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Local Motion - The Art of Civic Engagement in Toronto

Local Motion

The Art of Civic Engagement in Toronto

Edited by Alana Wilcox, Christina Palassio, and Dave Meslin
Categories: Social Science
Series: uTOpia
Paperback : 9781552452387, 224 pages, November 2010

Table of contents

Foreword by Dionne Brand

Bert Archer – Teaching the City of No to say yes

Edward Keenan – Ranked thoughts on voting reform

Hamutal Dotan – We built this city? Community engagement in planning, zoning and urban development

Catherine Porter – The boxer: A guide to getting in the ring with City bureaucracy

Kelly Grant – The budget and you: How citizens could be involved in Toronto's budgeting process

Jonathan Goldsbie – Permission impossible: Creating change outside the system

Dave Meslin, illustrations by Marlena Zuber – Civic Engagement 101

John Lorinc – Ramping up

Denise Balkissoon – About face: Moving towards a City that looks like the city

Jason McBride – A better world is possible: The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and the battle for the Special Diet Allowance

Hannah Sung – Rap sheet to rap record: Harnessing the power of music

Christina Palassio – Taking a Schein to City Hall: A community activist runs for Council in Ward 17

Jennifer Lewington – The media and your message

Mike Smith – 'Exhilarated and heartbroken': Dispatches from a creative city still to come

Decisions about the things that matter most on a daily basis – our roads and schools and houses – happen at the city level. So, how do we influence these decisions? What motivates ordinary citizens to take action and improve their community? How do neighbours organize together? Does City Hall facilitate engagement, or stand in the way? Local Motion explores how we, as citizens, can make a positive change in our city.

Shifting from the 'what' of the previous uTOpia books to 'how,' Local Motion presents an in-depth analysis of civic engagement in Canada's largest city. Essays by fourteen in-the-trenches journalists explain what makes one city, Toronto, tick and stall. They explore electoral reform, civic organizations, zoning, the 'creative city,' budgeting and guerrilla activism. They profile people and groups who've made things happen. They give practical advice on navigating bureaucracy and getting the media's attention. Taken together, these in-depth essays and profiles paint a citizen-focused portrait of a city in transition, offering up myriad examples of how the people who live there help to make their city a better, more humane one.

The book features a foreword by Dionne Brand, illustrations by Marlena Zuber, and articles by Bert Archer, Denise Balkissoon, Hamutal Dotan, Jonathan Goldsbie, Kelly Grant, Edward Keenan, Jennifer Lewington, John Lorinc, Jason McBride, Dave Meslin, Christina Palassio, Catherine Porter, Mike Smith and Hannah Sung.

‘There is so much disappointment in conventional politics. But cities and neighbourhoods are spaces where transformation is still within reach; indeed, it happens every day. This original and inspiring book arms us with the practical tools we need to change our communities for the better, regardless of which politicians are in power. Read it and find out where the action is. ’ – Naomi Klein

‘If our greatest asset as a city is our people, it stands to reason that, genuinely engaged, and liberated to think outside the box, the people of Toronto are the ones who can ensure that we build a city that is a model to the world. Local Motion is the “how to” book on building that great city. Over to us. ’ – John Tory