[Update: Do read Geoff’s comment at the end of this post. Powerful and provocative.]
SFU Vancouver – the downtown campus – is now 30 years old since SFU came down from the mountain. It’s what President Andrew Petter says helps make SFU the engaged university.
Engagement is the particular work of the Centre for Dialogue, Public Square, City Conversations and the City Program – all of which had events happening on Thursday, and two of which featured Mary Rowe, the speaker for this year’s Warren Gill Lecture. They certainly engaged me, with more questions than I had a chance to ask. Here are some.
INEQUALITY AND DIVERSITY
When considering the rural-urban divide in Canada, Mary began with two points that are pretty much taken as self-evident in academia: diversity is good, inequality is bad. Policies for healthy cities should encourage the former and reduce the latter.
But what if inequality is a measure of diversity?
Since a diverse city is one in which there are many different kinds of people and pursuits, do those differences of equality become magnified with greater diversity? In fact, is increasing inequality how we know the city is more diverse?
Let’s say public policies were effective at reducing inequality by redistributing benefits, by building the infrastructure, physical and cultural, to build a stronger middle class. Isn’t the result a more homogenous city, perhaps less likely to generate the cultural and economic energy we associate with places like New York in the 1970s, London in the 1800s, Florence in the 1500s? Does equality mean boring and less diverse?
MAKING CHOICES IN A CLIMATE EMERGENCY
At noon, at City Conversations the topic was the climate emergency, with Councillor Christine Boyle (who introduced the climate emergency motion at council and is interviewed here on PriceTalks); Atiya Jaffar, digital campaigner for 350.org; and New Westminster Councillor Nadine Nakagawa.
I had three ‘tough questions’, with the opportunity to ask only one – itself somewhat facetious: Read more »