Category: Gentrification

Don’t let another bookstore close! Vancouver losing critical cultural and intellectual infrastructure

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The People’s Co-op Bookstore is under threat of closing. They sent out this email on April 9th:

 

Dear Friend of People´s Co-op Bookstore


I am writing on behalf of People´s Co-op Bookstore to urge you to help save the Co-op – the oldest independent bookstore in Vancouver.

The Bookstore will close unless we raise a minimum of 15,000 dollars before the end of June. And another 15,000 before December. It’s essential that we eliminate existing debt and increase our new stock .

The good news is an anonymous donor will donate $1 for every $2 you donate up to a total of $5,000.

Your donation will help this important bookstore survive. Our goal is to build a strong progressive children´s book section and increase our traditional book stock. Another goal is to make the bookstore a friendly and comfortable hub for a range of progressive, literary and other activities in our City and neighborhood.

I hope you agree that People´s Co-op bookstore has an invaluable role to play in Vancouver, and our neighbourhood. It is a critical place to support labour, left, progressive causes, co-operatives, and local poets and writers.

You may have seen us selling books at community events. We recently sold books at the Arundhati Roy event. We plan to do more. And we will hold more book launches. We have already begun a children´s story time on Saturday morning.

Please help save an independent bookstore that provides critical material not easily found in other book stores., Progressive people need to support writers, and ideas. To have a place where people can gather. To challenge the Stephen Harper’s and Christy Clark’s of the world.

I’ve attached a dynamic roadmap for the the bookstores future (I hope you’ll take a moment to read it and I hope you’ll make a donation today.

Ways you can help:

– Please make the biggest donation you can. Large or small, your donation helps.

– Become a Co-op member ($25) if you are not already one.

– Upgrade your Co-op membership to a one year $25.00 membership and receive a 10% discount. Your donation of $250 entitles you to a 10% lifetime discount.

– Donate books to the bookstore.

– Volunteer on a committee, work in the bookstore or assist in off-site sales.

– Distribute this appeal to your email lists and Facebook friends.

I hope, like me, you believe that this bookstore is important to the people of Vancouver. And I hope you will help save it. Please send your donation to the People´s Co-op Bookstore at 1391 Commercial Dr., Vancouver, V6L 3X5 or phone the bookstore (604-253-6442) to make a credit card donation. (Online donations are not yet available.)

In solidarity and with much thanks for your support,

Brian Campbell Chair, Fundraising Committee

PS. Don’t let another bookstore close. And please don’t let a thinkers and activists progressive bookstore close. You and other people in our community working together can save it, and more importantly, help it to grow and bring progressive ideas too many more people. As the forces of conservatism grow stronger, it’s important to fight back with books, ideas, and a community space. The People’s co-op bookstore, is critical to this fight.

[Podcast] Approved Downtown Eastside Plan Raises Gentrification and Social Housing Concerns

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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.

[Podcast] No Place to Go: Gentrifying Downtown Eastside Residential Hotels Increasingly Unaffordable for Low-Income Residents

Screen shot 2014-03-12 at 4.58.25 PMSeven hundred and thirty-one homeless people live in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) according to the City of Vancouver. Approximately 5,000 more live on the edge of homelessness in tiny Single Room Occupancy (SRO) hotel rooms, with no private kitchen or bathroom, and often poor management, mice, rats, cockroaches and bedbugs. Most of these people rely on welfare and basic pension and desperately need new self contained social housing.


The Carnegie Community Action Project’s (CCAP) 2014 hotel and housing report finds that SROs in the DTES are more expensive than ever and that fewer still are available to low-income individuals looking for rooms.

On the podcast, I speak with Rory Sutherland, who is co-author of the report, No Place to Go: Losing Affordable Housing and Community. In the conversation, Rory outlines the major findings of the report, how they know SROs are gentrifying, and the implications for homelessness if this ‘last stop’ housing stock no longer houses the low-income people that depend on it.

[Podcast] Celebration Capitalism and the Olympic Games

Capitalism_OlympicsJules Boykoff on celebration capitalism, dissent, and the Olympic Games in Vancouver, London, and Sochi


Jules Boykoff discusses the Olympics Games – prominent urban mega-event spectacles – as a form of ‘celebration capitalism’ (the complement to Naomi Klein’s disaster capitalism). He talks about celebration capitalism and political dissent in the context of the Vancouver, London, and Sochi Olympic Games.

Jules Boykoff is author of Celebration Capitalism and the Olympic Games (2013) and Activism and the Olympics: Dissent at the Games in Vancouver and London (forthcoming), “Fun at the Games: The Anti-Olympics” (New Left Review, 2011) among many other publications in both academic and popular publications. He is associate professor of politics and government at Pacific University in Oregon.

[Podcast] Vancouver: Consumption City Forever?

Photo by Andy Longhurst

Photo by Andy Longhurst

Part two of the conversation with urban economic geographer Elliot Siemiatycki about Vancouver’s future economic trajectory


On the program, the second part of the conversation with urban economic geographer Elliot Siemiatycki about Vancouver’s transformation from a productive city into a city of consumption, dominated increasingly by real estate and tourism. We discuss what the future might hold for Vancouver as a city of consumption – and whether it might be advantageous for the city to chart an alternative economic path forward.

Dr. Elliot Siemiatycki is a postdoctoral fellow at York University in Toronto, and he completed his PhD from the University of British Columbia in 2013. His PhD research examined Vancouver’s urban economic transformation over the last three decades in his dissertation – Consumption City: Precarious Labour and Capital in Vancouver, British Columbia. 

[Podcast] Vancouver: Consumption City

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Trump Tower Vancouver construction. Photo by Andy Longhurst.

Economic geographer Elliot Siemiatycki discusses Vancouver’s transformation from a productive city into a city of consumption


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Above all, the many paradoxes of Vancouver’s contemporary economic development trajectory are exposed in the words of local workers, firms, commentators and industry experts: Vancouver is simultaneously the most livable and unaffordable city in the world; Vancouver is a leading creative city in which creative firms and workers alike struggle under conditions of precariousness; Vancouver is mythologized as a healthy, sustainable, lifestyle city while these very qualities often must be sacrificed by working Vancouver residents. Tracing the underlying story and challenges of Vancouver’s emergence as a global consumption city provides important insights into 21st century urban development.                           –Elliot Siemiatycki, PhD

On the podcast, urban economic geographer Elliot Siemiatycki discusses Vancouver’s transformation from a productive city into a city of consumption, dominated increasingly by real estate and tourism. We examine how the city’s structure, feel, and image of itself have shifted over the last three decades – and how the rise of precarious employment is implicated in this transformation.

Dr. Elliot Siemiatycki is a postdoctoral fellow at York University in Toronto, and he completed his PhD from the University of British Columbia in 2013. His PhD research examined Vancouver’s urban economic transformation over the last three decades in his dissertation – Consumption City: Precarious Labour and Capital in Vancouver, British Columbia. 

[Podcast] A New Era? Bill de Blasio and the Shifting Political Landscape in New York City

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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. 

 

[Podcast] A New Era? Racial and Economic Equality in New York City

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Bill de Blasio with his family. Source: Bill de Blasio Flickr (Wiki Commons).

Listen and subscribe to the podcast here.

On the program, Valery Jean of Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE) reflects on the Michael Bloomberg era in New York City and what the mayoral election of Bill de Blasio might mean for (in)equality, public and affordable housing, and urban development policies. De Blasio, a former New York City Public Advocate, won the mayoral election by a landslide, receiving over 73% of the vote. He is the first Democratic mayor elected since 1993.He is the first Democratic mayor elected since 1993. Jean also discusses the organization’s important work empowering public housing residents to organize to preserve and protect the city’s public housing.

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Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE) is a Brooklyn-based multi-racial organization made up almost exclusively of women of colour.  They organize low-income families to build power to change the system so that all people’s work is valued and all have the right and economic means to decide and live out our own destinies. FUREE has organized around the City of New York’s redevelopment plans for downtown Brooklyn, which was the focus of the film My Brooklyn. Allison Lirish Dean (My Brooklyn filmmaker) was interviewed on a past podcast.

[Podcast] The Politics of Housing the Homeless: Lack of community consultation or NIMBYism?

Screen shot 2014-01-22 at 1.20.11 PMListen and subscribe to the podcast here.

Has it been a lack of neighbourhood consultation with residents or simply a case of the NIMBY syndrome in east Vancouver? Or perhaps a bit of both? Is fear and misinformation framing the conversation about supportive housing?

On the podcast, we discuss at the concerns and politics around the planned 95 units of transitional housing at Mount Pleasant’s former Biltmore Hotel with Stephen Bohus from the Residents Association of Mount Pleasant and area resident Michelle Sturino. How significant are the locational conflicts over low-income housing and harm reduction for Vancouver and the region more generally? And how does this help or harm efforts to build more socially inclusive neighbourhoods and socially just cities?

In 2013, BC Housing, in partnership with the City of Vancouver, leased the former Biltmore Hotel at 395 Kingsway for temporary supportive housing. The hotel is being renovated to provide 95 units for people who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness while they wait for permanent housing to become available. The hotel will leased for six years and the supportive units are scheduled to open in early 2014. The planned social housing has generated support, opposition, and concerns among area residents.

The City of Vancouver declined a request for an interview.

[Podcast] 2013 Year in Review

the city twitter icon - finalOver 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.

In Part III of the 2013 Year in Review, former city councillor and Women Transforming Cities founder Ellen Woodsworth discusses the major issues from the past year.

Part I


Part II


Part III (featuring Ellen Woodsworth)