Welcome to the Community Participant Page
WISIR is pleased to be inviting community members of Waterloo Region and surrounding areas to join our social innovation lab investigating systemic issues and solutions for affordable housing.
The lab brings together University of Waterloo students and instructors with interested community and issue-aligned stakeholders for a multi-session participatory design experience that will deepen our understanding of the challenge of affordable housing through a systemic, multi-disciplinary lens.
A full description of the lab and the design sessions can be found on the main webpage here.
If you are a Waterloo Region community member interested in participating in any or all of the design sessions that make up the Lab, you may register using the webform below.
Who can/should participate in the Lab as a community member?
Although theoretically everyone is welcome to join the Transdisciplinary Systemic Innovation Lab's design sessions, the specialized nature of the activities and the topic being explored means that we recommend that at least one of the following applies to community participants:
- those previously or currently impacted by the issue of affordable housing in Waterloo Region
- those who are researching affordable housing in Waterloo Region or in a comparable region or system
- those are who are working towards solutions to affordable housing
Why might someone wish to participate in the Lab?
When a social innovation lab is run effectively, it creates a transdisciplinary community of people who each hold a piece of knowledge about the particular complex and systemic problem that the Lab is examining. The experience can be highly rewarding for those who are problem- or solution-driven, who thrive in group settings, who enjoy working through difficult, complex challenges, or for those who like meeting people with different perspectives and experiences than themselves. Throughout the Lab's design sessions and after they have concluded, there is a tremendous amount of important insight, data, and knowledge that is gathered together as the participants work through the process. The different solution groups that form are able to build from this collected capacity and create their own focused products, while the Lab's facilitators and staff create knowledge products of their own that add to the literature and contribute towards attaining the identified desirable future in which the affordable housing issue has been overcome. Being part of this experience and lending one's time, knowledge, and energy to this effort can prove very meaningful to those involved who are seeking to create a better world for themselves and others.
The Lab setting is also an environment for working professionals, students, and academics to form strong, meaningful, and productive professional connections that can help them elevate their work or their careers. By bringing a wide diversity of people with different skills, abilities, and interests, Labs tend to create powerful social and professional collisions that forge valuable connections that endure long after the Lab's sessions are over.
Why might someone choose not to participate in the Lab?
The topic of affordable housing can include discussions about the lived experiences of those who experience precarious housing, rough living, homelessness, etc. Exposure to such topics risks causing psychological or emotional harm to some participants. Workshop participants will be reviewing a workshop community agreement document at the beginning of every workshop which addresses issues of respectful and conscientious communication on challenging topics in a diverse environment. Though these risks or harms are not greater than those that most people encounter in their everyday life, people who are sensitive to issues surrounding precarious housing, rough living, homelessness, and/or trauma and experiences that are often linked with these issues may decide it is worth forgoing the risk that the design session discussion trigger psychological or emotional distress.