June 14, 2019

Re-Imagine Downtown Vancouver: 3-Year Progress Report

In 2015, the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (DVBIA) undertook a strategic planning process that might have invited a bit of cynicism — give a fancy name and lengthy timeline to a stock-in-trade exercise, and call it transformative.

That exercise, however, was Re-Imagine Downtown Vancouver, and it has already proven to be anything but typical. For one, it’s a 25-year legacy ‘vision’ project laid upon a foundation of rigorous research and public engagement. For another, it included recommendations that, unlike many corporate visions, were tied to tangible actions that would change the very face of downtown and how it would be utilized for the next generation.

And as a public expression of that vision’s intention, CEO Charles Gauthier committed DVBIA to “bring something to life” within the first year of releasing the report. So they did — award-winning Alley Oop, the laneway behind West Hastings street between Seymour and Granville, which was transformed from service corridor into a bright, playful public space.

An even better example of the Re-Imagine commitment? The governance structure of the DVBIA itself which, behind Gauthier’s leadership, was re-jigged — Board refreshed, committees disbanded, committees created — in order to empower and energize the organization, and better position it to realize the recommendations contained in the Re-Imagine report.

As a result of bringing the leaders of tomorrow to the forefront of the organization, the DVBIA has, of late, found itself championing a variety of initiatives that, as Gord put it, seem a bit foreign for a business-forward organization. Bike lanes. Child care. Living wages. Why would a business advocacy organization be involved in many of the same issues that are often believed to make business more challenging?

Gauthier answers this question, and many more, with the support of special guests Landon Hoyt and Julianne King of the SFU Public Square research team that led the project. Armed with three years’ worth of data and insights, they compare reality to the plan, and give an honest assessment of how well-positioned the DVBIA is to move forward, both with ongoing dialogue, and the commitment to change.

Championing the Vision: 3 Years into Re-imagine” will be presented to members at the DVBIA Annual General Meeting next Tuesday, as one of the cornerstones of the organization’s resolution to renew its mandate for another 10 years, which will be subject to a vote.

Guess what? We think it might just pass.

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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.

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