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  • Smart Waterloo Region - Work to date

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    After being shortlisted, our team used the summer to organize and engage different stakeholder groups to narrow our focus, and to begin to identify root causes of the complex issues children and youth in our community face.

    On June 21st, we held a joint engagement event with the Children and Youth Planning Table to dive into the six focus areas identified in our Phase 1 application: early childhood development, literacy, mental and emotional health, sense of belonging, bullying, and high school graduation rates. Youth and service providers came together to take part in a day long session to drill down into the root causes of these issues. We came out of the day with a fulsome problem map and decided to narrow our focus from six areas to four: early childhood development, literacy, mental and emotional health, and sense of belonging. You can see the report on the Children and Youth Planning Table Resources & Research page.

    During July and August we updated our governance and working group structures in preparation for Phase 2. We also met with many new and potential partners from the private, post-secondary and non-profit sectors.

    In August, we hosted another engagement session with youth attendees to assess if our four focus areas are meaningful to youth, and to determine how youth want to be engaged in our Smart Waterloo Region project going forward. We hosted our youth engagement session in Google’s community space where we captured meaningful and lively feedback. Youth confirmed that our four focus areas are of importance to them and we gained insight into how they wish to be engaged going forward.

    We are excited to move into Phase 2 to improve well-being for children and youth on our community. Moving forward, we are planning a launch event on November 20th, creating a youth engagement and advisory committee, and have brought on Overlap Associates to help us develop creative ways to engage the community.

    There is much more to come! Be sure to visit this page regularly for updates and feedback on how our project is progressing. Remember to follow us on Twitter: @SmartWatRegion and Instagram: @SmartWatRegion, and to use the hashtag #SmartWR.

    For more information on the history of our project, please see the post below: Smart Waterloo Region - A Short History.

  • Calling all youth!

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    Are you interested in getting involved in SWR? We want to hear from you!

    Contact Jill Kolb, our Community Engagement Coordinator, for fun and meaningful ways to get involved!

  • Our project: Child and Youth Well-being

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    Listen to Maayan Ziv, Founder and CEO of AccessNow, give an overview of our project! We will become the benchmark community for child and youth well-being in Canada!
  • Waterloo region named Smart Cities finalist!

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    Waterloo Region - Today, the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, announced Waterloo region as one of five finalists in the large municipalities category of the Smart Cities Challenge, a new, competition-based approach that encourages communities to come up with innovative solutions to their most pressing challenge.

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  • Smart Waterloo Region - A short history

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    In November 2017, the Government of Canada launched its Smart Cities Challenge. Informed by community engagement, the Smart Cities Challenge is a two phase funding competition open to all municipalities across Canada. The Challenge empowers municipalities and residents to think big about their future, encouraging communities to use technology and data to overcome their most pressing challenge.

    Once launched, our community, the Region of Waterloo, three cities of Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo and the four Townships of Woolwich, Wellesley, Wilmot and North Dumfries, came together to take part in the Challenge.

    Throughout February and March 2018, we engaged our community to select our challenge. We asked our community to select one of three challenge areas: affordable housing, social inclusions or healthy children and youth. These challenge areas were based on extensive community engagement done by the Wellbeing Waterloo Region initiative. Through an online survey, public consultation centres and stakeholder roundtables, we reached out to residents, community and government organizations, the private and tech sectors and post-secondary institutions for feedback.

    Based on all of the feedback collected, healthy children and youth was selected as our community’s challenge area. Once our challenge area was selected, we worked with the Children and Youth Planning Table to better understand child and youth well-being, and with the local tech sector to see what tech solutions exist to address this challenge. Engaging our tech sector lead us to new and exciting partnerships, and we learned that there are many tech solutions to improve child and youth well-being in our community.

    After this outreach was completed, the Region and area municipalities worked together to submit our final smart cities application in April 2018.

    On June 1, 2018 we found out that we were short-listed, with four other large cities, for the grand prize of $50 million! With this exciting news, the Smart Waterloo Region team continued to work hard throughout the summer, bringing on new team members and partners to plan our Phase 2 application.