Community Archive

Wisdom Councils in Europe Glean Citizen Input

Councils beginning to spread as governments support and fund them

From determining how best to receive refugees to reviewing a large urban development project, Wisdom Councils offer a unique way to engage the insights of citizens on local, regional or state issues.

First used in 2006 in the Austrian city of Wolfurt, Wisdom Councils now take place primarily in Vorarlberg state, Austria, though they have also been held in other places in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

A ‘North Star of Hope’ for Education and the World

Dr. Lindsey Nicole Godwin reflects on the recent World Positive Education Accelerator

In considering the broad topic of reimagining democracy, the element of education is absolutely vital. “What happens in our school systems is a result of a demand by large systems for numerate and literate workers more than 150 years ago,” writes Axiom News founder and CEO Peter Pula. “That we still educate that way is atrocious. Schools too can to be reimagined and integrated into community life in much richer ways.”

City-building Experience Builds Students’ Confidence

Practical, meaningful skills and new perspectives gleaned on the side of city-building experiment

While the cofounders of a unique city-building effort in Vancouver talk about its big and far-reaching possibilities, two students who took part in it have a lot to say about what it has done for them in small, deep and lingering ways. They say they walked away with a bolstered sense of confidence in themselves, in a certain set of skills and in a particular way of relating to people around them.

What If 1,000s of Undergrads Took Up City Building While in School?

Vancouver one of 7 cities reclaiming education through learning that builds a city

The level of cognitive, energetic and creative surplus that is unleashed when undergrad students are asked to help build their cities has happily astounded Duane Elverum. It’s also swelled his sense of urgency around shaping the conditions to spur this unleashing more and more.

“I feel a vibration. My heart beats faster, my hands start to sweat, when I think about how do we move faster, how do we get this going, how do we put this on the big wheel so to speak,” Duane tells Axiom News.

Seven years ago Duane launched CityStudio Vancouver with his colleague and fellow Simon Fraser University professor, Janet Moore. In very simple terms, the studio matches universities’ capacity with civic needs. Besides activating the unleashing mentioned above, the studio is shrinking the gap between higher learning and municipal government. It also represents a new way of distributing problems.

A Global Movement of New and More Effective ‘Problem Distribution’

The growing hum of citizen-led community building

A bold match-making project in Vancouver peels away the mist on what’s possible for creating our preferred future as a society. Pairing universities’ capacities with civic needs, City Studio Vancouver unleashes cognitive and creative surplus in students that see their energies making the city better.

“In the past, the problems we have in society have typically been given to some experts or some narrow groups to solve,” says City Studio Vancouver co-founder Duane Elverum. “They really are not distributed to the demos or the democracy in very effective ways, other than voting.”

But that’s changing. A new and more effective way to distribute societal problems might soon be called a global movement.

Welcome and Belonging Starts with Noticing

From the villages of Pakistan to the social service industry of Calgary, one quiet radical has been saying ‘no’ to disparity and ‘yes’ to invitation all her life

As a child growing up in the town of Shabqadar Fort of the Pakistan province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Noreen Mahmood noticed how classmates from certain religious minorities were shunned. People from what she calls “the mainstream groups” never even liked to be touched by these girls. Though a “mainstreamer” herself, Noreen established herself very early on as a kind of quiet radical. She refused to follow the ways of her own people and deliberately intermingled with these girls.

Reawakening to Place as a Community

The ground from which we can begin creating a more abundant world again

It can feel as if we have lost limbs and senses in today’s world of screen-based engagement and motor-based travel. To cope, we may shrink deeper and deeper inside ourselves, seeking to escape the shriek and the fumes and the emptiness around us. Others of us may do the opposite, throwing ourselves fully into an experience grated with fake lights, motor noises and the incessant cry to buy.

Stepping Toward Social Evolution

Taking a deep breath at Axiom News

After a couple of decades of doing things a certain way Axiom News is taking a great big in breath and waiting to see what comes.

Changing the Way We Do Society

‘A-ha’s’ and possibilities from a journey in Peterborough

The work of cultivating generative communities might be talked about as “changing the way we do society to be in service to life.”

What If Elected Officials Held Space for Meaningful Community Conversations?

Change to traditional town hall format a step in a new direction

A climate change town hall held in Vancouver this summer modelled a step in a new direction for the place various levels of government might hold in relation to their communities.

The July 12 event swapped the typical town-hall style of mostly lecture-like presentations for an approach centred largely on enabling meaningful conversations between citizens.

Addressing four issues on climate change, the town hall was charged and serious. Some came ready to protest.

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