Vancouver’s recently approved Downtown Eastside neighbourhood plan has raised concerns over the definition of social housing and the plan’s ability to stop – or even slow – gentrification. Low-income advocates and others expressed frustration that the significant 30-year plan was rushed through City Council.
On the podcast, we hear from low-income advocate Tamara Herman (Carnegie Community Action Project), Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson (courtesy of City Hall Watch), Green Party Councillor Adriane Carr, and urban planning/geography PhD student and researcher Melissa Fong.
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.
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)
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Using the storied San Francisco waterfront as a case study, Jasper Rubin (San Francisco State University) examines the reflexive relationship that gentrification creates between the waterfront and the city. Professor Rubin is author of A Negotiated Landscape: The Transformation of San Francisco’s Waterfront Since 1950.
This talk was recorded in November 2013 as part of the SFU Urban Studies Gentrification and the City Speaker Series.
Jamie Peck discusses neoliberal urbanism and the creative city paradigm
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Listen to the Q&A portion of the talk.
What does it mean to say that cities like Vancouver have taken a “neoliberal” turn, embracing market-oriented policies while paying little more than lip service to questions of social welfare, affordability, and environmental sustainability? Does the embrace of “creativity” really hold the promise of an alternative path, or does it threaten more of the same? Exploring these questions, Jamie Peck charts the rise of the neoliberal city, calling attention to its mutations, its limits, and to its alternatives.
Jamie Peck is Canada Research Chair in Urban & Regional Political Economy and Professor of Geography at UBC. An economic geographer with interests in labour studies, urban theory, and the politics of globalization, his publications include Constructions of Neoliberal Reason and the co-edited collection, Contesting Neoliberalism: Urban Frontiers.
This talk is part of the Spaces of Contestation: Art, Activism and the City Speaker Series, part of the project Collective Walks – Spaces of Contestation, curated by Mariane Bourcheix-Laporte, and was recorded on November 12, 2013 in Vancouver.
The Tyee’s Jackie Wong discusses her recent series ‘Generation Rent’
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Jackie Wong discusses her recent series, Generation Rent: Two Cities, Two Directions, recently published by The Tyee. We discuss the differences and similarities between Vancouver and San Francisco – and we specifically explore how political attitudes towards renting and renters can shape cities in profound ways.
What are the differences between these two west coast cities? And what might we learn from our southern neighbour?
In the interview, Jackie Wong refers to an article by The New Yorker’s George Packer on Silicon Valley and San Francisco’s growing urban inequality. It is an illuminating piece and you can read it here.
On the podcast, The City discusses the intersections of race, class, and redevelopment in Brooklyn, New York with My Brooklyn filmmaker Allison Lirish Dean. In the filmmakers’ own words:
My Brooklyn is a documentary about Director Kelly Anderson’s personal journey, as a Brooklyn “gentrifier,” to understand the forces reshaping her neighbourhood along lines of race and class. The story begins when Anderson moves to Brooklyn in 1988, lured by cheap rents and bohemian culture. By Michael Bloomberg’s election as mayor in 2001, a massive speculative real estate boom is rapidly altering the neighbourhoods she has come to call home. She watches as an explosion of luxury housing and chain store development spurs bitter conflict over who has a right to live in the city and to determine its future. While some people view these development patterns as ultimately revitalizing the city, to others, they are erasing the eclectic urban fabric, economic and racial diversity, creative alternative culture, and unique local economies that drew them to Brooklyn in the first place. It seems that no less than the city’s soul is at stake.
Meanwhile, development officials announce a controversial plan to tear down and remake the Fulton Mall, a popular and bustling African-American and Caribbean commercial district just blocks from Anderson’s apartment. She discovers that the Mall, despite its run-down image, is the third most profitable shopping area in New York City with a rich social and cultural history. As the local debate over the Mall’s future intensifies, deep racial divides in the way people view neighbourhood change become apparent. All of this pushes Anderson to confront her own role in the process of gentrification, and to investigate the forces behind it more deeply.
The film is an important reminder of how seemingly mundane processes of zoning and land use change can dramatically change urban landscapes, and these changes may entail the loss of vibrant, racially diverse neighbourhoods and the displacement of lower-income residents and affordable, independent businesses. While the contexts may be different, these broader processes are at work in cities across North America, and certainly in Vancouver.
In June, City of Vancouver planning staff released the draft community plan for East Vancouver’s Grandview-Woodland neighbourhood. To the shock of many residents who were extensively involved in the consultation process, the City is proposing to upzone substantial parts of the neighbourhood including approximately ten 22-36 storey towers in the Broadway and Commercial area. These proposed changes raise important questions about the preservation of existing affordable housing stock and the implications of major condominium tower development on the social fabric of the neighbourhood. Has community trust in the planning process been eroded with these surprising land-use directions? Where did these directions originate from if not from community consultation?
On this special podcast, we discuss the draft community plan, concerns about the future of the neighbourhood, and broader issues of public engagement with community leaders, residents, Translink, an urban scholar, and a member of the Mayor of Vancouver’s Engaged City Task Force.
- Jak King, historian and president of the Grandview-Woodland Area Council
- Nati Herron, resident, former member of the Grandview-Woodland Area Council, previously involved in the Victoria-Fraserview/Killarney Community Vision
- Robin, renter in Grandview-Woodland
- Jeff Busby, senior infrastructure planner at Translink
- Lindsay Poaps, member of the Mayor’s Engaged City Task Force
- Dr. Leslie Kern, assistant professor of gender studies at Mount Allison University and author of Sex and the Revitalized City: Gender Condominium Development, and Urban Citizenship
The City of Vancouver’s Corporate Communications department was given seven days advance notice for an interview. After more than four email and phone exchanges throughout the seven-day period, an interview was finally refused on June 24th. Corporate Communications indicated that a spokesperson could not be provided before the Tuesday, June 25th deadline.
Feedback on the draft plan can be submitted online until July 3rd. A new workshop to discuss the Broadway/Commercial sub-area and the proposed transit-oriented development has been organized for July 6th, which you must RSVP for as “space is extremely limited.” The Grandview-Woodland Area Council is hosting an open forum for residents to express their opinions about the draft plan on Monday, July 8th from 7-9pm at 1655 William Street.
Vancouver City Council, under the direction of the ruling Vision Vancouver party, wants to remove two remnants of the never fully realized inner city highway system in the downtown core. But, in the process, two long-standing community gardens are threatened with demolition. In this documentary, Green for All or Green for Some, Peter Driftmier explores the debate around the removal of the viaduct through the twin lenses of gentrification and environmental sustainability.
City staff have yet to come back to council with final recommendations on the removal of the viaducts. In recent months, the Strathcona Residents Association has expressed serious concerns about the possibility of increased traffic volume on Prior Street, and community groups in the Downtown Eastside have also expressed similar concerns regarding increased traffic along Hastings Street. The Vancouver Courier reported in an April 11th article that the staff report on the viaducts future is expected in June 2013.
This documentary was originally produced for Redeye on Vancouver’s Coop Radio 100.5 FM and aired in Fall 2012. Peter Driftmier is a producer with the Redeye Collective, and we are pleased to bring you this documentary. Thank you to Peter Driftmier and Redeye for permission to rebroadcast.
UBC geography professor David Ley and geographer Nicholas Lynch co-authored a recent study, Divisions and Disparities in Lotus Land: Socio-Spatial Income Polarization in Greater Vancouver, 1970-2005. Nicholas Lynch presents the worrisome findings of the study, as we see an increasingly divided Vancouver and a disappearing middle class. He discusses the social geography of polarization across the region, the implications, and possible policy solutions.