of North Vancouver; Campbell River, Kootenays; Revelstoke and Surrey, and we will be starting our field work in January 2012 with regular blogging about our early results from these communities.


Degrowth – e-Dialogue and Regional Workshop

The first of the Robert Bateman Critical Conversations is now available for download at the Progress and Growth in the 21st Century webpage. This discussion explored the idea of ‘degrowth’, a concept exploring the decoupling of growth and progress, that a functioning, prosperous economy does not necessarily need to rely on constant economic growth. This e-conversation explores some very interesting insights on viable alternatives to our traditional economic system. To compliment this conversation, we also published a video interview with Robert Bateman on the question of ‘limits’ to growth.

This conversation leads into a regional workshop on degrowth, scheduled at Royal Roads University, March 30, 2012. The workshop will feature virtual and face-to-face panels representing a diversity of perspectives, expertise and experiences drawing from economics, sustainable development, ecology and governance. The invitation only workshop will include 30 British Columbian researchers, practitioners and civil society leaders who will begin a critical dialogue on the implications of degrowth for Canada.  The workshop will lead to the development of a white paper to inform the International Degrowth Conference to be held at McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, May 14-20, 2012.


Latest Case Study

We have now published a case study on the potential for youth entrepreneurship in Victoria to contribute to the local economy and a more diverse economy. The case analyses the results from youth focus groups and surveys conducted by the Community Micro Lending Society of Victoria during the development stages of their youth micro-credit program. It provides insights on what social factors are conducive or, alternatively, counter productive to facilitating youth innovation and entrepreneurship.


"The rules and beliefs which make up cultures both define and limit people and at the same time provide the material they need to create novelty." (Westley & Antadze, 2009)

Global recession, stock market downturn…the economic turmoil did not clear up over summer. However, stresses can inspire creativity and innovation as method to overcome turmoil. Tough job markets and economic climate can be viewed as opportunities for creative entrepreneurship and cooperative business models. We are a species with unimaginable potential, and we can change the rules of the game!

Tips to success is a regular feature of this newsletter.


Share your community's story of sustainability with us.

You can share your story with on the CRC Blog or you can find us on Facebook and Twitter

Please tell us what is working and how you are overcoming barriers to make a sustainable plan a reality


If you have a case study in sustainable community development that you would like to contribute to our library,  contact us at

Visit our case study library and share your community's innovations.

Community Research Connections Newsletter
Editor: Robert Newell
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