Over three podcasts, we revisit the year’s critical urban discussions on topics and ideas ranging from transportation along Vancouver’s Broadway corridor, the degradation of work in postindustrial urban economies, gentrification in Vancouver’s Chinatown, feminist urban futures and social movements, the making of Stanley Park, arts and cultural spaces, and much more.
Part III (featuring Ellen Woodsworth)
On the program, we hear from a number of commentators on the possible loss of the Waldorf Hotel, an East Vancouver music hub, to condo development and the City’s response, as well as the impending eviction of the W2 Community Media Arts Society. We discuss more broadly the growing cultural deficit in the city and loss of arts and cultural venues and organizations. We also address the lack of all-ages venues and how this should be remedied.
- Ryan McCormick has been involved in the Vancouver music community for over ten years. He is one of the founding members of the Safe Amplification Site Society and serves as the organization’s Secretary. Formerly of the bands They Shoot Horses Don’t They?, Greenbelt Collective and The Role Mach Electric Band, Ryan currently focuses his musical and artistic practice on Collapsing Opposites.
- Tristan Markle is a founder and editor at The Mainlander and recently co-authored an article which situates the Waldorf Hotel within a broader context of condo development, speculation, and gentrification.
- Ellen Woodsworth is a community activist, former COPE City Councillor, and a founding member of Women Transforming Cities.
- Ned Jacobs is a community activist and development critic.
Check out the past podcast featuring the City of Vancouver’s Managing Director of Cultural Services, Richard Newirth, discussing the challenges facing the city, and especially the lack of affordable arts spaces.
Dispossession and displacement as active projects are very much about land as property. Property is both the point of these struggles and the medium. Struggles over the meanings and moralities of property have been central. Law, in this sense, must be conceived not simply as an instrument of colonial domination but as a means through which colonialism has itself been produced. In order to understand the historic dynamics of colonialism and its contemporary echoes, it helps if we attend to the geographies of land. The meanings and practices associated with land as property have proved critical, yet are inseparable from its spatialities.–Nick Blomley (Professor of Geography, SFU)
In this edition of The City, we reflect upon the Musqueam’s ongoing struggle to protect their ancestral village site and burial grounds of c̓əsnaʔəm (pronounced cusnaum) from condo development. Friday, August 10th marked 100 days of the Musqueam keeping an around-the-clock vigil and occupation of at the site in the 1300-block of SW Marine Drive, which is under threat of development. Musqueam marked 100 days with a march from Granville and W 70th to c̓əsnaʔəm and a rally with other First Nations from around the province, as well as many non-Musqueam supporters and organizations.
The owners of the site are planning to have Century Group, the developer, build condominiums on the site despite over 4,000-year-old Musqueam ancestral remains have been discovered and c̓əsnaʔəm has been recognized as a National Historic Site since the 1930s. The BC government has continued to okay the site for development based on their archaeological assessment, with the city then issuing the necessary development permit. By keeping an ongoing vigil, the Musqueam have prevented further development and desecration. Musqueam have proposed a land swap to ensure the future protection and recognition of c̓əsnaʔəm. The provincial government has been unwilling to move this proposal forward. The BC Liberal government has suggested that they will expedite payment of cash that is already owed to the band, so the band can then buy back the land from the owners/developer. The irony of buying back your own land is not lost on many. You can follow the struggle for c̓əsnaʔəm on Twitter and Facebook.
ON THE PODCAST | We hear from Musqueam’s Cecilia Point and elder Delbert Guerin, provincial NDP MLAs Jenny Kwan and Scott Fraser (Aboriginal Relations Critic), former COPE City Councillor Ellen Woodsworth, BC Nurses’ Union President Debra MacPherson and Lisa Walker. Additionally, The City speaks with Tristan Markle, co-founder and editor of The Mainlander, about the city’s role and responsibility in the matter, specifically on why a development permit was issued. In the first part of the podcast, host Andy Longhurst reads excerpts from Nick Blomley’s (Professor of Geography, SFU) 2003 book Unsettling the City: Urban Land the Politics of Property.
The town also emerged as a vital economic and political node in a broader colonial network, directing flows of capital and command that opened up resource frontiers in the colonial interiors. All of this, of course, was pivotal to the process of colonial dispossession. But colonial towns also quickly emerged as speculative spaces. Layout was designed so as to facilitate the acquisition and transfer of urban land. Vancouver’s initial expansion, it has been argued, was largely a product of land speculation, rather than expansion in the production of goods and services. Boosterist publications marveled at the leapfrogging of prices, and the fact that areas of “wild land” could become “first-class property” in a matter of months. Vancouver “is a purely business town,” noted one observer, “a land of speculation…above all, in city lots.”
In this week’s podcast, I unpack Vancouver’s housing affordability interim report with Coalition of Progressive Electors‘ (COPE) former city councillor Ellen Woodsworth. On Monday, June 25th, the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability released their interim report, making a number of recommendations. They made four major recommendations with somewhat specific strategies outlined in the report:
- Increase supply and diversity of affordable housing
- Enhance the City’s and the community’s capacity to deliver affordable rental and social housing
- Protect existing social and affordable rental housing and explore opportunities to renew and expand the stock
- Streamline and create more certainty and clarity in the regulatory process, and improve public engagement
COPE has been calling for an independent housing authority for years. […] I’m very concerned that what we’re going to get is not real affordability, and that the report is addressing people who’s incomes are over $21,000. […] We know that we’re losing hundreds of [rental] units to renovictions, buildings are being torn down, and we’re not seeing the replacement units being real affordable units.
In the second part of the podcast, we hear from President and Vice-President of La Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec, Martine Desjardins and Yanick Grégoire, as they report back from the frontline of the largest student mobilization in Quebec’s history. They spoke at an event hosted by the BC Federation of Labour and the Canadian Federation of Students at the Vancouver Public Library on June 19.
The June 12th podcast is available here.
In the first part of the program, I discuss the ‘big download’ with Charley Beresford (Executive Director, Centre for Civic Governance at the Columbia Institute). Provincial and federal governments are increasingly shifting costs and responsibilities onto municipalities, which have extremely limited tools to generate revenue. The Tyee‘s Adam Pez reported on this topic in a recent article.
In the second half, I talk with south Vancouver community activist Ian Mass about the proposed redevelopment of the historic Avalon Dairy farm lands, and efforts underway to ensure an agricultural, educational, and heritage legacy on the site. We also hear from Ellen Woodworth (Founder, Women Transforming Cities; former COPE City Councillor) and Penny Gurstein (Professor and Director, UBC School of Community and Regional Planning) about the launch of Women Transforming Cities and the importance in creating the ideal city for women and girls.
Professor Penny Gurstein’s complete speech at the Women Transforming Cities launch on why cities need to address gender equity (especially in Vancouver) is provided below. .