Sunday, October 21, 2018

VSB Election Outcome vs Election Eve Prediction

On the eve of Vancouver's school board election I made the following prediction as to who, and which parties, would end up on the school board. I got some of this right. clearly my preference for progressive candidates made me slightly more optimistic in their favour than the outcome merited.

These were my picks. 3 Greens, 2 OneCity, 2 NPA, 1 Vision and 1 COPE.

Fraser (Green)
Gonzalez (Green)
Chan-Pedley (Green) 
Wong (Vision)
Bercic (One City)
Jaaf (One City)
Richardson (NPA)
Ballantyne (NPA) 
Parrott (COPE)

Here's the actual outcome. 3 Green, 1 OneCity, 3 NPA, 1 Vision and 1 COPE. I managed the general pattern, but was wrong in terms of which NPA would get elected. I had Richardson and Ballantyne, but the actual outcome was Hansen, Cho, and Ballantyne. I also miscalled which OneCity candidate would get elected. But then that's why I called it "Jumping to Conclusions."  I was very pleased to see Diana Day in tenth spot - but would hav been much happier if she had been elected. While I am saddened to see Bercic lose her spot, OneCity still retained a voice on school board with Jennifer Reddy who ended up 3rd overall in vote count.

Let's look at the bottom 2/3rds of the list.  There are several interesting things to note.

The main progressive and right wing candidates (Vision, One City, COPE, and NPA) occupied most of the 'almost elected spots - indicating that there was little public appetite for the more right wing splinter groups that emerged this campaign.

Morgane Oger did quite well for an Independent and ranked just between the mainstream political candidates and the more right wing splinter groups.  Oger ran on an explicit social justice campaign that brought issues like SOGI & SOGI 123 to the fore.

It will be intersting to see how this new school board works. I have no predictions as to who will end up the new chair, it could as easily be a Green as an NPA'er. For that matter I could see a possibility (slim though) of veteran trustee Alan Wong being presented as a choice for chair - but with the lowest winner tally, that would likely be quite a long shot. More of a possibility would be OneCity's Reddy coming up the middle between the Greens and the NPA.

But that is all a matter of speculation as we wait and see whether this new school board can become a more effective board than the one that was just replaced.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Short term rentals and the UNA Elections

In the recent Campus Resident resident candidates for UNA Board were asked to share their opinions on short term rentals.

The response from candidates can be broken into three general types:

(1) evidence based evaluation
(2) procedural and jurisdiction responsibility
(3) fear/worry/misconceptions

The only candidate to draw on an evidence-based evaluation of short term rentals was Victoria Bell. In her response to  the leading question as to whether short term rentals are damaging to community she said it is "not a black and white answer, but I feel that it would possibly help some faculty to stay."

All of the candidates focussed on aspects of procedural and jurisdictional responsibility. They all acknowledged that there are no formal restrictions or specific regulations on short term rental and most suggested that stratas are the best agent to make decisions over regulating short term rentals.

Matthew Delumpa went a bit further arguing that his experience in Vancouver leads him to believe that short term rentals has an influence on housing affordability and he proposes that the UNA work with UBC to set up a regulatory regime to govern short term rentals. There are fewer than a couple dozen short term rentals publicly listed in the UNA area.  How can a couple dozen short term rentals make housing unaffordable at UBC? I have lived (rented for the first decade; co-development resident for the second decade) on the UBC campus, I have been involved in faculty campaigns for affordable housing, and I currently serve on the UBC Board of Governors. From this vantage point I can see that the exorbitant cost of land and housing at UBC is a serious problem.  However, this is a problem that goes far beyond short term rentals or UBC.

Natalie Jaskevich differs and instead argues that the UNA should work with the stratas to enable them to regulate short term rentals building by building.

Terry Mullen, while expressing his belief that no rental should be less than two months, states that if the UNA were to get involved it would be an overreach of its proper jurisdiction.  This is a viewpoint shared by James Ellis.

The fear/worry/misconception category reveals a sense of worry common to communities undergoing significant change, disruption, and growth.

Ellis and Jatskevich express worries about security: "Short-term rentals can present challenges in terms of noise, security, property damage" says Ellis.  According to Jatskevich short term rentals create "concerns in regards to building security, common property damage, small property theft, noise level, littering, etc on the properties."  Where is the evidence for this?  It is easy to find news articles about offending short-term rental operators - in North Vancouver, in Yaletown, everywhere but UBC. As noted above there are barely a couple dozen short term rentals.  These claims may accurately reflect how people might feel in the absence of real experience, but they don't reflect the reality of short term rentals at UBC.

Mullens takes a slightly differnt tack on this file. He focuses solely on who benefits and comes to the conclusion that the community loses. It is not clear on how he comes to this conclusion. At UBC all of the short term operators I have spoken to describe their guests as people with direct ties to UBC: faculty coming in to teach a course, scholars attending conferences, parents and grandparents visiting family attending UBC, parents with their children visiting UBC as they decide on whether this is a welcoming place for their child.

From all the evidence that I can see there is no problem at UBC with short term rentals - yet, there is a general worry about disruption to a sense of community, feelings of belonging, worries about strangers.  These short term rental guests are just normal people like you and me, people are coming to UBC for work, study, and visiting family and friends. I've spoken to as many short term rental hosts that I can find and each of them says the same thing - where is the problem? There is often more noise from the neighbourhood children (which I enjoy), the rugby teams walking through eagle's park to the fields in the summer (which is one of the great things about campus), the marching band every other weekend along main mall (not so supportive of the marching band though), then there ever is from a short term rental guest.  The thing is that we already live in a complex dense urban environment that is filled with all kinds of 'disturbances.' The net effect of a short term rental is negligible in real material terms.  What is a more fundamental problem is the way that urban planners continuously up population density and try to squeeze more and more of us into smaller and smaller places - that's the real underlying problem that we are facing and the source of much of the anxiety.

Regulating a problem makes sense, regulating something that isn't a problem is a waste of time and money. I trust that my neighbours who have volunteered their time and effort to serve as  elected resident directors will reconsider their opinions that are based on misconceptions, talk to people who have real experience with short term rentals, and consider the ways that we can build community more effectively that includes short term rentals as one of the options available for people.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Jumping to Conclusions - the VSB Election.

School board elections tend to be low profile - they shouldn't be - but they typically are.  By the time voters work their way through the ballot and find themselves at school board a lot of people seem to lose interest in deciding. That's too bad as some of the most important societal decisions are made in our schools.  I've previously made public the kind of person I think is best suited for the role of trustee.  You can revisit my picks here. In this commentary I want to speculate on who will actually end up on the school board tomorrow and whether one should consider doing anything about it.

In past elections when there were two major parties going up against each other the popularity of the winning mayor had a lot to do with who won school board (though not always).  This time around with four serious contenders (though most pundits suggest it is still really a right/center race between Sims (NPA)  and Stewart (Vision in all but name).  Sylvester is presented as an ideological center ground.  Who knows, maybe she could squeak up the middle.  Running a distant fourth is Hector Bremner who formed his own party once the NPA denied him a nomination spot. This diversity on the center-right with no clear left wing candidate means, I think, that by the time voters get to school board choices they will be straying long and far from any kind of ideological consistency. So, here are my best bets on who will end up steering Vancouver's education system for the next four years.

I doubt that any of the candidates from the new right wing groupings (Vancouver 1st, Coalition Vancouver, Pro Vancouver, or Yes Vancouver ) will manage to win a seat on school board.  A couple of them have name recognition, but given the low polling numbers for their mayoralty candidate it's not likely they'll tip the scales enough to get a seat on the board.

I'm pretty sure that there will be enough conservative votes to elect at least two NPA'ers to the board (if not three). I would prefer that not to be the case. But, given the way things in Vancouver are shaping up, I suspect some people will consider these conservatives to be a centrist compromise choice. I think they're wrong and actually a dangerous choice this election, but the will of those who vote is what ultimately matters. So I'm going to bet on Ballantyne (an incumbent) and Richardson (who was previously on the board) getting enough just enough votes to join the board.

I don't think any of the independents will do more than a good showing.  I would like to see Morgane Oger get elected, but history runs against them. Of course, this could be the election where an independent with solid name recognition does get elected.  I would like that, but am not holding my breath.

I think there will be at lest two greens in the top three. These are the right/center candidates that appeal to a good swarth of middle-of-the-road voters. I'm with Patti Bacchus here on why it's not a good thing to vote for the greens, but I am fairly certain that at least the two incumbent greens will return to the school board and given the tenor of the times they will likely pull their running mate on with them.

I think that maybe one COPE candidate will get on the board, but the back room politics that created vision has had lasting damage on the ability of COPE to break back into electoral victory of any sort. However, if there was an election to turn the tide, this would be it. With Jean Swanson running for city council (essentially as the political conscience of justice and official opposition to the center-right block that will likely dominate things) her voters may be enough to swing at least one COPE candidate onto the school board.  Here the weight of the Vancouver District Labour Council endorsement of Barb Parrot (former VSB teachers' union activist) may be enough to give COPE a seat.

Vision is likely going to get shellacked though I think that long time trustee (first elected with COPE) Alan Wong will hold his seat. Vision is only running three candidates this time and Wong's two running mates are relatively unknown outside of PACs and the internal politics of public schools. Given the absence of a Vision mayoralty candidate I don't think things bode well for vision on school board.

OneCity will likely get two spots on the school board. I'm betting on incumbent Carrie Bercic. For second spot I suspect Erica Jaaf, given her Parent Advisory Advocacy, might get her the spot.  Jennifer Reddy also has an extensive network across the city as an immigrant support worker. Ideally all three of them would be great on the school board (that's how I voted).

So let me jump to some early conclusions!  Here is my predication for tomorrow's Vancouver School Board election listed by last name in rough order from most votes to least number of votes.

Fraser (Green)
Gonzalez (Green)
Chan-Pedley (Green) 
Wong (Vision)
Bercic (One City)
Jaaf (One City)
Richardson (NPA)
Ballantyne (NPA) 
Parrott (COPE)

I don't think this would be a good outcome for our schools. For one thing, past experience tells us that the greens are more likely to act like the NPA than either Vision or COPE.  Slight shifts to the right or to the center could make a big difference in terms of the composition of the board. Voters opting for the new right parties could pull down NPA votes enough to bring one or two more Vision or OneCity candidates onto the board (but without electing any of the new right candidates). Defections from Visions right could add a third NPA trustee to the board and potentially knock off COPE or Vision's Wong.  There are all kinds of ways this could go.

I'll end with a plug of my own recommendations and ask that you help me make my above predictions wrong, wrong, wrong!

Vote for the following great people:

Erin Arnold  (Vision)
Carrie Bercic  (OneCity)
Diana Day    (COPE)
Erica Jaaf   (OneCity)
Aaron Leung (Vision)
Morgan Oger (Independent)
Barb Parrott  (COPE)
Jennifer Reddy (OneCity)
Alan Wong (Vision)

Thursday, October 18, 2018

GUEST POST: Terry Mullen for UNA Elected Director.

By Terry Mullen - Candidate for UNA Elected Resident Director

The final day for voting to fill the three vacant positions on the UNA Board is November 1st, the date of the UNA AGM. 

I am running for one of those positions.  The greatest obstacle for candidates to overcome in “campaigning” is that of communicating with the electorate, that is, the residents.  The UNA has refused to make available to candidates the email addresses of residents, citing considerations of privacy.  Fair enough, I suppose, though the UNA has that information and regularly uses it. 

Fortunately John Tompkins, the editor of The Campus Resident, has been proactive in providing candidates a forum.  You may have read the candidate profiles in the September edition and the question and answer section in the October edition which came out yesterday.  Indeed, you may also have read my article, “We Shape Our Buildings and Thereafter They Shape Us”, published in the August edition, in which I discuss my concerns in regard to the Stadium Road Neighbourhood project.

I invite you to read the attached flyer. It’s brief (mercifully, you might well say) but it sets out what I see as the more important issues that are within the jurisdiction of the UNA.

Terry Mullen
Hawthorn Place

Friday, October 12, 2018

Parents, Rights, Responsibilities, and the VSB Election.

Education should be about our children, but it really seems that it has become just a little bit too much about parents. Candidates for our school board are eager to say that they are pro-parent, pro-parental rights, pro-parent consultations.  I’m a parent, I get that I should have a say. But I think some candidates are taking this a bit too far.

Being a parent is a role that carries with it many obligations and responsibilities.  For better or worse we are the people with primary responsibility for the care of our children.  As a parent I know the sleepless nights or worry just as well as the happy moments. As parents my partner and I were there every step of the way for our children. We don’t claim perfection – no earthy human has a right to such a claim. But we did our best. When our children were in public school we become involved in all the regular parent volunteer things – hot dog sales, field trip assistants, driving teams to sporting events, participating in the parent advisory councils, etc. Much of my early involvement was like other parents – our kids were in school and we wanted to help make their situation the best it could be.

As parents we share an uneasy custody with teachers and our schools.  Our children spend a big part of their day in school, with other children, under the care of other adults. Most parents might think ourselves experts on our own children, but we are not experts on teaching children.  We have an obligation to work with and trust our partners in education.  Part of our partnership is making sure that education works for all children, not just our own.

My own children’s years in public education were a tumultuously time for public education. There were massive government funding cuts that provoked repeated teachers strikes. There were diminishing school-based resources.  Like a lot of others parents our initial involvement in school politics was because of our own kids. However, it soon became apparent that no child’s needs were being met.  What was called for was more than a “my kid first approach.”  Supporting public education meant reaching out to parents, teachers, and the wider community and politically mobilizing to make real differences.

I became part of a Vancouver parent group that called its self Save Our Schools and through that got more active in my school-based parent advisor council, ultimately serving six years as an executive member of Vancouver District Parents Advisory Council.  During that time many of us shared the conviction that meeting the needs of all children was what a public education system was all about. 

Of course just about everybody uses some variant of the same words: education should be about meeting the needs of all students.  I learned that not every parent actually means the same thing when they say that.  Some seemed to mean just what it says: real needs of all children. But there were others I have met who seemed to really mean "meet the needs of my student."  

The same can be said for the slogan of safety in schools.    Most of us we think this means something like ensuring no child is bullied, that schools are earthquake proof, and/or that it implies a focus on issues of emergency preparedness. However, this is also a coded phrase that speaks to a conservative anti-LGBTQ movement intensely opposed to any kind of non-heteronormative sexual orientation or gender identity.

I’ll be honest; I don’t get the anger and intensity of anti-SOGI activists. Their motivations seem opaque. What I do get is the harm and hurt they cause. Their actions intensify a climate of fear and anxiety for youth in our schools. While they claim to be concerned about school safety their fear that a gender-neutral bathroom might undermine their parental authority cause real harm in our schools. Does it really matter if a child prefers a gender-neutral name? or wants to be addressed as they/them? Should we really care that a child chooses to wear non-gender binary clothing or to dress in a way that deviates from cultural gender norms? I don't think we should. The weight of peer-reviewed research supports my assertion and undermines the anti-SOGI activists' misconceptions.

As an anthropologist I have seen enough of the world to realize that there are all kinds of ways to express gender identity. In fact there are no universally gendered codes of behaviour, dress, or identity. Humans are delightfully diverse and expressive.  Yet I have met members of a parental minority who really seem to think that for all time and across all humanity there are only two genders, they are set at birth, and that any alteration is a threat to the wellbeing of all children – hence their deployment of the cover term “school safety.”

I am a university-based teacher. I have family members who were and are public school teachers. I have seen, and have been told of, the trauma that our children and youth face when adults demand the maintenance of a heteronormative binary orthodoxy of man and woman.

My professional work involves researching structures of oppression. I study the ways oppressive systems –like the Indian Residential Schools- create intergenerational trauma. By the same account demanding that a child conform to a male/female binary when that is not their orientation (or that they preform in any way that denies their true self) is a form of harm, it traumatizes: this is a form of oppression. We should not countenance such attitudes from fellow parents. We cannot tolerate this from people wanting to be elected school trustees.

As a parent I have always understood there are good reasons to involve parents in education. There are peer-reviewed studies that lay out how involved parents contribute to better educational outputs for all children. Parents should be involved and consulted. But I do not support the kind of hubris a minority of parents display when they try to insinuate their unfounded ideological beliefs into the public school system.  Whether they code it as safety in schools or clearly state their opposition to BC’s SOGI curriculum they are creating a harmful school setting that further traumatizes children and youth who may already be at risk of harm.

So when I cast my ballot for school trustees in the upcoming election I will look very closely at each candidate, their political organization, and the people they have decided to align with. I will pay very close attention to the groups and movements that publicly endorse them. I will be choosing people who show they are not afraid to stand up to bullies.  I will vote for people who speak clearly and mean what they say. I will look for champions of education.

This election I will be voting for these people (listed in order their names appear on the ballot):

  • REDDY, Jennifer (OneCity)
  • BERCIC, Carrie (OneCity)
  • JAAF, Erica (OneCity)
  • PARROTT, Barb (COPE)
  • LEUNG, Aaron (Vision Vancouver)
  • WONG, Allan (Vision Vancouver)
  • DAY, Diana (COPE)
  • ARNOLD, Erin (Vision Vancouver)
  • OGER, Morgane

Saturday, September 29, 2018

School Board Elections 2018

As residents of the UNA we have an opportunity to vote for school trustees in the Vancouver School District.

This year we have a range of independent and aligned candidates to select from.

I will be supporting a mix of candidates with proven track records and from political organizations that demonstrate care and empathy. That's what we need in a school board.

I have highlighted in Green the candidates that I will be voting for in this school board election. I have also provided the full list of candidates in the order that they will appear on the ballot.

  • DESCÔTEAUX, Stéphanie (VANCOUVER 1st)
  • REDDY, Jennifer (OneCity)
  • KINDRID, Tiffiny (ProVancouver)
  • PRIETO, Julian (YES Vancouver)
  • GOODINE, Nadine C (Coalition Vancouver) 
  • FRASER, Janet (GREEN)
  • BERCIC, Carrie (OneCity)
  • RICHARDSON, Christopher JK (NPA)
  • ALM, Kelly
  • HANSON, Oliver (NPA)
  • GILL, Pratpal Kaur (VANCOUVER 1st)
  • GONZALEZ, Estrellita (GREEN)
  • KENNEDY, Gordon T
  • JAAF, Erica (OneCity)
  • QIU, Chris (NPA)
  • CHO, Carmen (NPA)
  • BARONET, Bruno (VANCOUVER 1st)
  • ANDERSON, BK Barbara (IDEA Vancouver)
  • PARROTT, Barb (COPE)
  • LEE, Marco (VANCOUVER 1st)
  • WOO, Sophia (Coalition Vancouver) 
  • LEUNG, Aaron (Vision Vancouver)
  • ZHOU, Ying (Coalition Vancouver) 
  • DENIKE Ken (Coalition Vancouver) 
  • WONG, Allan (Vision Vancouver)
  • DONG, Tony (VANCOUVER 1st)
  • BALLANTYNE, Fraser (NPA)
  • DAY, Diana (COPE)
  • ARNOLD, Erin (Vision Vancouver)
  • OGER, Morgane
  • FARROKHI, Fairnia

Academic Freedom

The members of the University enjoy certain rights and privileges essential to the fulfillment of its primary functions: instruction and the pursuit of knowledge. Central among these rights is the freedom, within the law, to pursue what seems to them as fruitful avenues of inquiry, to teach and to learn unhindered by external or non-academic constraints, to engage in full and unrestricted consideration of any opinion. This freedom extends not only to the regular members of the University but to all who are invited to participate in its forum. Suppression of this freedom, whether by institutions of the state, the officers of the University or the actions of private individuals, would prevent the University from carrying out its primary functions. All members of the University must recognize this fundamental principle and must share responsibility for supporting, safeguarding and preserving this central freedom. Behaviour which obstructs free and full discussion, not only of ideas which are safe and accepted but of those which may be unpopular or even abhorrent, vitally threatens the integrity of the University's forum. Such behaviour cannot be tolerated. 

Friday, May 4, 2018

One Step Forward, Ten Steps Back

Closed Session. That is phrase that will become more and more common in the UNA Board vocabulary. It's a shame given that even the UBC Board of Governors, famous for their secrecy these past few years, has turned a new leaf and is busy revamping governance structures in order to be more open, democratic, and transparent.  The UNA, however, is going the other direction and has decided to close the door on transparency by closing 50% of the board's meetings.

The UNA Board had this to report on their closed meeting policy in April:
A quick note on the closed meetings. We have identified six this year, but may not need all. They are placeholders to ensure the time is in everyone’s calendar if we need them. The number of closed meetings will vary from year to year depending on the need.   The criteria for what is discussed in a closed meeting and what is discussed in an open meeting has not changed. Those criteria are consistent with those of similar organizations. The value of closed meetings is to provide a space to exchange a number of ideas and options on potentially sensitive issues prior to public discussions. It encourages a better idea exchange in a way that doesn’t risk adversely affecting external parties.    We remain committed to reporting on decisions made and outlining the issues that were on the table.  
It is nice that they "remain committed to reporting on decisions made" in closed sessions. But that really misses the point. So far one of the primary "sensitive" items they felt the need to discus in private was a strategic plan.  A secret discussion that has resulted in the spending of thousands of dollars for yet another consultant close friend of UBC.  It's wonderful that the UNA will bring the spending decision to their public meeting but I suspect the board will simply rubber stamp an expensive strategic plan consultant contract and the process that led to this decision will remain clouded in secrecy. Any rationale for the expensive project will reflect an agreed upon script that will paper over any of the diverse perspectives that should properly be heard in public session.

Democracy requires a willingness to be subjected to the public gaze.  No amount of hiding in private removes that obligation. If our directors feel constrained to speak publicly, if they are uncomfortable expressing themselves in front of an audience, then they really have no place in public governance. 

In 2012 when I ran for election to the UNA Board I did so on a platform of democratic reform.  When we were elected we had high hopes for change. Yet very quickly democratic reform was thwarted by foot-dragging on the part of appointed directors and UNA staff.

In 2014 when I ran for reelection I did so in alliance with Alain Craigie, again on a democratic reform platform.  But by then the forces of open governance were weakening.  Attempts to open committees to public scrutiny kept getting shutdown. 

In 2016 with a new slate of resident directors in control (I did not run for reelection, deciding instead to run for election to the UBC Board of Governors) the standing committees were essentially shelved and today we are in the situation in which 50% of the Board meetings are held behind closed doors.

What a sorry state of affairs. Despite that brief glimmer of openings 6 years ago the situation in the UNA has in fact become far more restrictive, far more opaque. The model that is being held up as the exemplar is an old fashion corporate board.  More than ever we need to clean house and reform the UNA.

The UNA has failed as a municipal-like body (much of the current communications from the UNA has actually dropped that descriptor).  As the service levy crisis created by UBC's sweetheart deal with Metro Vancouver years ago is compounded by the added impact of the fire service fee download the fiscal solvency of the UNA is even more in question. UNA residents need real effective local government. We've gone past the point of tinker with structures and overpaid consultants reports. We need real change that brings in responsible government in our community.  

Sunday, April 8, 2018

UBC Stadium Planning

UBC is moving along in planning the stadium neighbourhood. The early phase of planning consisted of setting guiding principles. The second phase is moving toward generating detailed planning options.  As part of this process planners organized an ideas workshop this weekend. They gathered together a group of intersted people (athletes, residents, academic & recreational stakeholders, and a lot of Campus Community Planning staff and consultants) to talk ideas.

The format was set up with a 4 hour window of opportunity. The session was opened with the requisite speech from the AVP Planning,  Micheal White and mc'd by coordinating planner Neal LaMontagne.  Following which three themed presentations were given (1) how we live (2) how we move (3) how we care.  The three presentations were set up to provide guidance for the table discussions that were to follow.  Over all it was a nicely organized event which allowed for some engaged discussion giving a feeling of inclusion for those in attendance.

Feeling warm and fuzzy about a process, though, doesn't mean much in the long run.  Yes, it's great to have the design experts invite folks to come in to talk about planning issues.  For one thing it helps to dissipate potential opposition in the long run by including potential critics in the ongoing design.  Second it creates the potential for planers to forge personal links with potential influence shapers in the various communities. This doesn't close off opposition, but it does mitigate potential glitches in planning down the road. It also allows the planners to be able to show how they have engaged various publics which has the advantage (for power elites) to diminish opposition that might arise latter by pointing to these engaging and inclusive feeling events.

Then there is the way that these processes are already delimited by a series of terms of reference that keep the focus on warm and fuzzy sounding goals (while excluding any discussion of fundamental issues).  Planners can rightly say that the decisions about whether or not to build in this area is not up to them - that's already been decided outside this process.  They can say discussion of how the revenue might be used that is raised is outside this process.  They can also say that discussion of questions like density are outside this process.  The end result becomes limited to simply how do 'we' build the nicest hyper-urban space we can in the Stadium Neighbourhood.

Note that even in the area's geographical placeholder -Stadium Neighbourhood- is an embedded and unquestionable fact: this is about a stadium and how to fund it's reconstruction.  The underlying and motivating program of UBC Athletics "Game Plan" is not up for discussion - it is both discursively and procedurally embedded outside of the possibility of fundamental debate, revision, or redesign. The stadium is a given and all else clicks into place behind it.

The result will, I am sure, meet planing goals: public input will have been solicited, various participants will have felt included, profit margins will continue to be maximized, a massive hyper-urban space will be created, and at the center of it will be a big sports facility.   All this will be accompanied by exciting artistic renderings with a host of superlative adjectives that will define the development as an exciting, engaging, livable, world class, festival of opportunity bringing together a diversity of ages, peoples, uses, and practices with an exciting plaza filled with sustainable opportunities in the heart of UBC's exciting new community.

My tweets from workshop (in reverse chronological order).

  1. Ok, why do so many people here at workshop think there should be rain protection in the design of stadium place? Enjoy it folks!
  2. It was good until they said doing this would embody being a thunderbird.
  3. Sweet statement from an athlete talking about linking botanical garden and stadium ... very nice.
  4. People often misunderstand what a summary is: it’s not a point by point review of the past hour’s discussion.
  5. The world through eyes of the team - “everyone wants to come see us play and build community”
  6. Treacle is just that. Even if it comes from an athlete. Plaza, plaza, plaza.
  7. Homecoming toasted as a reason to build a plaza in Stadium Place - really. Talk on care as important focusing on the stadium.
  8. About 50 folks in attendance. 1/5 U30. 2/5 40+. Maybe 1/5 staff & consultants. 1/5+ residents
  9. Not just football, broad field sport representation
  10. Strong representation from football team at stadium place community plan workshop. Guess they feel they have a vested interest.