Living in Our Neighbourhoods, Together


The second pillar of my Great Neighbourhoods platform is:

2. Living in our neighbourhoods, together: Transforming the governance of our neighbourhoods, improving diversity

I believe that a city is made of Great Neighbourhoods, where we live together. And to make neighbourhoods where we live together, we have to transform the governance of our neighbourhoods and improve diversity.

My goal is to:

  • First understand that living in a neighbourhood means more than owning or renting a home there - the business people who spend long days offering the services we want, and the rich web of institutions that offer the services we need, are just as important to the completeness of our communities.

The goal then, is to:

  • Build on the incredible strengths of Calgary’s amazing culture of volunteerism, neighbourhood activism and local governance found within our community associations and transform them into “next generation” or “best practice/world class” organizations (perhaps called Community Councils?) where the mix of residents, businesses and institutions that make our neighbourhoods what they are, can meet, and plan and work together to make our neighbourhoods what we want them to become.

The challenge is changing the culture - both within our communities and at City Hall - to acknowledge the importance of this better future. It’s about:

  • Bringing community together through a more inclusive community association approach.

  • Broadening the focus of individual businesses and their associations from success at commerce, to include the critical role they can and should play in community development. (The International Avenue Business Revitalization Zone has for decades been a leader in modelling this broader mandate.)

  • Unleashing the potential of the institutions that serve us - our schools, our faith communities, our social services, our recreational institutions - by deeply interweaving their individual missions into the rich web of our neighbourhood life.

The challenge is also establishing the right framework for these next generation community associations - we need to get the scale right, we need to empower the appropriate decisions at the right level, we need to enable our citizens to responsibly take charge of their neighbourhoods and we need to monitor and support these organizations so they remain focused on broad representation and community-based conversations.

Our success in achieving these goals is beginning across Ward 9 where community leaders are starting to lead conversations about what we want our neighbourhoods to become and the kinds of relationships and structures we need to achieve our goals. For example, working together, we’ve achieved:

  • As a critical first step in ensuring our neighbourhoods remain places for everyone we’ve made significant financial and policy commitments towards inclusion, from the Fair Entry and Sliding Scale programs, to the Indigenous Policy Framework and Council’s recent commitment to  Gender Equity and Diversity.

  • The achievement of a strong Council mandate and the establishment of the Community Representation Framework Task Forceempowered to envision our next generation community association structures and their best relationship with the City

  • Constantly supporting community groups, organizations and institutions in their work for Ward 9 neighbourhoods, such as facilitating the nascent Ward 9 community of Manchester towards the development of a next generation community association.

  • The planning, execution and facilitation of Community Objectives Workshops throughout 2016 in every Ward 9 community to establish community-driven and City-supported goals and projects.

  • Constantly advocating for and overhauling the City of Calgary’s approach to engaging communities from conventional information sessions towards deep consultation.

  • Piloting new approaches and supporting inclusive local interventions towards positive neighbourhood change, ranging from tactical work such as the Flyover Kids Shared Space project in Bridgeland to the identification of land for and support towards building affordable and seniors’ housing in neighbourhoods throughout Ward 9.

We are fanning these sparks into flames and shining a spotlight on those in our civil service who have been working behind the scenes for many years towards these goals within an otherwise-focused municipal bureaucracy. 

Let’s keep the important work of Great Neighbourhoods moving forward. Please vote for me on October 16! 

Thanks for your support,


Gian-Carlo Carra