Update on the Abundant Community Initiative in Edmonton

Listen to Edmonton’s ACI co-founder Howard Lawrence, along with Laurier Heights Neighborhood Connector Karen Wilk and ACI Coordinator for City of Edmonton Anne Harvey, describe the thinking behind the Initiative and some of the surprising, and not-so-surprising, results from their efforts to connect neighbors, face to face, one neighbor at a time.

Listen here (running time 00:37:44). After the interview, stick around for some comments from a letter from John McKnight at 00:22:37. For background, read the post below by Kim Hopes and check out some of her links plus our links to related material on this site.

 

The Abundant Community Initiative Edmonton

An Article by Kim Hopes

Inspired by John McKnight and Peter Block’s book, “The Abundant Community,” Howard Lawrence undertook a pilot project called the Abundant Community Initiative in Edmonton, Canada in January 2013. Howard started with the idea that local residents have gifts, skills, abilities and knowledge and that they are willing to contribute these assets to improving their neighborhood. He also understood that creating more connections among neighbors through shared activities and interests would increase relational networks, grow the neighborhood’s positive sense of self and, in so, increase its ability to work together towards a common good. It was his belief that if assets were connected, and neighbors formed new groups and associations, the rise in neighborliness would improve public safety and health, increase inclusion, boost the local economy and create new opportunities for neighborhood children and seniors.

Initially, he prepared an introductory document that provided a project description, of the purpose, potential, process, and benefits of the Initiative. Lawrence then approached the officials of the City of Edmonton and sought assistance in developing the project. He met Harry Oswin, Director, Office of the Northeast District of the Edmonton Neighborhoods, Parks and Community Recreation branch of Community Services who was able to secure a $15,000 grant to get the project underway. A strong partnership developed between the neighborhood leadership and the municipal officials. The city provides administrative and organizational support and became a dedicated partner in seeing that the initiative grew in a sustainable way.

Harry Oswin enlisted the help of Anne Harvey, the City of Edmonton Northeast District Community Recreation Director, to work with Lawrence and help guide him through the city process. Harvey has continued with the project, assisting Lawrence with the evaluation of the initial neighborhood pilot project.

To begin the project, Howard Lawrence chose his home community, the Highlands neighborhood of Edmonton. The plan was to start small and then expand in the second year to seven more neighborhoods. Ultimately, the goal is to include all 153 neighborhoods in Edmonton.

For more information, see:
http://www.edmontonexaminer.com/2013/02/06/highlands-to-spearhead-abundant-communities-initiative-pilot and http://www.highlandscommunity.ca/abundantcommunities.html

 

Related:

 

 

Kim Hopes’s article re-posted by permission of Tamarack, an institute for community engagement. Home page image: Robin Robokow

About the Lead Author

Howard Lawrence
Howard Lawrence
Howard Lawrence is an ordained minister, neighborhood consultant, active volunteer with Edmonton’s Highlands Community leadership and is currrently spearheading Edmonton, Alberta’s Abundant Communities Initiative.

The Latest

Securing Community Control of the American Rescue Plan Act

  With the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) in early 2021, the US federal government committed to the largest influx...

Featured

Securing Community Control of the American Rescue Plan Act

  With the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) in early 2021, the US federal government committed to the largest influx...

Applying Asset-Based Community Development in an Urban Indigenous Context

  September 30, 2021 marked the first year that the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was observed in Canada...

Joining The Party: the Neighborhood Economics Network

  Neighborhoods across the country bear signs of the pressing waves of development-driven displacement: boarded windows, doors hanging open, furniture...

Rooted Solutions: Black farmers cultivating food sovereignty in Indianapolis

"200,000 Indianapolis residents live in food deserts. Low income communities of color are the most impacted by lack of...

More Articles Like This