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September 10, 2019

Co-creating smart cities: Community Solutions Network hosts Idea Camp in Calgary, AB

Community leaders address ways to leverage data and tech for local benefit; September 19, 2019 at University of Calgary

(OTTAWA, ON – September 10, 2019) – The Community Solutions Network, a program of Future Cities Canada, is bringing together municipal staff, community leaders and senior staff from across sectors from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba to participate in the Calgary Idea Camp: Co-Creating the Smart City in Calgary, Alberta. Led by Evergreen in partnership with the University of Calgary and the City of Calgary, the Idea Camp will explore how to move from consultation to co-creation as a foundation for the open smart city. The second in a series of six regional Idea Camps, the gathering takes place at the City Building Design Lab in the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape at the University of Calgary, on Thursday, September 19, 2019.

“Residents must be at the centre of smart city decisions,” said Carly Livingstone, Senior Program Manager, Community Solutions Network at Evergreen. “The Idea Camp combines expert training, peer-to-peer learning and local case studies for participants to access the tools and practical concepts for communities of all sizes to advance their work. Idea Camps offer a unique opportunity to learn from others championing innovation across the Prairie region.”

Participants include municipal staff, community leaders and senior staff of organizations and communities from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Through speaker presentations, small group discussions and workshops, the Calgary Idea Camp participants will learn how to apply different participatory and inclusive approaches to their local contexts to ensure communities are placed at the centre of emerging urban innovations.

Leading minds in communities from the region, including Soumya Ghosh, Director, Digital Enablement, Smart City at the City of Edmonton, Stephanie Yong, Design Thinking Specialist with the City of Saskatoon, Rod Berezowecki, Councillor of Rural Municipality of Kelsey in Northern Manitoba, Jeny Mathews-Thusoo, Program Lead, Resilient Calgary from the City of Calgary, among others, will be sharing their experiences and learnings over the course of the day.

“Calgary is excited to host this Idea Camp for the prairie region,” says Monique Nesset, Smart City Lead, The City of Calgary. “By bringing like-minded colleagues and partners together, we can focus on moving the co-creation agenda forward while sharing insights that can help us engage our community around Open Smart Cities concepts and issues.” 

“Co-creation is an important emerging trend in community-based decision making,” says John Brown, Dean of the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape at the University of Calgary. “We established the City Building Design Lab to provide a venue for citizens from all walks of life to learn about the issues facing contemporary cities and how everyone can participate in shaping the future of their communities.”

Idea Camps are part of a collection of knowledge-sharing events organized by the Community Solutions Network, a new platform for communities across the country to connect and build a national centre of excellence in open smart cities. A program of Future Cities Canada, the Network is led by Evergreen, with technical partner OpenNorth and partners across Canada, to bring knowledge, expertise, experience and guidance to municipal and community leaders to build internal capacity and navigate the open smart cities landscape. This is the second Idea Camp of a series of regional events that will unfold across the country this fall, with later Idea Camps taking place in Montreal, Mount Pearl, Victoria and the North.

The Community Solutions Network supports communities of all sizes - big, mid-sized, Indigenous, small and northern – by connecting them to other communities across the country and with partners and cross-sector stakeholders. Through an advisory service and a series of event-based programs, such as Idea Camps, Collision Days, Roundtables and the 2019 Future Cities Canada Summit, the Network provides knowledge, lessons learned and best practices to build awareness about emerging open smart cities issues (e.g. data management, privacy and security) and experiences in Canada and around the world.

About the Community Solutions Network:

In the fall of 2018, the Government of Canada announced that Evergreen was selected to receive up to $4.6 million in funding over two years from the Smart Cities Community Support Program to implement the Community Solutions Network. The Network supports communities to advance their thinking on the use of smart cities approaches to help improve the lives of their residents. As the project lead, Evergreen is working with OpenNorth and other partners to provide valuable information, learning opportunities, advisory and capacity building services to Canadian communities. Key areas include smart technologies, data ownership, data management, privacy and security.

Connect:
For details on the Community Solutions Network and other Future Cities Canada programs, please visit https://futurecitiescanada.ca/ and the Community Solutions Portal https://communitysolutionsnetwork.ca. For the latest information follow @FutureCitiesCA.

For media information, please contact:  
Julie Lopez 
| Communications Outreach & Content Specialist | Evergreen | 613-898-0737 

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Future Cities Canada is a national cross-sector initiative with the mission to accelerate innovation to transform cities for the benefit of all. Drawing on the expertise of its founding organizations - The McConnell Foundation, TD Bank Group, Evergreen, Maison de l’innovation sociale and Community Foundations of Canada - and together with a diverse and growing network of partners, Future Cities Canada collectively strives to address the challenges facing cities and city-dwellers to reimagine cities that are equitable, regenerative and prosperous.

Evergreen is dedicated to making cities flourish. Since 1991, the national not-for-profit has been hard at work transforming spaces into great places so that communities can thrive. We believe that by connecting people, natural and built worlds, we can enable Canadians to do great things that will shape our cities for the better.

OpenNorth is Canada's leading not-for-profit organization working to open up data, government, community engagement, and technologies. OpenNorth works with Canada's most innovative and connected cities to create open smart cities. Through its interdisciplinary applied research, OpenNorth brings international practices to local communities, while connecting local communities, governments, and partners to international networks and communities of practice.

With funding provided by:

Logos for Infrastructure Canada and Canada.