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HomePolicy Articles Article Summary

Investing in Canada: Fostering an Agenda for Citizen and Community Participation

Report by Paddy Bowen

This paper’s purpose is to stimulate discussion about the importance of citizen and community participation and to advocate investment and leadership. Paddy Bowen argues there are many potential investors: governments; foundations; the corporate sector; non-profit organizations; communities; and individuals. Bowen posits that community and citizen participation are crucial to building upon a vision of Canada in which each person contributes, and, together, builds a better world.

Bowen identifies seven individual behaviours that define citizen and community participation: public involvement; volunteering and giving; care-giving; environmental stewardship; belonging; cultural activity; and, sport/physical activity. Two outcomes occur when individuals choose to participate in collective action: individuals gain personal benefits while simultaneously creating mutual benefits for the community. Bowen suggests communities with high levels of citizen participation are safer, more democratic, more attractive to investment, and have lower incidences of crime, homelessness, pollution, and youth and newcomer alienation.

In Bowen’s view, citizen and community participation are as integral to managing all parts of society as government, industry, money, and infrastructure. He suggests that three conditions are required to increase citizen and community participation: shared vision; a multi-layered strategy; and a new approach to leadership. He also proposes three levels of investment to promote citizen and community participation: individual investment; collective investment; and convening investment (i.e., focusing on the breadth, diversity and implementation of citizen ideas and community participation, and establishing a mechanism to foster leadership).

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Policy Publication Details

Author(s): Paddy Bowen;
Publisher: Public Policy Forum [ Visit Website ]
Year Published: 2004; Publisher Type: Research Institute
Publicly Available: Yes Research Focus: Municipal;
Registration Required: No Language: English
Payment Required: No Publication Format: Adobe PDF

Subjects / Categories:

Policy Articles / Citizen Engagement / Volunteers
Policy Articles / Citizen Engagement / Volunteers / 2004
Policy Articles / Citizen Engagement


Keywords / Tags:

community participation; citizen participation; public involvement; investment in participation; collective actions; shared community vision;