Building off of the Urban Youth Impact COVID-19 Report that analyzes data from six of the largest Canadian cities and relevant census metropolitan areas including, Calgary, Edmonton, Montréal, Ottawa-Gatineau, Toronto and Vancouver, we’ll explore how current issues such as race and discrimination, health, employment, cost of living and civic engagement affect youth and hear about their priorities and hopes for the future as we begin the journey to recovery. What do we need to change? And how can we leverage the experience and expertise that youth bring to the table to build more inclusive cities?
What’s next on the urban agenda for Canadian youth?
A roundup of the most compelling ideas, themes and quotes from this candid conversation
Compassion and empathy cannot be overlooked.
This conversation took place in the wake of the discovery of the remains of more than a thousand Indigenous children, at the sites of residential schools in Canada. Love, compassion and empathy must be shown to not only those families who lost loved ones, but to those who made it home. This unthinkable trauma must not be overlooked as we move forward.
The new normal must engage youth and those with lived experiences.
The pandemic accentuated the visibility of barriers that were already in place. These barriers include but are not limited to access to public health and services. Individuals and communities with lived experience, including youth, should be consulted help initiate public policy changes. Governments and institutions must engage citizens before putting their reports together.
Better dissemination of information for youth
To increase youth engagement, information must be more widely accessible. We cannot continue to disseminate information that is designed for youth in the form of reports. We can think of new and innovative ways to share this information with a generation that digests data through a variety of different means.
We must figure out how to make our governments more accountable
Young people deserve to have a say in public policy and in the ways that their cities are being designed. Cities need to be designed with youth in mind. The increased costs of living and transportation have made independent living in Canadian cities more unattainable for youth. We need more municipal level funding and engagement to get to the heart of the issues that are facing young people today, and to rebuild youth’s trust in their elected officials.
Experiences should be prioritized over efficiency
The idea of the 15-minute city is entrenched in nineteenth century city building. It is based upon segregation and white privilege. To build better communities and places, we must look past this idea of efficiency and more towards the individual and community experience. To build a truly inclusive and collaborative environment we must understand the needs of all members of our communities. This begins with meaningful engagement.
PIVOT – https://www.pivot2020.ca/
PIVOT Urban Youth Impact Report- https://youthfulcities.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/EN-Urban-Youth-Impact-Report.pdf
CityShare Canada – https://citysharecanada.ca/
Protect our People Manitoba– https://protectourpeoplemb.ca/
Infiltration Manuel – https://www.youthclimatelab.org/infiltration-manual
Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago by Eric Klinenberg: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3850.Heat_Wave