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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.
Leslie Kern discusses her book, Sex and the Revitalized City: Gender, Condominium Development, and Urban Citizenship, and her research on the social and political implications of real estate development reshaping the landscape of cities.
Here’s a bit about her book:
Young, single women emerged in the late 1990s as powerful consumers in the wave of real estate development that was reshaping the landscape of cities. Reports claimed that condominium ownership offered women new-found freedom, financial independence, and personal security. But has home ownership truly empowered women, or were the reports merely celebratory rhetoric that disguised more disquieting trends?
To get at the reality behind the rhetoric, Sex and the Revitalized City explores the phenomenon from the perspective of planners, developers, and women condo owners to reveal that women’s relationship with the city is being remade in the image of fast capital and consumer citizenship. As filtered through condominium ownership, neoliberal ideologies are not freeing women from constraints — they are reinforcing patriarchal norms. This fresh look at urban revitalization exposes the notion of women’s emancipation through condominium ownership as a marketing ploy rather than a major shift in gender relations.
Dr. Leslie Kern is assistant professor of women’s studies at Mount Allison University.
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.
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.
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.
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, rabble.ca 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
In 2011, Simon Fraser University’s Department of History hosted a lecture series, Think you know Vancouver? Think Again. On January 27th, local authors Matt Hern and Charlie Demers addressed the question of whether Vancouver, as it is often branded, is indeed the best place on earth.
Their humorous discussion provides a critical take on Vancouver, its history (or perceived lack of history), and why we need to think about Vancouver with a bit more honesty.
In a March podcast, we heard from local author and comedian Charlie Demers (Vancouver Special; CBC’s The Debaters). In this podcast, Matt Hern (Common Ground in a Liquid City: Essays in Defense of an Urban Future; Purple Thistle Centre co-director) provides a short commentary on Vancouver and then Charlie Demers joins him in discussion.
Thank you to the SFU History Department for permission to broadcast this content.
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.