Building inclusive, resilient and innovative cities: Inspiration from Boston

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Why a Study Tour in Boston?

Boston is home to cutting-edge initiatives in social entrepreneurship (EforAll, the MassChallenge); neighbourhood revitalization and civic innovation (The Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, Roxbury Innovation Center); and youth engagement and social innovation (YouthBuild, DesignX-MIT and Mission Hill School). The city also inspires practitioners who have done extensive research in sustainability, smart cities and inclusion. Boston is not only an innovation hub, it is also one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the United States. From the historic streets of nearby Cambridge to the artistic Victorian town houses of Black Bay, the city suits a variety of lifestyles.

From November 14 to 16, 2016, a group of 28 Canadian innovators met with representatives from 13 Boston changemaking organizations and professors from Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tufts University to share expertise and feedback on how to build more inclusive, resilient and innovative cities. Believing that agents of city change come from all sectors and walks of life, the itinerary catered to a diverse group of stakeholders involved in city-making: entrepreneurs, researchers, community leaders and members of the private sector. Having a multidisciplinary group allowed us to learn different approaches to tackle similar issues.

Download the executive summary of our report to find out what we learned.

Elders Summit Creates Space for Community to Happen

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Feb. 6 gathering intended to help lead youth and community to increased sense of self awareness, cultural identity, and healing

By: Michelle Strutzenberger

CUIA-Round-Dance-EditPeople have experienced the healing touch of conversations that allow you to be heard and to listen to one another’s stories and wisdom. Put those in the context of your particular culture, and these conversations can have an added depth of meaning.

A Feb. 6 gathering, the Fourth Annual Calgary Urban Aboriginal Initiative Elders Summit, offers a haven for such conversations to take place.

“We want to provide space for our community to have conversations and connect with the youth and the youth to connect with themselves,” organizer Jennifer Fournier says.

The hope and anticipation is that through connection and conversation, people, especially youth, will be able to take steps towards healing, deepened self-awareness and a strengthened sense of cultural identity.

“Sometimes when you’re moving from reserve or a different province and you’re aboriginal, you can get lost in the fray of the big city,” Jennifer says.

“So we’re really hoping that with the summit this year we can connect youth with other youth, with community members, with the elders in our community, so that they can see if they need healing or gain an increased sense of self-awareness, or cultural identity — which is a huge thing and which the elders can also provide.

“That’s why it’s called a summit — it’s about bringing everybody together and just having everyone in the same room, so that those conversations can take place.”

Thirty elders, 65 youth and more than 100 community members are already registered to attend the summit, which includes a selection of keynote presentations and the opportunity to join one of four traditional teaching circles.

The day is hosted by the Calgary Urban Aboriginal Initiative (CUAI) Services Domain in collaboration with the Calgary United Way and the CUAI Youth committee.

CUAI is energized by a mission “to provide a home for ongoing discussion, co-ordination, and informed action in support of Calgary urban aboriginal issues and initiatives.”

“This summit also gives us the opportunity to discuss any barriers or gaps in services that youth are experiencing,” Jennifer says.

To learn more about the Elders Summit, click here.

To learn more about CUAI, click here.


New Scoop is a new Calgary news co-op, using generative journalism to explore and share stories of our thriving city. The pilot phase has received support from Cities for People.

This article was originally written for the New Scoop Calgary news co-op on 3 February 2015. We received permission to re-post.


Michelle Strutzenberger has more than 10 years of experience in Generative Journalism with Axiom News. Her areas of interest include deep community, social-mission business, education that strengthens a sense of hope and possibility, and journalism that helps society create its preferred future.


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