Axiom News Archive
David LePage has spent a lifetime building community. Almost 20 years ago he and a small group realized social procurement was an untapped motherlode of potential. Since then, he and his colleagues have been making steady progress in bringing the practice to life.
Allan and Lynn Smith-Reeve and have been working in the orbit of poverty for many years. In Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, the city in which Axiom News hosted the Peterborough Dialogues, 40 or more tents have been put up in Victoria Park and in which people who are living in poverty are now residing.
On August 11, the Peterborough, Ont.-based arts and culture publication, Electric City Magazine, hosted its fourth monthly All Citizens Meeting. During the first gathering, which took place in spring, the magazine invited candidates for the Oct. 22 municipal Council election to act as keynote listeners. The 45 or so people who came were invited to connect with one another and to share what was important to them. Participants also created a rendering of what they would like to read in the May 2021 edition of the magazine.
An initiative in Peterborough, Ontario is dedicated to finding ways to tap the lived experiences and local knowledge of residents. The idea is to add what they come up with to the expert knowledge of planners, engineers and other professionals through a process known as participatory planning.
The initiative, called NeighbourPLAN, is spearheaded by a local organization, GreenUP, which focuses on issues of environmental education, sustainability and stewardship. NeighbourPLAN aims to support residents to develop the language, tools and confidence to participate in neighbourhood planning processes.
When Karen Wilk learned that fellow Edmonton resident, Howard Lawrence, had connected with city government and that the municipality had agreed to support a pilot project based on the principles found in the book, Abundant Community, she was “in.” “In,” as in she wanted to find a way to actively support this refreshing, new initiative.
At the very end of McDonnel St. in Peterborough, Ontario is a gateway to a different way of life, past and future.
For years, St. Joseph’s at The Mount was home to a religious life. From there emanated many community works. Women who chose a life in the world but not of the world served community in the streets and at the head of substantial organizations. Their home for 90 some years became a place imbued with a legacy of faith, spirit, and service.
Now, as you pass through that same gateway and meander up the winding road, what unfolds for you to see is a 131,000 square foot building on ten acres of land just up the creek from centre of town.
From determining how best to receive refugees to reviewing a large urban development project, Wisdom Councils offer a unique way to engage the insights of citizens on local, regional or state issues.
First used in 2006 in the Austrian city of Wolfurt, Wisdom Councils now take place primarily in Vorarlberg state, Austria, though they have also been held in other places in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.
In considering the broad topic of reimagining democracy, the element of education is absolutely vital. “What happens in our school systems is a result of a demand by large systems for numerate and literate workers more than 150 years ago,” writes Axiom News founder and CEO Peter Pula. “That we still educate that way is atrocious. Schools too can to be reimagined and integrated into community life in much richer ways.”
While the cofounders of a unique city-building effort in Vancouver talk about its big and far-reaching possibilities, two students who took part in it have a lot to say about what it has done for them in small, deep and lingering ways. They say they walked away with a bolstered sense of confidence in themselves, in a certain set of skills and in a particular way of relating to people around them.
The level of cognitive, energetic and creative surplus that is unleashed when undergrad students are asked to help build their cities has happily astounded Duane Elverum. It’s also swelled his sense of urgency around shaping the conditions to spur this unleashing more and more.
“I feel a vibration. My heart beats faster, my hands start to sweat, when I think about how do we move faster, how do we get this going, how do we put this on the big wheel so to speak,” Duane tells Axiom News.
Seven years ago Duane launched CityStudio Vancouver with his colleague and fellow Simon Fraser University professor, Janet Moore. In very simple terms, the studio matches universities’ capacity with civic needs. Besides activating the unleashing mentioned above, the studio is shrinking the gap between higher learning and municipal government. It also represents a new way of distributing problems.