Cities as Neighbourhoods and Communities

Community is a key agent of both social and Political change. The central thesis of this treatise is that community highly contributes to these changes. There are many political possibilities of Community, with Canada being a good example.

Body

The community greatly contributes to political and social change in many ways. For instance, in Canada and other nations, participation in local organizations which are formed within the communities has greatly enhanced individual experience as deeds of citizenship. Most notably the local organizations within the community has also provided associational experience which has encouraged the recognition of and common and public goods primacy, all of which are contributing factors to social and political change within these communities and the society at large. The most local structure of some of the organizations and their membership source is a major contributor to the fact that the local community organizations engaged people who have common values, thus helping them to support their identification with purposes that are common. According to (Jeffrey & Rupa, 2007), many people could have expected that they would, through association, build trust and lead to a joint expansion of the networks, both social and political. Social capital created through these organizations is a reflection of common interests and identity. The accumulated capital for instance in ancient Canada was used in funding activities of both local and even national political organizations. Most political leaders use the accumulated capital through community organization to expand their political territories. Differences, including differences in class, are in most cases secondary to aspirations and concerns that are common. Civic action, however often takes the form of the community’s protection (Allan & Bourne, 2006).

Local community organizations also encourage citizens to participate in nation building activities and feel as part of the larger nation. These organizations also form basis for larger political parties. Therefore, for any political leader or party to change its manifesto, it has to begin from the community level. Research has it that community organizations enhance civic participation (Edna, 2005).There is enough evidence that economic development efforts that are community-focussed have helped a great deal in providing, not only Canadian citizens but other citizens around the globe with needed services and commodities, liked them to financial services and credit sources as well providing employment opportunities and entrepreneurship. In the exploration of the interaction between building of the community and strategies for community economic development, researchers came across several examples where development strategies for business appeared to stimulate and benefit largely from efforts towards building of networks and social capital among upcoming entrepreneurs in the locality. They came up with the conclusion that, the community’s role in economic development will always remain limited by trends, actors and even policies that are beyond neighbourhood groups control. Discussed below are ways in which different interventions at the community level can lead to improvement in individuals, organizations, families and the community’s conditions as a whole. In a different case, an examination of whether and how community’s social capital impacts on the community-based efforts ability focussed on development of youths, education, employment and social services aimed at improving the individual’s and families’ lives (Edna, 2005).

A built community vision is one in which residents look out for both themselves and others as well, creating environments in which a critical proportion of residents is invested positively. It follows that in the due process of community-building, much focus is put on providing ways for people in the neighbourhood to have meaningful links with one another, thus bring about change when they have a common goal. Community builders, the main agents if both social and political change refers to professionals who are community based, working on bringing about sustainable and fundamental improvements world-wide in the targeted areas with most inhabitants as low-income earners. Instead of focussing only on interventions that are programmatic that have a direct impact on housing, economic opportunity and human services or safety, the community movements on social and political change are largely characterized by a belief that community change that is sustainable and significant can only be brought about through utilizing and developing the social fabric in communities that are targeted. The bottom line is that tapping into the society’s life is a major step in catalysing action that is collective, building of relationships that are collaborative among major members of the community and building capacity in the community (Steven, 2006).Community brings about social and political change in that, in its building, it begins with an investment in the social infrastructure of the neighbourhood.  Healthy and vibrant social interactions development in the community lead to production of conditions that are thought to be necessary for community organization participation that is more formalized and associations as well. Behaviours, attitudes and relationships that develop due to social interactions within the community are increasingly seen as a community’s social capital elements (Will, 2007).

Social interactions have also proven to be the building blocks of local social capital. Community networks forms an important dimension of social capital at the neighbourhood level due to the fact that they are resources for individuals and communities as a whole. For instance, neighbours often serve as support systems for each other, giving material as well as emotional assistances when other communities members are in need. Community members also serve as a buffer against isolation feelings, especially in large urban areas and cities. Neighbours and leaders of informal neighbourhood may give each other links to important information about organizations and services that are available both within and outside the community. In (Mohammad & Kumar, 2006)community members can also provide aid, in the form of day care or emergency help and may also join together to practise their political skills and also better their living environment quality. When community member interact on daily basis, they have the potential to serve as social support sources that are valuable, providing emotional and material assistance when need arises. Neighbours, many at times fill in the gaps that are left by poverty or lack or shortage of formalized services in a neighbourhood that is distressed and isolated. These day-to-day relationships are important resources, despite the fact that networks of similarly situated people that are dense; particularly the poor in the community may be good at helping others get by, instead of getting ahead. Social network within the community are largely associated with improved life for the residents, however, there is much evidence to suggest that social networks have a positive influences on dynamics for other communities.

Case Study 1

When reflecting on the North American indigenous and Palestinian exchanges, one can clearly see how these communities have contributed to social and political change. For instance, what occurs when indigenous Canadian nations and the United Nations join together with Palestinians so as to share what they experienced in their history and the realities of living that are contemporary as people who are colonized with one another? Evidently, such conversations have certain complication when one thinks about advocacy in both long and short term ways and for the solidarity role between people who are colonized in advocacy efforts that are broader. Just like two different indigenous people living on the lands that are now called United states and Canada who have inherited the colonization history that Is on-going, reflections on and a deeper analysis of the colonization occupations situation in North America and Palestine are done (Steven, 2006).

Case Study 2

The Canadian government role has changed as a result of alteration in community social and political structures. For instance, the governments have redefined their responsibilities to ones that reflect on the fiscal constraints and political ideas that are new about the state’s role, all this originating from the community. The government is also shifting risk back to individuals and families in the community. Research has it that eligibility rules for provincial assistance within the society have been recently tightened to encourage citizens to work and restrict access, mainly to those who are disabled and lone parents who have young children. Case loads of welfare have gone down by almost 600,000 since 1995 for two main reasons namely; increment in opportunities for employment and tightening of eligibility rules.  However, 1.7 million Canadians are still dependants on assistance from the society as their sole income source in 2004. Lone parents are even expected to work upon the children reaching the age of two, and benefit payments for lone parents falling well short of the required income to cover basics namely; clothing, shelter, food and transportation needs, which ranges from 48 % of the Canada Statistics for Low Income threshold in Alberta up to 70 % in Labrador and Newfoundland, all these changes emanating from the community level (Jeffrey & Rupa, 2007).

Conclusion

From the above information and case studies, it is evident that the community plays a key role in both political and social change, not only in Canada but in many other parts of the world.

 

 References

Allan,W.,& Bourne,L.,(2006)“Ghettos in Canada’s Cities? Racial Segregration,

Ethnic Enclaves and Poverty Concentrations in Canadian Urban Areas,” Canadian

Geographer. Print.

Jeffrey, R.,&Rupa B., (2007)“Racial Inequality, Social Cohesion and Policy

Issues in Canada.”In Keith Banting, Thomas J. Courchene and F. Leslie Seidle, eds.,

Belonging? Diversity, Recognition and Shared Citizenship in Canada (Montreal:

Institute for Research on Public Policy).Print.

Mohammad,Q.,&Kumar,S.,(2006)“Ethnic Enclaves and Social Cohesion,”

Canadian Journal of Urban Research. Print.

Will,K., (2007)“Ethnocultural Diversity in a Liberal State: Making Sense of the

Canadian Model(s).”In Keith Banting, Thomas Courchene and Leslie Seidle (eds),

Belonging? Diversity, Recognition and Shared Citizenship in Canada (Institute for

Research on Public Policy, Montreal). Print.

Edna,K.,( 2005)“Immigration, Civil Liberties, and National/Homeland Security: A

Comparison Between Canada and the United States,” International Journal, vol. 60/2

(Spring).Print.

Steven,W.,(2006)“The Institutional Context of Tolerance for Ethnic Minorities: A

Comparative Multilevel Analysis of Western Europe,”American Journal of Political

Science. Print.