Creating the framework for a community engagement strategy for Our Street London : an action-oriented approach
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Subjectcommunity engagement; deliberative democracy; social capital; sustainable community development
Greater public participation has been recognized in the socio-political sphere as a growing imperative and a recent phenomenon is a shift in governance towards the "politics of inclusion" at the local and in some cases, the provincial level. Democracy is fundamental to sustainable development because when people participate in the decisions that affect their lives, they are more committed to their implementation. Once community buy-in is garnered, people are empowered to engage in organized action and advocate for the causes they stand for which can affect the necessary changes in moving towards a sustainable community. Our Street London is a grassroots collective that supports alternatives to mainstream modalities of transportation such as biking, walking, and public transportation, as well sustainable urban form. My objective is to understand the richness and detail of the social constructions of the actors in the lived environment. My research explores successful community engagement strategies and how the knowledge generated through the inquiry process can benefit Our Street London members to mobilize group capacity, hence affecting the future directions of the group. My main method of data collection consisted of semi-structured, open-ended interviews with experts on community engagement. Participants consisted of academics, long-time practitioners, and employees of small to medium-sized sustainability/environmental and social justice organizations. This research does have an action-oriented intent to work with Our Street London beyond the scope of this project in translating recommendations into action.
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