Roundtable FAQ

How do I “brand” my roundtable?

A:

The short answer: YOU are hosting this roundtable. The We Are Cities campaign is stewarded by Evergreen CityWorks and its partners, and supported by the J.W. McConnell Foundation. However, it is important that you become the local ambassador, and a local steward for this campaign. The roundtable is your opportunity to convene the conversation your city wants!

Who should I invite?

A:

The first set of roundtables in February-March 2015 have a focus on leveraging the existing civic intelligence in your cities and communities by convening individuals and organizations already invested in this work. Before we ask the broader public, we want to capture the ideas of those that work in city-building, who have already invested in ideas, initiatives and projects to improve the quality of life in your city or urban area. For more information on who to invite, see REACH OUT section.

How many people should I have?

A:

The ideal number of roundtable participants is somewhere between 10-30 people. This size enables an opportunity for everyone who wishes to speak to have the opportunity to do so, in a safe and relatively intimate environment. Additionally, this is a manageable size for the diverse range of hosts we have across the country.

Where should I host it?

A:

Hosting a roundtable can happen almost anywhere. It can happen at a park, at a dinner table, in a board room, in a co-working space – whatever works for the group you are convening. You’ll likely need chairs, a surface to write on, and some wall space (or an area to spread out the content generated) to display the workshop outcomes. Wherever is most comfortable and convenient for the group!

How long should it be?

A:

We have designed the workshop to be between 2–2.5 hours. If you have an eager group and want to run a bit longer, we have added a section with additional exercises.

How do I share the outcomes of my roundtable?

A:

Each roundtable participant will be asked to take ownership of one of the ideas generated in the session and post it on the website. The additional outputs will be uploaded by you (the roundtable host) to a Google Doc template so that the We Are Cities core organizing team can compile the information and share it back for the next set of conversations.

Who is hosting the other roundtables? How do I connect with them?

A:

We have created an online space called the Host Forum for roundtable hosts to meet, learn how to post ideas on the website and Nationbuilder to manage the roundtable content and invitees respectively, and share exciting feedback, questions, and concerns.

How do we keep people engaged after the roundtable?

A:

The people that are engaged are the people we want to keep engaged. We encourage you to look closely at the ideas that surface in your roundtable to see if there is a possibility that your group could animate one in your community. Is there one that does not require political or industry leadership to implement? It is also important to communicate to the group that the ideas are going to be sent along to the We Are Cities core organizing team to make sense of, and we will feed it back to all participants. At that point, we will be encouraging you to reconvene in order to reflect, revise, and prioritize the content alongside that of the other cities as the agenda approaches completion.

Sample Invitation

A:

Dear [Name] ,

I’m reaching out to extend a special invitation to you to join a roundtable on the future of Canadian cities. [I/Our] organization have/has recently joined We Are Cities (wearecities.ca), a campaign to create a new vision and action plan for how we can build livable cities – exciting and healthy places for all Canadians to live, work and play.

Canada’s future quality of life and prosperity are directly tied to the health and vitality of our cities. For too long decision-makers have ignored our urban areas – implementing policies that hurt cities and the people who live in and around them. 80% of Canadians live in urban areas. Whether downtown, in a suburb, or in a rural area nearby, we all benefit when our cities work.

[I/We] are hosting a roundtable here in with a group of local civic- minded individuals to generate a set of ideas that will be put forward for the action plan. Roundtables are happening in cities in every province and territory across the country this spring.

Convening this group is also a great opportunity to find alignment and opportunities to work closely and more effectively together as we collectively work to make our city thrive.

This campaign needs your help, and [I/we] would be so happy if you would join us for a roundtable.

The Details:

[Date], [Time]
[Location], [Address]
[Parking and/or transit info]

RSVP: [Insert event link, e.g. http://www.wearecities.ca/yourcityname]

More information on the campaign: http://www.wearecities.ca

Feel free to contact me with any questions.