When it comes to the large and complex challenges we face as a community, there are many groups in Cambridge that have done a great job of amplifying the voice of residents. While residents are getting the attention of elected officials and other community leaders, the process of engaging the public is often frustrating and unproductive.
We believe Cambridge residents can contribute immensely to the development of our community but that common approaches like writing editorials in the local paper, circulating petitions or commenting on municipal plans through surveys and public consultations are simply not enough. We need new and innovative approaches to working collaboratively with the City, Region and social service agencies that support Cambridge.
Citizens for Cambridge takes a unique approach to contributing to community development that is based on four key pillars:
Knowledge: We develop as highly informed a perspective as possible by acquiring evidence-based data, the input of credible experts, reliable case studies and other relevant information.
Relationships: We aim to understand the unique role, interests and concerns of each organization and group involved and attempt to build cooperative relationships with all.
Collaboration: We partner with decision makers, bring together relevant stakeholder groups and facilitate working together to smartly solve problems with the entire community in mind.
Innovation: We challenge the way things are done and focus on developing innovative solutions that will better satisfy growing community needs with the limited resources available.
For the past several years, our founders have successfully employed this approach within community organizations like the West Galt Neighbourhood Protection Association as well as For a Better Cambridge. We’ve consistently received an exceptionally positive response from the elected officials, city administrators and other community leaders we have engaged. This has resulted in:
being proactively invited to participate in solving problems with decision makers
being trusted to deliver a balanced and rational perspective on behalf of residents
the feedback and ideas we share being valued and responded to quickly
Ultimately, the outcome of being more deeply engaged is even more important to note. Not only has it become clear that our involvement is critical to the process but we have also experienced how our contributions have led to the development of significantly better solutions for all. We are now excited to adopt this co-operative approach within Citizens for Cambridge and to build on its success.