Best Practice Communities

Action Sandy Hill  (CAN)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada  ( Major HEI: University of Ottawa, Enrolment 30,000 )

Action Sandy Hill (ASH) is a volunteer-led, community association that represents and promotes Sandy Hill.  We envision a culturally and economically diverse, vibrant, safe, heritage, environmentally healthy, and caring residential neighborhood within the greater Ottawa area.  We are collaborative, consultative and optimistic.Amongst a wide variety of activities, ASH:

– Maintains ongoing dialogue with the administration and students of the University of Ottawa.
– Represents the diverse interests of the community on planning and development, housing, transportation, recreation and  environmental issues.
– Supports Ottawa’s inner city as a center of viable commercial activity and vibrant residential neighborhoods.
– Represents the interests of Sandy Hill in developments beyond our community, where these can have an impact on our quality of life.  Provides a forum for discussing and solving community problems and concerns.  Our recent municipal election all-candidates meeting was well-attended, with lively debate.
– Promotes a sense of community in Sandy Hill, through recreational and other events, including a winter carnival and plant sale.
– Preserves and enhances Sandy Hill’s residential integrity and unique urban heritage in architecture and landscapes.
– Supports basic community services, including schools, health care, shopping and recreation.
– Helps community members make their own connections to services they need.
– Hosts a website with a host of useful information information for new residents; and
– Hosts the Action Line.  Community members may leave messages enquiring about various issues and contacts names pertaining to Sandy Hill and the larger community.

“Action Sandy Hill (ASH) is one of the oldest community associations in Ottawa.  I am always impressed with the thorough way it approaches various issues such as town-gown relations, the environment, and development.  ASH takes resident’s concerns seriously and is a strong voice in the community. Councillor Georges Bédard (Ward 12 – Rideau Vanier)
(Go to ASH Website)

town and gownSandy Litecky, President Arbor DistrictThe Arbor District (USA)
Carbondale, Illinois 62901, USA   (Major HEI : Southern Illinois University. Enrolment, 25,000)

The Arbor District Neighborhood Organization is located in the older, historic neighborhood, and is composed of student rentals, retirees, university employees and other professionals. The neighborhood had been threatened with ultimate collapse through the indifference of the city and the collusion of rapacious landlords.By organizing against this threat the neighborhood found new energy as well as an appreciation for the fading graciousness of the area. Neighbors decided to press a political agenda by organizing the only neighborhood forums in the city for the candidates for Mayor, City Council and Park District. As a result, laws have been passed that give monetary incentives for conversion of rentals to family ownership; a mandatory rental inspection program funded by fees on the landlords; enhanced code enforcement. And most importantly, opened up lines of communication with city agencies that have guaranteed speedy and thoughtful responsiveness to our concerns.Our vision is to encourage other neighborhoods in the city to form community organizations and to remain advocates for a beautiful, welcoming college town.Brad Cole, Mayor of the City of Carbondale, states that “The Arbor District has combined the best of all worlds to create a positive atmosphere and develop a true sense of community, bonding its close proximity to the university with its presence in the central and historical core of the town.”
Carbondale City Councilman Chris Wissman also praised the organization, saying “They work hard to improve the social fabric of their neighborhood, accommodating student lifestyles as well as those of families and permanent residents.”
(Go to Arbor District Website)

awwcaJohn Wigle, President AWWCA

Ainslie Wood/Westdale Community Association of Resident Homeowners Inc. (CAN)
Hamilton, Ontario, CAN (Major HEI : McMaster University, enrolment 22,000)

The AWWCA was established in September 1998 as a volunteer, nonprofit association. Our mission is to preserve, protect, and enhance the environment of the Ainslie Wood/Westdale community and the quality of life for all residents, as well as to organize and lobby on behalf of the interests of the over 550 dues paying members of the association. We provide a forum for our membership of resident homeowners to communicate their concerns, with a collective voice, to the City of Hamilton, McMaster University, and other municipal groups and relevant jurisdictions in Ontario.

In 2004 the AWWCA entered into a formal partnership with McMaster University and the Westdale Business Improvement Area to form the Campus Town Association. The CTA’s vision is to develop our community as the model for campus towns in Canada.  The AWWCA through its executive was instrumental in the formation of the Town and Gown Association of Ontario (TGAO).

City of Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger comments that “The AWWCA is the largest community association in Hamilton and has played a key leadership role in introducing new and creative town and gown best practices in partnership with the City, McMaster University, McMaster Students Union, Westdale Village Business Improvement Association, and others. We look forward to assisting the AWWCA in making a better Hamilton and supporting their work with town and gown organizations locally and internationally.”
Brian McHattie, Ward 1 City of Hamilton Councillor, describes the AWWCA “as a can-do organization that does a wonderful job fairly representing the needs of resident homeowners, while continuing to engage respectfully with the municipality, area merchants, students and University personnel on town and gown issues of mutual interest. “
(Go to AWWCA Website)

Richard Tyler, Co-ordinator, Leeds HMO Lobby

Leeds HMO Lobby (UK)
Leeds, UK  (Major HEI’S : University of Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan University. Combined Enrolment, approx. 60,000)

Leeds HMO Lobby is an association of associations in Inner North West Leeds (in & around Headingley), whose concern is to campaign for action on the impact of concentrations of HMOs on our communities.  The Lobby was founded by half-a-dozen local community associations in 2000, to address this impact, which arose especially as a result of government policy to expand Higher Education (without providing for increased accommodation for students).

The Lobby now comprises two-dozen community groups.  It is recognised by Leeds City Council as the representative community organisation on HMOs, and as such is a member of the Council’s Private Rented Sector Strategic Group, and its sub-committee, the Shared Housing Group, which comprises representatives of the Council and the community, the universities and their students, and the private rented sector.  The Shared Housing Group is responsible for the multi-agency Shared Housing Action Plan.

Leeds HMO Lobby was instrumental in establishing the National HMO Lobby in the UK.  Its website outlines its membership and what they have done, locally and nationally. (Go to Leeds HMO Lobby Website)


The Nottingham Action Groupon HMO’S  (UK)
Nottingham UK (Major HEI’S : University of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent University. Combined enrolment approx. 50,000)
April 2008

The Nottingham Action Group (NAG) formally came into being Feb 2004. Our diverse membership consists of established residents living in neighbourhoods in eight City and adjacent District Council Wards. We represent residents’ interests on the City Council’s Student Strategy Leadership Group and its Student Co-ordination and Delivery Group. Nationally, we work closely with our local Members of Parliament and, of course, with the National HMO Lobby in order to try and effect changes to housing, planning and fiscal legislation which will lead to neighbourhoods that are balanced, cohesive and above all sustainable.

We have taken part in radio and TV programmes, lobbied relevant Ministers, attended the Parliamentary launch of the UUK publication on Students and the Community, contributed to the research work by Dr. Darren Smith, and have presented talks and posters at a number of national conferences and meetings. (Go to website)