Shared Space: The Communities Agenda

Caledon Institute of Social Policy

Author +
Sherri Torjman

Year: 2007

Shared Space: The Communities Agenda seeks to capture the essence of the profound changes taking place in communities across the country and around the world. Community interventions to promote economic and social well-being are not new. What is new is the way in which communities are organizing themselves both strategically and comprehensively to achieve their goals.
The communities agenda consists of three components: their vision and associated goals, the methods they employ to attain these objectives and the actions they take to create a supportive context for their work.
Despite their differences, communities throughout the country are linked by a common agenda. They seek to promote resilience by building their capacity and strengths. Resilience is a function of interventions carried out in four independent but related clusters of activity – around sustenance, adaptation, engagement and opportunity.
Strategic methodology involves joining up local efforts through collaborative relationships within and between resilience clusters. Many communities are also partnering with governments in an effort to change policies that affect economic and social well-being.
Finally, communities are working with employers, funders and all orders of government to create an enabling environment that is more supportive of complex and comprehensive local efforts.
This book includes many illustrations of exemplary practice from communities across the country. Taken together, these examples speak to the possible and to the hope for a better future – which itself comprises the core of resilience.


  1. Reaching for Resilience
  2. Organizing for Complexity
  3. Working in the Shared Space
  4. Supporting Sustenance
  5. Advancing Adaptation
  6. Ensuring Engagement
  7. Optimizing Opportunity
  8. Creating an Enabling Environment

About the Author:

Sherri Torjman is Vice-President of  the Caledon Institute of Social Policy. She is the author of many Caledon reports including Reclaiming Our Humanity, The Social Dimension of Sustainable Development, Strategies for a Caring Society, Survival-of-the-Fittest Employment Policy, Innovation and Community Economic Development, The Key to Kyoto, Are Outcomes the Best Outcome? and Proposal for a National Personal Supports Fund. 

Ms. Torjman wrote the welfare series of reports for the National Council of Welfare and has authored four books on disability policy. She has worked for the House of Commons Committee on the Disabled, the House of Commons Committee on Child Care and the Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies. Ms. Torjman was co-Chair of the Technical Advisory Committee on Tax Measures for Persons with Disabilities. The Committee reported to the Minister of Finance and the Minister of National Revenue in December 2004. 
Ms. Torjman has taught at McGill University and is a former Board Member of The Ontario Trillium Foundation.

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