Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Over at Metropolitan Hamilton, Mahesh P Butani has published a piece of mine, 'A Proposition Towards a More 'Livable' City'. Please go there and give it some thought.
Additionally, I present it here:
A Proposition Towards
a More 'Livable' City
Sunday, May 27, 2012
For some months now, I've been publishing extracts of an interview with the head of the Hamilton Federation of Neighbourhood Assiociations, Lauren McCrawley...in 2022.
The earlier ones can be found via this post...
...and today's can be found here.
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Here's something I just published over at My Stoney Creek:
Most of the action at Teresa & Co's site has to do with the 'Perspectives Virtual Panel: The Best Place to Raise a Child' article.
Well, the fallout.
Actually, it has to do with the non-responses from councillors.
Um... As a matter of fact, it has to do with engagement...although not just the absence of the stuff on the parts of 13 of 16 Council members, but also how people are seeing the need for residents to press their representatives at 71 Main Street West more.
Friday, May 11, 2012
Yes, it's an American article talking about American society and American politics. But despite all this, there's a lot of great stuff in there.
Here are some highlights:
-When self-government is dominated by professionals representing various interests, a vicious cycle of citizen detachment ensues. Regular people come to treat civic problems as something outside themselves, something done to them, rather than something they have a hand in making and could have a hand in unmaking. They anticipate that engagement is futile, and their prediction fulfills itself.
-So how do we replace this vicious cycle with a virtuous one? What does it take to revive a spirit of citizenship as something undertaken by amateurs and volunteers with a stake in their own lives? There are four forces to activate, and they cut across the usual left-right lines.
- First, we have to develop our "citizen muscle."
- Second, we need to radically refocus on the local.
- Third, think in terms of challenges rather than orders.
- Fourth, create platforms where citizen citizens can actively serve.
I especially liked the Eric Liu-penned article's conclusion:
Recently I came upon a billboard by a congested highway. "You're not stuck in traffic," it said. "You are traffic." We aren't stuck in sclerotic government and extractive politics. We are these things. Our actions and omissions contribute to the conditions we decry. Or, to put it in positive terms: if we make the little shifts in mindset and habit to reclaim civic life, they will compound into contagion. We are the renewal of self-government we yearn for. That may sound like Obama '08 -- but it's also Reagan '80.
Citizenship, in the end, is too important to be left to professionals. It's time for us all to be trustees, of our libraries and every other part of public life. It's time to democratize democracy again.
(Oh, and don't forget to read the Comments section.)
M Adrian Brassington
P.S. Thanks go out to Michael Borrelli for bringing the article to my attention.