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Nicole Swerhun, founding principal of Swerhun Inc., began her work in community engagement in Toronto as the city contemplated removing the Gardiner Expressway East, an aging piece of elevated waterfront highway. She continued in Bosnia as communities came together to rebuild immediately after the signing of the Dayton Peace Accord. She also organized processes for the rebuilding of a devastated neighbourhood in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
In the course of these diverse and often conflict-ridden processes, Nicole found that the mechanics of the processes were critical to success. Building on the experience and work of others in the field, she developed a set of working principles, techniques and tools that could be useful in a wide range of situations.
With her co-author, Vanessa AvRuskin, Nicole has synthesized these experiences and principles in this easy-to-use manual. Together, they describe these methods and their potential uses to provide a unique and pivotal contribution to the evolving art of community engagement.