Our mission is to enable all members of our community to convert their sustainability interest into action, by providing a forum for any individual or organization to raise and address issues that are holding them back
Community Sustainability Lab – COMING SOON!
There are many wonderful examples across Canada of campus or city living labs that address sustainability issues, often through university-municipal partnerships and student-led research projects. There are, however, fewer opportunities for members of the broader community to bring forward sustainability issues they may be facing. The Community Sustainability Lab (CSL) is a program currently under development that aims to address this gap for members of the Waterloo Region community.
We believe that bringing the right people together and providing them with dedicated space and time to think creatively, with the assistance of carefully facilitated collaborative work sessions, can help bring about innovative solutions to difficult problems. We believe in the power of conversation, connection, and collaboration to get things done!
Our mission is to enable all members of our community to convert their sustainability interests into action, by providing a forum for any individual or organization to raise and address issues that are holding them back.
Once the program has been launched, the CSL Lab will address pressing sustainability issues that community members are facing in order to find solutions that will drive the clean economy, reduce environmental impact, and improve health and wellbeing.
The CSL will tap into a large network of experts in many areas of sustainability to partner with community members facing difficult sustainability problems. Providing access to expertise, new partnerships, and innovative thinking, the CSL will be a living lab solution to address any issues that form barriers to sustainability.
The Community Sustainability Lab will aim to:
- Provide a forum for Waterloo Region community members to raise sustainability issues they’re facing
- Provide a formalized process to identify and solve community-based sustainability issues
- Engage a diverse set of experts to create solutions
- Match the resulting idea(s) or solution(s) to an appropriate organization or team for further development
The CSL will be overseen by evolvGREEN partners, who also work with a diverse group of subject matter experts for that particular issue. The CSL Expert Roster will comprise experts from various sectors who are passionate about sustainability and social change.
Although still in the early phases, the CSL program has been designed in a way that allows any individual, business, or organization to fill out and submit an Issue Intake. The CSL team will then review and select one issue per quarter to address in a Lab session.
Once an issue is selected, an appropriate and diverse group of subject matter experts for that particular issue will be convened. The issue raiser, expert panel, and any other relevant participants then participate in a series of workshops that allow for in-depth exploration of the issue, leading to the brainstorming and selection of solutions. Depending on the issue, there could be a wide range of potential solutions, such as new research projects, new businesses or products, or even new municipal policies.
At the end of the workshop sessions, participants will be encouraged to form solution implementation teams for any ideas that they could imagine working on beyond the CSL workshops. Solution owners will be connected directly to each other to work on implementing the solution(s) envisioned in the Lab workshops. The CSL team will provide regular follow-ups to solution teams to offer further support and document their progress and successes.