In the beginning…
CityStudio Vancouver and our local partners leapt into experimentation this Fall 2020 semester as two major systems disruptions pushed us all to go partially or entirely online and to rethink how we are doing our work increasingly with justice, equity, decolonization, and diversity in mind. Our team forged ahead with 18 course collaborations, with 808 students, 28 faculty members, and 22 City of Vancouver staff. Students from the University of British Columbia (UBC), Simon Fraser University (SFU), Langara College, and the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) embarked on their various journeys ranging from short to multi-term projects addressing new and ongoing City challenges and strategies.
Where did the projects land?
Fall 2020 Projects
Eighteen CityStudio Vancouver courses this fall demonstrated that the need for City staff to have the creativity of students was bigger than ever and that students needed educational content that was relevant and meaningful. This semester, projects focused on city-building with a deep care for how youth are involved and how community is built in Vancouver. Many projects looked at how our city infrastructure can address challenges like climate change, homelessness, mental health, reconciliation and more. These projects provided outcomes or pathways toward solutions around the future of food in our city, green infrastructure, bike theft prevention, and walkable communities.
Immersive Education Programs
Two immersive education programs shared their results at HUBBUB 15, our fall virtual project showcase, the Semester in Dialogue and the Masters of Education for Sustainability. Both programs were developed in collaboration with CityStudio Vancouver and through us partnered with City of Vancouver staff on important initiatives and strategies. These experiential learning programs develop projects with a substantial student time commitment, as well as implementing dialogue and design process as central course pillars .
SFU Semester in Dialogue
SFU’s Semester in Dialogue brought 18 students together to address what Vancouver youth specifically need to thrive in our city. The students were designing for the Vancouver Plan, the City of Vancouver’s largest plan underway. They developed four innovative community engagement tools that are specific to local neighbourhoods with the direct support of Stina Hanson, the Children and Youth Engagement Planner for the Vancouver Plan. Semester in Dialogue is a full-time, interdisciplinary program where students learn to apply the practice of dialogue both academically and within the community as they explore topics around civic engagement. This fall semester students were part of the Department of Living theme.
UBC Masters in Education for Sustainability
The Masters in Education for Sustainability was developed by Rob Vanwynsberghe as an adaptive education model, which promotes experiential and place-based learning. Facilitated by CityStudio Vancouver, students co-create experimental solutions for the City of Vancouver. This fall the second cohort of the two-year program showcased their group projects focused on the Climate Emergency Action Plan and Your City Hall Initiative. Brad Badelt, a long-time CityStudio Vancouver collaborator and Assistant Director of Sustainability at the City of Vancouver, as well as Wendy Mendes, Manager for Democratic Engagement were the group’s municipal contacts.
The Big Event
Eighteen co-creation projects were selected to present at the CityStudio Vancouver semi-annual project showcase, HUBBUB 15. The showcase celebrated the collaborators including students, faculty and City of Vancouver staff.
The week-long showcase opened with a live virtual event featuring Vancouver Mayor, Kennedy Stewart, who shared inspiring words of welcome emphasizing the importance of youth voices in shaping the future of the city. Students shared a high-energy round of 15-second ‘Project Pitches’ before heading to breakout rooms for inspiring presentations and Q&A sessions. HUBBUB 15’s live event closed with words of gratitude and encouragement from the presidents of each institution including, Santa Ono from UBC, Lane Trotter from Langara College, Kathy Kinloch from BCIT, and Joy Johnson from SFU.
A panel of expert judges selected the top three projects, while guests to the HUBBUB 15 virtual homepage voted for their favourite. Four innovative student projects were selected today for the various awards:
FIRST PLACE: Community Kelp
Langara College, Environmental Problems and Solutions (ENVS 2100)
Judges’ comments: “Community Kelp” coherently weaves education with aquaculture to enhance public awareness about ocean acidification and the mitigation properties of kelp. From the amplification of traditional knowledge in partnerships with Indigenous communities to the design formulation of replicable kelp garden installations, the project conveys an exemplary level of creative and cogent thinking that aligns with current City of Vancouver strategies.”
SECOND PLACE: VanCanPlan Scavenger Hunt
SFU, Semester in Dialogue: Department of Living (DIAL 392)
Judges’ comments: “This project is an innovative and fun way to build community and connect to space – two aspects that are necessary to creating a resilient city. I can see this project not only benefiting youth, but helping local businesses as well. This is especially important in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
THIRD PLACE: Exploring Our Roles
UBC, Masters in Education for Sustainability (EDST 561B)
Judges’ comments: “Exploring Our Roles is a virtual conversation club for newcomers to learn about and discuss topics pertaining to local indigenous history, colonization, reconciliation, and systemic racism. The emphasis on personal responsibility, community building and myth busting in its approach has great potential to advance the City of Vancouver’s commitment to be a city of reconciliation.”
PEOPLE’S CHOICE: Tenantable Tents
UBC, Social Inequality (SOCI 361)
People’s comments: “Project Tenantable Tents: amazing idea! So great to see effort for the implementation of change within our communities! Very thorough analysis and good recommendations.”
The People’s Choice Award was facilitated through the HUBBUB 15 event page, which remains permanently online showcasing all the projects, as well as a Wall of Awesome with all the faculty and city staff collaborators.
|HUBBUBs are being held across Canada and beyond! They take place every fall and spring at local city halls and now online hosted by the 13 and counting CityStudios within the CityStudio Global Program. In Vancouver, over 150 students, City of Vancouver staff, faculty and community members attended this term’s event.