BEST PRACTICES > ADAPTATION TO CHANGE  
 

Leadership

Planning & Visioning

Community Engagement

Financial Capital

Keeping it Local

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Adaptation to Change

Learning from Experience

Adaptation to Change

What is Adaptation to Change?

Adapting to change is a defining characteristic of communities with successful CED approaches. Adaptation means using existing assets in new ways in response to a changing environment. Adaptation maintains the essentials of a community while being open to new ideas and people.

It?s about creative reuse, and the ability to be resilient in the face of crisis.

Why Adaptation to Change?

When a community focuses on adapting to change, it can...

  • Better survive shocks and stresses by focusing on actions that
    reduce vulnerability
  • Cultivate a sense of hope and empowerment, rather than reactivity and confusion
  • Attract new community members by appealing to niche markets
  • Use creative local solutions to proactively compete with external pressures

How Can You Adapt to Change?

There are many ways in which we can learn to adapt to the many changes faced by our society. Below are a few ways to start thinking about the changes we face and how to confront them:

  • Identify changes faced by the community such as aging population, youth outmigration, relocation of local business
  • Determine what you can control, and act, while pushing for change in areas you do not control
  • Hold a forum to reflect on community attitudes toward newcomers and, based on community values, develop an immigration strategy and a youth retention strategy
  • Create educational and reskilling opportunities to buffer sudden employment shifts
  • Revise business strategies to focus on localization and increasing self-reliance
  • Consider adopting a plan for adaptive reuse of buildings, natural resources and other community assets

Looking for More? Please see page 41 for more resources on Leadership.

Bluefields: Adaptive Reuse of Community Landmarks

Bluefields include schools, churches, hospitals, long-term care facilities or courthouses that are up for sale as a result of population decline and service centralization. With little development pressure, these structures often meet the wrecking ball as a result of needing considerable repairs, accessibility issues, and hazardous building materials.

Chatham-Kent has recognized that bluefield developments help to retain community history and architecture while introducing creative ways of reusing the space. The municipality was the first to adopt a Bluefield Community Improvement Plan in 2005, providing incentives that make bluefield redevelopment cost effective.

Immigration Potential in Rural Ontario

Ontario is funding municipal initiatives that seek to attract new immigrants to towns and rural communities. Statistically, many immigrants make an average of 15 per cent more than native-born Canadians in rural areas. Brockville, on the St. Lawrence River, was selected by Ontario's Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, along with Chatham-Kent and North Bay, for a pilot project to examine the potential for relatively smaller urban-rural centres to bolster their attraction for new immigrants.

A Cure for Health Care Shortage in Delhi

A few years ago, Delhi was threatened by the impending retirement of their two remaining physicians. There was little chance of recruiting new doctors, so a volunteer committee was struck to develop a Health Centre that would attract doctors by offering supportive facilities. After numerous events, the committee raised one million dollars, which was then used as leverage to secure government grants from the county and province.

The Health Centre now services 60,000 people in the region. It includes a Family Health Team and TeleHealth technology, and provides meaningful employment for 30 people.

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