Karen Smith joining MDB Insight!

23 09 2017

karensmith     MDB-Insight-Website-Logo

A private-sector consulting firm with a mission to “improve the world”? Whose values and vision align with your own? Whose team members are passionate, creative innovators? Sounds like the perfect place to work if you’re a community builder – and that’s precisely why Karen will be joining the team at MDB Insight as a Senior Consultant effective October 2nd.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, MDB Insight is Canada’s leading economic development consultancy specializing in connecting communities with opportunities. Their core practice areas also include workforce development, community development, cultural development, business development, strategic planning, and research and analytics. The firm has worked with hundreds of cities and towns, rural and urban, large and small, across North America with the aim of helping those communities and the people within them to thrive in the 21st century economy. As a member of the senior team, Karen will add her enthusiasm and experience to the firm’s established roster of accomplished professionals from across the country and will be working from MDB Insight’s Hamilton office.

To connect with Karen in her new role, pop her an email – ksmith@mdbinsight.com. And be sure to check out MDB Insight’s web site, featuring the firm’s blog and This is Not a Newsletter (TINAN) as well as resources and links of interest. You can follow us on Twitter (@MDBInsight) and on our Facebook page (MDB Insight) too!

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Nature-inspired climate change innovations

2 08 2017

melting ice CANVA

Five innovative and inspiring new ideas for saving the world from climate catastrophe have been announced by the uber cool Biomimicry Institute. Nearly 100 entries came from 28 countries, all vying for the chance to bring their ideas to market. There’s even a Canadian entry included in the announcement – among additional winners from the student competition was an honourable mention for the entry from a team at the University of Calgary.

We know that our planet is hurtling towards some scary consequences of a century-plus of resource-pillaging, but the question remains – what do we do about it? That’s why we are proud to announce the 2017 Biomimicry Global Design Challenge winning teams and their proposed solutions to mitigate, adapt to, and reverse climate change.

One winning entry mimics the temperature regulating properties of leaf-cutter ants’ mounds. Another “emulates the mechanisms of blue crab and bay grass and their mutualistic relationship within the ecosystem of Chesapeake Bay” to connect low-income communities to designated cool spaces via an affordable transportation system. Yet another of the ideas takes inspiration from  winged seeds, bromeliads, and forest leaf litter.

Check out the winning ideas and be inspired,  here.





A Place to Belong

10 07 2017

The annual report from the Hamilton Community Foundation is always a welcome read, and this year was no exception. Once again, the report’s pages highlight important investments and remarkable impact happening across the Hamilton area. If you haven’t yet had a chance to check it out, find a few moments to read A Place to Belong.

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Connecting Communities with Opportunities

1 06 2017

Changing the world, one community at a time. That’s what drives the team at MDB Insight, and one of the main reasons Karen was attracted to working with them. Best known for their portfolio of successes in economic development, MDB Insight’s core areas of practice also include cultural development, workforce development, community development, business development, research and analytics, trade and international development, training and facilitation. Passionate and curious innovators, the people behind MDB Insight share a vision for community-building that includes responsible economic growth, social innovation, and environmMDB-Insight-Website-Logoental sustainability.

Over the coming months, Karen will be doing research and writing in support of business development strategies as MDB Insight expands its portfolio and explores new and meaningful ways to connect communities with opportunities in a rapidly changing social and economic landscape.

With offices in Calgary, Hamilton, Toronto, Kingston, and Glasgow (UK), MDB Insight is Canada’s largest specialist economic development consultancy and is recognized for the depth and breadth of its expertise and experienced team. To find out more about their work, visit: MDB Insight.

 





100 Resilient Cities

12 04 2017

Community building encompasses a range of efforts by a diversity of citizens to support, nurture, initiate and bolster the prosperity and health of a community. These can be large, organized efforts coordinated by government or grassroots efforts undertaken by individuals, families, or neighbourhoods. Community builders share an interest in the future of their communities, and a desire to see everyone in those communities realize their potential.

Resilient-city-feature-imageWith that in mind, this community builder has been interested in the work of 100 Resilient Cities, an initiative pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation “to help cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century”. Their approach focuses on “urban resilience” – “the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems within a city to survive, adapt, and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience”. Examples of chronic stresses include high unemployment, overtaxed or inefficient public transportation system, endemic violence, and chronic food and water shortages. Acute shocks are “sudden, sharp events that threaten a city” and include earthquakes, floods, disease outbreaks and terrorist attacks.

Lest we think this urban resilience is important only for cities in developing countries or far-flung corners of the globe, it’s important to know that four of Canada’s largest cities are among the 100 (Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver). Other member cities include Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Pune (India), Porto Alegre (Brazil), Semarang (Indonesia)Semarang Resilience Strategy - 2016-1.png and Yiwu (China). Using a City Resilience Framework, the 100 member cities are working to better understand and implement the things that make a city resilient – from health and wellbeing to leadership and strategy.

Members of the 100 Resilient Cities team and a panel of expert judges reviewed over 1,000 applications from prospective cities. The judges looked for innovative mayors, a recent catalyst for change, a history of building partnerships, and an ability to work with a ride range of stakeholders.

Member cities are moving forward with an inspiring and focused catalogue of initiatives aimed at positive, tangible community impact. In Greece, for example, the city of Thessoloniki has just released Resilient Thessaloniki – A Strategy for 2030 following two years of intensive participation as a 100 Resilient Cities member. In Chile, the city of Santiago recently committed 10% of its budget to building resilience as part of its first Resilience Strategy. And the city of Wellington has unveiled a comprehensive resilience strategy to prepare New Zealand’s capital “for the next 100 years”.

Resilience Strategies are more than a milestone — they are a roadmap, a call to action.

The 100 Resilient Cities platform is supported by private, public, academic and non-profit sector partners ranging from corporate titans Microsoft, Siemens and Cisco to international charities like Save the Children, The Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund. Other notable partners include The World Bank, the Advanced Research Institute at Virginia Tech, the Watson Foundation, the Asia Foundation and the Social Intelligence Institute.

According to 100 Resilient Cities, “Calgary hopes to insulate its economy from shocks caused by fluctuating oil prices as it develops more robust responses to natural disasters” and Toronto “is addressing rising inequality while developing responses to increasing severe weather events”. Looking forward to news about the initiatives and plans coming to all four Canadian member cities as a result of their participation.

[photos: 100 Resilient Cities]





Cohousing, Innovation & Intentional Living

6 04 2017

One of the projects that has been keeping me busy over this past year+ is a departure from my usual professional pursuits. It is proving not only stimulating but also challenging. More personal than professional, my interest in the cohousing movement began with my own examination of intentional living – trying to envision my later years and match my living arrangements with my aspirations, needs, and interests. I quickly discovered a glaring lack of existing options within my community. Looking for a one-floor plan (no stairs) other than a high rise will get you very little in the way of choices (and often involves paying for a lower level you don’t want and likely won’t use). Recalling many conversations over the years with friends, I knew I wasn’t alone in thinking about the future and seeking options that weren’t readily on offer. Hadn’t we joked about a hippie house full of aging women? Wasn’t there even a serious discussion or two about pooling our money to live comfortably in retirement? With that, I began researching options outside those currently available in my area…and cohousing quickly piqued my interest.

For those interested in cohousing specific to later life, I recommend Innovations in Senior Housing: the Complete Guide to Cohousing. It’s a comprehensive resource (and one of few specific to Canada) full of information and useful links. It was prepared by the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria and Canadian Senior Cohousing Society with funding from the Real Estate Foundation of BC.

For those interested in my cohousing explorations in Hamilton, check out www.sisterssharingspace.wordpress.com where I’m blogging about the journey of a group of local women who have joined me, and sharing information and resources we are finding along the way.

Complete_Guide_0  hispanicgarden2 nws kwg 4





International Day of Happiness!

20 03 2017

The United Nations established March 20th as International Day of Happiness to “recognize the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world.” The day has been celebrated since 2013. For this year, the UN chose those lovable blue Smurfs of cartoon fame to promote its 17 sustainable development goals on the International Day of Happiness. The “Small Smurfs Big Goals” campaign is designed to encourage young people everywhere to learn about and support the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Happiness + sustainable development? Seems a winning combination sure to make even the grumpiest Smurf smile. Oh, and it’s also the first official day of Spring. Now there’s something to be happy about!

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