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)
The 2013 Engaging Women, Transforming Cities Conference hosted by the Women Transforming Cities organization brought together municipal electeds, urban designers and planners, and women and girls interested in 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 was held on May 30th, 2013 at Simon Fraser University’s downtown campus.
Over the course of the summer, The City will be providing highlights from this inaugural national conference. Dr. Tiffany Muller Myrdahl is the Junior Ruth Wynn Woodward Chair in Gender and Urban Studies at Simon Fraser University, and in this podcast she discusses large and small interventions to foster feminist urban futures.
What do you think about the proposed $2.8 billion UBC-Broadway subway line (and the economic case for it)? Will this come at the expense of other regional rapid transit projects? How would it shape the city’s transit accessibility and urban development trajectory? What are the lessons to be learned from the Canada Line experience?
On the podcast, Matti Siemiatycki discusses transportation policy, planning metro Vancouver’s transit future, and the UBC-Broadway line. Matti Siemiatycki is assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s Department of Geography and Program in Planning. His research focuses on transportation policy and planning and how large infrastructure projects are financed and delivered. He has authored many articles on these topics and is involved in the Public-Private Partnership Research Project, which graphically shows trends in the delivery of transportation projects through public-private partnerships (P3s).
On October 25th, 2012, the Province of BC and the City of Vancouver announced that the four remaining tenant-households at the Little Mountain social housing development would not be evicted, and that up to 50 social housing units would be fast-tracked and built on a portion of the site. Previously, the existing tenants (in the remaining townhouse who refused to be displaced) were served eviction notices, despite the fact that site redevelopment had not even reached the rezoning stage (and construction completion was still years away).
On the podcast, The City evaluates the recent social housing victory at Vancouver’s Little Mountain and we reflect on the history of the struggle. We begin with an excerpt from UBC Geography graduate student Tommy Thompson, who conducted extensive research on Little Mountain and found that “through an analysis of the distribution of benefits and losses of redevelopment to various relevant groups, Little Mountain tenants are being squeezed out of the benefits of redevelopment while bearing significant losses.”
We then hear from David Vaisbond, a documentary filmmaker, who has thoroughly and intimately documented the history of the Little Mountain housing struggle. We ask him to reflect on some of the most profound moments of documenting this struggle. Finally, former MLA and Little Mountain advocate David Chudnovsky reflects on this victory and provides a history of the proposed Little Mountain privatization and redevelopment.
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.”
A city and, more generally, any locality, is conceived as the areal expression of the interests of some land-based elite. Such an elite is seen to profit through the increasing intensification of the land use of the area in which its members hold a common interest. Conditions of community life are largely a consequence of the social, economic, and political forces embodied in this growth machine.
–Harvey Molotch in The City as a Growth Machine
In this episode, I discuss the urban growth machine, urban social movements, and environmentalism with renowned urban sociologist Harvey Molotch (Professor of Sociology and Metropolitan Studies, New York University). Dr. Molotch and Dr. Logan’s work on urban growth machines provides a very useful analytic tool to help us understand how cities develop, who is involved, and why cities are the way they are.
Dr. Harvey Molotch is the author of many books and articles, including Urban Fortunes: The Political Economy of Place (with John Logan), Where Stuff Comes From: How Toasters, Toilets, Cars, Computers and Many Other Things Come to Be as They Are, and a co-edited (with Laura Noren) volume Toilet: Restrooms and the Politics of Sharing.
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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.
From the May 29, 2012 rally at Vancouver’s Mountain View Cemetery. The Musqueam Band is making the point that we would not consider developing on the cemetery, yet the development permit for a condo development on sacred Musqueam burial grounds in Marpole has been issued and the threat of continued desecration is ongoing. You can hear more about the situation and the rally on the May 29th podcast.
The May 29th podcast is available here. In the first half of the show I speak with Musqueam spokesperson Cecilia Point at the Mountain View Cemetery rally as they are set to ‘develop’ on Vancouver’s only cemetery. You’ll also hear my conversations with Emiliano Sepulveda about the upcoming Vancouver Night School (May 31) and Myriam Steinberg about In the House Festival and music and art in a living room near you.
In the second half of the show, we hear from Montreal student activist Alejandra Zaga about the how the protests have been playing out on the streets, how the movement is shaping the urban experience, and how we are seeing the creation of new, highly fluid (radical) social spaces.
MUSIC // In Your House, Parlovr (Montreal) // Film III, Jorane (Montreal)