Designing Inclusive Community Engagement Processes

How do smart cities ensure they are inclusive?

This was the question posed to over 60 undergraduate and graduate students engaged in the Montreal Global Leader Experience (GLE), taking place from April 9th-12th, 2018.

Facilitated by Common Purpose in partnership with Concordia university, GLE was open to all university students in Montréal. CityInclusive was delighted to get involved in a number of different ways.

On April 11th, our team hosted a 1.5 hour interactive workshop for a subset of GLE participants. Each was placed into a small group and given a city-based scenario, inspired by the six focus areas highlighted in the Canadian Smart Cities Challenge (e.g. Economic Opportunity; Mobility).

Teams were tasked with mapping out inclusive consultation processes for their given scenarios. Highlighted as points to consider were the role of politics, power, and privilege, as well as ethical issues that might arise during consultation processes.

Our team was inspired by the discussion generated by the activity and the curiosity of each student. While not urban planning professionals or city officials, they approached the community engagement strategies with the utmost of care and attention. Inclusion was at the forefront of their minds.

Through a post-activity evaluation, we were happy to see that 100% of the students strongly agreed they learned something new and felt the activity contributed to their overall GLE experience. In their own words:

“The scenarios were really insightful, as they directly stimulated us to discuss!”

“The case activity was both helpful and enlightening.”

“Really informative and interesting. Excellent simulation!”

In addition to hosting a workshop, two of our team members participated on a panel to evaluate the students’ project ideas, pitched on the final day of the program. Many of the projects focused on bridging the gap between community needs and those in decision-making roles through communication-based platforms. We are cheering them on to continue developing these ideas further!

We want to extend a special thanks to Tina McIntyre, Development Director at Common Purpose, and her team. Thank you for involving us!

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