Asset-Based, Resident-Led Neighbourhood Development: Action for Neighbourhood Change

Action for Neighbourhood Change is a learning initiative exploring ways to support resident-led strategies for strengthening neighbourhoods. A great deal has been accomplished in the short period of ANC’s operation. Over the course of 14 months, the initiative established the infrastructure needed to support its work, followed a complete cycle in the revitalization process (from neighbourhood selection through resident engagement, vision building and initial actions) and explored the implications for the policies and procedures of government, as well as for other structures wishing to support neighbourhood initiatives. Insights and experiences pertaining to neighbourhood revitalization have been documented throughout the process in an extensive set of papers, stories, tools and reports. This emerging body of knowledge constitutes one of the important ‘legacies’ from ANC’s first phase. It lays a foundation for the initiative’s continuing work and provides a substantial source of information and ideas for others interested in strengthening neighbourhoods. The aim of this final reflection paper is not to review all of the important issues and insights that have been documented elsewhere but to synthesize the findings and highlight key lessons learned to date, and their implications for ongoing efforts at neighbourhood revitalization.


Action for Neighbourhood Change: Building a Neighbourhood Renewal Process

This paper was developed by a group of people brought together by the Action for Neighbourhood Change initiative. It presents an understanding of how change occurs in a neighbourhood which is based on previous and current community and neighbourhood revitalization efforts. Action for Neighbourhood Change (ANC) is a two-year neighbourhood renewal initiative that seeks to improve the quality of life for the residents of neighbourhoods in five Canadian cities – Surrey, Regina, Thunder Bay, Toronto and Halifax. Interventions undertaken since the project began in March 2005 were based on the medical axiom of doing no harm, knowing that in the complex system of a neighbourhood, it is impossible to anticipate all the possible outcomes of actions. Beginning with a clear goal – neighbourhood renewal – provided a wide enough target that virtually any activity or starting point could be shown to help move residents in a positive direction. The short duration of ANC, however, made it necessary to focus on achieving a critical level of support for sustainability. Ultimately, residents must possess the skills, organizational capacity and self-confidence to address challenges for themselves.