Category: UBC

[Podcast] Becoming Urban in Asia


The first half of the 21st century is anticipated to be a period of continuing large-scale urbanization in the developing world, with much of this occurring in Asian countries, especially China and India. This fundamental, on-going change in Asia presents, on the one hand, prospects for economic prosperity, new visions of an urban future and the potential for local democratization, and on the other, challenges of increasing economic and social inequities, increased resource consumption and environmental degradation. Underlying all these problems and possibilities are fundamental research challenges for scholars to consider.

On February 27, 2013, urban scholar John Friedmann (UBC School of Community and Regional Planning) reflected on the broad topic of urbanization in Asia, highlighting issues of environmental degradation, socioeconomic inequality, and local democracy.

The talk was hosted by the Liu Institute’s Comparative Urban Studies Network, in partnership with the Institute of Asian Research Asian Urbanisms Cluster. Contributor Michael Laxer on Rob Ford | Inaugural Engaging Women, Transforming Cities Conference Brings Equity Lens to Urban Issues

Has Rob Ford's time at Toronto City Hall come to an end?

Has Rob Ford’s time at Toronto City Hall come to an end?

The Rob Ford saga shows no signs of dissipating. Is this the end of Mayor Rob Ford’s bumpy tenure at Toronto City Hall? On the podcast, contributor Michael Laxer weighs in on the ongoing Rob Ford saga. He provides a critical and progressive analysis of the Rob Ford affair in a recent article.

And in the second half of the show, we hear about the Engaging Women, Transforming Cities Conference from Associate Professor Margot Young (UBC Law). The inaugural national conference is designed to facilitate discussion about transforming our cities into places where women are more involved in electoral processes, and municipal governments are responsive to the priorities of women and girls in Canada’s urban centres. The conference applies an equity lens to a variety of urban issues, ranging from housing justice to environmental sustainability.

MUSIC // Japandroids / Celebration Rock / Younger Us // Mother Mother / Sticks / Business Man

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[Podcast] Taking on the Premier: BC NDP’s David Eby on Transportation, Housing, and Provincial-Municipal Relations

David-EbyThe BC NDP’s David Eby is running against BC Liberal Premier Christy Clark in the Vancouver-Point Grey riding on Vancouver’s westside in the upcoming provincial election.

We discuss  regional planning, education, housing, poverty reduction, and the importance of progressive provincial-municipal policies. In the 2011 Vancouver-Point Grey by-election, Eby came within 600 votes of Christy Clark in the seat previously held by former Premier Gordon Campbell.

David Eby is a lawyer and the former executive director of the BC Civil Liberties Association. He has also worked for Pivot Legal Society and is adjunct professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of British Columbia.

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The End of Immigration? Film Screening and Discussion – March 4th, 6pm

The City is co-hosting a screening and discussion of The End of Immigration? with UBC Cinema Politica. Krystle Alarcon, an independent multimedia journalist, will be reflecting on the film and speaking about the foreign temporary worker program. She is author of a four-part series published at examining the foreign temporary worker program and the recorded injustices and abuses associated with the program.

You can find the event details here, as well as the Facebook event page.

SYNOPSIS | Montreal filmmakers look at the regressive immigration policies of the Canadian state and the people most affected. The wind beats against a high telecom tower in Quebec. The camera finds a man on top of the tower, hard hat, safety glasses on. Several hundred feet or perhaps a thousand feet down, one catches a glimpse of forests and rivers snaking away, a small town in a bay in the distance, as when you see them from an aeroplane. Prosperous and orderly. The man is Asian and he has a smile on his face. The sound of subway trains are heard already and we find ourselves in the belly of the earth in Vancouver.

[Podcast] The Production and Penalization of the Precariat in the Neoliberal Age (Part I)

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Wacquant's 2009 book Punishing the Poor.

Loic Wacquant is professor of sociology at the University of California at Berkeley and a researcher with the European Centre of Sociology and Political Science in Paris. His research focuses on comparative urban marginality with a focus on Chicago’s South Side and Paris’s racialized urban periphery. Wacquant’s research also looks at broader issues of urban poverty, ethno-racial domination, the penal state, and social theory. He is the author of many books and articles, including Urban Outcasts: A Comparative Sociology of Advanced Marginality, Prisons of Poverty, and Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity.

On November 1st, 2012, Loic Wacquant gave a public lecture organized by the University of British Columbia’s Liu Institute for Global Studies and the Department of Geography. His lecture is entitled, “The Production and Penalization of the Precariat in the Neoliberal Age.” This podcast is part one of a two-part series.

[Podcast] Idle No More: Issues, Perspectives, and Histories

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On the podcast, we hear from Arthur Manuel (Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade and Defenders of the Land Network),  Dr. Glen Coulthard (Assistant Professor in UBC’s First Nations Studies and  Department of Political Science), and Khelsilem Rivers (Idle No More organizer and language revitalization activist) on the Idle No More movement. These speakers were part of a recently convened public forum in Vancouver. Speakers provide a background to the movement and situate it within the colonial-capitalist past and present. They also challenge a number of misconceptions about the indigenous rights movement perpetuated by the mainstream media and conservative commentators.

The title track of Vancouver aboriginal hip hop artist JB the First Lady’s Get Ready Get Steady is featured at the beginning of the program. The podcast concludes with a spoken word piece from her.

Thank you to the organizers of the Idle? Know more! panel. You can find videos of the many speakers here.

Below Professor Coulthard provides a concise and useful historical context through which to situate Idle No More.

[Podcast] The Working City: Future of Vancouver’s Economy

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Looking west down the North Arm of the Fraser River from the Queensborough Bridge in New Westminister.(Photo by A. Longhurst)

Looking west down the North Arm of the Fraser River from the Queensborough Bridge in New Westminister. (Photo by A. Longhurst)

Is Vancouver on track to become a resort town with a real estate-dependent economy with an overabundance of low-wage service jobs? Are we on track to be a hub for transportation, technology, and value-added industries? How do highly uncertain global economic and climate forecasts play into Vancouver’s economic outlook?

On this podcast, we continue the ongoing series, The Working City (listen to Part I), examining urban economic landscapes and the future of economic development. We hear three of perspectives on the future of Vancouver’s regional economy, including Bryn Davidson, a laneway house developer, Marc Lee, an economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and Shane Simpson, a BC NDP MLA for Vancouver-Hastings. This discussion was recorded at the 2012 UBC School of Community and Regional Planning Symposium in February 2012.

[Podcast] Labour Struggles in the City: UBC’s CUPE 2278 On Strike

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Certified in 1979, CUPE 2278 is a local of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. The local is run by volunteer teaching assistants who are elected each year by the membership of the local. CUPE 2278 represents UBC teaching assistants, markers, tutors, and instructors at the English Language Institute and is composed of both undergraduate and graduate students. They have roughly 3,000 members. On October 30th, CUPE 2278 activated its strike mandate with a rotating job action, rather than a full work stoppage. Over the last week, the union has been picketing various buildings on campus and on November 6th, they entered into mediation with the University and a third party mediator, Vince Ready. On November 7th, the bargaining committee announced that they had reached a tentative agreement with UBC to renew the collective agreement.

We examine this current labour struggle in the city. On November 2nd, The City spoke with CUPE 2278 executive members Michael Stewart and Glynnis Kirchmeier, as well as Sage Ponder and Roger Clark. We discuss why the union is currently engaged in a job action within the global and local contexts of neoliberalism and labour mobilizations. Additionally, we discuss how UBC – and universities, generally – are adopting corporate strategies and operating more like businesses than public institutions of higher learning.

Note: This interview was taped prior to the November 7th announcement that a tentative agreement had been reached, and therefore, the discussion does not reflect this recent development.

[Podcast] Universal Childcare in the City (and beyond)?

“Childcare advocates estimate that 69 percent of Canadian children under six in family childcare are in unregulated situations that do not meet basic health and safety requirements and the ‘vast majority’ of Canadian children are now cared for in informal arrangements that are purely custodial and are not ‘by [any] stretch of the imagination “early childhood education”.’ […] Feminists have a long history of tracing and retracing (and retracing) the connections between valuing childcare and attaining the quality childcare that so many Canadians desire. I would be pleased if my analysis brought the two women with whom I began this essay to align themselves on the same side of a political struggle for higher wages for domestic workers. One way that I have attempted to do so is by arguing that middle-class Canadian women’s childcare needs are not achievable as long as wages for childcare are low.”

Dr. Geraldine Pratt (Department of Geography, UBC), “Valuing Childcare: Troubles in Suburbia

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British Columbia faces a childcare crisis. How does this impact families in Vancouver and throughout BC?

The City talks with Sharon Gregson of the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC and a former Vancouver School Board trustee about the CCABC’s comprehensive plan for an integrated system of early care and learning in BC – a publicly-funded, universal system. If adopted by the provincial government, the plan would provide $10/day full-time childcare to families and would be free for households with annual incomes less than $40,000. What would this mean for families struggling to find affordable childcare in Vancouver and beyond? What would this mean for childcare workers who work in a largely unregulated sector with notoriously low wages?

Correction: The 2012 living wage for metro Vancouver was incorrectly stated as $19.12 per hour. The 2012 living wage is actually $19.14  for both parents in a family of four (two children) to be earning hourly in order to escape severe poverty.

[Podcast] Chicago, Detroit, and the Evolution of the Occupy Movement

For half a century now, the top one percent of the top one percent have denied the right to the city, by confusing people that individual rights were all that mattered. They turned us all from citizens into consumers, and told everyone that you have the freedom to choose what music to listen to, what television shows to watch, what low-wage job to accept or what good job to compete against a hundred other applicants, what tiny basement suite or SRO to rent if you can’t afford anything better. But you’re told that when it comes to the true right to the city, you only get a few small choices every few years. And these choices will always have to get prior approval from the 1 percent, and the financial markets, and the real estate markets, before we’re even allowed to make any choice at all.

Demand more. Demand the right to the city. It belongs to all of us.

–Elvin Wyly (in an excerpt from To Claim the Right to the City, Turn Left)

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Photo by Elvin Wyly (2010). Available at

The urban Occupy movement began in September 2011, and it continues to evolve. On the program, urban geographer Elvin Wyly talks about the Occupy movement as collectively claiming a right to the city – a right to live in just cities that are socially and economically equitable.

We then speak with an organizer from Occupy the Midwest, which is a Detroit conference drawing people from midwest cities and beyond. We discuss the socio-economic contexts of Chicago and Detroit, and this regional Occupy conference as part of the evolution of the movement in a part of the country particularly devastated by neoliberal capitalism.