As part of the Art of City Building 2020 conference, we invited Mayor Mike Savage, Tara Wickwire, Alex Bozicovic, Katherine Peinhardt, Jeff Goodell, Julian Agyeman, and Tamika Butler to discuss Justice, Sustainability, and Climate Resilient Cities.
Art of City Building 2020 – Session 1: Justice, Sustainability & Climate Resilient Cities
A roundup of the most compelling ideas, themes and quotes from this candid conversation
1. Adaptation shouldn’t come at the expense of accessibility
Katherine Peinhardt argues that when it comes to adapting to a changing climate, adaptation cannot come at the expense of accessibility. Giving the example of rain gutters or steps that can make public space inaccessible for some members of the community, she says, “if it doesn’t work well for everyone, it doesn’t work. A resilient public space is first and foremost a public space.”
2. A new world is upon us—which direction will we choose?
Jeff Goodell presents the sobering reality that even if we outlaw fossil fuels and go to zero carbon emissions tomorrow, sea levels would still continue to rise for decades to come. However, he argues, we are in a moment of transformation, where a new world is possible. “In the coming years, we’re going to reinvent where and how we live. We can build a fairer, more just world. Or not. It’s up to us.” He proposes a series of big questions that we must tackle ahead: Will we get serious about cutting carbon? When does the real estate market collide with climate science? Where will the money for adaptation come from? How quickly will we stop building walls and learn to live with water? Who decides who, and what, will be saved?
3. Sustainability is more than green
Julian Agyeman speaks about the equity deficit in conversations about sustainability. Going forward, we need planning at both the human and humane scales—addressing urban equality, equity, and human dignity at the same time as climate objectives. Says Agyeman, “Sustainability cannot only be a green or environmental concept. True sustainability is achieved when social need, welfare, and economic opportunity are integrated into living within the environment’s limits.”
4. Your race impacts your quality of life
Using the example of Los Angeles, where she lives, Tamika Butler points out that the race you are born into is more determinant of your outcomes than any other factor. This plays out geographically as well. South Los Angeles is made up of predominantly Black and Latinx communities, while West Los Angeles is predominantly white. Giving the examples of migrant workers and frontline workers, she says, “If the climate is going to drastically change everything we do, how just and how sustainable will that change be if we determine some are worth saving, and some are worth helping others to be saved?”
5. Co-produced futures are the only way forward
In the ensuing moderated conversation, the presenters agreed that we need to move from models of allyship to models of accomplices. We need urban planning and urban design professions with practitioners that look like and come from the communities they are designing for; people who are both culturally competent, and culturally humble. Changing the future starts with changing who’s doing the work.
Note to readers: This video session was transcribed using auto-transcribing software. Manual editing was undertaken in an effort to improve readability and clarity. Questions or concerns with the transcription can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org with “transcription” in the subject line.
Mayor Mike Savage [00:00:00] Good morning. Welcome to the fourth annual Art of City Building Conference. My name is Mike Savage, I’m the mayor of the great city of Halifax. Whether you’re turning in from Halifax or points beyond. I hope you enjoyed this opportunity to engage with so many others. We’re working to make our cities more livable, sustainable and welcoming to diverse populations. Allow me to start off by acknowledging that this conference takes place annually on the ancestral and the unseeded lands of the Mi’kmaw People.
Mayor Mike Savage [00:00:30] We are all beneficiaries of the peace and friendship treaties with the indigenous people of this land. I want to thank the organizers. Folks like Tara Wickwire, Kourosh Rad, Jen Angel and the support of presenting sponsorships: Develop Nova Scotia, the Halifax Partnership, Downtown Halifax Business Commission and the Port of Halifax. It is indeed gratifying to see these important conversations in our community. I certainly hope that next year we will get back to meeting in person. Given the theme of this year’s conference ‘Under Water’, it should come as little surprise, I suppose, that we in Halifax find ourselves once again anxiously watching a hurricane to our south.
Putting away the patio furniture and securing our properties has become an unwelcome September ritual. But no city, no community is immune from the threats posed by climate change. And Halifax, where we have long drawn our fortunes from the sea, we see more storms move up the eastern seaboard, maintaining strength, where previously they didn’t over Atlantic waters because they’re warmer than they used to be. In September of ’03, Hurricane Juan made landfall in our community as a Cat-two storm, forcing coastal evacuation, toppling massive trees along city streets, peeling back roofs, sinking sailboats, knocking out power for up to two weeks. Last year, it was hurricane Dorian. Not as concentrated in Halifax, but wreaking havoc throughout our province. Climate change is real. It is happening now. And it demands a real response. I’m proud that in Halifax, we were among the first cities in Canada to declare a climate emergency, in January of 2019. We followed that declaration with a strong endorsement of the city’s climate action plan.
HalifACT 2050. This spring, in the midst of our response to Covid. In the face of a pandemic and the dual crises of Black Lives Matter, it would have been tempting to push climate change response to the backburner. But to wait is to potentially put the goals of the strategy out of reach. HalifACT charts our journey to net zero emissions by 2050, but requires urgent and transformational action in the next 10 years. To that end, we’re ramping up our efforts by setting a target of net zero municipal operations by 2030. To get there, decarbonizing transportation will play a big role and H.R.M. has a target to electrify our fleet, including our ferries by 2030. You’ll hear more about this later on when I joined this afternoon for a conversation with my friend Mary Rowe from the Canadian Urban Institute. Across the country and around the world, cities have demonstrated that they can move beyond the traditional role of environmental stewards, with wastewater, solid waste management and public transit to become leaders. We can shape our cities to be the leaders in the climate change adaptation, to invest in renewable energy, to become places that are quick to trial and to adopt new technologies. Between now and when I come back to join the panel with the always understated Mary Rowe. I will be meeting with the Nova Scotia Nature Trust and announcing the work that they’ve done, including a major civic contribution to the Blue Mountain Birch Cove Wilderness Area to keep that pristine for generations and generations to come. That is also city building. I’m grateful to many of you are out there willing to lend your ideas, your creativity and your skills to making these goals come about. Thank you very much, merci beaucoup, wela’lioq, and enjoy the conference. I’ll see you later.
Tara Wickwire [00:04:26] Good morning everyone, and welcome to the Art of City Building. Thank you, Mayor Savage, for opening our event. My name is Tara Wickwire, and it gives me great pleasure to welcome everyone on behalf of my fellow committee members, Jennifer Angel, T.J. Maguire, Kourosh Rad and Paul MacKinnon. Halifax is a city that lives at the intersection where the land meets the sea. Our history is a maritime history and much as of our economy is tied to the ocean. Visitors are drawn to our sea coasts and our residents never want to leave it. We are at another intersection where the opportunity for change is before us. A global pandemic crisis, an economic crisis, a crisis of inequity and social injustice, including the state of emergency declared by the Mi’kmaw Chiefs. We are all treaty people. A climate crisis, including more powerful and frequent hurricanes and tropical storms like the one arriving tomorrow. And possibly a crisis of existential fear and powerlessness in the face of these wicked problems. Or we can harness this disruption for good. These significant challenges necessitate new thinking and bold action. They, if anything, are the mother of all invention. The old paradigm for how we build our city no longer feels relevant, or at least sufficient to meet the challenges and opportunities before us for transformation. It is in this context that open, respectful and inventive dialog has never been more urgent. The Art of City Building brings us together thought leaders and disrupters from around the globe to challenge us and to inspire us to think about Halifax and ourselves in new ways. And it’s wonderful what we’re seeing in the chat, participants from around the world, Mumbai, London, Italy, and, of course, all across North America. So wonderful. I want to thank our partners for supporting these conversations. Develop Nova Scotia. The Canadian Urban Institute, Placemaking X, Province of Nova Scotia, the Downtown Halifax Business Commission, Urban Capital, Halifax Partnership, Turner Drake, Halifax Port Authority, Halifax Stanfield International Airport, National Public Relations, RAD Consulting, FBM, and Andy Fillmore. So I’ll now hand it over to Alex Bozicovic, who is Architecture Critic for the Globe and Mail and we are thrilled to have him lead our first session. Alex.
Alex Bozicovic [00:06:47] Thanks Tara. Hi everybody.
Alex Bozicovic [00:06:50] It really is my pleasure to be here with a really distinguished panel at a time when all of the questions we’re talking about today really couldn’t be more relevant. I sit here in Toronto, which is very far from the ocean and very far from California as well. And yet this is a city in a region that is experiencing sea level rise in the form of the rising waters of Lake Ontario.
Alex Bozicovic [00:07:16] And the best part of my favorite park in this city right now has been partially washed away and out of commission for the past couple of years. For that reason last week, you know during the wilds the height of the wildfires, you know, the weather here was strange in a way that can only be explained by high level haze coming from the West Coast. What seems to be happening thousands of kilometers away winds up affecting us directly in ways that we might not expect. That of course, is also true in the realm of politics. And when we talk about this today, this conversation, we talk about sustainability and we talk about equity. You know, we’ve learned in the past six months or eight months that these things are very closely linked. So, as I say, I’m very happy to be part of this discussion and to hear our speakers today. First up is going to be Katherine Peinhardt. So she is a German Chancellor Fellow at the German Development Institute studying urban resilience research and hope talk is going to build on that research. And she’s going to talk to us about how to integrate social resilience, which I think is a very important idea that maybe isn’t familiar to a lot of us, but will become more familiar. Social resilience and incorporate that into the conversation about climate adaptation. So if Katherine is ready, maybe we can invite her to begin. Katherine.
Katherine Peinhardt [00:08:44] Hello and good afternoon from Bonn, Germany. I’m going to share my screen here very quickly. All right. So I’m Katherine Peinhardt. I am a German Chancellor Fellow with the Alexander von Humbolt Stiftung here in Germany and I’m hosted by the German Development Institute here in Bonn. And I’d like to talk today about something that I think can be a really big opportunity for our cities in an era of climate breakdown, which is how public spaces can make our communities both physically and socially resilient to the impacts of the climate crisis. My background is in climate change.
More specifically, how it impacts people and policy. So a few years ago, when I started a new job at a nonprofit called Project for Public Spaces, it was a bit of a change for me to go from working on urban sustainability to doing things like writing about the way our parks and our streets work. The transition was one that would make me think pretty differently about the way people live in and move through their communities. I learned something about something called Placemaking, which promotes the concept of community led decisions about the public realm. And suddenly I got really frustrated at public spaces everywhere I went. Parks that weren’t accessible or clearly didn’t serve the communities that needed them the most. And my eyes were pretty quickly open to the ways that depending on how they’re managed, used or built, our parks and our streets can either support us in confronting shared problems like climate change or worsen them.
Placemaking as a process draws on community wisdom. Applying that type of thinking to adaptation is what will help us to make sure our strategies work well for everybody.
Katherine Peinhardt [00:10:27] The first thing I realized when I started my research here in Germany though, was that I needed to know what exactly it is I’m looking for when I look for resilience in public spaces. It feels sort of like resilience has become a bit of a buzzword in recent years to the point where I think it’s lost some of its meaning. I can understand why that’s happened, though. It’s not a simple topic. And people come at the concept from all different angles. Myself included.
Katherine Peinhardt [00:10:54] Some folks define urban resilience as the ability to absorb shocks and recover functions. And if this type of definition that dictates much of the way that we approach shared problems like climate hazards, you can see it in the way that we design our disaster recovery plans, our adaptation strategies and all sorts of policies that are supposed to make us better prepared to weather either metaphorical or literal storm.
Under this definition, we often lean on big plans like seawalls to buffer or prevent the impacts of climate hazards. This often means that urban and community resilience is in practice focused on the physical or technological features that are layered into our urban form. And it’s easy to see why they’re the most obvious parts of our cities. The visible features of our streets, parks and plazas that we see either as vulnerable or fortifying.
Katherine Peinhardt [00:11:44] We know a whole lot about gray infrastructure like seawalls, blue infrastructure like polters or permeable paving and green infrastructure like rain gardens. But urban resilience in practice often ignores the human experience and human well-being element beyond physical protection or recovery from climate hazards. It ignores the role of social networks and the power of having socially connected places. And I think that’s part of why public spaces are often overlooked as opportunities for building resilience to climate change. When cities write their various strategies, parks and streets are often left out.
Katherine Peinhardt [00:12:19] So what comes next? I think it’s a leap from the traditional prevent and predict paradigm of climate adaptation that focuses on physical structures, one that also incorporates and draws on the strength of human interaction.
Katherine Peinhardt [00:12:34] So what’s going to be helpful is to layer in this concept right here, which is social resilience. It’s seen pretty, very definitions within the existing literature. But most simply, you could outline it as the capacity to respond to a given change. And it also includes things like persistability, adaptability, transformability. It’s supported by three interlinked concepts. The first being social cohesion, which is demonstrated through cooperation and collaboration of all types and comes as a result of the accumulation of social capital. Social capital is the resulting value of that cooperation, and that social capital is often formed with the support of social infrastructure, which is where public spaces come in.
Katherine Peinhardt [00:13:19] [00:13:19]So why can’t we do both, combine physical resilience features with efforts at enhancing social resilience through public space? I think now is the time for us to incorporate the human element into our resilience paradigms and to see it as a resource in our collaborative adaptation to the climate crisis. [16.4s]
Katherine Peinhardt [00:13:38] Now, urban climate adaptation is new as a formalized community of practice, because it’s new in this way, it’s lacking a lot of norms and standards so far. This means that this is an opportunity for us to shape it and work for the inclusion of things like public spaces. There are some cities that are doing this already incorporating public spaces and placemaking into the way that they adapt, Rotterdam is one of those cities. And I’ve been studying their approach to climate adaptation for the last 10 months and trying to find the best practices for public spaces to enhance both physical and social resilience at the same time. In Rotterdam, a concept called a water square has been made into official policy under their ‘Water Plan 2’, which was written back in 2007.
Katherine Peinhardt [00:14:22] Now what is a water square? The concept was developed by local architects at ‘De Urbanisten’, and it consists of a public space that serves a second function as a stormwater management feature designed to flood and collect water on days of heavy rain. Waterplein Benthemplein here is just one of such water squares.
The Benthemplein Water Square has three large basins and a series of gutters and drainage features embedded into the plaza. But beyond collecting rainwater, it’s designed for multiple social uses. So basin one on the left is designed for skateboarding. Basin two on the right serves the surrounding schools, fitness centers and churches as a gathering space, and basin three in the center is designed with lots of seating and a place to play basketball.
Katherine Peinhardt [00:15:09] This summer and early fall, I studied the square and sat there for hours to observe not only how the space looks and functions physically, but also how it performs on a social scale. Using public space observation techniques I learned during my time at Project for Public Spaces, I watched how people moved through the space, whether they stop and linger or just pass through. I watched how different age groups navigated the park and spoke to the folks who designed the square, as well as those who clean and maintain on a daily basis as an experiment in combining place with resilience. I think it offers a lot of lessons. The first would be: [00:15:46]Don’t let climate proofing features make a space inaccessible. As in any public space, if it doesn’t work well for everyone, it doesn’t work. Period. [7.6s]
Katherine Peinhardt [00:15:56] Sometimes physical features like rain gutters or steps can make access difficult for differently abled people. Here where I’ve marked with a black arrow, you can see that the benches are a little bit below the pavement on the left hand side. And these benches are heavily used by students. But the gutter feature is bridged by a step that creates a barrier for anyone using a wheelchair or crutches. Some of the other spaces in the water square can also only be reached by steps. And while the steps are part of what make the square ideal for rainwater collection, they can be limiting for folks with mobility challenges. [00:16:29]A resilient public space is still, first and foremost a public space. It’s making sure that foundational values, like accessibility for people of all ages and abilities, are kept in mind. [9.0s] It’s a pretty important starting point.
Katherine Peinhardt [00:16:43] Next, I’d say that public spaces only perform at their best when they’re attractive and fun. If it isn’t exciting or have something to offer, it’s probably not going to help people to form the kinds of bonds necessary for social cohesion. To have relaxing or exciting uses of a public space like this stormwater base in the fall, so design for skateboarding means that people are more likely to visit, gather with their friends, meet their neighbors, and have a sense of attachment and trust assigned to that place to create a playful and engaging way for people to experience climate adaptation in action. It’s also a pretty powerful exercise in building climate awareness and engagement with the issue.
Katherine Peinhardt [00:17:22] Public spaces that are designed with special resilience features also often require special management plans to stay up and running and to continue functioning as socially vibrant places. To that end, Waterplein Benthemplein has got a different cleaning schedule than other squares in Rotterdam, and maintenance teams who work there have adapted their techniques and tools to fit the square and its technical specifications. Here, the small sized swiper machine sprays and sweeps up garbage in the space. But the vehicle isn’t designed to go into the basins, which then need manual cleaning instead. And those areas, different equipment is used like vacuums and blowers for leaves and debris. A deeper cleaning also happens a few times a year to maintain the pipes and sewer connections in the square. It’s also important in management to be flexible, adapting to new climate risks that might become more apparent over time and having a plan for when hazards like heavy rain do pop up.
Knowing how the basins empty and having trained staff ready to maintain special features is the key to long term success. A learning oriented and evolving approach is also a surefire sign of a project that cultivates social resilience.
Katherine Peinhardt [00:18:35] Because the Waterplein Benthemplein is such an innovative and agenda setting pilot project it is a prime opportunity for an adaptive learning process on a city wide scale. It follows that a lot of things have changed in the square over time. The learning process can be seen in seemingly simple things like the placement of garbage cans, which at first were placed in spots not so easily access from the basins.
Members of the cleaning team saw this to be a part of the problem they faced where they had lots of visitors littering. And at first, maintenance staff weren’t allowed to move the bins. But over time, this design rule was relaxed with the knowledge that it might help to keep the space cleaner and make it easier to keep up from day to day.
Katherine Peinhardt [00:19:17] On an even broader scale, the city has continued to learn from the square since its construction. This particular water square has a lot of mechanical features, for example, to pump collected rainwater. But now plans for new water squares are different. With fewer of those features and more reliance on gravity to move captured water.
Katherine Peinhardt [00:19:36] Next, it’s important to keep a comprehensive view all the climate hazards based in a given place. It’s easy to miss less visible issues like heat stress or access to shade. But many cities around the world are seeing the increasing urgency of confronting these issues, which often affect communities pretty unevenly and reflect longstanding equity issues in our urban form. As for the water square, its design was almost entirely based on water management priorities and risks like heat were not a particular area of focus, but now heat is coming to be a larger part of the city’s adaptation plans. Rotterdam is currently working on a heat plan, which is championed by the Public Health Department, but heavily involves folks from the city management team who work on climate adaptation strategy. This is a pretty powerful example of a multi risk approach to climate adaptation and of collaborating across departments and teams to integrate adaptation goals. On that note, Rotterdam does a really good job of making its goals crosscutting. Resilience and Rotterdam interfaces with many other city wide goals to start because Rotterdam faces so many water related risks, climate adaptation initiatives in Rotterdam are housed within the water department. But beyond that, Rotterdam’s resilience and adaptation goals intersect with goals that have to do with tourism, attraction and talent, greening and beautification. And now even COVID recovery. Earlier this year, a set of seven public space projects aimed at greening and COVID sensitive social distancing adjustments were announced, along with two hundred thirty three million euros worth of funding through their [00:21:12](inaudible) [0.0s] program. So nesting resilience goals with other city priorities is a powerful way to make adaptation more mainstream and city operations and planning.
Katherine Peinhardt [00:21:24] True placemaking, as noted by experts like Fred Kent, draws out the expertize that the community already has. This means checking in before, during and after a project is implemented in the public realm. Many of the members of the city management department noted how differently Rotterdam residents experience water issues and climate hazards. Some people faced subsidence and issues with the wooden structures under their homes, while others see their streets flooded. Tuning into localized concerns can be really important information to incorporate into the design or management of a public space. Designers of the Waterplein Benthemplein conducted a series of workshops that included the surrounding institutions like the school and the theater and the church, and also engaged with other members of municipal departments like Public Works. Overall, what I find to be the most important thing in climate sensitive public spaces is to avoid just filling in the gaps on a preconceived design. Instead, getting in touch with the community’s vision from the start and having that inform the design. When I spoke to a group of young skateboarders, they told me they really liked the square but really wished that they had more skate features to grind on and were annoyed by things like broken glass and garbage in the space. This is the type of feedback that needs to be continuously sought out time and again.
Katherine Peinhardt [00:22:42] So how has Rotterdam learned from projects like this? Has it had an impact on their climate adaptation policies? At the municipal level, community engagement is evolving pretty fast. A lot has happened since the square was finished almost 10 years ago. Rotterdam Weatherwise. The latest local strategy for climate adaptation incorporates public spaces into climate adaptation and resilience building policy. It exhibits a much more community oriented approach than previous adaptation strategies and engages with experts and locals in multiple ways. Preliminary questionnaires, outreach to expert networks and entrepreneurs, and conversations called brisk dialogs that happen at the community level. There’s also a new neighborhood approach being developed, which is changing the way Rotterdam listens to its residents when it comes to climate change. While this doesn’t specifically apply to the water square I’ve shown you today. I still want to dig into the neighborhood approach, part of Rotterdam’s Weatherwise plan, which is being tested in two different neighborhoods. The approach is based on two scans of neighborhoods, one being physical and one social that inform the type of outreach and small projects that can be implemented in a given area based on existing structures and social landscape. This approach includes climate talks, which are based on climate risk maps for specific areas of Rotterdam and are used to start outreach conversations that both spread awareness of and gain context around locals lived experiences of climate hazards. It also includes small projects like neighborhood gardens and nearly always incorporates awareness, building and communications into any on the ground adaptation work. Much like placemaking the neighborhood approach aims to make use of existing knowledge and assets in a given neighborhood. The strategy is still under continuous development by members of the [00:24:35](inaudible) [0.0s] Department, where team members note that the approach is never finished, rather evolving over time to mirror the neighborhoods it’s intended to serve.
Katherine Peinhardt [00:24:45] My last tip would be to partner up and to put up the funding to match. Part of the Weatherwise approach I just mentioned incorporates partnerships with local nonprofits, which is a great idea because nonprofits can often get projects off the ground really quickly. The municipality is partnering with organizations like ‘Opzoomer Mee’, which is a really well-known nonprofit that does all sorts of grassroots led work in Rotterdam, primarily street level placemaking and greening projects, but also education, outreach and language instruction. Using organizations like these to distribute subsidies for de-paving and gardening projects is a great way to reach more people and to tune into what initiatives residents are already driving forward. Something I think is important to remember, though, is to involve these nonprofits not only on the implementation side, but also in the planning and writing about adaptation plans.
Katherine Peinhardt [00:25:40] To wrap this all up. All of these recommendations are basically to say that taking people into account means that we have a more comprehensive view of what resilience really means. If we keep that in mind, we’ll be better prepared as our cities and communities continue to come face to face with the climate crisis, not only in terms of public space, but generally. Rotterdam is by no means the only city working on climate resilience through public space. Cities like Bangkok, New York City, Vancouver and Toronto, among many others, are taking this approach, too. And as we heard before, places like Halifax are also kicking off community engagement based climate adaptation planning. I think we have a lot more examples to learn from as we start to see public space as an opportunity for both physical and social resilience in an era of climate change. Thank you.
Alex Bozicovic [00:26:30] Thanks, Katherine. That was a fantastic presentation. I really liked the way in which you made clear the connections between social and environmental sustainability, which is a connection that I know Julian often likes to make and explore.
You told us that our parks and streets can either support us in confronting shared problems, or not. And you also reminded us that public spaces that are designed to support resilience are still public spaces and they need to be compelling and pleasant to use and also accessible. And I really appreciated your emphasis on accessibility, a topic that should be sort of baked into all of the placemaking we do. And yet is not. But I think perhaps a central point and an important theme here for our conversation today is that climate hazards affect different communities unevenly. And so that is very much present. So that idea is very much present in the work of our next speaker Jeff Goodell. Jeff is a longtime contributing editor at Rolling Stone and the author most recently of along with a bunch of journalism on the subject, the book, ‘The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities and the Remaking of the Civilized World’. Jeff has been exploring that very frightening topic in the United States and beyond, and his work has been really vivid in showing what the effects are and how uneven the effects are of climate hazards on different communities. Jeff, are you with us?
Jeff Goodell [00:28:06] I’m here. Welcome. Thank you for having me. I’m very happy to be here, share a screen here. It was take me just one second…there we go.
Jeff Goodell [00:28:29] Well, I’m very happy to be here. I wish I could be there literally in person with you all in Halifax. I’ve always wanted to come to visit Halifax. My grandmother is from St. John’s and I’ve spent some time up there, but I’ve never made it to Halifax, but I’m sure that I will at some point.
Jeff Goodell [00:28:50] So I would like to talk a little bit today about the sort of big picture of climate change, specifically about sea level rise and what I what I learned in the several years I spent researching this book I wrote called ‘The Water Will Come’, which really tries to look at the kind of global consequences of sea level rise, thinking about what causes it? What can be done about it? How how it will affect our coastal cities around the world? The subtitle of the book is The Remaking of the Civilized World, and I really think that that’s what’s going to happen. I think that, you know, [00:29:35]thinking about climate change and thinking about sea level rise is really going to force us to sort of reimagine the world that we live in. [7.1s] And sea level rise, of course, is the frontline issue for coastal cities around the world. So just let me talk about a couple of the sort of key points that I have come to understand are sort of the most central to thinking about this. And then I’ll say a couple of things about sort of where we go forward on this.
Jeff Goodell [00:30:06] The first question, I think that’s really the central question that everyone wants to know about and is what the scientists are sort of thinking most seriously about right now as they look at what’s going on with glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica and other places, is how much water is coming? How high is it going to get? How fast is it going to come? And these are not simple questions. We have IPCC reports and other things that give ranges. Right now, the range…high end. Well, mid range is about a meter by the end of the century. But these are really complicated questions. And in the real world, it’s not so simple. And there’s a lot at stake in these estimates. And I think there’s a misunderstanding about it, too. One of the misunderstandings is that we get these estimates of a meter, a meter and a half less than a meter or whatever the number is for twenty one hundred and there’s this notion that, you know, it’s going to stop there. And sea level rise is not going to stop there. Right. This is going to continue on for decades and decades.
Jeff Goodell [00:31:17] One of the things that a lot of people don’t get about the whole sea level rise question is that even if we were like all of a sudden, you know, became great citizens and we all, like, decided to outlaw fossil fuels around the entire world and we went to zero emissions tomorrow, the seas are going to still continue rising for decades and decades in the future. [00:31:41]In fact, the last time carbon levels in the atmosphere were where they are today. Seas were about 10 meters higher than they are right now. [11.8s] It doesn’t mean we’re gonna get 10 meters of sea level rise, but it does mean that there’s a lot of what’s called thermal calibration that’s going on. These glaciers, which are the main source of sea level rise, are going to continue to be melting for a long time no matter what we do with emissions. The other thing that’s really important, I think, to think about is I was certainly guilty of this when I was writing. I wrote about book. I don’t write about climate change for a long time. And I always thought about sea level rise as this sort of, you know, slow, gradual thing that we’ll deal with over time. And not as sort of urgent threat in any kind of way. You know, I mean, except for the sort of sunny day floodings. I just thought it was a sort of gradual, there’ll be a gradual rise in sea levels around the world.
[00:32:42]But in fact, when you look at history, you see that sea level rise has risen in pulses in the past. It’s not a slow, linear event. In fact, in this event called the Younger Dryas, about 12000 years ago, when we had significant ice melts here and in North America, there’s documented evidence of 13 feet of sea level rise in in a single century, which is extraordinary. Right. 13 feet of sea level rise in a century would be catastrophic virtually for every coastal community in the world. And, you know, I’m not saying that we’re gonna get 13 feet of sea level rise anytime soon, but I’m saying that that has happened in the past. And I’m also saying that we are pushing the system right now in ways that that we don’t know what the full consequences will be. [53.3s] And I think that this is really important to understand that sea level rise moves in pulses, and we don’t know exactly where those pulses are going to turn out to be.
Jeff Goodell [00:33:48] Another thing that is very important in thinking about this idea of placemaking, which is, you know, the theme of this conference is, is that not all places that not all coastal cities. Sea level rise is not like a bathtub where it goes up the same amount everywhere around the world. There’s a lot of regional variation. And when you think about placemaking, you have to think about it regionally in the sense of not only what is the kind of are you on a barrier island, do you have granite? Do you have places that are high in your city? Places to retreat to? What is that sort of. It’s a very different say in Miami, which is all flat as a pancake, and there’s virtually no higher areas to retreat to versus even a place like Manhattan where you have low areas in lower Manhattan, but then you have hot lots of high ground in upper Manhattan. So you can imagine the movement of the city there in the long term towards higher ground.
Jeff Goodell [00:34:49] But there’s also a thing that happens in coastal communities about subsidence, right. Of the ground sinking. And in the Gulf Coast, this is a big problem because of water pumping and the ground is actually going down. So we have this thing called relative sea level rise. Right. So the water’s going up. But if the ground is going down, also, that increases the sort of real time levels of water that are coming in. So the Gulf Coast, Jakarta, places like that have big problems with subsidence because of groundwater pumping and other things. But in Halifax, interestingly, there’s a problem of subsidence, not because of groundwater pumping, but because something called glacial rebound, which means that the weight of the glaciers on the North American continent have kind of depressed the center of the continent the way your hand pushes down a couch. And that had caused the coastline where Halifax is to to rise. And now as because those glaciers are gone, the center of Canada and the North America is rising slowly and Halifax is sinking. So you can see in this chart that the second this starts from St. John’s and goes around all the way to Galveston, Texas. And the second bar is is Halifax. And the blue the blue on the on the bar there is the amount of glacial rebound. So you can see that it’s quite significant in Halifax. And you can see that in all these scenarios, the amount of sea level rise that you’re going to see in Halifax is 10 or 15 percent higher than, say, Galveston, Texas, for no other reason than the coastline around Halifax is sinking because of this glacial rebound effect. So the point of this is that sea level rise is a very global thing, but it’s also very specific.
Jeff Goodell [00:36:45] And this question about how fast it’s going to happen is really complicated and interesting, and I want to talk just a tiny bit about a trip I took to Antarctica last year, which was an amazing three month, three and a half month long journey. That’s the ship I was on there. This is us off the coast of Antarctica. We went down to a place called Thwaites Glacier, which is in West Antarctica, which is one of the most sort of alarming tipping points in the entire climate system. Antarctica, as many of you may know, scientists thought it was quite stable for a very long time. There was a concern about what’s happening in Greenland and how fast Greenland is is melting. In Greenland, though, is melting the way a popsicle melts on a sidewalk on a hot summer day, its surface melt. It’s pretty easy to see. You have all these ice melt ponds, these things called moulins. Now where the water’s running off Antarctica with satellites. When you look at Antarctica with satellites and things, it doesn’t look like there was much ice melt. There isn’t much surface warming the way there is in Greenland. For a long time, scientists thought it was a pretty stable place. But the consequences of what’s happening in Antarctica are huge because if all of Greenland melted, you might get about 22 feet of sea level rise. If all of Antarctica melts, which, of course, is not going to happen anytime soon, you get about 220 feet. So there’s a 10 times basically as much ice in Antarctica. Well, about 10 years ago, scientist started to understand that there was a lot going on in in Antarctica. They just didn’t see it. And one of the things that’s happening there in the west Antarctic region around this Thwaites glacier is that because the ocean is warming a little bit. That the the warming water is getting over this lip on the edge of the continent, the way that the continent has been depressed because of the weight of the size and what’s happening is this warm water is getting underneath the ice sheets in western Antarctica.
And the consequences of that are quite alarming. And what is what is happening there is that Antarctica is in trouble, not in the same way that Greenland is from service melting, but because this warm water gets underneath the ice sheets. It starts at destabilize the ice sheet and it starts to fracture. And what you can what may be happening, in fact, is happening. We know now is that the entire ice sheet is vulnerable to kind of collapsing into the Southern Ocean in the way that I like a pile of ice cubes falls into the sea. And this is a very different scenario than that in Greenland. And the question is, how fast can this happen? How quickly can this happen? If Thwaites Glacier, the one we went to see, goes, it’s like a cork in a wine bottle and it opens up an outlet for a lot of other ice to come pouring out in a similar way to this in West Antarctica. And this is one way that we could get an enormous pulse of sea level rise, enormous meaning, you know, five or six feet over decades. This is one mechanism by which scientists believe that this could happen.
And this is something that we went down there to look at. And we determined and I can go into with this more detail if anybody wants to in the conversation, but is actually in process. But again, the question is how quickly it’s going to happen.
Jeff Goodell [00:40:24] But one of the freakiest things that happened to us when we are down there is this. So this looks a little weird, but this is the satellite image of the mouth of Thwaites Glacier. And that image on the left where the red dot is. That’s us and our ship on the 2nd of March, 2019. And I remember that day we were floating along. And then our ship moved a few kilometers to the north. As you can see, the red dot on the on the right side. And look at the collapse of the ice field where we were right in front of. That’s a twenty five mile by seventy five mile square area of ice that just collapsed, all of a sudden while we were there, when we saw it, all of a sudden there were all these giant aircraft carrier sized icebergs floating around us. And we didn’t really know what had happened until we saw these satellite images that were beamed down to us the next day. The point of this is, is that we were down there and this was happening in real time. We saw this collapse of this 25 by 70 mile area of Thwaites Glacier happened to while we were there. And it was a stunning example of these larger processes that are underway that are happening in real time. Even if we are living in Halifax or in Texas where I am today, don’t see them.
Jeff Goodell [00:41:54] The second thing I want to say about sea level rise is I think a big picture idea is that the trouble becomes, you know, happens long before the city becomes a new Atlantis. Right. It’s not like when there’s sharks swimming through the lobby of the Hilton Hotel. That’s when you’re in trouble. Sea level rise has all kinds of consequences very soon with the incremental rising of tides, incremental flooding. Some of what Katherine talked about with Rotterdam, a city that is trying to engineer its way through this is is, of course, a leader in. But, you know, one of the big consequences is people starting to leave, people just deciding that they want to move elsewhere, which is certainly a rational decision. But it has enormous implications, of course, for home values, for tax revenues and things like that. And that kind of movement and migration and devaluation makes it. Of course, all the more difficult to build the defenses and do other things that is necessary to protect communities. And this kind of thing happened. You know, is starting to happen already in many coastal communities in the U.S.. You start to see people migrating away. Again, a sensible decision, but it just makes it much more difficult to raise revenues for for local protections and things like that.
Jeff Goodell [00:43:13] You also get, you know, of course, migrations of people as they’re moving away, as their homes are flooded out. It’s not always just the high end selling your house kind of thing. The political consequences of this kind of movement of people that we’re going to be seeing, even with modest increase in flooding, has enormous implications, as I’m sure all of you, all of you know.
Jeff Goodell [00:43:37] Another really important point that. You know, I really saw while I was traveling around the world looking at this was this idea that, you know, we’re going to there’s no question we’re going to spend billions of dollars on climate adaptation, preserving places, observing architecture, preserving structures. You know, some of it’s going to be really well spent. Well thought out, thought out. But a lot of it is not. To put it another way, [00:43:59]there’s gonna be a lot of money spent on a lot of dumb ideas when it comes to how we adapt to sea level rise and climate change in general. [7.8s] Some ideas, some some. Some things like, you know, Miami is spending, you know, 500 million dollars putting in pump stations to help pump out the the problems they’re already having with flooding down there, which is a fine idea, of course, it helps in the short term, but it is it is a very short term fix of just a sort of temporary Band-Aid. And you should agree that this kind of thing puts off longer term thinking about, you know, how are we going to what are we going to do about the airport? What are we going to do about flooding in the sort of lower income neighborhoods? Lots of longer term questions at sea level rise brings up that these sort of short term fixes do nothing to address. And it’s one thing to spend five hundred million dollars on this and another thing to spend 500 million dollars on it again in 10 years or 15 years when the flooding increases. There’s the question of building enormous walls, right. That’s always a an option. This is an outside of New Orleans, these enormous walls that were built after Hurricane Katrina. Walls are, in my view, a very a 20th century way of thinking about the issue of sea level rise. The questions with walls have to do with. There’s many problems with walls, of course. But one of the biggest ones has to do with climate, environmental justice, which is who’s behind the wall and who’s not. How do you decide who’s behind the wall and who’s not? How do you build a wall that has the flexibility to deal with changes and sea level rise? You know, if we do get a large pulse of sea level rise, how’s that wall going to handle that? There’s many, many complicated questions about just sort of thinking that we’re going to build walls and forget about it.
Jeff Goodell [00:46:05] Great example of this is in Venice. I have a chapter in my book called The Ferrari on the Sea Floor. It’s about this high tech flood barrier in Venice. They spent about six and a half million dollars on it. You know, it’s designed to be invisible and is not being used. And then it floats up. These chambers fill with air and it floats up. And the problem is, is that, first of all, it’s so complicated. It doesn’t work very well. There’s been a lot of problems with like oysters growing in the hinges and sand in the hinges and all that kind of thing. But also, it’s not engineered for sea level rise. So they spent 25 years engineering this this project spent, you know, seven million dollars. And I know I think 30 people went to jail for corruption, it was a huge boondoggle and it’s already basically obsolete. And so how do you build again? How do you build in flexibility? And how do you build in the future of sea level rise in these enormous sort of hard structures? Is is a big, big question.
Jeff Goodell [00:47:18] And it’s a big question for for enormous infrastructure like naval bases, which I know is really important in Halifax. And I spend a lot of time at the Norfolk Naval Station in Norfolk, Virginia, which is largest naval base in the in the world. And long story short, they know how to raise the piers and do all the things they need to do to keep that naval station going in itself. But they’ve come to understand that keeping the base going also means, you know, how do they keep the railroads that bring the munitions and other supplies along the coast from flooding? How do they keep the neighborhoods where all the people live? Seventy thousand people or so who live in the area. How do they keep their homes from flooding? And basically, the Navy has come to a conclusion that saving the Norfolk Naval base requires saving all of that whole region of Virginia, which is a whole other question. And so it’s this idea that, you know, you can build a citadel, but nobody can get to that citadel or you can’t get supplies and people to that place. It’s not a very resilient citadel.
Jeff Goodell [00:48:30] Last point I want to make is, you know, really important. I think from my years of writing about climate change, the thing about this, [00:48:38]I think is just really clear that in the coming decades, if we’re going to reinvent where and how we live, there’s just that’s isn’t obvious. Physics is going to demand that. [11.5s] Right. And [00:48:51]I think that we’re at this point right now where we can decide whether we’re going to do basically the same dumb shit we’ve done before and keep building in the same way, keep designing our world in the same way, or use this as an opportunity to do something really different and to really think differently about how we live, where we live, who we’re building for, how we’re building. [20.6s] And I think that that’s what gives this moment such why I keep writing about this for all these years and why it’s so people ask me why. How do you write about climate change and not get bummed out? Because [00:49:25]I think this is a great moment of opportunity, of seeing a new kind of world emerging. And I think that a lot of young people get that, too, and they understand that they’re going to do things in a completely different way, you know, and it’s going to raise a lot of complicated questions. [17.0s] This is, you know, the saving of the more, the latest plan for lower Manhattan developing out into the harbor, putting in some dikes, basically building walls into the harbor that they’ll do out of development on their lower Manhattan is going to be kind of reimagined. And I think that’s a sure thing. It keeps getting changed over the years since Hurricane Sandy. But I think that there’s an inevitability to it. And the question is, will they do it well? Will they do it? Will they do it poorly? Will it be just a citadel for Wall Street or will it reimagine the waterfront in a way that makes it a place for everyone?Y’know. This is a friend of mine who’s an architect who has developed this idea for a platform city in Biscayne Bay. This is, you know, very, you know, futuristic kind of thinking. But, you know, I think that this is inevitable. We’re going to see this kind of thing. We’re going to see these people love water. We’re going to continue living on water. But how do you build this kind of a structure, these kind of places that are not just, you know, places for hedge fund millionaires to retreat to and how do you build it in a sort of fair and equitable way? You know, one example of this that I saw in Lagos, Nigeria, when I was working on my book is this floating community center that was built by a Nigerian Dutch architect. It was a huge hit. It was just a fabulous idea of how you can kind of reimagine a space, in this case a water slum and build something fairly simple that has enormous community usage. This thing is a marvel to look at. Everybody loved it, costs virtually nothing. It was a great example of kind of engineering for the people. In a way, unfortunately, this prototype blew down in a big storm. But they’re rebuilding it in a more resilient way. And it’s just a great example of thinking differently about how we build our spaces.
Jeff Goodell [00:51:51] And then, of course, there’s the broadest idea, which is the idea of a sort of Green New Deal and how we’re thinking more broadly about climate change. It’s not just about buildings and where we build, but it’s about how we think about our our lives and how we think about climate engaged in everything. Right. Health care, good paying jobs. All that to me, the Green New Deal is not perfect, there is lots of work to be done. But it’s the first step in a kind of real reimagining of what climate resilience kind of really looks like.
Jeff Goodell [00:52:22] I just want to end with what I think are the sort of big questions that this moment in time in thinking about how we’re going to deal with climate in our cities raises. The first one, of course, is what we’re going to get serious about cutting carbon?
Obviously, climate change is, all these changes will be reduced and we’ll have much less sort of to deal with if we can get with the business of cutting carbon pollution around the world. There’s not much evidence that we’re very serious about that. But hopefully we will be.
Jeff Goodell [00:52:56] I think for coastal communities, this question of when the real estate market collides with climate science, when people really start to really figure out that this is happening, this is real. This is going to have a big impact on my house values in the next decade or so. How are banks and insurance companies going to deal with this? Is going to have huge implications for cities everywhere. Where’s the money for climate adaptation going to come from? It’s all well and good to show these pictures. Think about how we’re going to reinvent our waterfront, do this or that. But where’s this money going to come from? I mean, it’s one thing to rebuild a city after a storm. And that’s something that’s a kind of tangible one time thing. But when you think about Halifax’s issues, when you think about New York’s issues when you think about Miami’s issues, when you think about, you know, every coastal community in Canada or in the United States having these problems all at once. Well, you know, our federal governments certainly do not have the money to deal with this. So how are we going to leverage private equity and things like that to help with these changes that we’re talking about.
Jeff Goodell [00:53:59] How quickly we’re going to stop building walls and learn to live with water? I think that’s the really key thing. I think, like I said before, the 20th century was about building walls. I think the 21st century is about learning to live with water. And I think that that’s going to be the sort of mantra of the of the coming decades flexibility, resiliency, uncertainty, dealing with the uncertainty of how much water is going to come and how fast.
Jeff Goodell [00:54:28] And finally, and maybe most important is this question of who and what decides what’s going to be saved. Because there is going to be a lot of really complicated decisions being made. You know, we can spend five billion dollars to build lovely walls and infrastructure to save lower Manhattan. But how much are we going to spend to save, you know, lower income communities in Queens and Brooklyn? How are we going to decide how that works? Every coastal community from Rotterdam to Halifax to Jakarta is going to face that same issue. The government in Jakarta wants there decided to move the government itself, the offices and everything to higher ground hundreds of miles away. That’s great. Fine. I think that kind of relocation and retreat makes sense. But what about everybody else who’s left behind? And I think you’ll see this playing out everywhere from, you know, the sort of human aspect of it for neighborhoods that will have to be abandoned to things as simple as historic preservation. I speak with a lot of historic preservation societies about what buildings can be saved, which ones cannot. How do you decide what you’re going to let go and where you’re going to hold on to?
Jeff Goodell [00:55:47] So anyway, I think that’s the big picture that I wanted to talk about today. And I look forward to our conversation in a few minutes.
Alex Bozicovic [00:55:59] Jeff, thanks so much. That was fascinating and also more than a little bit terrifying me. So you told us and some of us knew this perhaps, and some of us did not. But you told us that sea level rise. First of all, there’s not going to stop. It’s not going to stop at the sort of arbitrary point where we’ve drawn the line at twenty one hundred. You’ve told us that sea level rise happens, in pulses. It’s not necessarily and almost certainly will not be a gradual thing, but will happen in dramatic ways, perhaps even quick enough to happen before our eyes. As you experience yourself. But this is, I think, the crucial sort of realization here is that climate change is not going to be a problem, as you said, when there are sharks swimming through the hotel lobby. But it already is. It’s already happening. And it’s having social and economic effects that are already being felt and being felt disproportionately by people who are disadvantaged. As you talked about New York, I was thinking about a paper that the sociologist and climate scholar Daniel Aldana Cohen published just last week. And in talking about that paper, he was discussing the ways in which Hurricane Sandy, which is supposed to change everyone’s perception of climate and be the event that sort of made everyone wake up didn’t really do that. That, as you said, the city of New York has been focused on fortifying rather than trying to address the in a meaningful way the larger problems that actually caused climate change rather than try and reduce, you know, on a local level trying to reduce carbon. You know, the city is fortifying. And Professor Aldana Cohen said that, you know, everyone agreed that this storm was caused by climate change. It was just more convenient to focus on fortification. So, I mean, I think that is along with the other sobering scenarios you brought forward, a very realistic one for us to deal with that. As you said, you know, hedge fund people are going to be just fine in their little bubbles behind their walls and perhaps many of the rest of us will not. So to address that. Thank you very much.
Alex Bozicovic [00:58:10] To address those sort of connections and to address the the link between social justice and environmental sustainability is very much the wheelhouse of our next speaker, Julian Agyeman. He is a professor of urban environmental policy at Tufts University in Massachusetts, and he’s the author of the editor of 12 books, including Just Sustainabilities and Sharing Cities: A Case for Truly Smart and Sustainable Cities.
So, Julian, are you with us?
Julian Agyeman [00:58:39] I’m with you. Thank you very much Alex…let’s just get the technology here. Can everybody see that? OK.
Julian Agyeman [00:58:58] I’m going to talk, and in many ways, it follows very well from our previous two speakers. But in a sense, I’m going to go behind the scenes and really look at some of the theoretical ideas that we really need to clarify, and I’m going to show some examples as well of what I call a Just Sustainability. But first, I want to do a land recognition. I’m presenting to you from Medford, Massachusetts, in the Boston metro area. And I’m acknowledging that I’m on the traditional territory of the Wampanoag and the Massachusetts people. And I want to pay my respects to their elders that past, present and future and commit to a principle of respect and care as part of this meeting. And some of you might know it is 400 years to this very month that the Mayflower landed in Massachusetts and began the settler colonial journey of which we are now still part.
Julian Agyeman [00:59:53] Let me give you some history about this concept of Just Sustainabilities. People and my students sometimes said, Julian, you know, sustainability, that’s that kind of flash in the pan idea. Uh-uh, It’s the most robust organizing concept I think we’ve got in the world today. I first heard the term sustainability in 1980 in the world conservation strategy. In 1987, we had the World Conference on Environment and Development, the Brundtland Report. In 1992, though, we had the Rio Earth Summit. And much of the discussion that I’ve noticed since then has been focused really around environmental sustainability. In fact, if you went out into Halifax today and asked 10 people what they thought sustainability was, nine out of 10 or maybe even 10 would say it’s about the environment. And of course, it is about the environment, but it’s about so much more. And I identified what I call the equity deficits in sustainability. Many people since then have really started to talk like me about the importance of equity and social justice, because I can envision us legislating for implementing in a technical way a green world. But if that world wasn’t socially just, would it really be sustainable? So my work focuses on the links between environmental quality and human equality. One of the reasons why I think we haven’t done very well on either is because we’ve siloed. Environmental quality is being a green issue and human equality is being the things that Amnesty International and those social justice groups do. Let’s talk together about environmental quality and human equality. So really, in the early 2000s, I argued sustainability cannot be simply a green or environmental concern. Important, though, environmental aspects of sustainability are. A truly sustainable society is one where the wider questions of social need and welfare, and economic opportunity are integrally related to living within environmental limits. Now, about 10 years ago, a very important book came out called ‘The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone’. And here’s the bottom line with this book. It’s not poverty that kills. It’s inequality. Inequality is literally killing us and we need to think about that. But I want to hone in on some of the data, the 40 years of data that were collected across the world for the making of this book. And as I say, the headline is The countries with the biggest level of inequality had the highest levels of social inequality, domestic violence, robbery, you name it. On every level, more unequal societies produce more social malaise. But the thing I think was really important for us to think about is that inequality heightens competitive consumption. Oh, just one other thought before I say this. Advertising revenues were also found to be highly correlated with inequality. Inequality sells, countries with higher inequality have much higher advertising revenues. Inequality also heightens competitive consumption, keeping up with the Joneses. People consume to get into the next level from the poor to the middle class, middle class to the upper middle class, middle class into the rich, the rich, the super rich, et cetera. We are on an escalator of consumption. What does that escalator drive? It drives our carbon footprints. Inequality is related to climate change. [01:03:40]How often do we hear people talking about the need to decrease inequality as a strategy in climate change mitigation? We don’t. We really need to think about that. [11.2s] So if we really want to understand sustainability, I think we need to focus on human equality and inequality and environmental quality together.
Julian Agyeman [01:04:01] So how do I define Just Sustainabilities? I define just sustainability is as [01:04:06]the need to ensure a better quality of life for all. Now and into the future in a just and equitable manner while living within the limits of supporting ecosystems. [7.9s] And there are four conditions we need to improve people’s quality of life and well-being. We need to meet the needs of both present and future generations. We need to ensure justice and equity in terms of recognition, process, procedure and outcome. Let me stop there. That word recognition is extremely important. Black Lives Matter. Me too. Indigenous writes, We are witnessing, as we are feeling, ecological collapse, increasing calls for recognition. We cannot have any form of reconciliation between different groups in our society unless we recognize the rights of those groups to even be and to exist. All of this, all of these three preconditions must take place within ecosystem limits. That is absolutely essential.
Julian Agyeman [01:05:08] Now, I want to give you two overarching thoughts on urban planning, which is the place that I inhabit. What is urban planning? It’s about managing our coexistence in shared space. Coexistence, shared space. It would be easy to manage our coexistence in shared space if everybody were alike. But we live in increasing cities of difference and whether we’re talking about environmental issues, transportation, housing, other conflicts, we’re managing and sharing space and trying to coexist with people who live in increasingly different and diverse cities.
Julian Agyeman [01:05:45] Related to this is what is the relationship between belonging and becoming? Our first two speakers have talked about becoming smart, sharing resilient cities. That’s what we’re good at as technical planners. But I want to suggest we need to think about belonging, as well. Recognition, reconciliation, difference, diversity and inclusion. We need to right the balance in urban planning and sustainability, in resilience planning between what our cities can become and who gets to belong in those cities, because ultimately what our cities can become will be derived by who gets to belong. And I also [01:06:24]both my colleagues have mentioned sort of human scale planning, I want to add an ‘e’. I want to humane-scaled planning. I want planning for human dignity. [10.1s] I want planning for urban equality and equity. And I think my just sustainabilities idea helps us think through both of these together.
Julian Agyeman [01:06:46] Now, I’m going to give you two quick examples of just sustainabilities in practice. One is called spatial justice. How do we allocate rights in urban spaces and places? And then I want to ask the rather pertinent question about Minneapolis. [01:07:00]How does one of the most green liberal cities in the US end up as the epicenter of our current introspection over structural racism? [7.0s] Spatial justice. Not all cities have walls. Jerusalem does. Belfast used to, Nicosia and Cyprus does. [01:07:14]But many cities in the U.S., certainly there’s a freeway, a rail track, a creek or a river. And on one side they live, and on the other side you live. They have lower life chances. You have higher life chances. They have lower life expectancy. You have higher life expectancy. Spatial justice. Spatial injustice is a feature of cities around the world. Why is it that certain neighborhoods get certain things and other neighborhoods don’t? [26.1s] Let me bring this down to the level of the street. Here is two streets, Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where I live. And then on the other side, on the left is Sudravagan in Gothenburg, Sweden, two streets, identical width. But the spatial organization of those streets couldn’t be any more different. On the left, we have a democratized street, the Swedish polity, the Swedish urban planners, Swedish people want a democratized street. In Cambridge, Massachusetts. You can see it’s the size of your vehicle that gives you access to space. On the left, the only space open to private vehicles is to the left of the low barrier near the street car. Now, why is this important? Well, think about growing up on those streets. How is a kid wired differently? What do they think when they step out onto Sudrevagan and see order and they step out onto Massachusetts Avenue and they see basically organized chaos? Now we have data. We know the car traffic decreases social interaction on streets. On the heavily trafficked street, you can see there’s much less interaction between people than there is on the lightly traffic street. The lightly traffic street probably has some forms of traffic calming. What’s the just sustainabilities point here? Well, who lives on streets that are more heavily trafficked?
There’s absolutely abundant data showing that if you are in a low income minority neighborhood, you are much more likely to have a heavily trafficked street than if you live in one of the more toney, green neighborhoods, complete streets, bike lanes, medians, climate change adaptation measures, et cetera, et cetera.
Julian Agyeman [01:09:32] Spatial justice is more, though, than just building in bike lanes and building these nice streets. We have in the United States a category of what I call invisible cyclists. These are people who are not counted in cycle counts because you know what, cycle counts take part in downtown areas and they don’t take into account the race, the gender of cyclists. It’s just click, click, click. When a cycle goes by. So we don’t really know how many invisible cyclists there are. But these are people who often use their bikes for cargo. Just down the road from me, every Friday morning at recycling day, I see an elderly Asian-American man who uses his bike as a packhorse. He collects stuff and he tapes it onto his bike and pushes his bike along. He doesn’t cycle it. Is he a cyclist? We are missing out on the ideas in cyclists planning of a lot of people. Plus, in those neighborhoods, we see that Latino cyclists have 23 percent higher fatality rates. African- Americans, 30 percent higher. Policing of those neighborhoods and issuing of citations is much higher if you’re African-American. So, like our first speaker was saying, it’s not just about physical infrastructure. We need to think about the social infrastructure and we need to think about the ways black and brown bodies are enabled or not, to move around in spaces. So spatial justice is more than simply bike lanes. We need to think about issues of social infrastructure and why some bodies are policed more strongly than other bodies in cities.
Julian Agyeman [01:11:16] One of the solutions to that spatial injustice is this idea of complete streets. Every city in North America has a complete streets plan. It’s trying to do a good thing, reverse car-centric planning thats exacerbated the problems in our cities. So what is a complete street? Who gets to say what a complete street is? Now, [01:11:39]Doreen Massey says that streets, places are constantly shifting articulations of social relations through time. But try telling that to the designers of complete streets, most of whom are male and most of whom are physically oriented designers. They don’t see the streets as the streets on the left, which is a social ecology. [21.2s] The complete street’s rhetoric, I would therefore say disconnect streets from significant social, symbolic, discursive and historical realities. Complete streets are good, but we need to broaden the definition. We need to bring in a social ecological notion of the street. And we need to think who gets to say what a complete street is. One of the big problems of complete streets, though, is the phenomenon of greenlining. We are seeing in the United States certain neighborhoods which have had this really nice green street treatment, but they are being green lined and gentrification is happening. What does that mean? That means that basically these streets are exclusive, in that a price premium is paid for a sustainable neighborhood. And I added a book series here. We have books on green gentrification. We have books on incomplete streets. Who gets to decide what a complete street is? Why is it that in the US, certainly green streets come with a price premium? And one of the problems with this idea of green lining is that it seems now that we are systematically through these green neighborhoods, reproducing urban spatial and social inequalities and injustices that have characterized our cities for the last century or more. And just to leave you with this idea, walkability is probably the most measured of sustainability metrics.
Walkability is a very measurable thing and it’s a scale from zero to 100. And it gives you your walk score. When you buy a home, often, if you’ve got a good walk score, the realtor will put this home has a walk score of 95. Who owns the app walkscore? Well, it’s Redfin, the giant real estate agency. Folks I want to put it to you, we have compromised sustainability such that the key measurable walkability is literally owned by a real estate company. How do we decouple sustainable neighborhoods which everybody wants and everybody should have? How do we decouple that from gentrification and displacement? I don’t have the time to go into that, but that is one of the great challenges of urban planning. How do we give everybody good healthful neighborhoods that increase people’s well-being while not increasing prices? And I’ll just leave you with one thought, a great geographer said. We’re building cities for people to invest in, not to live in. We need to change that. We need to build cities for people to live in, not opportunities for investment.
Julian Agyeman [01:14:48] My second example is a great example of unjust sustainabilities. So on the one hand, we could look at Minneapolis and Portland, Oregon, as green utopias. And they are. People are flooding to Minneapolis, to Portland because they’re green cities. Minneapolis has the best parks system in the US. It’s got the third highest level of bike commuters. It’s got exercise trails. The article blesses the miracle of Minneapolis. So on the one level, if we look at it, we can be assured of moving towards environmental sustainability. But on another level, scratch the surface and Minneapolis is actually a racist town. It’s racial inequality is the worst in the nation. The black white income gap is the highest in the nation. The homeownership gap. More often or the wealth gap is the highest in the nation, and the opportunity or achievement gap in schools is also similarly extremely high for Indigenous and especially African-Americans. So on the one level, it’s a green city, but underneath that, it’s a very unequal city. Why is that? Well, Kirsten Delegard, who is the historian behind the Mapping Prejudice Project, says all that rhetoric about Minneapolis being a model metropolis at the cutting edge of great urban planning obscures darker truths about the city. Now before the early nineteen hundreds.
Minneapolis was a relatively integrated city. It had a small but integrated population of African-Americans largely. But from the early nineteen hundreds, we saw racialized covenants. This home cannot be rented or sold to anybody but people of the Caucasian race. We’ve seen racialized zoning, which was outlawed in 1917 by the U.S. Supreme Court. But what came in? Racism by the backdoor, by exclusionary or single family zoning, which made up 70 percent of Minneapolis land. We’ve also had redlining, the denial of loans to people living in certain neighborhoods by both government agencies and by private sector loan agencies. This this amounts to racial segregation then and now. So that’s the dark underbelly of Minneapolis. I’ll just say one other thing about that. 93 percent of the police officers in Minneapolis don’t live in the city. [01:17:23]If you if your organization doesn’t look like the people it is there to serve. Are you legitimate? Are you trusted? Are you even effective? Can you do what you think you can do? Organizations must become more diverse to look like the communities in which they operate. [15.8s]
Julian Agyeman [01:17:42] There’s a direct link between these practices and today’s modern zoning plans. And part of the impetus for the change that is now going on in Minneapolis is to undo some of those impacts. [01:17:54]And I’ll put it more simply, urban planning is the spatial toolkit for articulating, implementing and maintaining white supremacy. And we can do something about it. [10.1s] What is Minneapolis doing? Well, like Portland, Minneapolis has a progressive young city council. They’re trying to move on these longstanding historical issues. And Minneapolis was the first large city to end single family zoning, allowing duplexes and triplexes on single family land. They’ve had a program now of inclusionary zoning, which will require moderate to low income people access to 10 percent of units within larger developments. And this is all part of the Minneapolis 2040 plan. And the number one goal is the elimination of disparities to see all communities fully thrive, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, country of origin, religion or zip code. So in my talk, really what I want to say is [01:18:57]we must centre social justice and equity. These things never simply happen. They need to be baked into our policies from the beginning. It is very difficult to retrofit equity and social justice. [11.9s] But Minneapolis is now trying hard to do that. Thank you.
Alex Bozicovic [01:19:18] Thank you, Julian. That was fascinating. I personally find it really interesting that you wind up by talking about urban planning and talking about land use planning as a tool of economic and of racial segregation, and particularly that you talk about Minneapolis. This is a discussion that I personally have been engaged with in earnest for the past couple of years. I coedited a book on the subject. And so I was very interested to see from Canada these very progressive policy moves happening in Minneapolis, which I understood to be quite a progressive city. And then after George Floyd and after the rise of Black Lives Matter. It was only then that I came to understand precisely how racially segregated and how how that city was and how much spacial injustice was present there. So thank you for making these connections. And I think it’s important to recognize that this year has been a year of learning for many of us on many different fronts, and that the sorts of connections that you are drawing here are indeed present in American cities and in Canadian cities. Whether we have chosen to see them or not.
Alex Bozicovic [01:20:28] I also thought your critique of complete streets was really interesting. There’s another link that, you know, the idea that certain people are able to define what a complete street is and that who gets to live there reflects existing inequalities. I think is an important one. You know, it’s also there are connections, I think, very explicit ones between these points that you’ve been talking about in that, you know, urban planning actually puts people on busy streets. It is the same urban planning policies that have created segregation and have perpetuated segregation that now put new residents on the busiest, noisiest, most polluted places in the city. And that that in itself continues to advantage the existing, established, generally wealthier homeowners who control the cities that we live in. So a fascinating set of links here. Thank you very much.
Alex Bozicovic [01:21:27] And moving over to Tamika, you know, we’re moving very much into Tamika’s wheelhouse, talking about inequity, inequality and social justice is what she has been doing for a living within fields in which those discussions have not been foregrounded. Tamika is a lawyer by training, and she is the principal and founder of Tamika Butler Consulting. So she provides a variety of consulting services to organizations in the public and private sectors. These days, that has included the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, the Center for Popular Democracy and the National Association of City Transportation Officials. I have learned a lot from hearing her speak and from reading her, and I’d be very happy to welcome her. Tamika, are you with us?
Tamika Butler [01:22:11] I am. Can you hear me?
Alex Bozicovic [01:22:13] I can.
Tamika Butler [01:22:14] And can folks see my screen?
Alex Bozicovic [01:22:17] Yes.
Tamika Butler [01:22:17] Great. So thanks so much for having me. I too wish I could be in Halifax. I have been before and I’ve enjoyed it greatly. But to bring me closer, I’m simply wearing a bow tie gifted to me by my great friends in Halifax, including one of the organizers. You guys have brought together a great group of folks and I’m glad to. To round us out. And we’ll keep try to keep it as short as possible so that we can get to as much Q and A. as we can.
Tamika Butler [01:22:50] So I’m going to talk a little bit about the L.A. County Sustainability Plan, which is a plan I worked on as a consultant. And I’m really happy to just share a little bit about the plan. So just a little bit about myself. My background is as a civil rights lawyer, I am now an urban planner. I have started my own consulting firm. I was most recently at a private consulting firm as the Director of Equity Inclusion and and the California Planning Director. It was a firm with offices in the United States and in Canada. And I frequently traveled between both and working on how to integrate equity into our urban planning work is truly Julian just so brilliantly talked about.
Tamika Butler [01:23:37] So let me tell you a little bit about L.A. County. I think it’s it’s first important to note not only that I am I’m zooming into you from stolen Tongva land, but that
L.A. County has has been home even before colonizers drew lines on a map to Indigenous folks. And that is an important history that I think is so much a part of sustainability and so much a part of planning and so much a part of land use that we often try to ignore. You know, even as an oppressed black person, I am a settler and in my neighborhood in many ways, right. And so I think just continuing to elevate the Indigenous folks whose land that we continue to inhabit.
Tamika Butler [01:24:28] A little bit more about Los Angeles County, one in four Californians and one in 33 Americans live in L.A. County. We have a lot of people here. We speak a lot of languages here. We have a coastline as well. So many of the problems that my colleagues spoke about earlier, resiliency, adaptation. We’re trying to tackle here where I live. And, you know, the county is roughly the size of Hawaii’s big island. It’s bigger than several other U.S. states. And if the county was its own economy, we would be a G20 country. So that is huge. And so, you know, I want to talk about sustainability, climate adaptation and people of color, racialized folks. And for some people, you know, that may be confusing. Not for Julian. Clearly, he and I are speaking about a lot of the same things. And I’m so fortunate to have him have blazed a trail. But I think for some people, when they think about people of color and built environment, they are as confused as many of us are here in the states about Kanye West running for president. But when we think about land and how it’s been used and how it’s been planned, race has always been a factor.
Race, you know, has been a factor when we think about things that are supposed to be public resources, but really only people, certain people can go to them. You know, it is not abnormal for black kids to be on the outside looking in. My mom grew up on the coast in South Carolina, where there are some of the most beautiful beaches that are being eroded by climate change. But she tells these stories of not being able to go to the best beaches because the best beaches where the white beaches and that shouldn’t be a surprise.
Tamika Butler [01:26:32] This is a book that Hitler once referred to as his Bible. It talks about whites being the great white race and other people muddying the race. And the person who wrote this book is actually who we in the States call one of our fathers of our national parks program. And so, you know, when we think about something that, again, is supposed to be a great resource, our national parks getting outside, especially during COVID, what we find is that really it was just a system created by white folks to take land from Indigenous folks put up rules and barriers and keep certain people out. And we see even today that whether or not you’re talking about the states, whether or not you’re talking about Canada, when you talk about national parks and resources. The numbers of racialize people of people of color who go there are lower than white people. The barriers that were started to keep us out to take land continue today. And some people know about that is redlining. Redlining is a really thoughtful, theoretical exercise, but it’s essentially when people in power who were not folks of color got out maps and decided what was OK. Where could you where could you invest money? Where could you not invest money? And where were the hoods that you, you know, wanted to not go to or are keep keep people out of, including resources.
Tamika Butler [01:27:58] For a more thoughtful discussion of redlining, many people think of ‘The Color of Law’ and ‘The Color of Law’ says it’s a forgotten history of how government segregated America. But still, the ‘Color of Law’ is written by a white man. And again, it’s a great book. I suggest people read it, but a forgotten history for who? It’s not a forgotten history for so many folks who have been pushed off their land. And whether or not you’re talking about reservations, whether or not you’re talking about hoods and ghettos. It’s not a forgotten history how we have used planning and land use to keep certain people out. So what does that have to do with the environment? What does that have to do with environmentalism? Well, environmental justice is real. Because when you look at low income communities, when you look at communities of color, that’s where some of the most environmentally unjust actions are happening. [01:28:58]There is an affluent black neighborhood here in Los Angeles County that I live very close to. It was once the subject matter of a cable television show about rich black people. People there have a lot of money, but it’s also the site of the largest active oil drilling in the United States. And it’s not because those people are poor, it’s because they’re black. And that’s where we make decisions on where to put things. [27.5s] That’s where we have toxic sites and communities of color. It’s not abnormal to look out and see right next to you huge fences where you can’t see what’s behind them, but you can smell what’s behind them.
You can see the smoke. And we all know the legacy. Whether or not you’re talking about Canada, whether I’m talking about Halifax, whether or not you’re talking about the United States, of the ways that highways have cut through low income communities and communities of color, ripped apart families, taken homes and just make us throughfares. Are we communities where folks can get off and enjoy and shop? Are we just places that people have demolished, put up their highway and drive through? And that also has impacts on health. South L.A. is a predominantly black and latinex community. West L.A., it’s a predominantly white community. And you can see the difference in how we use the land in these spaces based on who inhabits these pieces. [01:30:27]The race you are impacts the quality of life you have. We know that the zip code you are born in is more predictive of life outcomes than many other factors. [11.3s] And for so many racialized people, we have to grapple with the fact that our neighborhoods are killing us. And so we can talk about big picture concepts like climate change and like sea level rising. And all of those things are real and all of those things are important. But to Julian’s point, if we’re not talking about those things with a justice focused framework, then we can make changes. We can adapt. But those who are left behind will continue to be left behind.
Tamika Butler [01:31:11] And in honor of Schitt’s Creek winning so many Emmys and really elevating the Canadian Hollywood scene on which made my wife, who’s French Canadian, very happy. She loves the show.
Tamika Butler [01:31:25] I think, you know, when I think about climate and folks of color, people often have this look, when you say to them: You know, folks of color are actually better at climate resilience and being environmentalist than anyone else. But all of us who grew up in low income communities and communities of color, we have the parents who said, save that plastic bag, we’re going reuse it, save that silverware from the fast food place. We’re gonna reuse it. We’re going to wash that. We can use it again. Turn off the lights. I’m not lighting the whole community, close the door. I’m not providing air for the whole community. Don’t turn on the air. Open the windows. Right. We grew up in households where we were always recycling, reusing, thinking about our resources and thinking about how to be better for not just our family, but for the community.
Tamika Butler [01:32:21] And the thing that is even more puzzling is that we say COVID- 19 has laid inequalities to bear, but yet it’s not clear what we’re doing about it here on the West Coast. We are experiencing fires that are a clear sign of climate change. Our president doesn’t necessarily think so. But what did you see when you saw these clouds of smoke? You still saw migrant workers. You still saw people of color going to work every day in the fields. [01:32:55]We are being told we can’t go outside, that the air is not safe to breathe. But we are also being told that the people whose lives don’t matter are those who pick our food. [8.7s] We are being told that in a pandemic, when we’re supposed to stay inside and socially distant, that it is still people of color who we expect to deliver our packages to check us out at the grocery store to pick our food and to make us OK when we can’t go outside. And so, again, if climate is going to drastically change everything we do, if we continue to only make changes in ways that value some lives and devalue others, then how just and how sustainable is that change if we determine that only some of us are worth saving. But some of us are only worth helping others be saved, then is that really justice? And again, this is a problem that traverses the whole continent. This is a problem that folks face no matter where you live. Where we’re seeing that there were things that were already there. But COVID-19 is making it worse.
Tamika Butler [01:34:01] And so with all of that, [01:34:03]the L.A. County Sustainability Plan was different. It said we can’t ignore these facts when we’re talking about sustainability. We have to put them front and center. And we did that first by making sure equity was a key component of the plan. And we realized that equity and sustainability has to incorporate the procedures, the distribution of benefits and burdens, the structural accountability and the generational impact. If you are thinking about equity and you were thinking about sustainability, you have to think about it on these four dimensions, because if you’re not thinking about it on these four dimensions, if you’re just cursory throwing equity out there, then your sustainability work is not actually sustainable. [43.6s] And the way we did this was by putting together a team of organizations that were going to help with this work. Many times municipalities say we’re going to put together a sustainability plan. We may do a few public meetings, but we have the experts. We’re going to put together the plan and we’re going to decide what’s best. But what this plan actually did is have lead organizations that utilize community based organizations. And so that organization, Liberty Hills, actually a foundation and a foundation that specializes in funding community organizing groups. And then L.A. County, despite being big, it’s divided into only five supervisor, we call them districts. Each district had a community based organization that knows the area now well, that is deeply invested in the community. They were paid money and they led the events. There were some subject matter experts of which I was one. But we really let the community direct us. And what that ended up happening is that we had a number of events that were totally different. We had the picture in the bottom left is a fair that was at a community college where in addition to folks, as you can see, sitting on a table and learning about some of the parts of the sustainability plan, there were also being baskets and blankets woven. There were soap and candles.
Merchants from around the county also got to come and sell their wear in addition to riding on busses and taking tours in electric vehicles, having students, having elders altogether. So each event was different based on what reflected the community and the folks who were leading the workshops. As you can see, we’re community members, not the typical experts from the municipality that you’re likely to see. And because we had community based groups when we were there to talk about sea level rise and the coast and a community member said, I’m worried about gentrification and displacement. These were not meetings where we said, oh, well, this is a climate meeting. We can’t talk about education. Oh, you’re worried about kids getting hit by cars because there’s no infrastructure in your neighborhood? Well, this is a sustainability meeting. No, these community based organizations were able to hear everything. We were able to connect people and we were able to hold that intersectionality that is important in equitable sustainability work.
Tamika Butler [01:37:10] The way the plan is structured is that there are different goals. There are 12 goals and each goal has multiple strategies and actions that we will take to hit the goals, so just a quick view of the 12 goals. And again, this plan is intersectional. It is covering everything from accessible parks to the buildings and infrastructure to a fossil free L.A. to transportation. [01:37:36]It is a realization that you have to talk about equitable and sustainable land use at the same time you’re talking about thriving ecosystems and habitat and biodiversity, if you want to tackle sustainability. [11.1s] And again, these words are words that you might not expect that local community based organizations would be using and would be talking to their residents about. But all of these things were done with the community leading, with the community being paid, with their expertize and with their expertize being trusted. [01:38:07]Everything in this plan has been vetted by community and understood by community and push forth by community. [5.7s] Here’s an example of what a page would look like in the plan. It would have the strategy, which is under one of the goals. It would have one of the actions that you need to accomplish the strategy and then it lays out the targets. What are we going to do? By what year? Because accountability is important.
Tamika Butler [01:38:31] The topics that were covered in this expansive plan. Again, everything from water to land use in transportation, to housing. This was not a plan that said we only care about the environment. It was a plan that realized that if you care about the environment, you have to care about people. You have to care about infrastructure.
You have to care about buildings. And you have to look at things intersectionally. So sure, we have some ideas about living streets, but living streets are about transportation.
They’re about public health. They’re about stormwater management. They’re about urban forestry. It is about looking at the intersections of these issues. Similarly, addressing oil and gas is also about redressing the siding of polluting facilities and environmental justice, frontline communities of color. It’s about thinking about worker safety. It’s about thinking about GHG emissions and improving air and water and soil quality. So it’s looking at sustainability at these intersections. But at every intersection, it was placing people right in the middle, whether you’re talking about worker safety, whether talking about job training and whether or not you’re talking about how you even engage people. Remember. One of our parts of equity was the procedures and the processes by which we came together. So if you are curious to know more about the plan, then here’s the website you can go to. You can learn more.
Tamika Butler [01:39:56] But I just want to add a few more things about the components of doing equitable sustainability work that we utilize in this plan. First, we understood power. We understood that [01:40:09]there are two types of power. There’s power over people and there’s power with people. [4.5s] Kanye West. Old Kanye West, not new Kanye West, new Kanye West, as I’ve already said, is confusing. Old Kanye West had the song ‘Power’ and he said “no one man should have all that power”. Right. And that’s the thing that somehow we’ve forgotten. We’ve set up these systems where we want to be indispensible as experts, as government workers, as academics. We want to hold the keys. And we have to realize that sometimes that’s only exhibiting power over folks. And we actually have to start having power with people. We have to start co-powering. And this whole plan was about co-powering. This whole plan was the folks who might be viewed as having the power historically, the elected officials, the city office, the county office. It was about all of those people saying, you know what, the powers in the community. So we’re gonna go to the community, we’re gonna pay the community, we’re gonna treat them as experts, just like we would treat any consultant. And we’re gonna have power with them.
We are going co-power to get this plan done. And all of these things, if you don’t ever have to think about relinquishing power, if you don’t ever have to think about whether or not that oil drilling site is in your neighborhood just because of the color of your skin, if you don’t have to think about some of the things Julian talked about, if you get to be in Minneapolis and you only get to think about it being a green utopia, and you don’t ever have to think about it being the place where black people continue to die, then it’s because you have privilege. [01:41:42]And the real work, in this plan was thinking about power and privilege at every step. Yes, we were thinking about sustainability. Yes, we were thinking about climate change, but we were also constantly thinking about power and privilege. [13.6s]
Tamika Butler [01:41:56] And the power and privilege framework that I often talk about was put together in this beautiful ideal setting in Austria, the Salzburg Organization, brought together an intersectional group of people at this Building, Healthy, Equitable Communities Roundtable. It was people from all over the world. The Americans who were there were funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and it was urban planners like me. It was doctors. It was nurses. It was public health officials. It was government officials. And we were all talking about, if you were going to build equitable and healthy communities, what would it take? And we decided, my group, that you needed to talk about power and privilege, because often when we talk about equity, this is the picture we think of that if you give everybody the same box, they still can’t see the game. But if you give people what they need. They can see the game. [01:42:48]This picture is outdated.
And I hope people stop using this picture or their presentations. First of all, it’s not accurate. It doesn’t really show the reality of where some people, especially the folks who are in our most environmentally impacted communities, are starting. And it actually doesn’t show what we should be trying to get to, which is liberation. Why are we just trying to look over the fence? Why are we not relinquishing power? Because in this picture, someone still has power that is still telling these people that their ultimate goal should be watching a baseball game. What if they don’t like baseball? What if they’re Canadian? What if they prefer hockey? What if they don’t want to play? What if they want to watch in the stands? What if they want to sell peanuts? What if they want to own the team? [45.2s] And so when we think about really giving power to communities, it’s relinquishing all the power. It’s saying we’re not going to determine what’s in this plan before we even start. We’re giving the power to the communities. We’re not going to determine that what they should want is watching a baseball game. When you are ready to confront power and privilege. You have to create brave spaces, not safe spaces. Many people say they want a safe space to talk about issues like equity. But for folks who are racialized, we’re never safe. We could always be shot just for the color of our skin. So you have to be brave. You have to understand the role that power plays in the work. And then you have to analyze and challenge the privilege. Who is constantly getting sacrificed? Who is making the decisions? And are those the same people who are most impacted?
Tamika Butler [01:44:23] And last but not least, I would say again, COVID has laid so many issues bare. And what we keep hearing is that it is creating opportunities. But it is one of our experts here in the states, Naomi Doarner, who does a lot of work on equity, has said we don’t want to just hear about opportunities. We don’t just want to hear about how COVID, how the uprising is providing these opportunities, because what are they giving us opportunities for? We also keep hearing people say, let’s not go back to the old normal, like let’s go to the new normal. But we have to stop talking about normal. [01:45:05]We don’t want to get back to normal because just being better than it is now shouldn’t be enough. As a black person, the old normal meant my life was expendable. [11.1s] The new normal? The normal in COVID where black people are dying, where black people are not. You know, this virus that’s supposed to keep everybody inside. Isn’t keeping us from getting shot. And so I know my wife is also expendable when I go outside and I breathe the air and I’m in the neighborhood with the most active oil drilling sites. I know who is expendable. And so [01:45:39]if we’re going to do sustainability work, if we’re going to do climate work, if we are going to fight for this world to keep us all here and to thrive for future generations, we can’t do it without equity. We can’t do it without centering people who we have historically said are expendable because they’re not. [17.8s]
Alex Bozicovic [01:46:03] Thank you. That’s a wonderful way, I think, to tie up what we’ve been talking about Tamika, and to make it clear what the stakes are for any of us who weren’t aware of those things. And as I gather my notes, you mentioned that COVID has made certain things very clear, you know, and sitting where I do in a city and in a country where some people like to assert that there is no such thing as racism. We have seen the maps of where people are getting COVID and where people are dying of COVID. And those maps, those dark spots on the map correspond very closely to low income neighborhoods and neighborhoods where people of color live. And specifically where black people live. And the same has been true in Montreal as well. So I think it’s as you say, we need to as a society or as our societies, we need to figure out what an adequate response to that reality is. But it’s more difficult now, perhaps, to assert that it doesn’t exist or that we we are able to see it.
Alex Bozicovic [01:47:08] So race has been a factor in things that are supposed to be public. Right? Race, this is what you’re telling us. And perhaps that is not always obvious to some people. Perhaps segregation has been a forgotten history, but not for you, not for people who have to actually live with the consequences, who don’t have that privilege.
Alex Bozicovic [01:47:27] So I want to start a discussion by sort of building on that.
Alex Bozicovic [01:47:32] You know, we’re talking now about with climate mitigation, a set of very complex, wide ranging problems, which, you know, as we’ve established, are not going to affect people equally. So, where should we begin to create a brave space to address those problems in a way that is equitable? And how do we do community consultation and how do we do politics in a way that does not privilege the voices who have already been privileged? Do you want to kick off with that or anyone else?
Tamika Butler [01:48:06] I’m happy to start. So, yeah, I think creating those brave spaces are important and folks have to realize that this work has to happen on both the personal level and the the systemic level rignt. And so, yes, we have policies and institutions and governments that are unjust, but those institutions and policies are made by people. And so I think part of creating that brief space has to start on the individual level. And it has to start with people realizing that there’s a difference between being an ally and being an accomplice and even below that, being an actor. Frankly, I think a lot of us are actors is new things happen as we learn new things. We’re like, OK, I can do this. And so you use the pronoun somebody asked you to use or you do this or that. Are you talk about equity in your kind of plan because someone told you you should and you know you should. But if you’re just acting out the parts and you’re not truly integrating it into who you are, into how you approach the work, into what you do, you will be discovered. I think allies are those folks who realize that being an ally is a verb. And so you actually have to do something.
And so what is the work you are actually doing to, you know, push equity forward? And that’s where being brave starts. I think being an accomplice means that you’re willing to lose something and sometimes that your power. And so the difference between an ally and an accomplice is an ally might take the person of color out to lunch. And so I really appreciate you speaking up in that meeting. That was great. I agree with everything you said. The accomplice speaks up in the meeting with that person. The accomplice speaks up before that person has to. The accomplice. doesn’t just leave it to the only people of color on the panel to talk about these issues. Right. And so those are the things where you start to create a brave space with your own personal. And then we have to incorporate that into the systematic.
Alex Bozicovic [01:49:58] And what else? How do we as social actors and as political actors? That’s really that’s what we need to be talking about here. How do we become accomplices in ways that are productive and in ways that are going to address the issue of the big and complex problems that our societies are now facing because of the climate?
Julian Agyeman [01:50:21] Well, Alex, can I just go back to my point? That’s competitive consumption is related to carbon footprints and that increasingly unequal societies have higher carbon footprints. Climate change and the solutions, I think are about framing all the kind of solutions that I keep hearing are sustainable transportation, sustainable agriculture, green buildings. Yes, these are part of the solution. But we have to really agree on what one of the main drivers is, and that is inequality. How would we think differently about climate change if we accepted A the science and then B, the social science that it is inequality that is one of the major drivers of climate change? How would our activism be different? Now, we’ve managed to change the framing in some ways from climate change to climate justice. This frame centers inequality. It centers those people who are who are being first and worst affected and who have often the least input to our carbon footprint.
We need to change the framing away from science and economics. We still need that. We still need, you know, Jeff’s good detective work to, you know, unravel and show us graphically what is going on. But we need to really think about core causes. And the key driver, one of the key drivers is inequality. What does that mean, Bill McKibben? Tell me, what does it mean and how should we reframe climate action? Now, let me just finish by saying when we changed at Tufts University, when we changed the framing from climate change to climate justice, we got a much more diverse group of students involved. Once students saw that this was a justice issue. It brought in a whole new range of people, not just the techies, the economists, the environmentalists, the largely white climate change movement, but it brought in a lot of students of color. And I’m seeing this with the frame of climate justice that’s I think so, you know, that I think provides a space, a brave space for us to start thinking about strategies that incorporate this notion of inequality,.
Alex Bozicovic [01:52:49] Not just the sea levels are rising and we’re going to have more extreme weather. But also, why do some neighborhoods not have street trees? Why is the air quality so bad in certain neighborhoods? Why is there oil production in certain neighborhoods in my neighborhood and not in other people’s neighborhoods? And these are these are climate issues or these are parts of the same conversation.
Katherine Peinhardt [01:53:14] I think something that stuck out to me, especially during Tamika’s presentation, which was excellent, was the concept of deep listening and working with people, like surveying the landscape of what already exists in a community. So working with these anchor institutions and organizations like Tamika mentioned is super important for that, laying that groundwork. And whether you’re working at a nonprofit, whether you’re someone who’s just wanting to get involved in your neighborhood or you’re someone who works for the city to tune into that that landscape that already exists of people who are putting in the work or people who do have lived experiences that you need to listen to that I think is kind of a really good starting point and necessary starting point that often gets overlooked because it’s hard work to you have to really do the research and put in the time to find out the things that people want to tell you. You need to tell you.
Alex Bozicovic [01:54:11] Interesting, though, I see a tension there, because in the planning world, and please feel free to correct me or interrupt me, Julian or Jeff in particular, community voices are not always voices for change. In fact, they are very often not voices for change, you know, and in places where there is a lot of inequality, including in California, you know, certain community voices and certain local governments are very powerful in opposing the kinds of change that would actually address some of the issues we’ve been talking about today. So, you know, how to combat that, how to get more people in? There is a question of getting more people in the room or different people in the room, different processes, as you were alluding to, Tamika. How do you address that fundamental problem?
Julian Agyeman [01:55:02] Well, nobody is going to go, I’ll go. We need an urban planning profession that looks like the communities that they are planning in with for, period. We need an urban design profession that looks like the communities they’re planning in, with, and for. We need this idea of co-production or in one of if I have been given longer to talk, I would have bought in the idea of deep ethnographies, which really relates to the deep listening point that Tamika made so well. Most urban planners do design charrettes where the community is invited in to give ideas on something that is really already been decided. Let’s let’s be brutally frank. Deep ethnographic notions of community I think would help. So if we had a planning department that looked like the community first and foremost and co-produced with communities deep ethnographic understandings of those communities which requires deep listening, I think we would be in a much better place. But at the moment, we generally have a planning profession, an urban design profession, a climate resilience profession that really doesn’t look like communities. And just like 93 percent of Minneapolis police officers literally are bused in to police the downtown. This doesn’t work. We need political representation. [01:56:26]I have to say here in Boston, where we’re not by any means perfect, but there is a residency requirement for teachers and police. You have to live in the city to police or teach in the city. That’s got to be a first step, we need culturally competent or at least culturally humble planners who look like the community, who understand the community’s needs [22.4s] and will finish with one point. We talk about tree planting in low income neighborhoods. One of my former students works or worked in Providence, Rhode Island, where they decided, let’s put trees in low income neighborhoods as a climate resilience strategy, climate adaptation strategy. Great idea. The local community was outraged. You didn’t consult us, these species of trees, are dripping sap onto our cars. We don’t want that. ET cetera, et cetera. So many of the communities, I think that to me and I’ve been talking about have been dumped on, red lined, been beaten because of the culture, their ethnicity, the racial group. [01:57:32]These communities need reconciliation. They need to be recognized first. And then we need some form of restorative justice and reconciliation process with these communities. It’s not as easy as saying you need an urban farm, you need trees. That just doesn’t work anymore. Co-produced futures, I think are the way to go. [21.2s]
Alex Bozicovic [01:57:55] Awesome. Oh, please continue.
Tamika Butler [01:57:57] I totally agree, I think part of it starts with who’s doing the work. The example I always give is at a cocktail party that many of us have been to with high tables, right, and we all sit around and talk at the high tables. Well, when the person comes in in a wheelchair and they’re trying to be a part of the conversation, but they can’t be a part of the conversation because all of the tables are high tables, you know, all of a sudden people are like, oh, my gosh, oh, my gosh. And if you aren’t thinking about those things from the beginning. And so, yes. Would it help if someone on the planning committee for your cocktail party was a person with a disability, perhaps? Yes. They should be on your steering committee, undoubtedly. But then it also can’t only be their job to raise those issues. Right. And so I think we have to do both. I think we have to make sure to diversify the folks who are doing this work. Everything from from climate to planning to transportation to public health. We need more diversity. But then I think there also needs to be this onus on all of us to change the way we do things. And then I think we also have to realize that diversity for diversity sake isn’t good enough. You can’t just have diverse faces sitting around the table if they’re not part of the decision making power. So they have to be able to shape culture to make decisions, because often when we’re hiring and when we’re thinking about things, we think about other people who who we know, who we could bring in, who we know could hit the ground running. And Robin D’Angelo, who wrote the book ‘White Fragility’ in her public talks, she often shows a picture of a wedding and shows a picture of a funeral. And it’s of white people surrounded by white people.
Right. And it’s this thing we don’t think about that, you know, she says from cradle to grave. Like. Right. She’s like, when you were born, who owned the hospital? What race was the doctor? Right. All of these things, we’re not thinking about whiteness, and especially if we’re white. And so I think it’s one of those things where we need everybody to make the change as we continue to diversify and that we also need to meet people where they are. We can’t be surprised that it’s only the NIMBYs who show up to to our meetings and our regular places at the regular times. But if if you hop on us, if you will have a question about public transportation, why are you having a meeting downtown?
Hop on the bus. Hop on the bus and talk to the people on the bus. Right. So it’s just small changes like that and the way we do things.
Alex Bozicovic [02:00:22] Yeah. My my friend and colleague Cheryl Case who is a planner here in Toronto, has done some really pioneering work on community consultation. And she’s trying to talk to people who would not normally come out to consultation meetings by going out to meet them and consciously reaching out to a more diverse group. And the answers that she’s gotten about the same questions have been very, very different. And even on development matters, less NIMBY than you would expect. So it’s it’s really interesting. I will stop talking except to care towards some questions from the audience. Please feel free. By the way, anyone is listening to add your questions in the chat. Try to get you a few of them before we wrap up this first one. This seems like a big one to me. How would you panelists recommend that municipal employees influence decision makers to see these questions of inequity and the connection between urban space and racial disparities as issues that should be addressed? So how do planners, civic officials, how do you talk to politicians and get them to engage?
Julian Agyeman [02:01:30] Jeff. You haven’t said anything, do you want to say something?
Jeff Goodell [02:01:31] All right. All right. All right. I’ll I’ll. I’ll take it. I’ll start I’ll start by saying that I’m a journalist, that I’m not a political activist. And so I come at these questions a little bit differently. You know, I don’t think about how to organize. I think about how to tell the truth and how to tell stories that people listen to. And just to go back a little bit to what we were saying before, that community involvement and leadership. And I think that, you know, I’ve been writing about climate change for a long time and [02:02:07]this broadening of the discussion about about what climate change means, how we’re going to rebuild our world to include these ideas about race and equity and all of this, justice, is by far the most encouraging thing that has happened in the climate movement in 20 years. [17.8s] And on a certain level, it’s always been part of the conversation right at the highest levels that at IPCC meetings and things. It’s about what does the developed world owe the developing world? How do we set up a green climate fund? How do we help other rich nations help, you know, Africa or Southeast Asia or places leapfrog with new technology? What, what, what what do we in the west owe the Marshall Islands? Who are, you know, not just facing loss of real estate, but extinction, cultural extinction. So see this part of the everyday conversation and part of the ground level conversation about what we’re gonna do about the climate crisis is so inspiring. I just want to say one thing about a community. The question that Alex brought up is one of things that I’m seeing is, you know, as these it’s sort of like with the COVID parallels, you think that, oh, two hundred thousand people United States now have died. A million people around the world have died. You think, oh, we’re gonna get smart about it now because we know it’s real and it’s happening. In fact, that’s not happening, right? It’s not like this in the US. We’re getting better at embracing mess and things. And the sort of concrete reality of it is not really matching. It’s sort of deeper understanding and political action of this. In fact, it’s mobilizing forces against it in a way. And I see a little of the same thing with climate change and especially sea level rise. So I mentioned that for a lot of coastal communities, the concern is losing revenue and development. And what but what I’m seeing is, as in places like Virginia, for example, [02:04:18]as as these communities get in more trouble, instead of raising building standards and building in a more resilient way and in less dangerous way, they’re encouraging more building in more marginal places because they’re desperate to keep the building engine going. [18.1s] And it’s sort of in a weird way, the climate change and sea level rise and things like this have been a reverse, have reversed the [02:04:46]momentum. And in order to desperately keep people from leaving these soon to be flooded places, they’re encouraging cheap development in the guise of affordable housing. [11.0s] But in fact, putting more people in harm’s way. So I think it’s a very complex dynamic that’s happening that I see from my point of view as a journalist and this sort of broadening of the discussion and making it about more than just where does the water come, but who’s at risk and who is going to be suffering from heat and justice and racial issues that we’re talking about. I think is like the way, and that is is what inspires me as an outsider, looking at the political movement and seeing how it has changed the dynamics. I think it is, you know, an incredibly inspiring moment.
Julian Agyeman [02:05:43] Can I just say, Alex? I think there’s three levels of response to your your question. First is we need visionary leadership. And I’m really pleased to say that
Michelle Wu, an Asian-American woman, is poised, I think, to become the next mayor of Boston, a woman of color, a progressive Democrat. She’s engineered a fabulous green new deal for Boston. A lot of which is equity and climate resilience related. She is inspiring a whole new generation of thinking. And she gets it. We need leaders to get it. The next level. Oh, and also, she is planning to dismantle the Boston Planning and Development Authority, which is basically an arm of the mayor. And she would create a much more community resonance and community centered planning process for Boston, which, again, would incorporate equity. Second level is the level I come in. We have the Tuft’s unashamedly. We train activists, planners. I don’t want my students going out and just, you know, rubber stamping zoning ordinances and changes. I want them to be able to push the planning departments that they go and work in to become much more listening, much more likely to think about deep ethnographies of neighborhoods and understanding neighborhoods and co producing neighborhoods with with communities. And at the third level, I think we do need really to to recognize communities as experts in their local areas. So communities, activist planners, visionary leaders. That’s what I think we need to start making changes.
Katherine Peinhardt [02:07:39] To follow up on something that someone just said in the chat bar. Those who hold power do not wish to relinquish it, right? That’s a pretty well- established maxim. [02:07:50]I think the case needs to be made for the fact that community wisdom is a resource to be tapped into. And that’s solutions that are imposed on communities oftentimes are less efficient, [13.6s] like we saw in Jeff’s presentation, than projects that might be more community vision led. So to convince people of the value of the insights of residents, of visitors, of anchor community based organizations as Tamika said, and [02:08:22]to do so without tokenizing them. And while also fairly compensating people for their labor and their insights, I think making the case for that is it’s becoming very clear as communities do this more and more often. [11.6s] But yeah, we have to continue to hammer home the point that it’s worth it. And it makes your solutions smarter and more long lasting.
Alex Bozicovic [02:08:43] There’s been a couple question about that. There were people have been asking how you measure that. Is there a, you know, inclusivity, you know, metric? Is there a way of measuring the ROI of increased activity and diversity, inclusion and diversity? How would you answer that, folks?
Tamika Butler [02:09:00] How do you how do people who mean well make the case to the people they work for? That it is important and valuable to think in this way?
Tamika Butler [02:09:12] I used to work at a nonprofit. I ran a nonprofit, a multimillion dollar nonprofit that built parks and gardens in low income communities and communities of color. And many of the the land parcels of land we built on were had a ton of environmental issues. Right. And something I would always tell my staff, especially my my white staff, who would sometimes go into these communities of color. And, you know, our goal was to build a park. And so when the community asked for this, that or the other, they’d say, yes, yes, yes. And the reason people push back against equity often is because it takes longer. It takes longer. It’s uncertain and frankly, it’s uncomfortable. And what I would always tell my staff is when you say yes to everyone, because that’s what you think low income people and people of color want. When we have to go back and say, no, that’s actually harder. It takes more money and it takes more time. And so I think something that people have to understand with equity is so much about it. When when I talked about in the plan, part of our equity was procedural. It’s about the process you use. And that doesn’t mean just saying yes and giving people what they they want. It’s about being transparent and being honest and being accountable and saying, no, we can’t do this and no, we can’t do this.
Tamika Butler [02:10:29] And I think the other thing I wanted to say, just on on the last question, I think the other thing we have to do is we all have to start taking this personally. Right. We all have to start taking what’s happening in our world, whether or not we’re talking about racial justice or climate justice personally. Somebody said to me the other day, this is the hottest day we’ve ever had in California. And somebody responded and said, this is the coldest day we’ll have in California for the next so many years. Right. Like, we have to start shifting the way we’re thinking about this and taking it personally. And a big part of that is the privilege, whether or not you’re a teacher, whether or not you’re a professor, whether or not you’re a reporter, whether or not you work at a nonprofit. I think what folks who aren’t part of racialized groups have to realize is that there are those of us who don’t think of ourselves as as activists or think of ourselves as being racial justice warriors. But because of the color of our skin, we don’t have a choice. We don’t have that privilege. So when you’re a reporter covering something in Minneapolis or Atlanta and the police beat you or the woman who just got beat here in L.A. because you’re a person of color, right? And so I think we all have to figure out how to do our jobs and do them objectively and do them well and share and push for the change we want. But those of us who have privilege to realize that it’s not that that that sometimes we don’t have to make it as personalized, you have to realize those are there those of us who don’t have the choice. That’s just it. Like we can’t say, well, this is work. And then on my personal journey, I’m reading all these books. Right. And so I think we all have to take that moment and realize the urgency, both of climate change and of racial injustices. And we have to figure out if we have the privilege where we don’t always have to put it on. We have to think about those folks who can’t take it off. And we have to make it deeply personal.
Alex Bozicovic [02:12:16] Easier said than done in a lot of political arenas, I’m sure. And yet absolutely necessary. But one more question from the audience on sort of on that note. The question is, how do we include the voices of civil disobedience or protest into city planning processes? Anybody?
Julian Agyeman [02:12:43] That’s a really good question. A really, really good question that I like a lot longer to think about. But hey, let me just throw in some ideas. I think it it’s it speaks to what Tamika was saying about moving from ally to accomplice. Allies put Black Lives Matter signs on their front lawns on their nicely manicured front lawns in the gentrified neighborhood where they bought that home from a family that, you know, that has been displaced. An accomplice, you know, gets the anger and joins the front line of the protest. And I think that that anger is coming in. Certainly I’m feeling it through my students. More and more students. I mean, nobody comes into urban planning to be passive. [02:13:41]People come into urban planning because they want to do good things in public. [4.2s] Question is, how do we channel them into creative uses of this moment, this moment that we’re in now? Like several. I think Jeff mentioned it. I’m actually quite optimistic about change. We have seen things that no human being should ever watch.
Eight minutes, 46 seconds. That will change our lives. And channeling. That’s that repulsion. That revulsion. It’s certainly something that my my students want to do, and with an activist department like ours, where we focus on not environmental sustainability, social justice and sustainability, we produce what ‘Woke’ planners in many ways. So I think it’s incumbent on us in the planning academy to really put students through and channel them. And, you know, the motto of our department is educating practical visionaries, educating practical visionaries. And those visions are deeply imbued with issues of social justice and equity.
Tamika Butler [02:14:55] And I think it’s I think it’s we all have to realize that we have a part to play. There are so many ways to resist. You don’t have to be in the streets. You don’t have to to have a certain name or background or job. There are many acts of resistance, and we all have to do what feels right to us. And we all have to do what we can to elevate those voices. And then I think the last thing I would say is, listen, we started off by talking about that, right? Deeply listening. [02:15:24]And I think too often we like to police how people do things. So whether or not it’s it’s kneeling or not kneeling at a sports game, whether or not it’s marching in the streets. We like to say, well, if they just did it differently, they would make a better point. But instead of thinking about how folks are doing things, if we could listen to what they’re saying, [19.9s] then that deep listening is how you can start to incorporate some of what’s happening socially into our work.
Alex Bozicovic [02:15:54] Well, and then, you know, we’ll have to wrap up. But, you know, one thing strikes me as a difficult tension to resolve. You know, if Jeff is correct, as I think he probably is, that we’re going to see large scale migration from a lot of places that are less privileged into our wealthier societies and into the parts of our societies that are less affected by climate change. That’s going to represent a lot of change to our cities and to the most privileged parts of our cities that people may or may not welcome. And so, you know, perhaps there needs to be a way of trying to reconcile listening to people who are already here and have not been listened to while also thinking about the large scale challenges that climate change is bringing to all of us. And the ways in which it may reshape our whole world. So good luck with that, planners. Have fun. Everybody, thank you so much for this. It’s been a fascinating morning. A discussion. It’s been my privilege to be here. Thank you.
Julian Agyeman [02:16:54] Alex, can I say, one thing?
Alex Bozicovic [02:16:55] Yeah.
Julian Agyeman [02:16:57] How different would this panel have been if Tamika and I haven’t been here. It might have been a very different conversation, not the Katherine or Jeff. You know, there’s anything wrong with them. But to me, Tamika and I’s presence on this panel have ensured that a conversation has really got down to some nitty gritty issues, and I I want to thank the Canadian Urban Institute and the Halifax people for this. But going forward, when you go to conferences like this, try and ask questions about who’s speaking at the conference, because I think that’s really important.
Alex Bozicovic [02:17:30] I already do now. But I think you couldn’t be more correct. Thanks. And thank you all. Thank you.
Katherine Peinhardt [02:17:39] Thank you.
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09:03:36 From Canadian Urban Institute : Keep the conversation going #AoCB2020 @AoCB2020
09:04:00 From Canadian Urban Institute : Welcome! Folks, please change your chat settings to “all panelists and attendees” so everyone can see your comments.
09:04:08 From Nufida Pujiastuti : Hello from Indonesia 🇮🇩
09:04:23 From Toby Greenbaum : Good morning from Ottawa
09:04:32 From Sandro Pampallona : Hello from Italy
09:04:58 From Ken Kunka to All panelists : Hello from Summerland, BC
09:05:00 From Jerrica Gilbert : Hi from Sault Ste Marie 🙂
09:05:03 From Max Brookman to All panelists : Hello and Good afternoon from London
09:05:18 From Corrine Cash to All panelists : Hi everyone, I am Dr. Corrine Cash. I lead the Building Resilient Communities work at the Coady Institute in Antigonish and I am an Assistant Professor in the Climate and Environment Program at St FX University. I am also a Planner (Masters and PhD in Planning from the University of Waterloo). Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
09:05:29 From Moira Davidson to All panelists : Good morning from Guelph
09:05:46 From Canadian Urban Institute : Welcome! Folks, please change your chat settings to “all panelists and attendees” so everyone can see your comments.
09:05:56 From Annalisa Raymer to All panelists : @Canadian Urban Inst —Will recordings of sessions be available?
09:06:13 From Corrine Cash : Hi everyone, I am Dr. Corrine Cash. I lead the Building Resilient Communities work at the Coady Institute in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada and I am an Assistant Professor in the Climate and Environment Program at St FX University. I am also a Planner (Masters and PhD in Planning from the University of Waterloo). Reach out to me at email@example.com
09:06:14 From bill campbell : Welcome to Halifax. Congrats to the organizing group for assembling these enlightened presenters.
09:06:15 From Susan Chin : Greetings from NYC/CT.!
09:06:18 From Canadian Urban Institute to Annalisa Raymer and all panelists : Yes – both at AOCB and canurb
09:06:27 From Kate Gunn to All panelists : greetings to all from Edmonton Alberta!
09:06:28 From TJ Maguire, AoCB : Good morning from Halifax!
09:06:35 From Meghan Hollett to All panelists : Thanks for recording! Hoping this recording will be placed online at a later time.
09:06:36 From Mary Rowe : Looking forward to it Mayor Savage!
09:06:43 From Sakshi Nanda : Good evening from Mumbai!
09:06:45 From Marie-Josée Houle to All panelists : Greetings from Ottawa!
09:06:51 From Annalisa Raymer : Greetings from Ithaca, NY
09:06:52 From reg nalezyty : Good Morning from Thunder Bay
09:06:54 From Grant Ruffinengo to All panelists : Hello from Halifax 🙂
09:06:54 From Julian Agyeman to All panelists : Hi from Boston!
09:07:06 From Angie Desmarais to All panelists : Good morning from Port Colborne, Ontario
09:07:19 From Mary Rowe to All panelists : I LOVE the look of the shot with the screen live behind — very cool!
09:07:22 From Alex Smith to All panelists : Good morning from Eastern Passage
09:08:22 From Canadian Urban Institute : Reminding attendees to please change your chat settings to “all panelists and attendees” so everyone can see your comments.
09:08:54 From Purshottama Reddy to All panelists : Looking forward to this very interesting and topical conference – from Canada and South Africa.
09:08:59 From Canadian Urban Institute : Alex Bozicovic https://twitter.com/alexbozikovic https://www.linkedin.com/in/alex-bozikovic-5260649/ Jeff Goodell https://twitter.com/jeffgoodell https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeff-goodell-70344211a/ Katherine Peinhardt https://twitter.com/kpeinhardt https://www.linkedin.com/in/katherineapeinhardt/ Julian Agyeman https://twitter.com/julianagyeman https://www.linkedin.com/in/julianagyeman/ Tamika Butler https://twitter.com/TamikaButler https://www.linkedin.com/in/tamikabutler/
09:09:03 From Annalisa Raymer : @Canadian Urban Inst —Will recordings of sessions be available?
09:09:24 From Beverley Bradnam to All panelists : Good morning from the Town of Fort Erie, on the shores of Lake Erie and the mouth of the Niagara River
09:09:24 From Canadian Urban Institute to Annalisa Raymer and all panelists : yes. Will post details for links near the end of the session
09:09:25 From Amy Bolt : Hello from the Community Housing Transformation Centre! Check out our website (centre.support) for funding opportunities to help your organization transform community housing into a more sustainable sector. Feel free to reach out to me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
09:10:02 From Annalisa Raymer : @Canadian Urban Inst —Thank you!
09:11:37 From Purshottama Reddy : Will any papers be available ?. Thanks
09:12:12 From Canadian Urban Institute to Tara Wickwire, AoCB (Privately) : Hey, Tara! I think the next session in the afternoon I’m going to let you run through the session timing and switching between speakers and then I’ll just talk about the tech – is that okay with you?
09:12:25 From Canadian Urban Institute to Tara Wickwire, AoCB (Privately) : Going really well so far! Excellent opening!
09:12:47 From Selena Zhang, CUI to All panelists : Hi panelists–just to clarify, when it is your turn to speak, you’ll be responsible for turning your video on and unmuting yourself. Likewise, when you’re finished, you’ll turn off your video and mute.
09:12:51 From Canadian Urban Institute to Purshottama Reddy and all panelists : There will be transcripts of the recording and the chat.
09:13:49 From Tara Wickwire, AoCB to Canadian Urban Institute(Privately) : Sounds good!
09:14:29 From Canadian Urban Institute to Selena Zhang, CUI(Privately) : Thanks!
09:17:23 From Grant Ruffinengo to All panelists : https://www.linkedin.com/in/gruffinengo/
09:20:10 From Charles Williams to All panelists : seems like a lot of concreate?
09:21:52 From Canadian Urban Institute to Selena Zhang, CUI(Privately) : Reminding attendees to change their chat settings to “all panelists and attendees” so everyone can see your comments. Thanks!
09:23:25 From Lester Brown to All panelists : are people aware of Sherbourne Square at the foot of Sherbourne Street . Toronto. It combines, art, a playground, a park and stormwater management.
09:23:51 From Canadian Urban Institute : Reminding attendees to change their chat settings to “all panelists and attendees” so everyone can see your comments. Thanks!
09:26:10 From Canadian Urban Institute to Tara Wickwire, AoCB (Privately) : Hey, Tara! Just confirming you are not coming back at the end, correct? Alex will close the session?
09:26:17 From Canadian Urban Institute to Tara Wickwire, AoCB (Privately) : I’ll send him a note to confirm.
09:26:17 From Lester Brown : Just again for everybody. I believe Sherbourne Square at the foot of Sherbourne St. Toronto is a water square. It has combined a park, with a skating rink, art, a playground and a stormater management system, including treatment under a park building.
09:27:05 From Canadian Urban Institute to Tara Wickwire, AoCB (Privately) : I’ll make sure to put the thank you up on behalf of AOCB
09:27:14 From Alex Bozikovic : Lester: That’s true. A different system of stormwater management, but yes.
09:28:17 From Sakshi Nanda to All panelists : There’s a lot to learn from Rotterdam. Thanks for this presentation+this initiative
09:29:48 From Maria Bravo : Greetings from Montreal
09:30:05 From Nathan Rogers : Thanks Katherine! I’ve got some take aways
09:30:28 From Chris Chopik to All panelists : Katherine, Great preso. Human Centred Design Research is a missing component in both design and response, and I appreciated your focus on “continuing to ask users and staff”
09:30:34 From Alan Mcnair : Katherine:
09:30:49 From Canadian Urban Institute to Katherine Peinhardt(Privately) : Well done!!
09:31:09 From Alan Mcnair : Excellent presentation! Thanks for putting in the effort to enlighten us!
09:31:27 From Katherine Peinhardt to Canadian Urban Institute(Privately) : thank you!
09:36:06 From Jeanette Fich Jespersen to All panelists : Katherine, truly enjoyed your presentation. Thank you.
09:38:09 From Annalisa Raymer : Thank you, Katherine, for a terrific presentation.
09:40:51 From Niken D. Swastika : Thank you Katherine for the enlightening presentantion.
09:43:05 From Corrine Cash : This is incredible
09:47:56 From Susan Kapetanovic-Marr to All panelists : where is this wall located?
09:51:00 From Chris Chopik to All panelists : #AbandoningAtlantis What is the Real Estate wealth impact?http://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/2540/ Property Value in an Era of Climate Change
09:52:23 From Canadian Urban Institute to Chris Chopik and all panelists : Hi, Chris! Can you re-share this and change your settings to all panelists and attendees? I know other people would love to check out the link. Thanks!
09:54:20 From Zubair Ahmed : Thank you for sharing the Lagos example
09:55:09 From Chris Chopik : #AbandoningAtlantis What is the Real Estate wealth impact?http://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/2540/ Property Value in an Era of Climate Change #KeepDoingTheSameStupidShit
09:55:14 From Neelu Mehta : Great presentation and very informative. Thank you 🙂
09:56:08 From lesley crompton to All panelists : I loved the Norfolk realization… so true
09:57:49 From Jacqueline Rhee : How do we make these issues and discussions a part of mainstream education? Solutions will not come without broad acceptance.
09:57:54 From Minaz Asani : Your last question about ‘who’ is the most profound and I’m interested to know if there are any countries or governments really working on this.
09:58:01 From Jeanette Fich Jespersen to All panelists : Thought provoking, yet hands-on. Thank you very much for a fabulous talk!
10:00:31 From Lester Brown : fantastic presentation. Thank you.
10:00:40 From Canadian Urban Institute to Jeff Goodell (Privately) : Well done! That was perfect!
10:01:16 From Paul Mackinnon, AoCB : uh oh. Julian just rolled up his sleeves…
10:01:59 From Jeff Goodell to Canadian Urban Institute(Privately) : Thanks! I know it went a little long…..
10:02:30 From Neil Bailey : Greetings from Winnipeg! 🙂
10:02:36 From Canadian Urban Institute to Jeff Goodell (Privately) : Nope. It was perfect. 🙂
10:02:49 From Jeff Goodell to Canadian Urban Institute(Privately) : Thank you
10:03:57 From Purshottama Reddy : Very insighful and topical presentations – certainly giving us food for thought on issues of climate change.
10:06:06 From Rachelle Morgan to All panelists : Wow, yes!
10:14:56 From Chris Chopik to All panelists : Julian, very important issues, can you touch on North American aboriginal inclusion…. #FirstPeopleFirstRights
10:15:59 From Lester Brown : I notice it being recorded. I have another meeting to attend but thank you for these great presentations.
10:16:31 From Faryal Diwan : I’m in love with this talk
10:16:52 From Faryal Diwan : so insightful!!!
10:17:04 From Heather Majaury to All panelists : Same. Great Synthesis joining the dots.
10:17:19 From Nufida Pujiastuti : great ideas from each of the speakers… thanks so thoughtful session…
10:18:01 From Heather Majaury to All panelists : There is a great documentary about the the redlining legacy of Minneapolis. Will share if I can find it.
10:18:57 From Heather Majaury to All panelists : Redlining and Greenling connected if not considering the legacy
10:19:30 From Canadian Urban Institute to Heather Majaury and all panelists : Hi, Heather! When you share, make sure you change your chat settings to ‘all panelists and attendees” so everyone can receive it. Thanks!
10:20:26 From Tom Yarmon to All panelists : Julian’s presentation is really hitting home to me sitting in my home office on a leafy street in Toronto. I am constantly reminded that no matter how often I profess my open mindedness, my years of learning and cultural background still weighs me down. Thank you, Juliajn.
10:21:03 From Heather Majaury : Can I change the posts already sent?
10:21:03 From Tom Yarmon : Julian’s presentation is really hitting home to me sitting in my home office on a leafy street in Toronto. I am constantly reminded that no matter how often I profess my open mindedness, my years of learning and cultural background still weighs me down. Thank you, Juliajn.
10:21:32 From Canadian Urban Institute to Heather Majaury and all panelists : Reminding attendees to please change their chat settings to “all panelists and attendees” so everyone can see your comments. Thank you!
10:21:41 From Canadian Urban Institute : Reminding attendees to please change their chat settings to “all panelists and attendees” so everyone can see your comments. Thank you!
10:21:41 From Olusola Olufemi : Very thoughtful Julian!
10:21:46 From Skylar Niehaus : Amazing talk! Thank you Julian!
10:22:06 From Jo Nee to All panelists : Thank you Julian – great talk
10:22:09 From Nathan Rogers : democratize all streets!
10:22:16 From Niko Casuncad to All panelists : Ahh such a great presentation, thank you Julian
10:22:20 From Kate Macmillan : Thank you Julian! Your talk was so enlightening and gives a lot to think about!
10:22:20 From Elena Christy : Brilliant talk! Thank you, Julian!
10:22:25 From Corrine Cash to All panelists : Urban Planning has been used for racial segregation throughout history. Reserve system in Canada reflects this. Just look at South Africa during apartheid (and post apartheid)
10:22:28 From Neelu Mehta : Thank yo so much 🙂
10:22:39 From Corrine Cash : Hi everyone, I am Dr. Corrine Cash. I lead the Building Resilient Communities work at the Coady Institute in Antigonish and I am an Assistant Professor in the Climate and Environment Program at St FX University. I am also a Planner (Masters and PhD in Planning from the University of Waterloo). Reach out to me at email@example.com
10:22:45 From Corrine Cash : Urban Planning has been used for racial segregation throughout history. Reserve system in Canada reflects this. Just look at South Africa during apartheid (and post apartheid)
10:22:56 From Alison Moreau : Julian, your talk really helped make the connection between social and environmental justice, for me. I will be learning as much as I can on this subject! Thank you so much for your insights and calls for change.
10:23:08 From Elizabeth Jassem, Y(i)DOME ID Ltd., (YC SSC) York Centre Seniors Steering to All panelists : Great PRESENTION Julian. Agree w Alex re complete streets analysis.
10:23:14 From Jeanette Fich Jespersen to All panelists : Great insights and contextual conclusions, really useful. THank you.
10:23:43 From Max Brookman : Very insightful and thought provoking to link the social justice and climate change
10:23:48 From Elizabeth Jassem, Y(i)DOME ID Ltd., (YC SSC) York Centre Seniors Steering to All panelists : GOOD MORNING! Hello to CUI and Everybody!!
10:23:49 From Canadian Urban Institute to Julian Agyeman(Privately) : Julian! You were amazing!! Well done!!!
10:24:02 From Rollajia Cooper : Thank you so much.
10:24:05 From Minaz Asani : Julian, that was brilliant, been grappling with these issues and you laid them out really well.
10:24:06 From Lilian Phillip to All panelists : Thanks, Jillian Loved it!
10:24:33 From Lester Brown : always worried about Green gentrification. Thank you for your presentation Julian.
10:26:46 From Ohi Izirein to All panelists : Planners continue to be weak in determining what the politicians put in place. Are planners the visionaries or are they just implementers of politicians’ policies.
10:26:59 From Vivian Forssman : Thank you for an excellent group of speakers today – wish I could stay on this call but another Zoom call awaits. I am Vivian Forssman, Program Lead at Adaptation Learning Network (adaptationlearningnetwork.com), an initiative of Resilience by Design Lab at Royal Roads University. ALN is focused on education and training re climate adaptation.
10:32:07 From Corrine Cash : Planners from South Africa came to Canada to learn how the reserve system was designed when they (South African Planners) were spatially designing for apartheid. This is important because we in Canada sometimes think that we have done (and do) no wrong.
10:34:14 From Niko Casuncad : Yes!!
10:34:52 From Paul Partington : 👏
10:35:39 From Rachelle Morgan to All panelists : ****Finger snap*****
10:35:58 From Rachelle Morgan : ****Finger snap*****
10:36:43 From Olusola Olufemi : Injustice! Spatial and racial segregation, this is what gated communities are all about especially in South Africa. Nothing has really changed in regards to racialized planning inspite of the desegregation and deracializing policies.
10:37:55 From Niko Casuncad : Ahh this is so great, so much to learn from this and put it into practice
10:40:54 From Kate Macmillan : Even the plan layout seems more accessible to read and understand! Such exciting work Tamika!
10:41:52 From Rachelle Morgan : I agree Kate, I agree this is digestible!
10:42:19 From Rachelle Morgan : LOLOLOL
10:42:47 From Meghan McMorris to All panelists : Can someone post the website please?
10:42:51 From Purshottama Reddy : The points mentioned about racialised spatial planning is very relevant and important – just as important is institutionalised racism (which is not immediately visible) which needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
10:43:15 From Rachelle Morgan : Yes Co-Power!!!! Community Power!!! Pay the community as the experts they are!!
10:43:25 From Gagan Batra to All panelists : Old Kanye also said having money’s not everything, but not having it is… I felt that and so true when looking at the different power dynamics between low income vs high income
10:43:45 From Niko Casuncad : 100%
10:44:47 From Kristal Çelik to All panelists : Thanks for being up and sharing this so early California time, Tamika
10:45:01 From Kristal Çelik : Thanks for being up and sharing this so early California time, Tamika
10:47:51 From Sarena Seifer to All panelists : Fantastic presentation
10:48:08 From Niko Casuncad : Thank you Tamika!
10:48:13 From Danielle Lenarcic Biss : So grateful for the learning during all of these presentations. Thank you, thank you!
10:48:17 From Maria Bravo : Thanks all !
10:48:19 From Paul Mackinnon, AoCB : www.artofcitybuilding.ca
10:48:36 From Karol Murillo to All panelists : Thank you Tamika
10:48:38 From Reiko Ema to All panelists : Wow!!!
10:48:48 From Mark Pajot to All panelists : refreshing truth telling
10:48:51 From Canadian Urban Institute to Tamika Butler on Tongva Land(Privately) : Amazing! Well done!!
10:48:52 From Margaret Prophet : so grateful for the learning in this session. 🙏
10:48:55 From Sean Kelly to All panelists : Excellent presentations, gratitude to you all.
10:49:10 From Elena Christy : Thank you so much, Tamika! You have raised so many imperative points.
10:49:16 From Skylar Niehaus : Incredible talk! Thank you Tamika!
10:49:18 From Minaz Asani : Omg Tamika, thank you! You can’ see, but I’m applauding loudly.
10:49:21 From Brian Webb : This session has been fantastic. So much to try to put into practice
10:49:58 From Alan Mcnair : This may be the best 2 hours I have ever spent in my working life in planning!
10:50:12 From Daniel Bryce to All panelists : This ahs probably been the best conference I have ever been too, virtual or otherwise!
10:50:48 From Andre . to All panelists : Will a recording be made available?
10:50:51 From Tara Wickwire, AoCB : Please feel free to submit a question for our panelists.
10:50:57 From Canadian Urban Institute : Reminding attendees to please change your chat settings to “all panelists and attendees” so everyone can see your comments.
10:51:14 From Canadian Urban Institute : The conversations will be saved on www.ArtOfCityBuilding.ca & Art of City Building on YouTube. Thank you for sharing your observations and learnings – we celebrate engagement! #aocb2020
10:51:16 From Mark Pajot to All panelists : Observing how things are unfolding in the US – you think change can change without violence? There
10:51:33 From reg nalezyty : Two of my ‘best spent’ hours in a long time. I hope the councillors to whom I sent the link actually attended
10:51:36 From Jeanette Fich Jespersen to All panelists : Thank you ever so much for a passionate and insightful presentations, Tamika. Thank you to all organisers and speakers, this was a most enlightenin constellation of knowledge.
10:51:50 From Canadian Urban Institute to Mark Pajot and all panelists : Mark, feel free to share the question with all attendees too….
10:52:25 From Elena Christy : Agreed Alan Mcnair!
10:52:39 From Melissa Ricci to All panelists : Amazing panel! Thank you CUI.
10:53:00 From Chris Chopik to All panelists : How do we create circumstance for self determination #plannedretreat, in particular in working with vulnerably located populations across the continent? #FAEMAfundsDisasterResponseNotDisasterPrepardeness
10:53:37 From Chris Chopik to All panelists : FEMA
10:54:08 From Mark Pajot : Observing how things are unfolding in the US, you think things can change in a peaceful manner? There doesn’t seem to be level heads among leadership currently.
10:54:48 From Gagan Batra : How would you recommend municipal employees influence decision makers to see these questions of inequity and the connection between urban space and racial disparities as issues that should be addressed? Leaders are so unwilling sometimes to admit that there’s a problem and the non-minority leaders especially don’t address these problems because it’s “uncomfortable”.
10:54:49 From Purshottama Reddy : My question : my understanding is that by and large, we do do not have to change any legislation/policies to ensure accessibility/equity, but a change in attitude, behaviour and perhaps political/management will. Any comments ?
10:57:03 From Jacqueline Rhee : The canonization of historical precedent as a justification for current policy needs to be unwound. We also need to make these necessary changes in equity unthreatening to the people who currently enjoy all of that privilege. What action can we take to move the needle?
10:57:37 From Mark Pajot : The Challenge is also there is no reward for those in gov. advocating for justice. If anything those who are brave are often uninvited from meetings…
10:57:59 From Michael Redhead Champagne to All panelists : how do we include the voices of civil disobedience or protest into city planning processes?? it’s often unexpected but their love for space and their voice in seeking equity is undeniable. how do urban planners show protesters (for indigenous people land protectors) they are listening?
10:59:29 From NEGIN Minaei : People are not still open to hear about racial differences and celebrate them so we could integrate them in our planing and design to create social inclusion and equity for all. Talking about racial differences and accepting people the way they are is still considered very sensitive. How do you show your good intentions when you want to talk about including everyone?
10:59:58 From Chris Chopik to All panelists : #DeepEthnography #DeepListening keeping communities futures self determined.
11:00:28 From Jeanette Fich Jespersen : Hmm, it’s a challenge to have the implementation level, the practitioners, have the same insights as we have been enjoying here. Talking about priviledge, imho that is a priviledge many practitioners don’t get. Or, their reality is limited by short-sighted budget planning procedures: no maintenance allowed, for instance.
11:00:33 From Canadian Urban Institute to Selena Zhang, CUI(Privately) : Hey, Selena! Mary is wondering if someone can save the chat, but mine will be slowed down by the fact that I will be downloading the video at the same time. Would you mind clicking the three dots to the right of the chat TO: at the bottom of the chat screen here and select SAVE CHAT? Mary would like to review before the noon session.
11:01:58 From Chris Chopik to All panelists : where do we find budget for inclusive design strategies, is there an ROI Inclusive Design benefit metric?
11:02:04 From Kara Martin : Thank you so much to all the presenters for their time, experiences, and insight; also thank you to the Art of City Building organizing team and CUI for organizing and hosting.
11:02:27 From Selena Zhang, CUI to Canadian Urban Institute(Privately) : Got it
11:02:37 From Canadian Urban Institute to Selena Zhang, CUI(Privately) : Thank you!
11:02:48 From Selena Zhang, CUI to Canadian Urban Institute(Privately) : Should I do that right before it’s over? or she wants it now?
11:03:04 From Gagan Batra : I’m just at a loss for how to make people accept responsibility for perpetuating inequalities and these disparities. my community is not hugely diverse historically, but in the past decade has been home to so many more immigrants and POC, and there’s also a huge population of urban Indigenous. going forward, i’d love to have these considerations of racial segregation in planning of the city on the table for discussion, but it’s hard when the “multicultural” city is still a foreign concept to the residents
11:03:21 From Canadian Urban Institute : Please share your questions with everyone!
11:04:38 From Canadian Urban Institute : Thank you for participating in today’s Art of City Building conference! We hope you are enjoying the program. Please follow along on Twitter and Instagram @AoCB2020 and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AoCB2020
11:05:17 From STEVEN MASTORAS : How do we quickly and effectively bring main-streets back to life with higher densities after this disastrous pandemic?
11:06:27 From Margaret Prophet to All panelists : community groups can help and want to help. Staff should seek them out as partners bc community groups can mobilize and organize communities to support the necessary change.
11:06:48 From Cheryl Evans : Is one of the big challenges that those who hold power do not wish to relinquish it. They want to fight harder to protect their privilege?
11:07:33 From Nick McLean to All panelists : Really interesting observation actions from Goodall here
11:09:17 From Natalia Diaz-Insense : Thank you, Tamika, for bringing up the need to prioritize listening to community and speaking up (i.e. be accomplices), instead of being allies with regards to equity.
11:09:44 From Scott Borden : Dismantling Planning Departments.. that’s an idea
11:09:53 From Aimée González Ferriol : It would be nice also to hear reflections on how to go about the “not in my neighbourhood” position of privileged communities that oppose, for instance, multifamily buildings, social housing or homeless shelters to be located in their space. Thanks!
11:10:02 From Canadian Urban Institute : Alex Bozicovic https://twitter.com/alexbozikovic https://www.linkedin.com/in/alex-bozikovic-5260649/ Jeff Goodell https://twitter.com/jeffgoodell https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeff-goodell-70344211a/ Katherine Peinhardt https://twitter.com/kpeinhardt https://www.linkedin.com/in/katherineapeinhardt/ Julian Agyeman https://twitter.com/julianagyeman https://www.linkedin.com/in/julianagyeman/ Tamika Butler https://twitter.com/TamikaButler https://www.linkedin.com/in/tamikabutler/
11:10:33 From Niko Casuncad : Ideas and actions I wish I learned in planning school!
11:10:50 From F B : .
11:10:59 From Doug Snyder to All panelists : Bohm Dialog ….. dialog between eguals.
11:11:37 From Paul Mackinnon, AoCB : Interesting. For a long time, in Canada, we’ve looked at strong (progressive) mayor planning in the US as being transformative. I would be very interested to see the proposal in Boston. Has this been done anywhere else?
11:11:48 From Gagan Batra : Good point – I’m one of the few POC in my organization and I feel like I’ve been tokenized on many occasions. we need to also recognize that one person’s experience and thoughts are not representative of the entire demographic, and that like any other survey/data points, we need to be holistic in the perspectives we’re hearing before drawing conclusions
11:12:05 From Ohi Izirein to All panelists : Yes. Tuft’s University approach to training planners is great. That will be a better way of planning. Currently, most planners just do rubber stamping. Planners work in highly politicized environment.
11:12:25 From Michael Chong : How do “data-driven” decision practices fit in (or don’t fit in) with addressing issues in climate change and justice? How might statisticians, data scientists, and academics do effective work in this area? Specifically for those who might have technical skills to contribute, but not as much experience in community work?
11:13:14 From Canadian Urban Institute to Tara Wickwire, AoCB (Privately) : Hey, Tara! Is this wording ok? I can’t remember if you’re coming bac at the end or if Alex is finishing up. AOCB extends a big thank you to our host Alex Bozikovic and our entire panel for an exceptional discussion today. Thank you to our attendees too for your keen attention and participation.
11:14:18 From Jeanette Fich Jespersen : There are great US experiences with the ROI on inclusive approaches, please visit for instance Center for Active Design website, or, Centre for Active Design, University of San Diego. That having been said, there is a case to be made for the humane approach, paying less respect to whether it “pays off”. Simply doing it, because it is the right thing to respect your fellow human beings, of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.
11:14:20 From Faryal Diwan : yes Tamika!!
11:14:49 From Jeanette Fich Jespersen : Sorry, that was Centre for Active Living Research, University of San Diego.
11:14:51 From Andrea Redmond : With limits of time (as planners), and of budgets (as civil servants), we need to put emphasis on deep listening. How do we know if we’ve gone far enough with engaging communities?
11:14:52 From Elizabeth Jassem, Y(i)DOME ID Ltd., (YC SSC) York Centre Seniors Steering to All panelists : great Tamika. yes .
11:16:59 From Jurij Leshchyshyn : Further to the need for effective, equitable, diverse, engaged and empowered local community involvement, discussions of core causes of social and environmental inequities must include the impacts of economic and financial drivers including neoliberalism, runaway capitalism, tax evasion, money-laundering (especially through residential real estate) Davos, private and corporate influences on public policy, national and international oligarchs, that is, the institutional, market, corporate, and private roots of the issues under discussion.
11:18:48 From Canadian Urban Institute : AOCB extends a big thank you to our host Alex Bozikovic and our entire panel for an exceptional discussion today. Thank you to our attendees too for your keen attention and participation.
11:19:18 From Faryal Diwan : excellent question Julian!
11:19:24 From Irena Kohn to All panelists : Thank you!
11:19:36 From Chris Chopik to All panelists : Awesome Wrap Julien. #were are the Abroiginal Voices
11:19:36 From Faryal Diwan : thank you!
11:19:36 From Andrea Redmond : wow, thank you
11:19:36 From Gagan Batra : these are the kinds of uncomfortable questions we need to be unafraid to ask!