Publications, opinions, and speeches
Policies that Build Community
Published on 17/09/2014
This paper is the text of the keynote address on Policies that Build Community delivered at the national Seeking Community gathering hosted by the Tamarack Institute in Kitchener-Waterloo in June 2014.
Public policy affects virtually every aspect of our lives. This paper discusses the various ways in which well-formulated public policy can help create caring communities. There are two major components of this work that are intrinsically linked.
The first aspect of building community involves designing the context and spaces that enable community members to spend time together and to participate as active members. It is based on principles related to clean and green places, mixed use, accessibility and engagement. The way in which communities are designed in terms of physical space has a profound impact upon the quality of life and our ability to care for each other.
The second component of building community entails support for the various ways in which we care for each other. This paper focuses upon the crucial types of informal care involving families, friends and neighbours. They include personal communities, circles of support, long dinner tables and community celebration.
The paper puts forward two sets of policy recommendations that relate to both community design and informal care. While these proposals are relevant for all governments, they are directed explicitly around actions that can be taken at the municipal level.
Public policy helps shape the context of the community as well as the content of what it offers. Through public policy, governments enable us to build caring community: to design for well-being and to care about each other.