Category: Policing

[Podcast] ‘Red Zones’ and Vancouver’s Criminal Justice System

Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Photo Credit: Anonymous, via Wikimedia Commons.

Will Damon explains the rise of administration of justice offences – specifically area restrictions – and the impact on marginalized groups 

Listen to the podcast and subscribe here.

On the podcast, Will Damon, a recent graduate of Simon Fraser University’s MA program in human geography, discusses the rise of administration of justice offences – typically breaches of bail and probation – in Canada and BC, and use of particular spatial practices in Vancouver’s criminal justice system.

Are particular criminal justice practices setting marginalized groups up to fail in the criminal justice system? And how do these practices affect how people negotiate urban neighbourhoods?

[Podcast] Celebration Capitalism and the Olympic Games

Capitalism_OlympicsJules Boykoff on celebration capitalism, dissent, and the Olympic Games in Vancouver, London, and Sochi

Jules Boykoff discusses the Olympics Games – prominent urban mega-event spectacles – as a form of ‘celebration capitalism’ (the complement to Naomi Klein’s disaster capitalism). He talks about celebration capitalism and political dissent in the context of the Vancouver, London, and Sochi Olympic Games.

Jules Boykoff is author of Celebration Capitalism and the Olympic Games (2013) and Activism and the Olympics: Dissent at the Games in Vancouver and London (forthcoming), “Fun at the Games: The Anti-Olympics” (New Left Review, 2011) among many other publications in both academic and popular publications. He is associate professor of politics and government at Pacific University in Oregon.

[Podcast] A New Era? Bill de Blasio and the Shifting Political Landscape in New York City


On the podcast, John Mollenkopf, Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York, reflects on Michael Bloomberg’s three terms as mayor of New York City and what the election of  Bill de Blasio means for the city. Bill de Blasio is the first Democratic mayor elected since 1993 and won the mayoral election by a landslide, receiving over 73% of the vote. We discuss issues of inequality, affordable housing, immigration, and urban development – as well as the shifting landscape of electoral politics in America’s largest city.

Dr. Mollenkopf is a Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the City University of New York Graduate Center and is director of the Center for Urban Research. He is a renowned urban scholar on New York City’s politics and has authored or edited fifteen books on urban politics, urban policy, immigration, and New York City. Prior to joining the Graduate Center in 1981, he directed the Economic Development Division of the New York City Department of City Planning. 


[Podcast] The Politics of Housing the Homeless: Lack of community consultation or NIMBYism?

Screen shot 2014-01-22 at 1.20.11 PMListen and subscribe to the podcast here.

Has it been a lack of neighbourhood consultation with residents or simply a case of the NIMBY syndrome in east Vancouver? Or perhaps a bit of both? Is fear and misinformation framing the conversation about supportive housing?

On the podcast, we discuss at the concerns and politics around the planned 95 units of transitional housing at Mount Pleasant’s former Biltmore Hotel with Stephen Bohus from the Residents Association of Mount Pleasant and area resident Michelle Sturino. How significant are the locational conflicts over low-income housing and harm reduction for Vancouver and the region more generally? And how does this help or harm efforts to build more socially inclusive neighbourhoods and socially just cities?

In 2013, BC Housing, in partnership with the City of Vancouver, leased the former Biltmore Hotel at 395 Kingsway for temporary supportive housing. The hotel is being renovated to provide 95 units for people who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness while they wait for permanent housing to become available. The hotel will leased for six years and the supportive units are scheduled to open in early 2014. The planned social housing has generated support, opposition, and concerns among area residents.

The City of Vancouver declined a request for an interview.

[Podcast] From Abbotsford to Portland: Homelessness and Harm Reduction


Listen and subscribe to the podcast here.

On the program, we hear about the homelessness and harm reduction situation in Abbotsford, BC and an alternative transitional housing model in Portland, Oregon.

In 2005, the City of Abbotsford passed a bylaw effectively banning harm reduction services, and in summer of 2013, the City dumped manure on a homeless encampment in an attempt to force them out of the area. Pivot Legal Society’s DJ Larkin speaks about legal challenges against the City of Abbotsford that are currently in the courts. Just before Christmas, a court injunction forced the recently erected encampment in Abbotsford’s Jubilee Park to be dismantled.

Finally, we talk to Lisa Larson about her experience being homeless and her role of CEO of Dignity Village – an alternative housing model for homeless people in Portland, Oregon.

More on the topic: In June 2013, DJ Larkin wrote an article on lessons from Abbotsford and ‘how not to treat homeless people’.

[Podcast] Dispatch from Rio: Brazil’s Urban Social Movement Demands Better Quality of Life

Protests in opposition to rising transit fares is part of a broader social movement demanding a better quality of urban life in Brazil. Photo courtesy Agencia Brasil, Wikimedia Commons.

Protests in opposition to rising transit fares is part of a broader social movement demanding a better quality of urban life in Brazil. Photo courtesy Agencia Brasil.

This movement has opened up a new field of possibilities and what people are fighting for is a real democratic system. This movement is forcing a dialogue.

–Professor Cecilia Mello, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

What began as protests against increases in public transit fares is part of a broader social movement challenging Brazil’s state policies, the deteriorating quality of urban life for the poor, and the highly uneven benefits derived from the country’s economic growth as the country prepares to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

On the program, we hear from Dr. Cecilia Mello, a professor of social and cultural anthropology at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, about this rising urban social movement, the right to the city, and the conditions on the ground. We also discuss Brazilian cities in relation to the rural and peripheral areas of the country and indigenous land dispossession and resource extraction threatening traditional livelihoods.

95% of some bylaw tickets handed out exclusively in DTES, press conference announced: Pivot and VANDU

We received this press release today. See below.

Press Advisory
March 5, 2013

Vancouver – Pivot Legal Society and the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) have recently obtained statistics which reveal that 95% of some bylaw tickets in Vancouver were handed out exclusively in the Downtown Eastside over the last four years. The two organizations will be holding a press conference tomorrow, March 6th, to announce the filing of a complaint against the VPD which alleges discriminatory policing.

The complaint comes in the wake of the final report from the Missing and Murdered Women’s Inquiry which made a recommendation that police forces limit the enforcement of minor offences, which have caused marginalized and vulnerable women to fear going to the police for protection due to outstanding fines and warrants. Pivot and VANDU will be asking the VPD to change their policies on ticketing to incorporate Commissioner Oppal’s recommendation, and will be calling on City Council to stop the discriminatory policing in the neighbourhood.

What: Press Conference on VPD ticketing in the DTES
When: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 10:00 AM
Where: Pivot Legal Society, 121 Heatley Avenue, Vancouver
Who: Douglas King (Pivot Legal Society), Aiyanas Ormond (VANDU), and VANDU members who have received tickets for bylaw offences.

A backgrounder and visuals will also be available.