Policy & Planning
February 19, 2019

SFU City Conversations – Feb 21

Philanthropy is a critically important part of Canadian life.  However, the 2018 Giving Report finds that the current model of philanthropy in Canada is unsustainable. Why is it that philanthropic donations by individuals and families have been in decline since 2006? Does rising income inequality and wealth concentration among older Canadians mean that younger generations have less to give? How can we ensure that charitable organizations remain properly funded and can continue to provide vital support?

To start the conversation, we welcome Calvin Fong, the Vancouver Foundation’s Director of Donor Services; David Love, President of the Vancouver chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and Principal of LOVEfundraising, and Jeanette Ageson, Publisher of the online newspaper The Tyee.  Then it’s your turn to ask questions, make observations and express opinions. It’s lunchtime, so please feel free to bring your lunch.

 

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 21

12:30 – 1:30 PM

FREE EVENT Registration is Required

SFU Vancouver at Harbour Centre, Room 1415
515 West Hastings St.

 

Read more »

Imagine you are in a country that is looking to increase investment in a floundering real estate market. Even though real estate prices are now at 40 percent from their peak, Greece has not recovered from the 2009 debt crisis, and is offering  visas to non-European Union citizens when they invest 250,000 Euros in real estate. This is cheaper than Portugal’s offer of a visa which requires twice the investment of at least 500,000 Euros. Those prices translate to 374,000 Canadian dollars in real estate in Greece to obtain a visa, and 748,000 Canadian dollars  to get a visa in Portugal.

There are three direct flights a week from China to Greece, and for those Chinese investors in Athens real estate their buying power enables them to purchase two properties for the price of one in Portugal. Despite curbs on the exporting of currency from China,  Chinese investment has continued in Greece, along with Russian and Turkish real estate investment.

Read more »

While everyone waits to hear what the Provincial government is recommending for the new Massey Bridge/Tunnel/Fraser River crossing, it appears that Delta NDP MLA Ravi Kahlon spilled the beans that it is not one, but three options that will be developed and released for public comment in early 2020.

As Sandor Gyarmati reports in the Delta Optimist the Province announced in November 2018 that the multi-billion dollar ten lane Massey Bridge, a pet project of the previous Provincial Liberal government was axed.

Read more »

From Michael Alexander:

First sunny day above freezing, and the newish playground next to Science World is packed as usual, with long lines for every ride including the zip line.

If the city charged $1 a kid (“C’mon Mom, it’s only a loonie!), in a year we could build enough affordable housing to meet demand*.

 

 

* Ed – First rule of affordable housing: demand is never met.

 

Read more »

Digital Democracy 101:
Understanding the Attention Economy

MONDAY, MARCH 4 | 6:00 – 7:30 PM
FREE EVENT Registration is Required
SFU Vancouver at Harbour Centre, Room 1400
515 West Hastings St.

Many Canadians actively use digital platforms without fully understanding the technology behind them and, crucially, how new technologies are altering Canadian political culture. The competition for our time and attention by digital platforms, which can often skew what we see and from whom, may leave us without the trusted information we need to make a confident decision in an election.

In this free lecture, Carl Miller, Research Director at Demos, will explain how the ‘attention economy’ can harm democracy. Following the lecture, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, SFU’s Canada 150 Research Chair in New Media in the School of Communication, will join Miller in conversation before moderating an audience Q&A.

Register Today

 

The Rise of the Misinformation Society

TUESDAY, MARCH 5 | 7:00 PM
FREE EVENT Registration is Required
SFU Vancouver at Harbour Centre, Room 2245
515 West Hastings St.

From Facebook’s unaccountable monopoly power to the demise of reliable journalism, a misinformation ecosystem has taken root. This is particularly true in the United States where entire regions and issues lack media coverage at a time when robust reporting is desperately needed. These growing “news deserts” are disproportionately harming specific groups and areas, especially communities of color, rural districts, and lower socio-economic neighborhoods.

Join SFU’s School of Communication for the Dallas Smythe Memorial Lecture Series with Dr. Victor Pickard and engage in conversations about the ongoing collapse of commercial journalism and the policies necessary for establishing public alternatives.

Reserve Your Seat Read more »

Addressing the popular myth that people migrate to warmer places to be homeless, this article in the Los Angeles Times  by Gale Holland outlines that five homeless individuals died from causes that included hypothermia in Los Angeles last year.

By comparison, two homeless people in New York City and two in San Francisco died of hypothermia in the same period.

“Hypothermia has led to more deaths in L.A. than in colder regions because 39,000 homeless people here live outdoors — by far the most of any metropolitan area in the country. L.A.’s generally moderate Mediterranean climate is no shield, because hypothermia can set in at temperatures as high as 50 degrees, experts say.”

A 2007 report from the National Health Care for the Homeless Council suggests that going without a hat can “drain up to half of a person’s body heat, and wet clothing can intensify heat loss twentyfold.” 

Read more »

 

Here are three interesting items that are linked to sustainability and surprisingly  involve the province of Alberta. As noted on Twitter by @TheGentYYC some extraordinary initiatives are moving that province in a greener direction. First off,  that Canadian oil stalwart, Petro Canada is building a network of Electric Vehicle (EV) fast charging stations across Canada.

Petro Canada says “Keeping people moving is what we do, and we know that Canadians needs are evolving. We want to help you along your journey, which is why we are building a cross-Canada network of EV fast charge stations. To keep you moving toward what matters most to you.”

As @TheGentYYC points out Petro Canada is owned by Suncor, the world’s largest producer of bitumen. Suncor had a revenue of over 29 billion dollars in 2015 and owns the oils sands plant near Fort McMurray.  For Suncor to sponsor electric vehicle charging stations is a “tectonic event” and suggestive of a major policy shift in “corporate climate leadership”.

Read more »

In a rite of passage, ‘liminal’ refers to the transition point that is neither here nor there; a threshold that can result in multiple interpretations or outcomes, and thus (often) confusion. In this episode, Wes Regan, Social Planner responsible for Community Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Initiatives with the City of Vancouver, aptly uses this word to describe his work space at the downtown Woodward’s Building and, by extension, the city’s current approach to community economic development (CED).

One could say the true liminal space is the Downtown Eastside itself, a threshold between competing realities that the city has worked hard to define, and reconcile, in the almost two decades since the signing of the Vancouver Agreement. As “A Program of Strategic Actions for the Downtown Eastside“, the Vancouver Agreement was formulated to address poverty, substance abuse, homelessness, crime and injustice, all of which have afflicted the DTES for a generation.

Regan has been a part of a number of organizations and initiatives contributing to understanding that uneasy but critical dynamic — between economic development and gentrification,  top-down social programs and self-determination, and civic integration and maintaining the integrity of community culture and the collective lived experience.

From the establishment of the Portland Hotel Society in 1993, to the Woodwards Squat in ’02, to the eventual successes of social enterprises like EMBERS and Potluck Café & Catering, city staff have learned to embrace this ambiguity. It resulted, in Regan’s estimation, in a collapse of the traditional economic development hierarchy of formal, social and informal economies, into a “livelihoods continuum”. The development and implementation of the city’s Healthy City Strategy and new Community Benefits Agreement policy are just two expressions of policy innovation on the new continuum.

In this discussion with host Colin Stein, Regan talks about his almost two decades living and working in and around the DTES, and some of the practical implications of this new approach to CED.

 

Read more »

Simon Fraser University’s City Program is offering this two-day intensive course on how to develop the principles and strategies needed to plan healthy communities.

Building on recent work and new research on the relationship between urban design and public health, your instructors will introduce you to the Healthy Built Environment (HBE) Linkages Toolkit and provide guidance on how to develop a health impact assessment.

The course will be interactive, with guest speakers from the Metro Vancouver public health community, but also grounded in the practical demands of local government policy development, design and implementation.

Instructors and Guest Speakers

Neal LaMontagne, adjunct professor, UBC School of Community and Regional Planning

Claire Gram, Population Health Policy and Project Lead, Vancouver Coastal Health

Dr. Mark Lysyshyn, Medical Health Officer, Vancouver Coastal Health

Charito Gailling, Project Manager, BC Centre for Disease Control

Lianne Carley, Vancouver Coastal Health Population Health Team

Read more »
February 14, 2019

Lost Lagoon after a few days of freezing weather.

So what do the ice patterns tell us?  Where the underwater currents flow, producing a frozen map of streams and ponds?  Temperature gradients? Or something else – if we have eyes to see.

Read more »