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Strengthening Our Communities Through Change

Today we have a blog post from guest blogger Laura Conrad, Public Policy Assistant at Momentum.
Change is a very difficult topic to write about or even talk about, especially when it’s in progress.
But sometimes it is necessary, especially when a large number of people are simultaneously influencing this change and being affected by it.
Joe Ceci, Manager of Public Policy at Momentum, and Michael Phair, part-time educational co-ordinator at University of Alberta, noted that this kind of change was happening in their own cities. Both Ceci (Calgary) and Phair (Edmonton) have 15 years of experience serving on their respective city councils, and continue to be actively involved in civic affairs.
Drawing on their past experience, they got together to discuss, debate and reflect on the rapid changes currently facing Calgary and Edmonton. Through these conversations, they had hoped to frame significant items for a new urban agenda, one that accounts for rapid population and employment growth.
The result of their conversations was a series of three opinions articles, published consecutively during the week of September 2nd-5th in the Calgary Herald and Edmonton Journal. Each article looks at the way the cities are changing and makes recommendations for improvements in the areas of city governance, urban culture and community economic development.
In the first article, the authors explore the ideas of taxation and annexation as important components of growth. They suggest making changes in both of these areas to enhance development for both cities.
The second article argues for increased municipal authority, as a means of responding to increasing demands from citizens. The second article also explores the changing nature of the city’s role as citizens’ expectations increase.
The third and final article highlights the problem of social exclusion and asks, ‘has the city failed to fulfill its role if some citizens are still excluded from the benefits of urban life?’ The third article pushes for new initiatives around poverty reduction and social innovation.
Together, the three articles generate opportunities to increase public awareness and discussion around the major social and economic developments that impact us all.

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