Recent Publications

Paul Born Deepening Community Down Under

In February/March 2015 Paul Born toured 7 cities in Australia and New Zealand to lead a series of one-day workshops on Deepening Community for a Collective Impact. Collaborating with the Bank of Ideas, over 1000 people participated in these dynamic discussions. If you are interested in learning more about these workshops, please sign up to receive an e-mail with links to important tools and resources at An extra special thank you to all of our partners who helped to support the Tour, especially the Bank of IDEAS. And to all of the partticipants who made the workshops a HUGE success. We have created a Storify for you here:

Ottawa Neighbourhood Watch

A handbook
A comprehensive framwork to developing a neighbourhood watch program. To learn more about Crime Prevention Ottawa, please visit their website:

Awesome Ottawa

Have you heard of Awesome chapters? Neither had I.  But they sounds AWESOME! Apparently there are chapters all over the world.  There’s a trustee group in each region that gives a small sum of money each month, adding up to $1,000 to finance awesome ideas in the community. In Ottawa some of the projects have included yarn-bombing an OC Transpo bus, that eventually expanded to become a social knitting group leaving scarves, hats, mitts, etc. on statues and trees all over the city for people who need them. They are also now funding a tool lending library. What a great idea!

New Barn-Raising Toolkit

an initiative to encourage the exchange of international best practice around sustaining community and civic assets
The New Barn Raising is an initiative to encourage the exchange of international best practice around sustaining community and civic assets such as parks, recreation centers, libraries, neighborhood stores, senior centers, museums and theaters. These are places and spaces characterized by a high degree of accessibility, popularity and sense of belonging to 'the people'. The term New Barn-Raising refers to how different groups (business, citizens, foundations, non-profits groups, politicians, social entrepreneurs, social investors, taxpayers and unions) can all pull together to support assets. This support can be raising:
awareness around assets and their benefits;
money from tax, donations, services and grants;
help from volunteers. The issue of how to sustain assets is particularly important at a time when assets in many countries face tight financial environments but it is also relevant at all other times too. For more information, please visit their website:

Child- Friendly Cities

Plan Place a blog by Rhodeside & Harwell
A thoughtful blog about children: their place in cities and how to design neighborhoods for them

Why Public Places are the Key to Transforming our Communities

By Project for Public Spaces on May 13, 2014
On the surface, it’s easy to look at great public places and see them as nothing more than well-designed physical locations. But beneath the surface, these places can be so much more. They are locations where community comes alive, where bonds among neighbors are strengthened and where a sense of belonging is fostered. Read the entire blog here:

The Abundant Community Initiative Edmonton

An Article by Kim Hopes
Inspired by John McKnight and Peter Block’s book, “The Abundant Community,” Howard Lawrence undertook a pilot project called the Abundant Community Initiative in Edmonton, Canada in January 2013. Howard started with the idea that local residents have gifts, skills, abilities and knowledge and that they are willing to contribute these assets to improving their neighborhood. He also understood that creating more connections among neighbors through shared activities and interests would increase relational networks, grow the neighborhood’s positive sense of self and, in so, increase its ability to work together towards a common good. It was his belief that if assets were connected, and neighbors formed new groups and associations, the rise in neighborliness would improve public safety and health, increase inclusion, boost the local economy and create new opportunities for neighborhood children and seniors. Initially, he prepared an introductory document that provided a project description, of the purpose, potential, process, and benefits of the Initiative. (Exhibit A attached.) Lawrence then approached the officials of the City of Edmonton and sought assistance in developing the project. He met Harry Oswin, Director, Office of the Northeast District of the Edmonton Neighborhoods, Parks and Community Recreation branch of Community Services who was able to secure a $15,000 grant to get the project underway. A strong partnership developed between the neighborhood leadership and the municipal officials. The city provides administrative and organizational support and became a dedicated partner in seeing that the initiative grew in a sustainable way.   Harry Oswin enlisted the help of Anne Harvey, the City of Edmonton Northeast District Community Recreation Director, to work with Lawrence and help guide him through the city process. Harvey has continued with the project, assisting Lawrence with the evaluation of the initial neighborhood pilot project. To begin the project, Howard Lawrence chose his home community, the Highlands neighborhood of Edmonton. The plan was to start small and then expand in the second year to seven more neighborhoods. Ultimately, the goal is to include all 153 neighborhoods in Edmonton. For more information, see:

Kindness, Cookies and Cooking

Diane Yeo Meditation
I just finished making a big pot of chili and cookies for my neighbour Fraser who has been plowing my driveway after every snowfall…and it feels good! It feels good that someone would be so kind and it feels good to give back. This good feeling brings me back to the neighbourhood that I grew up in. I lived on a street  with about 70 kids, so needless to say, I had a lot of playmates. And not only that, the parents on our block supported each other. We had a community.  As sense of community is common in many places around the world, particularly in countries where they rely on each other for survival - but am I wrong to say that here we have moved away from community and connection? In a time when technology provides more ways for people to connect instantly, we find ourselves living in a world with people who are very disconnected from themselves and one another. The truth is it takes work to communicate and cultivate relationships. Sometimes it is sweet and sometimes it is challenging, but it can be so very rewarding when we take time to be kind, to listen, to give and to receive. This is how we grow as people and as a community. How often do we get so caught up in our thoughts and in our life that we don’t even notice the people around us? As humans one of our basic needs of survival is to be connected. To feel a sense of love and belonging. Without it we don’t thrive. Without it we may feel empty or lack meaning and purpose in our life.
Let’s take the time to reflect on the simple ways that we can spread kindness and strengthen our sense of connection and community. Remember, we’re all in this together! With loving kindness, Diane Upcoming Courses
SimplyPresent  Level 1   4 weeks
Mondays: March 16, 23, 30, April 13   (no class on Easter Monday)
2 hours per week  $160
Learn more SimplyPresent  Level 1   6 weeks
Thursdays: March 19, 26, April 2, 9, 16, 23
1 hour per week  $140
Learn more SimplyPresent  Level 2   Full     more dates to be announced
Learn more
Mindfulness in the Workplace
This is a big focus for me now.  I am very busy teaching in the workplace and speaking at conferences and I love it!  If you own a business or would like your employer to bring in mindfulness, please contact me for more info.
Food for the Soul
Vegetarian Chili (or you can add meat)
There is nothing better on a cold winter's day!
6-8 servings 6 ¼ cups cooked kidney beans (2 ½ cups raw)
1 cup bulghar wheat (I used ‘ground round' vegetarian or ground beef)
3 cups canned tomatoes
4 cloves crushed garlic
1 ½ cups chopped onion
1 cup each chopped: celery, carrots, red pepper
juice of ½ lemon
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp basil
1 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper
3 Tbsp tomato paste
dash of cayenne
olive oil to sauté veg (3 Tbsp) Saute onions and garlic in olive oil. Add carrots, celery and spices. When vegetables are almost done add peppers. Cook until tender. Combine all ingredients and simmer on low heat. It's even better the next day! Simple ways to spread kindness
What could you do today to connect with someone?
Smile at the cashier, make eye contact and say ‘Thank you!’
Open the door for a complete stranger
Pay someone a compliment
Do something for someone without them even asking
Give just for the sake of giving Cool community projects

My amazing niece Christie works for Tamarack and her focus is strengthening communities.
Check out all of their online resources and Family Matters
Is created by my good friend John Cotton. It is a community initiative to empower
and equip families to talk about what matters to them.
Check them out on Facebook 'Happy'..a great movie to watch  (It's on Netflix)
I LOVE this movie! I have watched it so many times. It takes you on a compelling journey to different parts of the world to explore what actually makes us happy...(a little and spirituality are a part of it) Words of Wisdom "Simple kindness to one's self and all that lives is
the most powerful transformational force of all."   
David R. Hawkins
Diane Yeo

How to plan a neighbourhood BBQ

Inspiring Communities February Newsletter
A great step by step guide on how to bring your neighbours together to eat and celebrate!

Cochrane Sustainability Plan

Think long term. Look at the whole. See the Connections.
As stated on the Cochrane Sustainability Plan website: Cochrane residents showed their commitment to a sustainable future when they launched the Cochrane Sustainability Plan (CSP) project in the spring of 2008. The goal was to create a roadmap to a sustainable future that would guide the town for the next 50 years. Cochrane Sustainability PlanOver 500 Cochrane residents shared their dreams for a brighter future, participating in visioning events and meetings across the community and taking part in a survey designed to understand what they appreciated about Cochrane, and how they want it to evolve. The four questions were: What do you value about Cochrane? What changes would you most like to see? What are your hopes and dreams for Cochrane in the next 50 years? How can you help make this happen? A Citizen Advisory Group, comprised of community volunteers committed to sustainability, used the answers to these questions to form the foundation of the Cochrane Sustainability Plan. Action Groups were formed to provide clear action towards the vision for the community. Over six months, 64 individuals contributed more than 700 hours of their time to the development of the CSP. In total, six Action Groups focused on the key pillars: Built Environment Culture Economy Governance Natural Environment Social The efforts and commitment of volunteers led to the Vision for a sustainable Cochrane, a series of sustainability principles, goals (Pathways to the Future) and an implementation framework. In 2009, the complete Cochrane Sustainability Plan was released. The community is now working together to achieve its Vision and Pathways to the Future. For more information, please visit their website: