Love My Hood: An examination of community engagement techniques in the City of Kitchener, Ontario


  • Rebecca Mayers School of Community and Regional Planning, University of British Columbia
  • Kerri Bodin PhD Candidate, University of Ottawa
  • Georgia Teare Lecturer, University of Ottawa


Community engagement in municipal decision-making can help strengthen trust and confidence in the government. A more nuanced understanding of how modern Canadian municipalities can engage residents in decision-making processes is needed. Thus, this case study investigates how community engagement is a strategy to achieve municipal policy objectives in a mid-sized Canadian city. The findings of a discourse analysis of municipal documents suggest the City of Kitchener utilizes their Love My Hood initiative as a means of cultivating a culture of engagement with residents, creating a nuanced city and community relationship. Moreover, the findings help reflect on Arnstein’s ladder of citizen participation, moving to a multifaceted approach to engagement, including the timing and type of engagement included in the decision-making process. Cities must be transparent about the role of residents within the planning process and under what strategy the City wants to involve residents.