Table Topics

THEME: BELONGING

Table 1: Health, Trauma and Transitions
Health includes both physical health and the social determinants of well-being.

  • How do we nurture individual resiliency – the ability of a person and those around them to prevent, respond to, and recover from shocks and stresses.
  • What initiatives are working that support individuals and/or their friends and families, so as to minimize, respectfully accommodate, or mitigate traumas and ease transition to a positive state of mental and physical health?
  • What works in different situations – of crises or chronic pressures?
  • How do we support the whole person who may be dealing with many different and cumulative pressures?
  • How do we help people to move from justifiable anger to reconciliation?

Table 2: Social Isolation
Humans are social beings – without touch infants wither and die. In situations of crisis or emergencies, those who are isolated are most at risk. Vancouver groups have explored many programs and initiatives to address social isolation.

  • How do we build caring communities where people are connected and engaged?
  • What structures can we build into our social safety net to catch those that are isolated?
  • How do we create a sense of home and belonging for newcomers, outsiders, singles, widows and widowers, differently abled, queers, those who don’t look like us…?
  • What is working and what can we learn from those experiences?

Table 3: Cultural Identity
Diversity is a positive factor in the health and evolution of species in nature. When our identities are threatened we may withdraw, become defensive or aggressive. When a dominant group colonizes another the previous culture may be maligned or suppressed. Wars and conflicts often play on ethnic, religious or cultural differences.

  • When people have a sense of their identity and belonging in their group, are they more likely to be open to appreciating the richness of other cultures?
  • In a diverse and multi-cultural city and country, how do we move beyond stereotypes to build genuine relationships within and between cultures, to build respect and mutual accommodation?
  • What role do the arts play in cultural identity?
  • How do we ensure that diversity is connected to inclusion; that cultural communities are not isolated from one another?
  • What have we learned from Vancouver’s efforts in this field? How can we do it better?

Table 4: Overflow

Table 5: Food for All
Food is a connecting point between people: growing, buying, selling, cooking, making, sharing and dining together. It connects us to our familial and cultural traditions and is the foundation of health and well-being.

  • What do robust, resilient and accessible food systems look like?
  • How do we deal with issues such as affordability and food waste?
  • What can be done at the local level to address global stresses such as climate change, loss of agricultural land, soil degradation and distant and attenuated food supply chains?
  • The connection is often made between food and biodiversity, health, local economic development, education, social inclusion and community. What do these connections look like in Vancouver and how can they be strengthened?

THEME: EQUITY

Table 6: Colonization and Discrimination
For thousands of years before contact with European explorers and later settlers, the Musqueam, Tslei-Waututh and Squamish First Nations had vibrant cities and communities in what is now Vancouver. First contact included exposure to European diseases (small pox, chicken pox, measles, mumps, syphilis, and gonorrhea) that decimated indigenous communities. New technologies (guns and metal pots) and knowledge were welcomed, but interference with their language, religion and culture, particularly through the imposition of residential schools, and the exploitation of their land base, left them insurmountably disadvantaged. In the light of this history, of what we now call genocide, the City and others have been taking steps to address past wrongs and move forward to establish a more equitable and just city. Progressive settler groups; the Chinese, Japanese, black immigrants, Indians and other visible minorities were in turn discriminated against.

  • How is it possible to redress the systemic discrimination that could lead to the atrocity of murdered and missing indigenous women?
  • What does a city free of discrimination that has seriously addressed its colonial history look like? Can we learn from other places?
  • What are the intergenerational and gendered impacts of discrimination and colonialization?
  • What partnerships need to be built to achieve an equitable and just city?
  • What progress have the City and other community groups made to address issues of discrimination and colonialization that can be further built on?
  • What are the barriers that still need to be addressed to support the vision of a City for All?                        

Table 7: The Income Gap and Poverty Reduction
Metro Vancouver has the 3rd highest rate of income inequality in Canada, increasing by more than twice the national average since 1982. Vancouver also has the biggest gap between housing prices and income in North America. At the same time poverty rates in the City of Vancouver are dropping as gentrification impels low-income people out of the city to the suburbs.

  • What are the drivers of the growing income gap in Vancouver?
  • How can workers in service industries such as restaurants, hospitals and tourism afford to commute to their minimum wage or part time jobs? What are the incentives to work?
  • What initiatives and policies can be built upon to implement the City’s poverty reduction strategy? What barriers need to be overcome?
  • What is the likely impact of BC’s poverty reduction strategies on the City?
  • What partnerships are needed to address the income gap?
  • A very small proportion of people on social assistance are “unemployed employables”, the rest are in desperate need of social assistance. How can we create a more compassionate city and effective social safety net?

Table 8: Community Empowerment
Community empowerment is the process of enabling communities to increase control over the decisions affecting their own lives. It is about power and access to resources.

  • What role does the City have in enabling community empowerment? What about other stakeholders?
  • What current initiatives and partnerships can be built on to empower communities?
  • How are the distinctions between engagement and empowerment relevant to A City for All?
  • What would empowerment in the context of reconciliation look like?
  • In the context of equity, which communities need different kinds of support and what does that look like?
  • What are the policy barriers that need to be addressed to support community empowerment in Vancouver?

Table 9: Youth Empowerment
Ensuring that children and youth have a strong role in the development of their city benefits both young people and the city. Numerous groups work with youth or are a made up of young people in Vancouver. Youth at risk, youth aging out of care and immigrant youth have special needs and programs. How can these efforts be made more effective?

  • What would a city that empowered children and youth look like?
  • What current initiatives and partnerships can be built on to empower youth?
  • What key challenges face children and youth in Vancouver?
  • What are the policy and other barriers that need to be addressed to empower youth?
  • What are the connections between empowering youth and resiliency?

Table 10: Empowering through Research
Research has a responsibility to engage, to create new interfaces for better communication and public memory, and to open us to more and better understanding. Such understanding will be essential to creating a more inclusive, resilient and just city.  Researchers in the City for All today “are not content to include all men [sic] in our hopes, but have become conscious that all men [sic] are hoping and are part of the same movement of which we are a part” — a sentiment as true today as it was for the celebrated urban activist and researcher Jane Addams in 1902.

  • What lessons can we draw from working across identities and groups in our community engaged research that is worth sharing and building upon?
  • What are some tests that we can apply to our research to ensure authentic engagement, accountability, and readiness to recognize and respect difference?
  • What new research partnerships does our city need right now and what platform could best support linking diverse research initiatives into an urban knowledge collection that is greater than the sum of its parts?

Table 11: Access and Mobility
 Approximately 5% of Vancouver residents have mobility restrictions that may include the use of wheelchairs, walkers and canes. Others have limited sight or hearing, or are parents using strollers. Creating an accessible city involves not just enhancing physical accessibility through the built environment, but also supporting social inclusion and the elimination of barriers to participation in city life for all residents.

  • Have shifts in the building codes, design of housing, facilities and transportation improved accessibility and mobility? What gaps still exist and how should they be addressed?
  • What accessibility issues are outside of physical abilities yet impact accessibility such as all gender bathrooms, facility fees etc.?
  • How can cross agency collaboration (with Translink, for example) or other partners be strengthened?
  • What is the long-term impact of an aging population and how can the City effectively plan for it?
  • How can accessibility and mobility be factored in to resiliency planning?

Table 12: Participatory Planning and Design
Meaningful input from residents, decision-makers, technical experts, and other stakeholders is critical to creating vibrant communities based on a successful urban design vision. Vancouver is seen as a global leader in participatory planning and design but the danger of a credibility gap between public consultation processes and perceived results is a persistent concern.

  • What have the City and/or developers done right and what barriers currently exist?
  • What does meaningful partnership with community residents look like and how can engagement momentum be maintained?
  • How can expectations be managed and partnerships with diverse stakeholders be built and maintained?
  • What can be learned and replicated or scaled up from good examples of participatory planning?
  • Beyond community engagement, what other components are needed for successful neighbourhood design?

Table 13: Where and How We Live
Housing affordability and accessibility is a perennial topic of concern for all Vancouverites and was a major focus of the recent municipal election. The City continues to promote and adopt an expanding set of strategies related to supply, diversity of housing type, speculation, permitting and financing in order to increase the availability and affordability a wide range of housing types. Yet secure access to housing continues to elude many Vancouver residents or workers.

  • What is a reasonable long-term goal for a housing strategy? How can expectations be managed or met?
  • What strategies are working or have worked elsewhere and where do the barriers lie?
  • Beyond housing, what other type of physical and social infrastructure are needed to support vibrant communities in a City for All?
  • What partnerships are needed and how can they be improved to bring this about?

Table 14: Where and How We Work
Cities are economic centres and a flourishing economy with a diverse array of opportunities, is a critical component of A City for All. Workers and professionals often have to commute from more affordable housing in Metro. Changes in the nature of work and how we work, open different opportunities for working and/or collaborating using new technologies, that in turn influence the nature of our vulnerabilities and resiliency.

  • How can we develop a more inclusive and diverse economy, attracting new businesses, and nurturing social entrepreneurs, artists, craftspeople, those that work from home and small businesses?
  • Given global and regional influences, how can a strong local economy be made more resilient to global shocks and stresses?
  • How can economic development goals be aligned with other priorities such as climate change mitigation and adaptation, or diversity and accessibility?
  • What strategies have been used successfully in Vancouver and elsewhere and where do barriers still exist?

Table 15: Public Spaces
The design and availability of shared public space helps build common -unity and a sense of place. Community facilities, public art, sculpture, statues, theatres, sports fields, festival spaces, passive and active parks, views, beaches, wildlife refuges – all help to connect us to one another, to culture, and to nature and the land. It is often in these public spaces that the colonization of indigenous territory is most apparent, particularly in the naming of places and spaces, or the type of public art chosen for display.

  • How can we encourage accessibility and a feeling of inclusion in our public spaces?
  • How can we improve equity of access to spaces and facilities?
  • What does well designed public space look like?
  • How can we encourage active use of public spaces? How do those spaces or places increase resiliency?
  • What are we doing right in designing parks and community buildings and spaces? What are the challenges?
  • How can the choice of naming practices and symbols encourage reconciliation?
  • How can design reflect cultural identities in different communities throughout the city?

Table 16: Resilient Organizations

Resilience is the ability to survive, adapt, and thrive in the face of challenges and changes. Organizations across Vancouver are constantly at the forefront of complex local and global challenges. They have transformed their missions, service models, and spaces to meet changing needs of clients, staff and volunteers, day-to-day, and during crisis.

  • What can be learned from the experience of local organizations and service providers that have adapted and innovated in order to continue to serve their communities?
  • What practices can be scaled and shared to build capacity of local organizations to adapt and thrive in an time of accelerated change and during disasters?
  • Looking ahead, how can organizations concurrently drive inclusion and equity, while adapting to changing conditions?

Through this session we hope to capture stories, examples, and learning from local organizations that have changed in the face of challenges and uncertainty in hopes that other organizations can learn from, and feel empowered to survive, adapt, and thrive in the future.

CROSS CUTTING FRAMEWORKS

Table 17: Intersectionality
 Intersectional frameworks based in social justice aim to understand the many circumstances that, combined with discriminatory social practices, produce and sustain inequality and exclusion. An intersectional framework can help cities understand and come up with policies, programmes, budgets, funding, staffing and governance systems that reflect, engage and address the multidimensional lives of their citizens. Intersectional frameworks rely on disaggregated data that can capture concepts of gender, race, culture, income, ability, age, refugee or immigrant status, sexual orientation etc. Using a gendered intersectional approach can help to address systemic barriers and power structures in cities, ensuring that the city is not perpetuating inequity, but actively participating in building inclusive and women-friendly plans, policies, and spaces that work for everyone.

Through this discussion we want to share our understanding of gendered intersectionality, why it is important, giving examples of how we have applied it in our own organizations and work, and sharing lessons learned.

  • How can our experiences be applied to the city overall?
  • And for this discussion and for the purpose of providing examples, how can a gendered intersectional framework be applied to a housing strategy, safety, and emergency preparedness?

Table 18: Reconciliation – After the Apology – What?
Reconciliation occurs only after recognition of the truth of the lived experience of indigenous peoples historically and today. Colonialism, residential schools and interference with language and religion have broken trust between indigenous peoples and settlers, and their descendants. The City of Vancouver and other organizations have undertaken measures to bring the objectives of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into action.

  • What are the emerging lessons from these efforts?
  • How can we engage in a healing process that fosters sustained relationships of mutual respect and understanding?

Under the umbrella of ‘A City for All’, there remains a need for reconciliation with others that have received apologies, such as the Japanese, Black, Chinese and LGBTQ2S communities who have also suffered systemic discrimination.

  • Recognizing that each group’s history and circumstance is different, what are the commonalities?
  • What can be applied from the initiatives of different groups to bring reconciliation into action?

Table 19: Overflow