CRC Fall 2011 Newsletter


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CRC on YouTube

CRC Social Media


Robert Bateman Conversations

New Case Studies


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Welcome to Issue 12 of the Community Research Connections Newsletter

When I was a child, the summer seemed to last forever. The older I get, the faster time seems to go, and I can’t believe the summer is over, as we head into Fall here in the East. I have decided to try and pace myself more over the coming year, and will no longer multi-task, when I am on the phone, I won’t also be doing email and so forth. I love my work and the young people I am privileged to work with, but the pace and hyper-connectivity combined with my multi-tasking doesn’t make for a sustainable work life. We have lots of exciting things happening and hope you enjoy reading our Fall newsletter. I encourage you to read my CRC blog on the meaning of The Good Society over the coming months.

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CRC YouTube Channel

CRC research has just developed a YouTube channel, led by my research associate, Rob Newell! The Community Research Connections program is now experimenting with the use of social media for communicating research and in particular, sustainable community development. Although modeled on TedTalks, we will never have the resources that professional media has, so we are also experimenting with ‘being on the edge’, using the creativity and innovation of a small team to overcome some of our resource constraints, edgy but not kitschy. Our first video, featuring Stephen Huddart, President of the McConnell Foundation talking about social innovation has just been released. Tune in to our channel and we will continue to notify you of our monthly releases with some of the leading researchers, practitioners and civil society leaders of our time.


Research Dissemination and Social Media

Facebook. Twitter. Blogging. Online social media platforms are rapidly becoming the way to communicate, and yet, how does one make their voice heard through all the noise? Again, we are experimenting with the use of social media for our research communicating complex social and scientific issues. The CRC blog has just started a series on the meaning of The Good Society. Over this next year, I will be discussing critical public policy issues such as the meaning of growth and progress, equity and spatial capital. Ideas for creating and fostering healthy communities, cultures, and environment are being shared through CRC Twitter and the CRC Facebook page. Join us on our social media platforms to learn what is going on in the world in terms of the advances and set-backs for sustainable community development. In addition to getting current ideas on sustainable development, our social media sites are great places to share your ideas, projects, and links regarding sustainable community development.


Launching MC3 – Meeting Climate Change Challenges

Set to launch in October, Meeting the Climate Change Challenge (MC3) website is our latest research project on climate change adaptation and mitigation in the province of British Columbia. Funded by the Pacific Institute for Climate Change Studies (PICS), this project will gather information over the next year and a half on leading edge policies and research on climate change strategies implemented in British Columbian communities. British Columbia is on the leading edge of what is likely to be a major wave of local government innovation to address climate change in Canada, and MC3 captures this ’living laboratory’ of policy innovation for CO2mitigation and adaptation at the municipal and regional scales. The research outcomes will be a constantly developing and innovative framework for how to approach climate change on many different scales from mobilizing knowledge by peer-to-peer knowledge mobilization, to developing policies for large geographical regions. The ideas emerging from MC3’s ‘living laboratory’ will serve as bases for climate change strategies and adaptation/mitigation models across the country. I am privileged to be working with my colleagues, John Robinson and Stephen Sheppard at UBC and Meg Holdren and Mark Roseland from SFU.


Robert Bateman Critical Conversations

Led by the Robert Bateman Centre and moderated by Ann Dale, the Robert Bateman Conversations are a forum for provocative dialogue and idea-sharing around critical social questions of our day. These discussions aim to push past the conventional ideas of sustainability, community and culture by delving into novel and innovative ideas for building sustainable communities and mobilizing social capital for the changes necessary to become a better place for the young, the old and all other creatures everywhere. Similar to how the art of the venerated Robert Bateman is a window into the splendor of the natural environment, these conversations are an on-line virtual space that brings together researchers, public policy experts, practitioners, community leaders and artists to illustrate the importance of dialogue to solving some of the critical public policy issues of our day.

The first e-Dialogue will take place in October and will explore the meaning of growth and progress in the 21st century. The Robert Bateman Centre as the convener of these conversations may not necessarily agree with the views and opinions of many of the people brought together through these dialogues; however, it does believe in the importance of diversity for all human thought, and that such diversity is key to social innovation.


Latest and Upcoming Case Studies

Earlier this summer, a case study on Mountain Equipment Coop was published. The study examines how a business model that is based on cooperation rather than competition can be successful in the modern day market. MEC has maintained a prolific and successful business profile in the Canadian market while integrating social, environmental, and economic sustainability issues in their business model. This is encouraging in terms of what our business culture can become, and, considering the Financial Post named 15 co-operatives in the top 500 companies of 2010 (ranked by revenue), perhaps we can start looking forward to more diverse business models.

A new case study on innovative micro-lending systems will be published and posted in the CRC case study library in early October. In early 2011, the Victoria Community Micro Lending Society designed a youth pilot project launched this month. When designing and developing the project, Community Micro Lending conducted a series of youth focus groups and administered surveys to collect information on how a microcredit system could be specifically tailored to younger generations. The upcoming case study provides insights on the advantages of and barriers to encouraging youth into the world of 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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