We propose a bold investment in information and social technology that fundamentally shifts our community’s access to relevant data, that is both informed by and informs on-going stakeholder engagements. The aim is to take a similar approach to the Glasgow Indicators Project (www.understandingglasgow.com) to reverse our community’s current trends, thus increasing our population size and closing the economic divide. This technology and related engagements would help increase the resilience of existing organizations, identify emerging needs for initiatives, and create a vibrant community that attracts the mobile workforce. Since our approach is founded in a systems view of the situation – which incorporates social, environmental and economic perspectives – it can be applied to help solve any type of complex challenge and is scalable to other communities in Canada. Based on research, we know that improving quality of life, food, health, wellbeing, inclusion, diversity, and the natural environment will play critical roles in our project. Accordingly, the proposal also flushes out the development of a community events App and supports the design of an existing plan to build a Townsizing Hub. These are subject to modification depending on feedback from community using the proposed approach once the project begins.
- Name of community: Town of New Glasgow
- Province/Territory: Nova Scotia
- Population: 9075
- Indigenous community: No
Please select a prize category:
- $5 million (population under 30,000 residents)
Please define your Challenge Statement in a single sentence that guides your preliminary proposal. It should describe the outcome (or outcomes) you hope to achieve. (50 words max)
Ranked the worst place to live in Canada by Money Sense Magazine for many years, we will close our economic divide and reverse population drain by leveraging an infrastructure of collaborative, connected technologies, and attracting more of the mobile workforce to become Canada’s capital of townsizing.
Please describe the outcome (or outcomes) your proposal seeks to achieve by elaborating on your Challenge Statement. (2,500 words max)
REFERENCING NOTE FOR THIS APPLICATION - APPLIES TO ALL QUESTIONS: All references will have a number in brackets to reference a document or link – eg. one reference(#) or multiple references(#,#,#). The complete list of references is found on Townsizing.ca/scc/references. Numerous recent studies, reports and community engagement activities have resulted in a cohesive set of goals for New Glasgow, as well as ideas for how to achieve these. In 2014, a report known as the Ivany Report(1) detailed numerous challenges being experienced in rural Nova Scotia. It identified an aging population, out-migration and change-resistant attitudes as key contributors to our current economic and social pressures. Similar conclusions were reached by the Town of New Glasgow’s Engage & Empower series. With these in mind, we have set the following four goals, which are ambitious, achievable and increasingly urgent:
Increase New Glasgow’s population by attracting more of the mobile workforce The population in Pictou County has been in decline for many years, however, for the past 35 years this decline has been in the surrounding rural communities and not in New Glasgow, the regional hub. The latest census data from Statistics Canada revealed a 5.1 per cent population decrease in New Glasgow from 9,562 in 2011 to 9,075 in 2016(2). The town is actively seeking to reverse these trends, but an unsuccessful plebiscite on amalgamation with the surrounding five municipalities in 2016 was seen as a significant setback. The town now faces a flattening tax base that is inadequate to properly resource its services for both the residents of New Glasgow and the surrounding area that also accesses its services(3). Several factors likely contribute towards this trend:
- Aging population: In the 2016 Census, 60.6% of New Glasgow’s population was 60 or over(4). This results in low fecundity, so this “greying” trend is likely to continue unless a course correction can be made.
- Youth Out-migration: Younger people are moving out of Pictou County for school, jobs, or personal interest. A Younger Perspective found that "an alarming 73% of young Nova Scotians, aged 22 to 39 years of age, would leave Nova Scotia for their career, meaning they believe more money would help them live better. The kicker? They would leave for less than $10,000 more a year."(5) In general, they also didn’t see the province as innovative, felt underutilized in their work, and not included in their organization or community in meaningful ways(5,6,7,8,9).
- Challenges Attracting and Retaining Skilled Workers: Successful local businesses — as well as the health care sector — have trouble attracting and retaining highly-skilled workers(10). They have said a competitive salary is often not enough. Both the employees and their spouses need to feel compelled to live and work in the community. The mobile workforce is an ideal group to attract to the area because, by definition, they are able to choose anywhere to live that meets their requirements. They also bring their own job with them! Moving to New Glasgow may be very attractive to a class of mobile workers, often employed in the high-tech industry, who feel stuck in the big city ‘rat race.’ The inexpensive housing, short commutes, ample recreational options and a safe community in New Glasgow are attractive features to those looking for a different pace of life. Research from Annapolis Royal, NS(11) revealed that people have moved to that area because of lifestyle and feeling part of a like-minded community. Internet infrastructure has been cited as a key factor in attracting remote workers. Furthermore, DigitalNomad.com has found digital workers are most interested in: dependable internet, cost of living, weather, safety/security, and entertainment. Poor internet service is a major frustration in much of Pictou County, but Bell’s regional telecommunications hub is located in New Glasgow’s downtown. As a result, the town has reliably high-speed internet service, supported by fibre optic lines in some areas. Therefore, one of the aims of this proposal is to support the existing movement to expand upon the successful ChamberHub pilot with a unique co-working space that will leverage this existing high-speed infrastructure. Whether through attracting more of the mobile workforce or top talent to existing local positions, increasing the town’s population starts with creating a more welcoming environment. A physical co-working space as well as an app would help residents meet like-minded people and get involved in local activities. Both of these ideas were put forward time and again by residents in the Smart Cities Survey(12).
The following would be gathered to establish a baseline and to measure progress towards meeting the needs of the mobile workforce. It also will help direct the types of services and supports offered.
Quantitative Measures:Measure the number of people who are self-reporting to live or work in New Glasgow, and for those who are part of the mobile workforce, their frequency of working out of the town. Channels include: Pictou County Chamber of Commerce, local news sources with wide reach (radio, two local papers, social media), sports teams and YMCA / Pictou County Wellness Centre, major local employers survey the partners of their employees. Once the App is created, this would also be able to gather relevant information.
- Population size
- Ability of major employers (Sobeys, Michelin, Northern Pulp) to attract and retain top talent to move to New Glasgow or Pictou County
- Number of newcomers to the community
- How long houses sit on the market before being sold
- Reporting from landlords on the number of people who move in from away or move out to another region
- Birth rates
Analyze experience of workers workplaces in New Glasgow and its surrounding employers to establish a baseline for the area, and then compare it to successful co-working spaces across the country.
Linking up information that previously sat in silos Data sitting in silos is not exclusively a challenge for New Glasgow, it is a challenge that is even seen at the global level, evidenced by having people work independently to achieve 17 separate Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)(13) to address interconnected challenges. This proposal works towards accomplishing aspects of SDGs number 1, 5, 8, 9, 10, 17 and requires joined-up thinking to achieve any of the SDGs(14). New Glasgow has a long history of active volunteering and a wide base of organizations (formal and informal) addressing many aspects of the larger social-economic-ecological situations within the region. The concern raised time and again is that good work is being done in the community, but unless someone happens to sit on two boards, the groups have difficulty in knowing what the others are doing. This results in a replication of work, reports being carefully created and seldom read, and a general lack of understanding of the bigger picture outside of each silo. One PC2020 community engagement session identified working in silos as a barrier holding the community back(15). The proposed Interactive Asset Map would be a living record where key findings can be uploaded and links maintained to the original sources of information. This is essential for three reasons: 1) It enables sense making across existing siloed data; 2) It functions as a single source of information that businesses, NGOs and government institutions can rely on for relevant, current information; and 3) It would reduce replication of reports or engaging community in the same conversations (which leads to disengagement) because it would be easier to find existing relevant research than to replicate it. This proposal also seeks to connect siloed information to create an events App that would serve as a single access point for community information for residents, visitors and those considering moving here. Dozens of survey responses mentioned the creation of an app that would help them get connected to community information and meet like-minded people. A significant number of the survey responses also requested services or entertainment options that already exist. This further supports the need for a user-friendly community App that would help people find the information they are looking for. The App alone is not enough, and must be supported with intentional communications and engagement with the community.
- Number of information systems presently in use/up-to-date that share data with one another (count the connections).
- Assess sense of belonging measures across population using the Canadian Community Health Survey.
- Surveys to measure people’s and organizations’ experience of accessing data.
- Data required for NGOs and businesses that would be addressed in the Interactive Asset Map, and continue to measure level of satisfaction of service providers’ access to information across silos
- Levels of satisfaction with access to community information and events before and after the App.
Connecting community (citizens, organizations and institutions) with each other and relevant information to inform collective action, support local businesses and meet the needs of the mobile workforce As mentioned in Goal 2, the community has a wellspring of engaged citizens and organizations seeking to support our community’s best interests. However, the fiscal, resource and time-bound realities make it challenging for people to be in the know of all of the initiatives being designed, implemented and executed in the region. This is a challenge even within existing fields of practice. A further layer complicating collaboration is the natural tension that arises when groups see one another as competitors, and do not see the possibility for collaboration. This is a mindset widely seen because in a very real way the organizations’ survival depends upon competing for limited financial resources and for people’s attention. The engagement processes designed around the World Systems Model are founded in deep understandings of how to:
- Depersonalize the tensions that are bound to arise in certain circumstances
- Find creative resolutions
- Identify the larger trends and weaknesses within the system that need to be addressed
- Identify leverage points that can fundamentally shift the system towards the intended outcomes
- For each player to understand their unique role and minimize unnecessary replication of work and better resource allocation(16) After each session, the program coordinator would upload new information discussed in the process, interpretations of data, and key insights to inform the other layers of analysis. Over time, this would form a database rich in both qualitative and quantitative information.
- Number of people, organizations and institutions collaborating on (accessing and updating) shared information resources.
- People’s and organizations’ level of satisfaction with collaborating
Improving the economy of New Glasgow and closing the economic divide New Glasgow was a historically prosperous town, has been identified as one of the nine economic hubs in Nova Scotia, and is the fourth largest urban area in the province. It is facing challenges often afflicting mid-sized cities, described by the Council for Canadian Urbanism(17) as:
- Losing jobs in traditionally strong sectors due to a rapidly changing global economy
- Planning frameworks that are not responsive to the needs of residents
- “...may fall short on the infrastructure, human capacity or resources required to respond to their complicated predicaments” As outlined by Jack Kyte, executive director of PCCC, we are not presently ‘investment ready’ for large organizations to establish here with significant work to do first(18). We need a different approach, realizing that the most likely change in our situation will come from attracting migrant workers and nurturing small-to-medium sized businesses. A survey done by the PRDA in 2013 showed that 73% of the businesses in Pictou County have four or fewer employees(19). New Glasgow is an ideal location for people looking to move out of congested cities that are high in pollution and whose pace is unsustainable. Our community is situated 10 minutes from sandy beaches with warm water, is close to nature with a variety of outdoor activities, enjoys good school systems, has a thriving Farmer’s Market and an active arts scene, and has significant financial investments from local business owners who want the community to flourish. To help accommodate the mobile workforce and to support local small businesses that formerly operated out of their homes, the PCCC opened a co-working space (ChamberHub) last year located on New Glasgow’s waterfront. Its business model is a good foundation to build on, where anchor tenants pay reasonable rates for renting offices, which in turn provide free common co-working space for anyone to use.
- Number of businesses operating in New Glasgow
- Number of people being hired / let go by local businesses
- Number / percentage of employed people (of working age and ability)
- Number of people living in the region and working remotely
- Number of new people moving to the region
- Number of people using ChamberHub (present co-working space) and the new co-working space
- Sales of houses – prices and how long they sit on the market
RATIONALE for the SMART CITIES APPROACH
The Smart Cities approach is perhaps the only approach that will help lift New Glasgow out of its present trend of decline. Specifically, a whole-system approach founded in Openness, Integration, Transferability, and Collaboration will enable the community to work together to leverage their knowledge of the system, passion for transformation, and desire for a better future for their grandchildren. Leading up to the final proposal, we would start the development of the pilot Interactive Asset Map (IAM), which would be open for all towns taking part in the Smart Cities Challenge across Canada. The Town of New Glasgow – through the application of the proposed IAM, a unique co-working space, and community App – aims to create the experience and embolden the fresh mindset that young talent are looking for. It is our aim to be a leader in applying these factors in unexpected ways to become the place that mobile workers want to be. New Glasgow only stands to benefit from sharing its Interactive Asset Map and App with other communities in Canada and abroad. This is for several reasons:
- Initial benefits include attracting attention by being a place where others can come and learn, while some might even be attracted to live here once they experience the culture.
- The digital infrastructure and quality of information in the Interactive Asset Map becomes more robust as other communities add data and contribute to code, thus increasing trend identification.
- Over time, it becomes easier and less expensive to administer IAM and the App.
STRATEGY for MEASURING PROGRESS
Developmental Evaluation Approach:
- The evaluation began with the first conversations regarding applying for the Smart Cities program. The citizens committee and other stakeholders are involved in designing the evaluation, gathering feedback on progress, and course correcting as we go.
- The coordinator(s) of the project would be trained in Developmental Evaluation and will be advised by a team of experts from Nova Scotia, including St. Francis Xavier University’s Extension Department.
- Each goal has specific measures outlined and the evaluation will combine quantitative and qualitative measures for a fulsome picture of progress, challenges, and possibilities by asking, what, so what and now what, as the project moves forward.
Please describe how your community residents have shaped your Challenge Statement. Describe your plans for continuing to engage and involve them in your final proposal going forward. (1,500 words max)
New Glasgow’s submission to the Smart Cities Challenge is the culmination of many years of decentralized, community-based ideation. The issues we are tackling are broadly agreed upon by the public, having been identified over and again in community discussions in previous years. The publication of the highly influential Ivany Report(1) was a watershed moment, and a number groups crystallized to tackle the trends it identified. In 2014, more than 250 people gathered in the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) gym for the first open community conversation held by Pictou County 2020 (PC2020)(20), a citizens’ response to the Ivany Report. Those gathered identified their vision for the region as a Healthy, United, Thriving and Bold community. Outlined in the definitions of the vision were improving the economy, reversing population decline, and having a positive attitude(21a). The series of meetings sparked many tangible initiatives. The first was to strengthen Pulse Pictou County, a highly successful social group aimed at making the area a more engaging place for young people to live. A conversation focused to develop a business hub (ChamberHub pilot), and the NSCC’s Innovation Hub. Eleven other projects emerged from PC2020 that continue to make a positive impact on local communities. In February 2018 Frank MacFarlane, Business Development Officer for the Town of New Glasgow, tabled the Smart Cities Challenge with New Glasgow’s Business Advisory Council. Several of its members were tasked with evaluating the application process. A group of more than 20 community thought leaders participated in a visioning session facilitated by St Francis Xavier University’s (SFX) Extension Department. This group - and the buzz surrounding the project - grew over the ensuing weeks, as leaders of various community organizations, local businesses and community members answered the call. Member representatives came from: NSCC, Pictou Landing First Nation, YMCA, PC2020, Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA), Community Health Boards, PCCC, Active Pictou County, Pulse Pictou County, Pictou County Multicultural Society and Member of Parliament Sean Fraser. This group evolved into a Citizen Advisory Committee that leaned on their lived experience and knowledge of the community, through an assessment of its assets and strengths, to create and identify the goals contained within our Challenge Statement.
APPROACH to DATA COLLECTION
After hearing the Committee’s desire to approach the Challenge Statement with an intersectional lens, one of our participants who works in collaboration with Scottish colleagues in the area of systems change, brought the Glasgow Indicators Project(22) to the group’s attention. Leveraging our community’s close and long-standing relationship with Glasgow, Scotland was also seen as a major opportunity. Our region is known as “the Birthplace of New Scotland,” and has deep cultural, governance, and genetic links with the old country. In recent years, Glasgow has made strides in the area of collaborative decision-making as an innovative way of solving problems, so we turned to our old friend for guidance. The Glasgow Indicators Project (GIP) was based on the World Systems Model for Resilient Communities (WSM)(16,23). The aim of GIP is to create an accessible resource to inform a wide audience about issues of importance to Glasgow’s population (eg. health, poverty, education, environment) that illustrates trends, makes comparisons both within the city and with other cities, allows progress to be monitored and encourages discussions and engagement about the future of Glasgow. The WSM was chosen by the group as a data collection framework for the community engagement activities as a way to test whether the model would be effective and would be well received by people in the community(24)
BROADER COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
The Committee decided to have a two-pronged approach for feedback, both online and in-person, in order to reach people who might not normally participate.
- The first strategy was to gather community input through an online survey. A landing page with a one-minute video explaining the challenge, the challenge statement, and an online survey was made available to the public(12).
- The Committee issued a press release that led to both online and print articles in the two widely read local newspapers. The local radio station, ECFM, aired an interview with two members of the Committee -- a business owner and a social entrepreneur. This interview ran several times throughout the survey submission period, and numbers of survey submissions peaked after each airing.
- Releasing a series of videos on social media sites directed people to the online survey. The link was posted on signage in high-traffic areas. Local businesses and organizations displayed posters and promoted the survey. Organic social media growth supported a high response rate across the community. The open-ended questions on the online survey generated feedback from 137 individuals with over 1100 comments and suggestions, which were themed into the 12 nodes of the WSM(24).
- Secondly, a table was set up at the New Glasgow Farmer’s Market to gather in-person feedback.
- Many people commented on how they found the visuals of the WSM helpful and could see how all of the areas were interrelated to the Challenge Statement.
- In total, 163 people of all ages voted (by placing marbles into jars representing common themes discussed in community engagements over the years) on priority areas they felt would help grow the economy and attract more people. In total, 871 votes were cast, with an average of 5.34 areas of importance per person. Results from the survey and prioritization activity were analyzed to decide how to move forward with choosing Smart City actions. Survey responses that fit within the Smart Cities criteria, were in one of the top prioritized areas, and that most directly addressed the Challenge Statement were chosen. Data visualizations(25) show the priorities directly addressed in this proposal were HABITAT and INFRASTRUCTURE, COMMUNITY, WEALTH and TRADE. Because New Glasgow’s proposed Smart Cities Challenge will apply a whole-systems lens to community engagement and connected data, other environmental and social components in the WSM will form an integral part of achieving New Glasgow’s Smart City Goals. For instance, the Townsizing Hub might use the World Game to engage a group of entrepreneurs to identify entrepreneurial opportunities that address community concerns around the environment.
PLANS for FUTURE ENGAGEMENT
A more rigorous and inclusive community engagement process is needed for the development and implementation of the final proposal. Similar to The Glasgow Indicators Project(22), our community will build a shared understanding of the best actions to address the Challenge Statement by creating a feedback loop between relevant information and trends impacting the Challenge Statement, and engaging citizens from diverse groups in our community to find the best ways to solve them. We propose using the World Game(2.5min video:26) as an interactive role play game for the World Systems Model(16,23). Therefore, the proposed actions are put forward as tentative, since broader engagement of more diverse groups is needed to test the assumptions of this proposal and to develop a final proposal that also serves the needs of those historically underrepresented. This approach supports AYP’s call for economic design where leaders “...work from a living strategy that evolves into the future, no matter the change or disruption.”(5) To create the final proposal, we will investigate four interrelated aspects designed to support each other to engage the community, demonstrate the value of the proposed approach, and provide technological assets to share with all Smart Cities applicants.
- We will build a pilot Interactive Asset Map (IAM) based on the World Systems Model and influenced by the Asset-Based Citizen-Led Development approach of the Coady International Institute - open to all Smart Cities applicants. This would also include initial input of relevant data and customization of the materials used to support local community engagement. The engagement sessions in this phase would also feed back into the database. This database would be open for all towns taking part in the Smart Cities Challenge across Canada.
- We will conduct a more comprehensive community engagement process leading up to the final proposal submission using the World Game, a scenario-based approach eliciting shared understanding of the systemic barriers and opportunities around an issue, and planned through local experts in the International Association of Public Participation process. Leaders from community groups with diverse experiences and views will host these conversations in their respective communities to better inform the final set of projects and activities to be included in the proposal. We commit to re-examining our assumptions, actions and achievements in an ongoing learning journey that will be captured through the Developmental Evaluation.
- We will research the physical requirements of the Townsizing Hub to best serve the intended population of mobile workers, which we anticipate would be a mix of people working for established companies and entrepreneurs.
- The final aspect will be to create a small-scale pilot for the Community Information & Events App that would aim to build a Minimum Viable Product by completing Slices 1 and 2 outlined in Question #6. Community and partner input would help populate the App with initial content. User feedback would also help inform its user interface. All of the above activities would work together to help inform the final project proposal.
Please describe your preliminary proposal and its activities or projects. (2,000 words max)
- INTERACTIVE ASSET MAP (IAM) & ENGAGEMENT FEEDBACK LOOP
- TOWNSIZING HUB: Support Existing Initiative
- APP: Community Events
PROJECT #1: Interactive Asset Map & Engagement Feedback Loop:
- We propose to build upon the exemplary work of the Glasgow Centre for Population Health (www.UnderstandingGlasgow.com) and the International Futures Forum in Scotland (www.UnderstandingScotland.com) as a starting point to create a technology platform that enables informed conversations that easily engage people in systems-based conversations. Not only are these approaches appropriate for building connected technology that serves the Challenge Statement, broader community needs, and can be applied elsewhere; it also reinforces our existing relationship and historic roots with our sister city of Glasgow, Scotland.
- Interactive Asset Map (IAM): IAM’s approach is based on the World Systems Model for Resilient Communities (WSM)(16) which acts: 1) as a way to organize information typically found in silos, and 2) has several interactive ‘games’ that can be played with stakeholder groups to make the data come alive. We propose to organize data according to the visual of the World Systems Model for Resilient Communities that shows 12 nodes (silos) in a circle, and their 66 points of interconnection. One of the unique features of this approach is that it would be coded to also gather and highlight information about the 66 interconnections between the 12 nodes. The Interactive Asset Map will build upon the basic concept illustrated on www.understandingglasgow.comto create a user-friendly interface that supports individuals and groups to gain a better understanding of information that is relevant to making decisions on allocation of resources, understanding what types of businesses are needed, and general support for collaboration across NGOs, businesses, and public institutions. Being able to have a single point to access trends, reports, findings, strategic plans and innovative ideas will enable smoother collaboration. It also allows for users to move beyond writing a report into making data come alive and making connections across traditional boundaries of information. There are many ways to add layers of analysis to the data that increase the ability of people to see, understand, and make decisions based upon the interactions within and between the nodes. Furthermore, the data needs to be able to be viewed from three levels:
- New Glasgow at a city level
- New Glasgow as an urban centre within rural context – economic centre for neighbouring towns and rural communities in Pictou County
- Nova Scotia in a global context In addition to the Asset Map being used to inform engagements and decision-making, it will also be kept up-to-date as the newly gained understanding of the situation is fed back after each engagement. This capitalizes upon the innate human ability to see and understand complex patterns.
- Community Engagement and Feedback Loop: As proven by the Glasgow Indicators Project, an iterative feedback loop will be created between the Interactive Asset Map and community engagement sessions. The engagement sessions will be facilitated by members of diverse groups in the community to engage their respective community. It will take the form of the World Game, which was specifically designed as a way to engage people in a ‘serious role play game’ that enables project planning(26). Its elegant design breaks down barriers to working with complexity, so much so that a modified version was even played with young children(16). It is anticipated that a certain level of customization will be required to overcome systemic barriers that typically prevent some underrepresented groups from participating in community engagement that relies on written language capture and sharing of background information. See Project 2 for an example of the World Game. The types of data expected to inform these engagements include: Possible shock events that would destabilize the community; local, provincial, national and global trends; barriers; opportunities; ideas bank, etc. This information might sound challenging for people to integrate, however, the success of the game rests in its ability to provide a simple way for people to feel energized and enthusiastic about the future in the face of major challenges. This allows for an added layer of insight to truly empower the average citizen, organizations and institutions to make the connection between trends (whether local or global) and the needed collective action. Identifying local, provincial, national and global trends enables us to know where New Glasgow is able to take a lead on an innovation, and where the trends indicate our resources are best placed elsewhere. Empowering people to work with simple systems and future approaches increases resilience of existing and new organizations to adapt to trends, and gives the first mover advantage, as well as knowing when to redirect resources.
PROJECT #2: TOWNSIZING HUB: Support Existing Initiative:
- Some 33 comments in the Smart City Survey directly referenced having various types of hubs as solutions to attracting the mobile workforce(24). This coincides with efforts already underway that build upon years of community requests for hubs, the town’s Community Economic Development Plan, and the at-capacity pilot ChamberHub. Moreover, a local developer is in the final stages of a $2.5-million renovation of a heritage building in downtown New Glasgow, the historic Roseland Theatre, where Viola Desmond took her stand against racial discrimination. It is our intention to utilize that location as the physical component of our townsizing strategy. See attached letter. Since the focus of the Smart City Challenge (SCC) is connected technology, and we already have momentum around the physical structure, we are proposing that the component of the Townsizing Hub addressed within the SCC is in using connected technology to better understand the needed design and services that will provide support to mobile workers unlike anywhere else they might live. Important aspects sometimes overlooked are the unique stressors and psychological needs of the people likely to use our Hub. Design and Supports: We anticipate that users of the hub will include a range of mobile workers, including those working remotely for established companies, entrepreneurs, and those looking to open new businesses. Research from The Mindset Project(27), highlights the unique stressors that lead to mental health problems in entrepreneurs. Other stressors faced by mobile workers looking to relocate to New Glasgow may need to be taken into account. Since this hub will also serve local residents, we also intend to partner with SFX to better support underrepresented parts of our existing population who often face systemic barriers, which has the spin-off effect of creating a more culturally inclusive community. World Game in Played a Hub: One of the activities that would take place in the Townsizing Hub would be to utilize IAM and the engagement process to support coordination of action by new or existing businesses, the Town of New Glasgow, the community sector, and/or other institutions to understand:
- local to global trends and their respective impacts or opportunities;
- the innovations, course adjustments, and actions required to achieve common goals; and
- possible new business ventures that address identified needs and opportunities. Example: A small group played the World Game and looked at a few interconnected issues around Governance, Trade, Habitat and Biosphere.
- Challenges: Each player chose one issue from their summary (pulled from IAM): o Trade - Mobility of People: Mobile workers want to be able to cycle between the Town of New Glasgow and beautiful locations in the County o Habitat & Infrastructure: The towns and municipalities in Pictou County agree to invest money in fixing the roads and adding bike lanes, but they do not have money for ongoing upkeep after initial Federal funding, so they need the roads to last longer than they presently do o Biosphere - Pollution: Our landfills are filling up fast - especially with the frequency people need to change their tires on the East Coast
- Given a real scenario: Governance: The Federal government announces $180 billion in infrastructure and recreation funding
- New business idea: The group had a sudden flash of insight - they realized they could open a business to start recycling old tires into asphalt and increase the lifespan of our roads. Since no one else is doing this locally, they can have a first mover advantage and can export their products to other regions in the Maritimes and across Canada. This is a win-win-win solution that also helps the local economy.
PROJECT #3: App - Community events:
- During our consultation with the public, we found significant demand (72 comments) for greater use of connected technologies, much of this section came directly from suggestions(24). A strong theme emerged about a need for a mobile app that serves as a centralized, comprehensive calendar for events in the county. Currently, this information is scattered between Facebook events, newspaper event listings, church newsletters, bulletin boards and the like. All are incomplete, and this sometimes leads to events being booked on the same days and times. Similar demand exists for a comprehensive, single-source-of-truth for event cancellations. Our region routinely has heavy snowstorms that force cancellations, and this leads to confusion about whether schools and events are cancelled. Plenty of other suggestions emerged as well, often inspired by social and peer-to-peer networks such as Kijiji, Facebook and Meetup. Wherever possible, we will leverage existing technology platforms such as these during the development of this app. In app development, the industry best practice is to aim for an initial Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that will fulfill certain key functions, making it both useful and stable. Since the demand for a community events calendar emerged strongly, and since this is comparatively simple from a technical standpoint, we will build the MVP around this concept. From there we can add in additional features and functions in slices, as funds become available and technical progress is made. First Slice: Create a comprehensive calendar for community events:
- Base infrastructure on Google Calendars platforms
- Allow app users to add events through the app
- Allow community members to add events by email, which can be uploaded by volunteer moderators
- Allow calendar viewing via the app, a website and also a Google Calendar you can subscribe to
- Allow users to add events from the app to their own calendar system: Apple calendar, Outlook, Google, etc. Second Slice: Add social profiles that allow people to RSVP for activity-based meetups
- Allow users to sign up and create a simple social profile stating their name, interests, age, etc.
- Enable users to RSVP for events on the calendar
- Enable users to become “friends”
- Leverage existing app technology from Meetup, possibly via API integration
- Allow creation of interest-based groups such as sewing, hiking, squash, etc. and broadcast invites to related events to these groups Third Slice: Make it a one-stop shop for static local info
- Listings of annual events and festivals such as Festival of the Tartans, Dragon Boat Festival, Winter Carnival, Johnny Miles
- Garbage and recycling pick up schedules o Instructions on how to get onto the town’s existing text notification system for garbage collection
- Coverage map and login information for the town’s free wifi network called “Flourish”
- Transit information such as CHAD Transit and taxi contact info
- Recreation information such as walking, hiking and biking trail maps
- Listings for local businesses, especially restaurants, bars and cafes
- Hospitals & mental health support information
- Schools, community centres
- Theatre, music venues Fourth Slice: Establishes forums for user-submitted posts
- Adds emergency alerts
- Adds local rental housing listings
- Adds user-submitted event cancellations, brought into one central list • “Help wanted” ads for paid and volunteer work
- Job board
- Ride sharing board Possible additional features:
- Online ordering from the New Glasgow Farmers’ Market
- Uber-style, peer-to-peer ride-sharing and driver services
- Online registration for sports teams, programs, services
- Coupon or daily deals from local businesses Once this app is created, it will offer an opportunity to be used in similar rural communities. The design architecture and code base we develop for this app could easily be “re-skinned” and used by other municipalities. This white label approach is frequently used by software development companies, and allows for work done for one client to be used for others. In our case, the app could be shared with other towns! As we add more features, these could be released to other communities as well.
Please describe the ways in which your preliminary proposal supports your community’s medium and long-term goals, strategies, and plans. (500 words max)
This proposal complements and builds upon the short-, medium- and long-term goals of the community and its initiatives already in progress. In addition to the examples elaborated upon below, the Challenge Statement builds upon three past economic plans for our community(19,28,29,30). The present proposal seeks to support the outcomes from community engagements and projects already in progress by:
- Creating an Interactive Asset Map and engagement feedback loop that can connect all relevant data and provide an interesting way of engaging with data(www.understandingglasgow.com, http://www.h3uni.org/practices/world-game/, 24 – See visual Reference 25);
- Support the thinking behind what services are needed at a co-working hub; and
- Expand upon Pulse Pictou County’s efforts to create connections between young professionals through the App.
In 2013 New Glasgow engaged citizens through multiple community conversations that fed into the current Community and Economic Development Plan(31), which included the following goals and relevant actions:
- Building a positive business environment for local businesses.
- Positioning New Glasgow as a key location in today’s global, knowledge-based economy:
- Incubation/innovation centres
- Partner with universities
- Improve broadband services for creative industry sectors.
In 2017, the Town of New Glasgow hosted a series of ‘Engage and Empower’ conversations(32), which resulted in the community putting forward the ideas to:
- Develop a creative economy strategy
- Increase online presence
- Establish a committee to attract and retain mobile workers and families
- Support the development of the ChamberHub to attract more mobile workers
Below are three examples of community groups that focus on engaging cross-sectors of society to help us rewrite our story. Pictou County Chamber of Commerce: A pilot co-working space called ChamberHub opened last year, which received start-up capital from Sobeys and Michelin. Its business model has proven successful and now turns a small profit from anchor tenants, thus enabling free common space for anyone. It is our intention to expand upon this proven model in such a way to further support mobile workers. Pictou County 2020: Pictou County 2020 (PC2020) is a volunteer, asset-based, citizen-led response to the Ivany Report(1). Their initial meeting in 2014 engaged over 250 citizens who collectively identified their vision as a Healthy, United, Thriving and Bold community. Since then, PC2020 has hosted nine engagement sessions where citizens (broad engagement of diverse groups - across age, culture, ability, and socio-economic status) formed action groups that explored the potential to transform the community towards its vision by identifying(15):
- No longer working: Working in silos, attitude/mindset, outmigration of youth, dependence on big industry and government, pollution
- Innovation towards the vision: Revitalize the economy, increase active citizenship in the region, better quality of life
- Pulse Pictou County: This is a grassroots initiative that aims to attract and retain a growing population of young working people by making the area a more engaging place for young people to live and contribute. The App would directly complement and strengthen their efforts.
15. PC2020 Connects - Dec 2015 - A159163.pdf (751.53kb) 19. PRDA - Pic Co Business Attraction - Investment Strategy - Final Report - Mar 20-13 - A159163.pdf (1.46mb) 24. SCC - Results from Survey, Voted Priorities, Statistics, Data Visualizations - April 2018 - A159163.pdf (4.19mb) 25. Data Visualizations of Smart Cities Challenge Engagement Results - April 2018 - A159163.pdf (2.62mb) 28. Forward Together Strategy - 2010 - A159163.pdf (779.78kb) 29. Pictou County Economic Development Strategy - August 2009 - A159163.pdf (2.55mb) 30. Pictou County Economic Development Strategy Implementation Plan - February 2010 - A159163.pdf (1.27mb) 31. TNG - Community Economic DDevelopment Plan - A159163.pdf (1.11mb) 32. Engage & Empower Sessions March 2017 - A159163.pdf (84.33kb)
Please describe your community’s readiness and ability to successfully implement your proposal. (1,000 words max)
The town and community in New Glasgow is ready to receive the $250,000 finalist grant and prove ourselves to win the $5 million.
- COMMUNITY READINESS: The sense of positivity in our community around the ideas generated for the Smart Cities Challenge is palpable. A dedicated group of 30+ people have contributed greatly to this proposal, and as we discuss it with people, more become interested. Please see Questions 5 and 7 for more information on how this proposal builds upon existing momentum.
- HISTORY OF COMPLEX PROJECTS: New Glasgow has a proven track record of creating, introducing, and implementing collaborative and complex projects that support the health, well-being and happiness of our community, for example: 2.1 The Pictou County Wellness Centre (2012) is a state-of-the-art centre created in partnership with the YMCA and surrounding municipal units. This 150,000-square-foot facility houses two rinks / entertainment centre, community rooms and a YMCA Health, Fitness and Aquatics Centre with more than 1,500 visitors a day This project was extremely complex due to a number of factors: Incorporating the YMCA of Pictou County, which was not eligible for Federal Government capital funding for a new building Completion of a feasibility study for the overall facility Bringing together the provincial/federal governments, corporate sector and community to raise significant funds Formed a Federal Oversight Committee Federal Government Audit of the project Overall project management delivered on time and on budget 2.2 The Farmers Market. which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, is a great success story. Starting in a temporary building, the number of vendors and visitors has consistently grown over the years. The Market is now housed in a seasonal dome and a year-round building by the riverfront, and has added a community garden. Both the dome and building are typically bustling with vendors on Saturday mornings with an average of 3000+ visitors in the summer months. This project has enabled local producers of food, arts and other imaginative goods to have a steady marketplace in which to flourish. Customers regularly drive more than an hour to shop there, and vendors have been drawn away from the Halifax Seaport Market. 2.3 New Glasgow’s Water Treatment Plant is a source of clean and sustainable water for the town. Because our forefathers had enough vision to buy land in the county and build a lake, we were able to open our water treatment plant in 2000. We are presently completing a $5.2 million expansion that will enable us to continue to meet and exceed the federal drinking water standards. Today, the Town of New Glasgow also supplies water to the towns of Westville and Trenton. 2.4 Active Pictou County is a successful partnership between the six municipal units of Pictou County and the Province of Nova Scotia that began in 2009. Its purpose is to develop the necessary conditions for all citizens to participate in physical activity. Areas of focus include active transportation and trails, equitable access to facilities, after-school programming and provision of leadership and training opportunities. 2.5 Regional Enterprise Network (REN): Success is following a failed attempt to amalgamate in 2016: Presently, the six municipal units are in the process of implementing a REN for the Pictou County area, supported by the provincial government.
- IMPLEMENTING: Structures, Processes and Practices Planned to Manage and Implement the Project: The working group will hire a project manager to oversee and manage the entire project. This person will access professionals from the Town of New Glasgow, the community working group, local expertise and the community at large to determine the team leaders for each of the four project areas. This group will develop a project budget. The team leaders will determine the members on their team based on the knowledge and skill set required, oversee the plan and manage the execution of their proposal area in consultation with each other, the project manager and the community at large. One team will be responsible to build upon the Interactive Asset Map (IAM); one team will research the physical requirements and options for a Townsizing Hub space; one team will be responsible to create a small scale pilot App for community events; and one team will oversee community engagement and feedback, which weaves throughout the three other areas. The project manager will develop the overall project timeline and scheduled timelines for each component of the proposal. The team leaders and project manager together will determine where potential weaknesses exist in their team membership, realizing contract positions may be required to provide resources in some skill areas. A local resident is also one of the co-founders of H3Uni, an educational charity based in Scotland that comprises the creator of the World Systems Model. Therefore, we have local expertise in training, modifying and delivering the methodology behind the Interactive Asset Map. The large number of community partnerships committed to this project will enable the project team to gather relevant, timely information and have a wide outreach to encourage the community at large. Popularizing the elegantly designed IAM and the App through known community leaders and organizations, coupled with IAM’s inherent value to organizations and the App’s value to citizens, businesses and NGOs, creates the conditions for community ownership to update and use both technologies. Moreover, the plan will include which town or community organizations and businesses will take ownership over aspects of the platforms. For instance; library employees are able to complete database maintenance for community access, and NGOs like the United Way are in the process of gathering Population Health data as part of their Vital Signs Collective Impact approach. The large scale projects that the town and community have completed in the last few years -- on time and on budget -- along with the regional initiatives, reflect the passion, determination and willingness of town staff, local professionals and community members to work together to make New Glasgow a better place to live, work and play.
Describe your plan for using the $250,000 grant, should you be selected as a finalist. Provide a high-level breakdown of spending categories and an accompanying rationale. (500 words max)
The finalist grant would accomplish five interrelated aspects of engaging the community, prototyping and preparing for the final proposal.
Interactive Asset Map (IAM): $75,000
- Pilot basic open source IAM, available for all Smart City Challenge applicants once it is ready
- IAM Concept builds upon proven Glasgow Indicator Project(22)
- User-friendly interface, elegant design
- Basic data analytics
- 12 nodes and 66 interconnections to gather data (statistics, reports, summaries of findings, ideas for innovation, citizen engagement, citizen priorities)
- Ability to view existing and emergent data
- Pilot used in initial community engagement sessions to test elegance of feedback loop
- Populate IAM with base information
- Can see global trends per node and possible impact events
- Build ideas bank from engagement - feed into future business ventures or offer intersectional solutions for further addressing the Smart Cities Challenge
- Aim to also have easy uploading or use of ideas for any user
- Community Engagement: $75,000
- Modify existing World Systems Model and World Game to local context
- H3Uni’s local resident trains town staff, project coordinator and community members on the World Game engagement process
- Design initial engagement sessions, taking into account the information needed to complete the final proposal, other types of engagement needed in addition to the World Game
- Engage people in feedback and testing of IAM, the App and defining Townsizing Hub design and services
- Remain open to feedback that suggests a course change for final proposal based on feedback and leverage points
- A single source of information about the community or events is in high demand
- Create a Minimum Viable Product by completing Slice 1 and 2 outlined in Question #6.
- Community and partner input will help inform user interface and content
- New Glasgow library’s staff are enthusiastic about information systems and can be responsible for some of the data entry and upkeep, along with the town’s technology department
- Connect with local sources of information; like the library’s upcoming Google map of the 151 Great Things about Pictou County(33)
- Project coordinator is responsible for overseeing the timelines, project plan, and the coordination of all of the aspects listed in this section
- Train library staff, town staff and project coordinator on entering information into IAM and App
- Work with citizens working group and local expertise in systems transformation to analyze input from community engagements and IAM to inform next steps
- Research and put together recommendations for moving forward with the final proposal, gather feedback and write final proposal
- Engage the community and non-local mobile workers in research
- Analyze present workplaces in New Glasgow and its surrounding employers to establish a baseline for the area, and then compare it to a few wildly successful co-working spaces across the country
- Considering piloting a new analytic measurement tool that would indicate how to shape the working environment to create a healthy workplace culture and optimize for psychological wellbeing
- Spin-off effects for culture change in local employers and work spaces
Describe the partners that are or will be involved in your proposal. Where partners are not yet determined, describe the process for selecting them. (500 words max)
This submission is enthusiastically supported by a raft of partner organizations from the private, public and community sectors. The Selection Committee will adhere to procurement policies for the Town of New Glasgow(34): Velsoft is an award-winning New Glasgow IT company specializing in creating apps, asset maps, databases, online learning resources, etc. Velsoft created Townsizing.ca and the online survey. They’ll contribute industry expertise, helping establish realistic budgets and timelines for technology development. They may submit an RFP if the $5 million grant is secured, but if this contract is won by another firm, they'll remain involved nonetheless. MacGillivray Properties is a local developer now completing a $2.5 Million renovation of the historic Roseland Theatre in downtown New Glasgow. The building and surrounding green space could host our Townsizing Hub, and McGillivray has design and architectural expertise to contribute. Marram Consulting brings expertise in community engagement, community development and strategic planning. Brings strategic thinking and knowledge of provincial systems transformation to the table. Adrienne McCurdy Consulting has expertise with the World System Model (WSM)(23) and World Game(26). She’s a co-founder of H3Uni, and has been instrumental in developing this proposal. She’ll design engagement sessions, train World Game hosts, and help design the IAM and related data collection processes. The Town of New Glasgow will provide professional and facilities support, and host community engagement sessions. Local libraries will support information gathering and data input into IAM and the App. Pictou Landing First Nation is a local Mi’kmaq Band. Their unique and underrepresented perspectives will be taken into consideration. St. Francis Xavier University (SFX) is a strategic partner that contributed to this proposal through facilitation and strategic thinking. Presently SFX is leading a multi-stakeholder provincial team helping create a more resilient and effective workforce for Nova Scotia. The Nova Scotia Community College and SFX will provide research support, will be engagement hosts, and will help identify relevant data for IAM and the App. H3Uni (H3Uni.org) is an educational charity based in Scotland whose members informed the Glasgow Indicator Project(22). H3Uni’s expertise will ensure the IAM is designed to optimize identification of critical trends and community input. Black Educators Association will provide a link to the African Nova Scotian community, can host engagements and help to customize the approach. Pictou County Chamber of Commerce is a link to the business community and the successful ChamberHub pilot. They’ll promote engagement opportunities, provide data for IAM and the App, and are a strategic partner in implementation. Pictou County YMCA’s CEO has contributed to the creation of this proposal, can host engagements and promote activities. Pictou County 2020 is a citizen’s response to the Now or Never Report. They will host engagements. Pulse Pictou County exists to attract and retain young professionals with fun, interactive social events. They will host engagements and involve their members in feedback. United Way of Pictou County supports many local initiatives and is completing a Vital Signs community report. They will contribute this data to IAM.
Provide a 200-word summary of your preliminary proposal. You may also provide an image that represents your preliminary proposal.
Nous proposons un investissement qui utilise l’information et la technologie sociale pour effectuer une transformation profonde à propos de notre accès à l’information. L’objectif est d’adopter une approche interdépendant, selon celui du projet Glasgow Indicators (www.understandingglasgow.com) pour augmenter notre population, et combler l’écart socioéconomique. La technologie et services connexes constituerait une base pour permettre la croissance de résilience parmi les associations existantes, informera les nouvelles initiatives et mènerait à la création d’une communauté dynamique qui attirait la main-d’oeuvre mobile. Puisque notre approche se fonde sur une vision systémique de la situation, en intégrant les perspectives sociales, environnementales et économiques, elle peut être utilisé pour résoudre n’importe quel type de défi complexe, et est extensible à d’autres collectivités au Canada. Selon la recherché, nous savons que l’amélioration de la qualité de vie, la nourriture, la santé, le bien-être sociale, l’inclusion, la diversité et l’environnement naturel, se jouent un rôle essentiel au succès de notre projet. La proposition décrit une App d’événements communautaires et soutient la conception d’un hub de Townsizing. Notre proposition décrit les plans pour le développement d’une application qui garderait l’information sur les activités communautaires, et les plans pour un centre d’affaires pour la main d’oeuvre mobile.