On November 17, 2017, Chelsea Gabel presented at the Our Future Hamilton 2018 Summit: Shaping Democracy Through Civic Engagement. Her talk entitled “Civic Engagement and Democracy – Present and Future” included research from the project. All 2017 Summit speakers and presentations were selected to highlight key partnership initiatives and current issues related civic and democratic engagement.
To view the Summary Report from the Summit, click here.
About the Summit:
Our Future Hamilton is the city’s new 25-year community vision. It builds on the legacy of Vision 2020, Hamilton’s first community vision. Over the span of one-year, Our Future Hamilton engaged nearly 55,000 residents and community partners to create a shared community vision, including 6 community priorities, 88 key directions, and 57 signs of success.
The City of Hamilton, along with over 100 community organizations, has committed to implementing Our Future Hamilton community priorities. Based on resident and community feedback, the City hosted the first annual Our Future Hamilton Summit on November 14th, 2017 at Liuna Station with over 400 in attendance.
Each year, the Summit will examine current issues that our community prioritized through the visioning process and share our collective progress in moving the vision forward. In addition to highlighting key partnerships and local initiatives, the annual Summit provides an opportunity for continued public visioning, community partnership, and collective action-taking involving government, community partners, and residents.
The theme for the annual Summit was Shaping Democracy through Civic Engagement and featured engaging keynotes from Greg Essensa, Chief Electoral Officer for Elections Ontario, Dr. Chelsea Gabel, Assistant Professor of Indigenous Studies at McMaster University, and Dr. Nicole Goodman, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Brock University.
Through facilitated table discussions, attendees identified 12 key barriers to democratic engagement and 62 ideas for improvements. The top barriers identified by Summit participants included education, accessibility, apathy, trust, and community representation. The most commonly suggested actions for improving democratic engagement called for increased youth education and public engagement, improved community representation and accessibility, as well as further examination of the role of technology and e-voting.
As a result of the 2017 Summit, a number of strategic alliances and community partnerships have already formed to improve democratic and civic engagement in Hamilton.