How to identify paths to community ownership and power sharing

Power sharing and community ownership look and feel very different across places and communities. At its core, sharing power can mean that processes for change in neighbourhoods are grounded in reciprocal, fair and meaningful relationships with communities over the long-term. These strong relationships enable residents and city staff to share engagement and planning responsibilities (where possible, decision-making responsibilities as well) with communities while ensuring that all participating in the process are compensated fairly.

Engagement with community members, groups and organizations should not begin when the planning process is already underway. Work with communities early on - engage them in identifying priorities and initiatives for planning for their neighbourhoods, develop a set of shared values and design community engagement processes with them by drawing upon their intimate local knowledge of their neighbourhoods; make space for them to tell you how they want to be engaged.

Lessons Learned

  1. Define what power sharing and community ownership can look like for your planning project and process
  2. Engage with local community leaders, groups and organizations right from the start - design engagement strategies with them 
  3. Develop reciprocal relationships with communities
  4. Power-sharing is a long-term effort
  5. Be mindful to avoid tokenistic consultation
  6. Develop shared values with communities


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