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Research Reports

Blueprint for Building Social Development

  1. Introduction

The Regional Hub Project for Building Community Planning Capacity for Social Development is sponsored by the Social Planning Network of Ontario1 (SPNO) and funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF).

The Regional Hub Project for Capacity Building in Social Development Planning is working in four areas of Northern Ontario (Timmins/Cochrane², North Bay/Nipissing, Sault Ste. Marie/Algoma, and Parry Sound) to support local and regional leadership in the development and/or strengthening of their capacities for addressing their self-defined social development priorities and for linking social development planning and action with the economic development of their respective areas.

This blueprint document consolidates the work of two community stakeholders’ meetings in October 2010 and January 2011. This document:

  1. a) summarizes a formative social development agenda based on a vision and set of priorities for Timmins/Cochrane framed at a stakeholders’ meeting on October 6-7, 2010;
  2. b) proposes a set of objectives and activities related to the four major social development priorities framed by community stakeholders who came together on January 17, 2011; and

The SPNO is a network of 20 independent, community-based social planning organizations across the province. The SPNO exists to strengthen the capacity of community-based planning organizations to improve the quality of life and social well-being of their communities ( ).

The term “Timmins/Cochrane” will be used throughout this Blueprint document to refer to Timmins and the District of Cochrane.

  1. c) reports the decisions made on January 17 about an interim process (9 to 12 months) for creating an ongoing infrastructure for a community-based social development planning capacity in Timmins/Cochrane.
  2. Social Development Planning

Social development is a continuous process of advancing towards becoming more inclusive, equitable, and participatory so that not only can all community members receive essential supports as their conditions and circumstances require — e.g. quality education for children, income and health supports/services for those who are unemployed or underemployed and those who have special health needs — but also so that they can contribute actively to the local economy and to the community’s health and well-being.

The health of the economy tends to dominate thinking about quality of life primarily in terms of achieving a high standard of living (i.e. employment, income levels). Strong local and regional economies are critical but economic development without planning for social needs and impacts can have unintended effects (e.g. attracting workers to a community with inadequate affordable housing raises market rents and can force residents on lower income into substandard housing or homelessness).

More integrated planning for both social and economic development holds greater promise for balanced development and strong and vital communities.

Community-based planning organizations exist in many communities across Ontario and other provinces as community resources for expressing the social dimension of local and regional development.

  1. Shaping a Vision of Shared Hope and Common Purpose for Timmins/Cochrane

Community Stakeholders interviewed for the Regional Hub Project in Timmins/Cochrane offered their ideas on what a good quality of community life would look like in their community in five or ten years from now. Participants in the Blueprint Planning Meeting held in Timmins on October 6, 2010 were also asked to start the session with their own descriptions of a desirable future for Timmins/Cochrane.Download the complete ‘Blueprint For Building’ document here:


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