Shared Space Chapter 2 - Organizing for complexity
The resilience clusters sustenance, adaptability, engage ment and opportunity are the substance of the communities agenda. To support them, strategic tasks and processes, and " leading between " are required - steering the collaborative process, and harnessing asset s.
Complexity science studies systems and patterns, realizing the questions are too large for any one discipline. Adaptation that combines multiple systems is a key component, and understanding patterns of interaction is key in problem solving.
Diversity can create unpredictibility, but also creativity and innovation, requiring creative problem solving, learning through innovation. Communities must anticipate change, manage challenge and harness opportunity, while rooted in difficult social and economic contexts.
Employment has improved since the 1990s , but social programs , in decline since the mid-1970s , do not address problems brought on by ongoing unemployment and poverty , as well as new problems, such as lack of benefits or adequate pay for more "flexible" work forces (part time, contract, self employed, minimum wage), and working mothers. This lack of support lead to continued cycles of poverty and lost economic opportunities.
Replacing worker s with machines and trade liberalization (globalisation) has lead to a " race to the bottom " for workforces and wealth distribution, resulting in a loss of social cohesion and marginalization .
Because of competitive global conditions (including externalization), government s mainly rely on property tax for revenue , which contributes to a governance gap between local challenges and their problem-solving capacity.
Communities need new structures (that emphasize interconnectedness). Municipalities need to be more inclusive of local voices, and are limited by election s.
A solution is in the shift from government (eg rules and regulations set in parliament) to governance by local stakeholder s, with community based local governance structures which may be more inclusive and have longer visions.
Local governance bodies require frameworks and tools that fit into sustainable development. They are pivotal in the communities agenda as factor organizers, harnessing resources including finances, organizations, projects, and opportunities. Conveners are required, who are often an important individual or agency.
Discrete, comprehensive community initiatives have emerged with their own mandates. They assail the weaknesses in the compartmentalized approach - for example, eligibility for one type of assistance may cancel qualification for another.
Community initiatives are also important to address gaps in government and community agencies, because they involve local stakeholder s used to dealing with relevant complexity in a less segregated way.
Community initiatives must engage diverse citizen s and stakeholder s (including outside the community ) in developing policy and actions, building on the diversity theme of resilience and ecological systems.
Vibrant Communities is an organization that focuses on reducing poverty , using a structured learning circle, the Pan-Canadian Learning Community . Trail Builder communities receive fund ing to develop inclusive strategies , using local governence boards with diverse members including business ,government, volunteer organizations and individuals.
They start by understanding their profile to identify affected members, including groups and areas. Next they develop logistics for participation suitable to members - often community centres or libraries are used, and meals provide d. Advisory groups are also sometimes created .
Issues include not including being representative enough.
Understanding complexity is another challenge, " wicked problems ". For example, poverty concentration factors include teenage pregnancy, single-parent families, lack of education and poor literacy , higher levels of chronic and mental illness, housing instability, substance abuse, crime, and disproportionate reliance on government income programs .
The challenge is to find which factors to address. The framework suggests thinking about and intervening using the four resilience clusters.
A statement of objectives is required. In support of this, the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development 's public ation Society at a Glance: OECD Social Indicators organizes trends such as asylum seekers, suicides, divorce, employment , incarceration, gender wage gaps in four categories: human health , enhanced self-sufficiency, greater social inclusion, and greater equity of outcome - which correspond to the clusters of sustenance, adaptation, engage ment and opportunity.
The strategy is art iculated in a " Theory of Change ," a series of steps derived in a backward-mapped way, based on community asset s.
Emerging (vs traditional, needs driven) approaches view communities as the sum of their strengths (asset based). Initiatives are rooted in the community .
The Our Millenium project, by the Community Foundations of Canada in the late 1990s , was designed as a way to celebrate and link communities . 4.6 million participants produced projects in eleven societical categories.
Building Communities from the Inside Out (manual), Development as Freedom , Community Resilience Manual are works focused on assessing asset s, vitality, and diversity, and creating sustainable livelihoods. These include capital (natural, built, social, human, financial , cultural ), and delve into the specific contributions of members such as young people, people with disabilites, and seniors, focused on skills and contributions of community members.
New forms of measurement focus on broad capital asset s, including the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy , Geniune Progress Indicators , and Canadian Index of Well-Being . The mapping of these asset s is key met hodology to identify obvious and latent strengths.
New lead ership style are required to integrate different sectors . They must focus on relationships, constantly integrating new participants in a " leading between " style rather than pursuading followers and focusd on collaborative relationships using mutual respect rather than authority.
This requires a strong focus on relationships, networks , sharing credit , addressing turf wars (for example, by compelling collaboration ).
Local governance structures can results in an increase in planning, and possibly lead to fragmentation and duplication and relationship tensions. Another issue is increased demand on time, energy and resources. Tactical and strategic plans must be balanced ; interim goals or quick wins can sustain momentum and generate participation. It is important to include quick, tangible results that are important to the community , guided by a strategic longer term vision.