Frequently Asked Questions
Where we live matters to most of us. Our neighbourhoods are diverse and the people who live in them make Calgary a great city. The City of Calgary values "Strong neighbourhoods" and believes we have a critical role in building neighbourhoods where people want to live, work and play.
The City of Calgary is announcing an exciting new project that is being launched in12 Calgary neighbourhoods. This is a new Council approved Innovation Fund pilot project called Inspiring Strong Neighbourhoods. To assist you in understanding what this project is about, we have drafted this frequently asked questions document.
Question #1: What is Inspiring Strong Neighbourhoods and its purpose?
Inspiring Strong Neighbourhoods is an exciting opportunity for The City of Calgary to work in collaboration with you, other community organizations and your residents to build on the strengths of your neighbourhood so that it continues to be a place where people feel connected and want to live, work and play in. Together, we can build community capacity by identifying opportunities for advancement within your community through the investment of City programs and services.
We want to understand what you value most about your neighbourhood and identify areas for improvement and participate in the solutions. This pilot project will also influence and shape The City's programs, services and policies, ensuring they are responsive to citizens' needs, values and priorities. To accomplish this, we are creating a Neighbourhood Action Team (NAT) for your community to see how The City can help you make your neighbourhood even better.
Inspiring Strong Neighbourhoods will:
- Discover what makes people living in Calgary want to live here and participate in their community.
- Promote long-term sustainability of the community by providing residents the tools and skills to influence change and contribute to making their community a "Strong Neighbourhood" that attracts and retains residents who care.
- Target and coordinate the services that Community Services & Protective Services* provides to support great places to live. The City can contribute to the quality of life through:
*and where possible including partners in the pilot such as Roads, Calgary Police Services and Alberta Health Services
- Green space, pathways, parks and places to play;
- Accessible programs that support an active and healthy lifestyle;
- Safe communities, where residents learn to help each other;
- Programs and services that build the resilience of vulnerable people;
- Support community infrastructure so people have places to gather and participate collectively.
- Support great communities by providing the services people want and aligning those services with the needs of the community.
Question #2: Who is leading this initiative?
This initiative is aligned with and stemmed from Council's priorities and is being lead by Community Services & Protective Services Department, with the Community & Neighbourhood Services business unit taking the lead. As the project progresses, Roads and Calgary Police Services will also be involved. We will also collaborate with external partners and agencies, such as Alberta Health Services.
Question #3: Why did The City of Calgary develop this project?
People care about where they live and want to be attached to their neighbourhood. Building community attachment and connectivity within a community will result in Strong Neighbourhoods.
The City of Calgary needs to be flexible and think differently as we work together with communities to foster a great city that welcomes people and provides a great life for all Calgarians. The City of Calgary has a broad and rich range of programs and services that can support the development of Strong neighbourhoods and build on their long-term successes.
As Calgary is a collection of some 190 diverse communities, The City seeks to understand what Calgarians value most about their neighbourhood and to identify issues and participate in the solutions to resolve them. This project will also influence and shape future City programs, services and policies so that they are responsive to citizens' needs, values and priorities.
Question #4: What is community attachment*? Why is it important to look at community attachment in this pilot project?
The City would like to build on the existing community attachment and connectivity that exists in your neighbourhood. Strong community attachment results in Strong Neighbourhoods. Community attachment is an emotional connection that transcends satisfaction, loyalty and even passion within a community. A community's most attached residents have:
- Strong pride
- A positive outlook on the community's future, and
- A sense that it is the perfect place for them.
When people are attached to their community, they feel a bond to their community and are less likely to leave that community, as communities with the highest levels of attachment also have the highest rates of gross domestic product growth. Simply put - when neighbourhoods thrive, the people who live there also thrive.
Question #5: Why is The City implementing this now?
Council believes every community in Calgary has the ability to be a strong one - and this project will help to achieve this vision!
Question #6: How will Community Services & Protective Services accomplish this?
This will be accomplished by the creation of Neighbourhood Action Teams for each of the 12 pilot communities who will work collaboratively with community organizations and individuals to implement this project.
Question #7: What is a Neighbourhood Action Team (NAT)?
A Neighbourhood Action Team is a cross-functional team from The City within the Community Services & Protective Services department. They include employees from:
- Animal & Bylaw Services
- Community & Neighbourhood Services
- Calgary Fire Department
These Neighbourhood Action Teams will work alongside you - the community residents - to build upon what is working and address needs through existing resources within your community. These teams will collaborate with you to build community capacity and improve the way we deliver services as well as the quality of service we provide.
Question #8: Can you provide some examples as to how this project will benefit our neighbourhood?
Some examples include:
- Community clean ups
- Identification of where a community garden would increase pedestrian traffic and community involvement
- Educate the community on how Animal & Bylaw Services can help to create a safer community
- Assist the community to host a block party to connect residents and create a sense of connection and belonging.
Question #9: What neighbourhoods were selected for this pilot?
- Skyview Ranch
- Crescent Heights
- Forest Lawn
- Spruce Cliff*
- Beddington Heights
Note: *These four neighbourhoods have been identified as a regional cluster.
Question #10: Why were these neighbourhoods selected?
These neighbourhoods were selected as they provided a strong representation or snapshot of the communities in our city, based on a range of factors, including: diversity, geography, community demographics, socio-economic factors, state of community readiness and partnership opportunities.
Question #11: What are the expected outcomes or results for Inspiring Strong Neighbourhoods?
The anticipated outcomes for this project include:
- Citizen engagement based on discussion about what makes a great community
- Better understanding for The City, regarding what attaches those residents to their community
- Services tailored to community needs
- Opportunity to experiment and try new ideas as identified by community and City staff
- Immediate feedback and ongoing dialogue from community on effectiveness of City programs and services
- Sense of community ownership by residents
- Better distribution and more effective use of resources
- Sustainable communities
- Methods to evaluate the success of this pilot
- Positive cultural shift and ownership of the communities by City employees and partner agencies participating in the pilot
- Consideration to further this front-line, citizen-centric approach to other (or all) communities
Question #12: What are the next steps for this project?
The next steps include:
- March - Your Community Recreation Coordinator will be contacting your community association to discuss and set direction as to the implementation of this exciting project.
- April - Host community meetings with residents and other community partners
- May & June - Begin community activities
Question #13: What happens at the end of this pilot?
It is anticipated that another report will go forward to Council in July 2013 outlining progress to date, lessons learned and a go forward strategy. With a successful pilot, it is the intent that The City would expand this approach to other Calgary neighbourhoods, and other departments across The City of Calgary would become involved.
Question #14: What is a Council Innovation Fund Initiative?
The broad purpose of the Council Innovation Fund Initiative is to encourage innovations or pilot projects that have the potential to support or contribute to the goals of Council that have city-wide application.
The Inspiring Strong Neighbourhoods project was given one-time funding that included seed money for some of the initial grants. For the time being, Inspiring Strong Neighbourhoods will by executed by existing City employees.
Where can I go for more information?
To learn more, please call 311, look for future updates at www.calgary.ca or contact Bill Bruce at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lorna Wallace at email@example.com.
When will the community walkabouts take place?
(also the Community Recreation Coordinator, or the Community Social Worker)
Wednesday, March 20 - 9:30 am to noon*
Walkette and Chartering Session on Saturday, April 27 – 9 am to 12:30 pm
||Saturday, March 19 - 10 am to 2 pm
||Sunday, March 24 - noon to 4 pm
||Saturday, April 6 - noon to 2 pm
||Wednesday, March 27 - 5:00 to 7:00 pm
||Thursday, March 21 - noon to 4 pm (or as required)
||Monday, March 11 - 5 to 7 pm*
Future follow up walkabout to follow
Saturday, April 6 - 9:30 to 11:30 am Western Region Part I -
Saturday, April 6 - 2:30 to 4:30 pm Western Region Part II -
||Friday, March 22 - 2 to 4 pm
*Regional Cluster - includes Spruce Cliff, Rosscarrock, Westgate & Wildwood neighbourhoods
How can I participate?
You can join in on a Walkabout or watch for more information on the follow up community chartering session in April. Please contact Lorna Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*To learn more about Community Attachment read about The Soul of the community study undertaken by the Knight Foundation http://www.soulofthecommunity.org/