- Confrontation, Collaboration and Community Benefits: Lessons from Canadian and U.S. cities on working together around strategic projects    click here to open paper content309 kb
by    Bornstein, Lisa | lisa.bornstein@mcgill.ca   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
Efforts by community groups to shape large-scale projects in six U.S. and Canadian cities are reviewed to identify planning strategies and forms of public deliberation that help make projects work for communities.
Governments and public institutions throughout Canada and the world build mega-projects – large-scale facilities and infrastructure – to improve health or other services. These projects channel investment into specific locations in the city, often generating new businesses and real estate development. They also may exacerbate economic and social tensions. Because most mega-projects focus on design and construction of physical infrastructure under tight timeframes, potential social and economic effects on the wider community often are understudied and, crucially, not properly addressed in the project itself. In so doing, opportunities to use major investments to build sustainable and inclusive communities are missed.
The proposed paper explores how mega-projects can be made to work better for communities through a review of different types of community-project interactions that resulted in agreements around community benefits. Drawing on examples from the U.S.(Los Angeles, New Haven, East St Louis) and Canada (Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal), the paper outlines different strategies (confrontational tactics, alliances, collaboration, etc.) community organisations use to assure that beneficial ‘community’ elements are included in a project. Material is drawn from interviews conducted by the author with key participants in these projects as well as policy and academic literature on the projects, where available. Theoretical implications of emerging forms of community engagement with an increasingly important form of urban development – the mega-project – are addressed. The conclusion discusses the import of the findings for policymaking and community actions around mega-projects.
The paper is likely to be of interest to those concerned with: the role of large projects in city-building and city-branding efforts; contemporary means of effective citizen engagement with development interests; and the limits and possibilities for collaborative approaches around such projects.
strategic projects; citizen engagement; collaboration; community benefits
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