COVID 1000 and Beyond: Making Better Places


  • Jennifer Angel—Chief Executive Officer, Evergreen, Toronto
  • Åsa Kachan—Chief Librarian and CEO, Halifax Public Libraries, Halifax
  • Dorian Moore—Vice President, Archive Design Studio, Windsor
  • Amina Yasin—Chair and Commissioner, Vancouver City Planning Commission, City of Vancouver


A roundup of the most compelling ideas, themes and quotes from this candid conversation

1. The built environment is often designed with a narrow view of the needs of its users. 

Amina Yasin of the Vancouver Planning Commission spoke of the intersecting crises of public health, justice, and inequality that received significant attention during the pandemic, but noted that the ongoing crises facing people with disabilities remained largely under the radar.  

“The built environment, and decisions that technocrats have made regarding the types of human bodies that we design for have tended to exclude disabled individuals,” said Yasin. “In conversations about open streets and opening up parts of cities and public realms, we still left the disabled community in the rear-view mirror.” 

2. Proximity, mobility, and utility are keys to the future of urban design. 

CUI Fellow Dorian Moore identified three considerations that he believes must be central to urban design: proximity, mobility, and utility.  

“When we think about proximity, there’s been a greater emphasis on our own individual neighbourhoods and downtowns, and our ability to walk to amenities, particularly with the rise of work from home,” said Moore. “Mobility is namely how cycling infrastructure and walkability can shape our communities, and utility concerns our public spaces. Our streets are the quintessential public spaces, especially in North American cities. We must consider how we can shape those primary spaces so that people can use them.”

3. We can continue to leverage public infrastructure for public good.

Åsa Kachan, CEO of Halifax Public Libraries, spoke of the opportunity the pandemic presented to move beyond the original purpose of libraries. Citing their unique connections to their communities, Kachan outlined examples of Canadian libraries meeting urgent local needs through access to wi-fi, outreach to isolated seniors, food distribution, vaccine access and COVID testing, and public health communications.  

“People would come to the library to be vaccinated who had difficult relationships with healthcare systems,” said Kachan. “Because we were trusted, our doors opened onto community in a very natural way.”

4. Public spaces are core infrastructure. 

Throughout her career, Jennifer Angel, CUI Fellow and Evergreen CEO, has advocated for public spaces alongside traditional municipal infrastructure, investments, and priorities. “Place was often seen as the fuzzy stuff, the soft stuff that you do after the hard infrastructure like highways are built,” said Angel. “COVID helped spotlight the importance of public spaces in shaping how we live and who gets to participate in incredibly important public policy priorities and outcomes for the community.” 

Angel further argued that public spaces are critical for strengthening community networks, building relationships, and repairing social capital. “Among all the existential crises we’re confronting, the most dangerous and concerning is the crisis of polarization and the erosion of social capital that undermines our ability to solve the others,” said Angel. “Place can be a critical magnet for bringing diverse points of view and lived experience together.” 

5. In placemaking, there is a false choice between urgency and thoughtfulness.

Jennifer Angel argued that placemakers don’t need to choose between acting efficiently and allocating resources thoughtfully. “There’s unprecedented investment in infrastructure,” noted Angel, “But it is a false choice between going fast to meet the challenges before us and being intentional and thoughtful about how that how that infrastructure investment is directed.” 

As an example of this practice in action, Yasin cited the heat wave in British Columbia which caused an immense loss of life over just a few days. In response, the Vancouver Planning Commission swiftly created a strategy to provide short- and long-term supports for the most vulnerable to extreme weather that considered the city’s shortage of services. They created weather crisis alerts in multiple languages and pushed the City of Vancouver to update its building bylaw to require air conditioning and cooling options. Now that the urgency of the heat wave has passed, the commission continues to work in conjunction with human rights efforts and explore opportunities to align mutual aid programs with institutional bodies. 


Full Panel

Note to readers: This video session was transcribed using auto-transcribing software.  Questions or concerns with the transcription can be directed to with “transcription” in the subject line.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 12:52:10
Thanks Mars, we’re not gonna go to our next session, which is on place making and you, just you had a beautiful segue I don’t know whether you heard the previous session, the folks that came in they started talking about this how do we actually look at place.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 12:52:25
But Tim actually said, When cities have been in crisis, before it’s been the place makers that have come in and said just a second, we can actually do that.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 12:52:32
And it’s been so interesting to see through Covid, a kind of reminder of how critical places are, and we heard it in a session early this morning on on Parks that that places are a kind of not equalizer I Need a better term you guys Will, give me one but It’s, the idea, that

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 12:52:52
The that Places can be for everyone. And I think that’s the challenge that we’ve got going through this now is how do we look at the last 1,000 days what have we learned about place, making and the next 1,000 days, as we continue and you all have different perspectives and different vantage points just to heads up

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 12:53:10
That we’ve adjusted the timing on this session.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 12:53:13
Because the minister of Addictions and Mental Health, Carolyn Bennett is stepping out a question period to come in and speak briefly, so that’s why I moved you up 10 min and why I’m going to Have to have you leave but it.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 12:53:24
May be that she doesn’t show up on time. You never know in which case we’ll take as much time as we’ve got. But I’m just letting you know that in the next 40 min.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 12:53:34
We have 2 Ministers parachuting in, and it’s important that we get them into the conversation, obviously, because we need their attention on these issues.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 12:53:36
So anyway, it’s all about places, Hey Jen. Nice to see you no longer.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 12:53:40
In Nova Scotia, but now now in Toronto, I know, Osa your loss or lost Toronto’s gain, but Jen coming in from Toronto, Formerly in Nova Scotia, Osa in Nova, Scotia, in Halifax, also the chair, of the

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 12:53:44
I’m sad question.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 12:53:54
Canadian Urban Libraries Council, Amina in Vancouver coming in from all of her different Perspectives, that she brings and Dorian, I’m Assuming You’re in Detroit today, or are you in Windsor where are you

[Dorian Moore] 12:54:05
I I’m in Detroit today.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 12:54:06
You’re in Detroit great Alright. Well, I’m gonna start with you, Amina, if I can, because you have a vantage, point.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 12:54:12
You’ve all been on state, city talk before actually darn, you may not have because you’re a fellow and just joining us.

[Dorian Moore] 12:54:15

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 12:54:16
But I think the rest of you have. So you know the drill I mean, it. Can you start Thinking about Key Lessons from the last 1,000 days, and then the next 1,000 and We’ve got about 20 min.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 12:54:25
Together. So Pithy is good and you’ve had a number of different perspectives that you’ve been engaged in in the work that you do there, so We’re Keen to have you provide your perspective, first thanks

[Amina Yasin] 12:54:35
Absolutely So a lot of discussion. So far I’ve been listening.

[Amina Yasin] 12:54:42
And really really great Job Facilitating, This Mary, a Lot of Points made about what?

[Amina Yasin] 12:54:49
For many were clear inequities prior to the pandemic, that will need

[Amina Yasin] 12:54:55
Became more noticed or noticeable at all, to others.

[Amina Yasin] 12:55:01
It, now experienceing, sort of a essentially a world shutting in society, shutting down crisis whereas others were always living with crises on top of Crises so that Level of Inequity, just Coming to the fore and Intersecting with what has been brought Up, as

[Amina Yasin] 12:55:24
You know elements of state, violence through what we saw in relation, to the murder of George Floyd.

[Amina Yasin] 12:55:32
That very much happened in the States, but resonated Globally, and also resonated here in Canada, as as we saw similar incidences of Police violence, as Well Another Level of Crises that went under the Radar was within the Disability, Justice Community so in many Ways, that was the Community

[Amina Yasin] 12:55:57
That mobilized and that Experts ended up learning from and really having lead the way, and so individuals who are disabled in many ways, is including through the built environment and decisions that technocrats have made in relation to what fits where what goes where the type of human

[Amina Yasin] 12:56:29
Body, and peoples that we designed for I have tended to exclude specifically disabled individuals, and so when we got into conversations, about open streets, and we got into conversations, about opening up parts and cities, and other areas, and public realms, to individuals, that always had access and opening

[Amina Yasin] 12:56:54
It up. More, we very much still left the Disability the disabled Community, you know in the Rear View Mirror, and they made us listen and so.

[Amina Yasin] 12:57:04
If there was any community that I think really really supported actions, at that time and mobilize Primarily Online and Offline, Mutual aid, programs were run by disability, justice programs, supporting Seniors and Supporting people who who who are disabled and here, in Vancouver we

[Amina Yasin] 12:57:30
Also, had multiple crises, that other cities didn’t experience.

[Amina Yasin] 12:57:35
We had the heat, Dome, which intersected with the pandemic, and then we had 4, Air Quality, and so that was also very much something that you had Competing Messaging where during the Pandemic We’re trying to open Streets, up so People Can be Outside and

[Amina Yasin] 12:57:52
Aren’t closed indoors. But then you’ve got you know this heat wave and you’ve got the situation with core air quality.

[Amina Yasin] 12:58:00
And now you’re telling. You know people, all these sort of different mixed messages.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 12:58:00

[Amina Yasin] 12:58:05
So there was a lot of mobilizing around that, and especially in Vancouver dealing with these layered crises, all at once.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 12:58:12
Yeah, I mean, you’ve sort of had a multiple whammy a like, it’s not just double whammy.

[Amina Yasin] 12:58:16

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 12:58:16
It’s like, multiple baming it’s interesting.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 12:58:17
I saw Stephanie Kedy who’s the Federal Disabilities advocate from Vancouver.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 12:58:22
You know her she was a farmer in la she’s in a chair, and I tried to have dinner with her, and it was impossible to find a restaurant that was accessible.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 12:58:27
So as you say, these are things that pre-existed Covid.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 12:58:30
And then just became much worse. And we just had Peter slowly on the previous session, talking about the ripple implications of the George Floyd, and how that has to that has to make us rethink all Sorts of Components, of community safety, right, and I’m, Sure the Planning, Commission

[Amina Yasin] 12:58:37

[Amina Yasin] 12:58:44

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 12:58:46
is at the forefront of looking at the relationship between the built environment and how it delivers for people.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 12:58:51
I’m gonna go now to Dorian, if I can, because I mean to set you up beautifully Dorian is an urban Designer and He’s in the actual business of creating places that work physically so I’m gonna go to dorian and then i’ll come to Osa and

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 12:59:01
Jen go ahead Dorian

[Dorian Moore] 12:59:04
Good Morning or Afternoon Everyone, the I think when I think about the effects of Covid and sort of the Lessons learned one of the main things I think about is is sort of 3 areas that have affect affected Urban Design and It’s proximity Mobility, and Utility and what I mean by

[Dorian Moore] 12:59:27
Those, 3 is when we think about proximity, there’s been a a greater emphasis on our own individual neighborhoods, and downtowns, and our and Being, able to walk to and have proximity, to awesome humanities, from daily amenities, to Weekly, Monthly.

[Dorian Moore] 12:59:45
amenities, and so more, focus on the places where we live.

[Dorian Moore] 12:59:50
And now live, and Work because of Work, from Home Situations, which are becoming more and more and more normalized.

[Dorian Moore] 12:59:59
And so the idea of proximity becomes very important secondly, of course, mobility throughout the Pandemic and and even before really an emphasis on Cycling Infrastructure was really put in place and again, this Ability to travel Locally sort of made that Important but Mobility from

[Dorian Moore] 13:00:21
the Standpoint of Walker within areas became very important, and a topic that everyone’s been talking about and the Pandemic Just push that to the phone and how Walkability can shape our communities, I think that’s very important and I Think, that’s something that’s, here, to stay and then

[Dorian Moore] 13:00:42
finally, Utility and the way I think of that is the utilization of our public spaces.

[Dorian Moore] 13:00:48
And I think more and more, we we realize that you know people need access to outdoor parks.

[Dorian Moore] 13:00:57
You know, green spaces, public spaces. But I think the key thing that that we started to discover.

[Dorian Moore] 13:01:03
More, and more. Is one thing. That I’m always saying is that our streets are the quintessential public spaces, especially in North American cities, and with things like outdoor, Dining, you know, open streets initiatives, and all the things that needed to happen outdoors, there during the

[Dorian Moore] 13:01:23
Pandemic. I think that’s another thing that’s that’s going to be long lasting, is considering how we can shape that primary space, so that people can use it.

[Dorian Moore] 13:01:35
Anything from Wider sidewalks to you know better screen sharing the streets between cars and bikes.

[Dorian Moore] 13:01:41
So those are the kind of issues from an urban design standpoint, that I think of, are critical, moving forward to to keep in mind

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:01:48
I guess this is the focus that we need to be having is what are the specific kinds of measures.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:01:53
We need to be taking to actually make some of this stick.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:01:56
A that’s the challenge. And I’m always concerned.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:01:59
When you say mobility of course, Mobility, for whom and that’s, the point that Amena was raising, was if you’re in a wheelchair, or you have some kind of disability, or you are in a vulnerable you’re, an Equity, deserving Community and you’ve been excluded from

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:02:10
Certain spaces, I’m gonna go to Osa next Who, will. I hope I’m assuming talk about how she’s trying to create places.

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:02:12

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:02:17
That welcome everybody. now, I don’t want to. I don’t want to put words in your mouth

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:02:20
Oh, you’ve heard me talk enough, Mary you, confidence what’s gonna come out of my mouth?

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:02:26
I I want to pick up on what Dorian talked about about.

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:02:28
How we use our public spaces for public good and I think libraries were a really interesting example of that.

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:02:33
So when I think back to the key lessons of the last 1,000 days, you know we discovered that an institution that had had a sort of narrow role, historically, I looked at what my Public Library Colleagues did across the country, and we really rose to the Covid challenge and I think in some

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:02:51
Respects, we were uniquely able to do that because we are funded by government.

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:02:56
But we are not of government, the vast majority of public libraries.

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:03:00
Sit parallel to municipal government so it gave us actually quite a bit of agility.

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:03:04
If we had great library boards, we could move pretty quickly, and you know I think about the things that public libraries did that many of us, had not done, so you know, we handed out that technology that existed in our buildings.

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:03:18
Knowing that there we had an eye on the people in our community who are most at risk, boosted Wi-fi deep into neighborhoods, real concern about digital access particularly when health information was provided digitally many libraries, across this country would call older library users, people who we anticipated

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:03:39
Were at risk of isolation. What could we do with the information we had, and I think a lot of food libraries, became food Distribution points for neighborhoods so this idea of leveraging the public infrastructure in new ways for the public good I think Libraries.

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:03:54
Really leaned into that over the last 1,000 days, and and it has led in a sense, to a bit of a library revolution.

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:04:01
What we also discovered was dubtailing with public health worked really smoothly.

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:04:06
So Libraries Posted Testing clinics, we became vaccination, clinics, public health, talked public health officials, in my community, talked to me about people would come to the library, to be vaccinated, who had had difficult relationships, with health Care systems, so if we are that sort, of anchor, tenant in

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:04:23
A neighborhood, you know. We have the opportunity actually to think differently about how we serve to move beyond the maybe original Purpose of libraries.

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:04:33
There’s still plenty of learning and book distribution and storytelling that happens in Libraries.

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:04:39
But you know my system, distributed a 1 million and a half, or appetites to community, we were a key player in community well-being.

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:04:46
Because we were that trusted, you know our doors open onto community in a very very natural way.

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:04:53
And when you have an institution like libraries, that where everyone is is welcome, people don’t wonder if they will get that for free, or if they have to pay for it, because we have that sort of foundation so interesting opportunities and we’ll get to this a little, later about how we leverage that relationship with community

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:05:10
And that infrastructure and the sharing systems and all the things we have to to do.

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:05:16
Good. I also think you know, we we think about information, and we think about disinformation within. Our community.

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:05:24
This was these, last 1,000 days were hotbed of disinformation permeating around how Covid spread what the vex, Who, the Vaccine was, for whether it would work or not work you know we need people.

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:05:41
Who are good at helping the Public Work through all that information, as Twitter’s do it for you

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:05:49
I, like, this, Public, Leveraging, public infrastructure, for public good.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:05:53
Oh, so you’ve always got a good sound bite for us and and also defining public infrastructure, more broadly, and you know streets we use streets quite differently, right Jen i want to go to you because you’re actually, stewarding now what is the sort of hybrid site it’s a

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:05:55

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:06:07
Public, private Slash, community, Venue, and place making is often about those kinds of partnerships.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:06:13
So can I hear from you, and then I’m going to come back to Amina, who wants to throw in a couple of extra details from the planning.

[Jen Angel (She/Her) – Evergreen] 13:06:17
Yeah, yeah, thanks. Mary, nice to see you, Osa and to meet the others.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:06:18
Commission go ahead, Jen.

[Jen Angel (She/Her) – Evergreen] 13:06:24
I I would say a couple of things that the first is, and it’s piling on with others.

[Jen Angel (She/Her) – Evergreen] 13:06:27
You know public space, as well, I come from a crown corporation, Background stewarding, a lot of Key public Spaces, and for years have been trying to make the case for place up against more Traditional infrastructure, Investments, and Priorities, and and what I found was it was sort of seen as the

[Jen Angel (She/Her) – Evergreen] 13:06:44
Fuzzy, stuff, the the soft stuff that you do after the hard, real infrastructure is built like highways and the and the trick is that there’s never any money, left after the highways are built at cause, the highways never end and so what I think the Co what Covid, helped to do was to

[Jen Angel (She/Her) – Evergreen] 13:06:59
really spotlight, the importance of public spaces and shaping.

[Jen Angel (She/Her) – Evergreen] 13:07:03
How we live and who gets to participate for all sorts of incredibly important public, policy, priorities and outcomes for community.

[Jen Angel (She/Her) – Evergreen] 13:07:12
Among them, you know, health and well, being combating racism and inequality, Dealing with climate climate change, all the things that your your guests have been talking About but I think the other thing and some have begun to to touch on this that I think the pandemic did was show

[Jen Angel (She/Her) – Evergreen] 13:07:30
us that we can do really hard things. when we are aligned in common purpose.

[Jen Angel (She/Her) – Evergreen] 13:07:37
And I think place can be a really critical magnet for bringing even very diverse points of view, and Live Experience Together, and and to me among all the Existential Prices We’re Confronting and and you know I don’t think they can be overstated among the most dangerous and

[Jen Angel (She/Her) – Evergreen] 13:08:00
Concerning is this crisis of polarization. and eroding, of social capital that undermines, our variability to solve the others.

[Jen Angel (She/Her) – Evergreen] 13:08:10
And so you know, I think picking up after Covid we’ve seen all sorts of important, sort of legacy of collaboration and and Centering public space in solutions We’ve, also seen a lot, of the rights of popularism, and an increasing polarization, and I Think also

[Jen Angel (She/Her) – Evergreen] 13:08:31
Was beginning to touch on that, too, and so I think public spaces are are critical.

[Jen Angel (She/Her) – Evergreen] 13:08:37
Not only for the practical things they can solve for in being intentional about how we build them, but also that they bring us together in a way that social media doesn’t in a in humanity to be able to build relationships, and trust hopefully, rebuild, some of the social capital that’s, been

[Jen Angel (She/Her) – Evergreen] 13:08:55
Eroded to solve. some of these, really ex, I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say existential crises before us.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:09:04
Yeah, I mean, this, is I mean the stakes are high.

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:09:06

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:09:06
Right and part of what We’re trying to always balance is be aware of why, it’s significant.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:09:13
The challenges are significant, and important. But you can also do something, you’re not helpless right

[Jen Angel (She/Her) – Evergreen] 13:09:19
And they’re urgent, and I think it. We approach them with the same urgency that we did the Public Health crisis and the same, commitment that maybe drew Us together.

[Jen Angel (She/Her) – Evergreen] 13:09:30
Across sectors, public and private and community, we may be able to advance solutions with the same with the same pace, because it’s at least as Significant a life and death Situation.

[Jen Angel (She/Her) – Evergreen] 13:09:44
As the Pandemic was

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:09:46
Yeah yeah yeah, yeah, I hear you, and that’s part of that’s a whole different take on long.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:09:51
Covid, I think and I mean back to you in terms of a specific example, you wanted to provide of the Vancouver planning commission go Ahead.

[Amina Yasin] 13:09:58
Yeah, so One of the areas, that the Vancouver planning.

[Amina Yasin] 13:10:02
Commission pivoted really quickly on just going back to the multiple crises that we were experiencing with the with the heat Wave, where we saw an immense loss of life over the Span of a few Days the Vancouver Planning Commission whose Mandate is to Provide Advice to

[Amina Yasin] 13:10:21
Mayor and Council immediately Pivoted and put together a a memo which ended up being a motion, that Council saw through for Short and long Term Supports for the Most Vulnerable to Extreme Weather who ended up being Seniors so I I was also on the Death Review Panel that was held

[Amina Yasin] 13:10:40
By the province that dug into investigating that, and along with what we saw was a shortage of services which has come up here paramedic shortages, All of those different Dilemmas, especially interacting with with Covid Related calls, as Well but what We were Able to Get out of that were some Immediate, Solutions.

[Amina Yasin] 13:11:01
Around alert systems, that we and we specifically in British Columbia, did not even have at the time to alert people of of extreme Weather crises and then have them be culturally specific so in multiple languages, As well, and then the other element that we We worked to push forward was having the

[Amina Yasin] 13:11:22
City of Vancouver Update its building by law, to allow for what essentially is a human rights, need which is air conditioning, and cooling options.

[Amina Yasin] 13:11:34
And that building, code, by law was passed to allow all new buildings to have air conditioning in them.

[Amina Yasin] 13:11:43
Now We’re still pushing and advocating for it to go a lot further, especially in affordable housing developments, and especially in older concrete buildings where we need to see updates to maintain its bylaws, that also permit because that’s, where we saw an immense loss

[Amina Yasin] 13:11:56
of life, and also, Natural Air, Ventilation, Design, Principles and Passive House Design Principles.

[Amina Yasin] 13:12:05
Have to work in conjunction with human rights efforts like building in air conditioning, so that’s one of the areas where we saw that need and the Vcpc the Vancouver City Planning Commission really Mobilized to sort of push that through and It’s, interesting Hearing.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:12:16

[Amina Yasin] 13:12:21
About, libraries, from also, because I was in Halifax and when I was there that’s that’s where I got my Covid test, and it was just so streamlined and wonderful in one of the areas that we’re working on with the city of new West now, where We, where I advocate as well, with the City of

[Amina Yasin] 13:12:38
New West, is to integrate now, with food and security. Crisis, that we’re experiencing with inflation statculation is to sort of build in mutual aid programs that are tied to institutional bodies, like libraries like food programs, and that’s something that we’re just at the beginning of

[Amina Yasin] 13:12:53
of advocating and working on as well.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:12:55
You know the thing about we’re gonna run out of time here as always.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:12:58
I keep saying everybody. Gee, I wish I had all of us in a room for a whole day.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:13:02
That will happen sometime. but the key point here is this, relationship between the places that you, steward and being flexible about the services that you can offer in them and I guess that’s and then I mean is demonstrating that we can actually make changes to buy laws and things so that this can be done

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:13:17
More readily, and more more efficiently, so it just in a very brief sentence from each of you.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:13:22
Osa, as you look to the next 1,000 days. What do you think that we should be doubling down on what’s the best lesson that we’ve that we’ve learned and what would you say that how should that be?

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:13:25

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:13:32
Reflected in public Policy, for instance.

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:13:33
Well, you know I wanna piggyback on something. Jen said. I.

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:13:37
Think he talked about hard infrastructure, like roads gets all the attention if Covid taught us something, it is at this social Infrastructure saves. Lives.

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:13:46
It is absolutely fundamental, should be the first thing. We spend our money on this is about our people and having that infrastructure to care for our communities to create those opportunities, to bridge differences.

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:13:59
To bridge divides you know, we had hurricane, fiona come through Halifax, you know they just like during Covid they came to our door.

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:14:05
They came to our door during hurricane field, and we gave them coffee and they charged their devices, and they picked up the Wi-fi, and you know, to me, we are not frivolous, and we are not going out of style, we need to Sit at the Center of the Heart of the Community so this

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:14:12

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:14:22
is, you know, this is true of of all our public spaces.

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:14:25
It is really about leveraging them. We get a great bang for our bucks on this kind of Work. You know the Roads, pure roads, matter, but our people have to matter first right.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:14:31

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:14:36
I I’m gonna go, I work. We’re right up against the Timeframe here, so Jen a word from you, and then a word from Dorian and then I’m gonna go to the minister go ahead, Jen

[Jen Angel (She/Her) – Evergreen] 13:14:43
Yeah I’d say there’s unprecedented investment in infrastructure.

[Jen Angel (She/Her) – Evergreen] 13:14:48
And it is a false choice between going fast to meet the challenges before us and being intentional, and thoughtful.

[Jen Angel (She/Her) – Evergreen] 13:14:55
About how that how that infrastructure investment is directed!

[Jen Angel (She/Her) – Evergreen] 13:15:00
And I think part of that is in exactly as those said evidencing challenging the the old paradigms about Ouri and Infrastructure and Evidencing in Health, and Well-being in you know Carbon Reduction, in diverse participation the value of investment

[Jen Angel (She/Her) – Evergreen] 13:15:20
In social infrastructure, because it’s it’s enormous.

[Jen Angel (She/Her) – Evergreen] 13:15:23
It’s a multi-solving tool in our toolbox, public spaces.

[Jen Angel (She/Her) – Evergreen] 13:15:27
And it needs to get the lift that it has shown through Covid.

[Jen Angel (She/Her) – Evergreen] 13:15:32
It can carry

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:15:33
Very last word to you has to be a very brief one.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:15:36
Dorian, to you.

[Dorian Moore] 13:15:36
I I think it’s comes down to looking for opportunities and capitalizing on those opportunities for public space.

[Dorian Moore] 13:15:45
Looking at like I said our streets, but also our alleys looking at parking spaces that that’s been done all of these things.

[Dorian Moore] 13:15:52
Where are these lost opportunities, and how can we capitalize on it?

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:15:55
Absolutely places, matter, people, matter they’re in both. Of them.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:16:00
Thank you, Jen. Great to see you in your new role Amena, thanks for coming in from the West Coast.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:16:04
Oh, so I love the Halifax Harbor View behind you always important to hear how libraries are doing the way, Dorian thanks for joining us, we’re looking forward to having you as a fellow with us.

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:16:06

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:16:11
Next year, thanks, everybody, minister, thank you for joining us.

[Åsa Kachan, CEO Halifax Public Libraries] 13:16:12
Hi, everyone

[Dorian Moore] 13:16:12
Thank you.

[Mary W Rowe, she/her, CUI/IUC] 13:16:15
I know you have literally stepped, or your in question. Parity, or about to go into question period.

Full Audience
Chatroom Transcript

Note to reader: Chat comments have been edited for ease of readability. The text has not been edited for spelling or grammar. For questions or concerns, please contact with “Chat Comments” in the subject lin

From Canadian Urban Institute: You can find transcripts and recordings of today’s and all our webinars at

12:52:37 From Alex Tabascio (CUI) To Everyone:
Jennifer Angel — Chief Executive Officer, Evergreen, Toronto Jennifer Angel is a builder of community, momentum, and places people love. Through collaborative partnerships, she builds inclusive, sustainable places that attract people and investment, enhance resilience, and contribute to well-being for all. Jen works with public and private sector interests to find common purpose and support thriving, communities. Her professional portfolio includes real estate, infrastructure and program development, as well as participatory planning and design. Jen was recognized in Atlantic Business Magazine’s Top 50 CEOs in Atlantic Canada in 2021 and the Most Powerful Women in Atlantic Canada in 2022. She recently received the Inaugural Wije’winen Allyship Award 2022 (Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre), and her team has received multiple project awards, most recently achieving Rick Hansen Gold Certification for Peggy’s Cove, 2022. She is a co-founder of the annual Art of City Building conference.
12:52:51 From Alex Tabascio (CUI) To Everyone:
Åsa Kachan — Chief Librarian and CEO, Halifax Public Libraries, Halifax Åsa Kachan is the CEO and Chief Librarian for Halifax Public Libraries, an internationally recognized 14-branch library system highly regarded for its services, programs and welcoming spaces that reach diverse populations with equality and respect. Prior to her role with the Libraries, Kachan spent 16 years in senior administrative roles at universities, most recently serving as the assistant vice-president, Enrolment Management & Registrar, for Dalhousie University (2004-2014). During her time at Dalhousie, Kachan made key changes to improve the student experience, including revamping undergraduate scholarships and bursaries, modernizing admission and recruitment practices, and improving front-line student services. Kachan sits on the boards of the United Way of Halifax, the Canadian Urban Libraries Council, and the Centre for Equitable Library Access.
12:53:12 From Alex Tabascio (CUI) To Everyone:
Dorian Moore — Vice President, Archive Design Studio, Windsor Dorian Moore, AIA has been involved in a wide range of large-scaled urban design and architecture projects. Recently, Mr. Moore was Project Urban Design Manager for the 180 acre Michigan State Fairgrounds mixed-use redevelopment. He was among a select group of architects and planners invited to Mississippi as part of the charrette planning team for 11 cities along the Gulf Coast that were ravaged by hurricane Katrina. Mr. Moore was a member of an international team of architects and urban designers invited to develop a vision for the underutilized “Port lands” in Toronto, Canada. He was also a member of the Core Support Staff for the Mayor’s Detroit Land Use Master Plan Task Force which developed the framework for the long-term evolution of the city. Mr. Moore has taught at the University of Windsor, University of Detroit-Mercy, Lawrence Technological University, and Wayne State University.
12:53:26 From Alex Tabascio (CUI) To Everyone:
Amina Yasin — Chair and Commissioner, Vancouver City Planning Commission, City of Vancouver Amina Yasin is an urban planner and community advocate who has worked across Canada in community planning, development, and policy planning. She is a Vancouver city planning commissioner, a member of the City of Vancouver Urban Design Panel, a board director of the Hogan’s Alley Society, and was previously the Co-Chair of the Canadian Institute of Planners’ Social Equity Committee. Her interest and research commitments have actively embraced her unique professional and lived-experiences to advocate for an increased emphasis on responsive, equitable and inclusive planning. Amina has given several keynote and panel presentations on inclusive planning and wellness, including the intersections between urban and active transportation planning, mental health, neurocognitive health, and wellness inspired by her passion for inclusive and equitable cities.
12:53:51 From Sue Uteck To Everyone:
Great to see Jen Angel, the Queen of Placemaking!
12:54:01 From Nick Hanson (CUI) To Everyone:
Welcome to everyone who’s recently joined “COVID 1000 and Beyond: Building Better Cities for a Robust Recovery!”

We invite you to post questions and comments in the chat.

And please introduce yourself and where you are joining us from today.
12:55:57 From Downtown Halifax To Everyone:
We miss Jen in Halifax for sure!
12:56:02 From Linda Williams To Everyone:
It is amazing how government, community and workers mobilized together to deal with the crisis but believe we still need to work on prevention of viruses in our world and not just dealing with the symptoms…..
13:05:24 From Sue Uteck To Everyone:
It was also fantastic to have volunteers distributing free kits outside the library
13:06:05 From Zahireen Tarefdar (CUI) To Everyone:
These are some good resources for further reading on disability justice, particularly as its come up over the pandemic:


13:06:14 From Lorena Zárate To Everyone:
Public Libraries REvolution! YEAHHH!
13:07:03 From Abby S To Everyone:
13:08:24 From Lorena Zárate To Everyone:
Great point about public libraries being public but different from ‘government’ – can you comment a bit more about why that’s important? Same can apply to so many other domains, of course…
13:08:53 From Kim Ryan To All Panelists:
That is why mom would cover my face with scarves over the nose- hence mask in the weather, and less colds.
13:09:20 From Ushnish Sengupta To Everyone:
One essential service Public libraries provided during the pandemic was internet access. In TO even if the branch was closed, the wireless internet services were on and being accessed by people sitting outside. Yet we are cutting library funding since ‘no one reads books any more’
13:10:53 From Lorena Zárate To Everyone:

Public Libraries Section

13:11:58 From Nick Hanson (CUI) To Everyone:
CUI is working with the Canadian Urban Libraries Council (CULC) on a research and advocacy project for libraries. To stay in the loop about that project, make sure you’re subscribed to CUI’s newsletter:
13:12:28 From Gil Penalosa To Everyone:
Public libraries across Canada have been amazing, even before COVID. They have re-invented themselves and playing every day a more important role in the communities. Still need more interwoven with all public, schools, parks, etc Great to see example, moving over barriers, more mental than legal, as some depend on boards others cities, etc.
13:14:16 From Zahireen Tarefdar (CUI) To Everyone:
On the role of libraries in combatting misinformation:

1. A framework for librarians to inform the citizenry during disasters:

2. The Libraries Role in Countering Infodemics
13:14:23 From Lorena Zárate To Everyone:
yes! in some cities/countries, public libraries have been giving ID to migrants/refugees so they can access a full range of services & opportunities even without formal national legal status
13:14:56 From Zahireen Tarefdar (CUI) To Everyone:
Also, important: !!!
13:14:58 From Zahireen Tarefdar (CUI) To Everyone:

The Library’s Role in Health

13:15:10 From Nick Hanson (CUI) To Everyone:
Gil: absolutely! Most people have no idea that libraries provided a wide range of social supports during the pandemic. Library staff are under appreciated heroes of last 1000 days.
13:15:29 From Zahireen Tarefdar (CUI) To Everyone:
An example, right here in Toronto
13:15:31 From Zahireen Tarefdar (CUI) To Everyone:
13:15:46 From Healthy Communities Initiative To Everyone:
Projects funded by the Healthy Communities Initiative keep showing us how community relationships create opportunities for better lives for all.