Tuesday, 13 May 2008
Richard Florida is comin' to town
On May31- June8 UBC in Vancouver will be hosting Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences conference. Most presenters will be of the academic variety and will no doubt be spewing jargon left and right (stuff I personally love), but it is worth a look.
One of the saddest aspects of our society is our level of civic engagement. Time and time again it is the same crazies that come out to the type of lectures that inform our policy. It is so important that citizens are there to represent the peoples' voice. Policy doesn't come from nowhere- there are academics and experts whose research informs political actors. A lot of research is good and a lot of research is bad. But most importantly, a lot of good research is misinterpreted and used as justification for neoliberal policy. Subsequently, bad research and misinterpretation of good research is used to justify policy documents such as Project Civil City that takes a clear 'broken windows theory' approach (a theory that makes lay-sense, but is all correlational with no real proof or statistical evidence that physical maintenance and image of a city afffects crime rates etc).
Remember Project Civil City- the best homeless hating document created? It's been a long time since it has poked it's ugly little head out. Sam Sullivan is bringing it back. with a vengeance. and if you ask me, it's just to take your eye off of the failure that is EcoDensity (*ahem* Brent Toderian saying that a completely new draft is needed and ALL the actions require change).
But seriously, after posting a photo of the poster to Flickr, the Vancouver Public Space Network commented at length explaining the use of Olympic imagery, which I noticed as my role of administrator of Vancouver Olympics Protest group on Flickr. (You don't have to oppose the Olympics to be a member of the group, which is interested solely in documenting the resistance.) I quote the comment at length below, which links to the Network's website on Project Civil City.
Late last year, Mayor Sam Sullivan introduced “Project Civil City” – an ambitious initiative that seeks to reduce homelessness, tackle crime, reduce drug dealing, and clean up the city. All by 2010.
But along with the broad goals of PCC are a veritable wish list featuring dozens of “possible actions” – including a “no sit no lie bylaw,” surveillance cameras, a crackdown on jaywalking and helmet-less bicycle riding, and potential changes to the criminal code. What will all these potential responses mean? And who will be affected if they are implemented? [...]
Steve Herbert, Department of Geography, University of Washington
Irwin Oostindie, DTES Community Arts Network; E.D. Gallery Gachet
Dave Park, Chief Economist, Vancouver Board of Trade
Micheal Vonn, Policy Director, BC Civil Liberties Association
Cheryl Williamson-Harms, West End Citizens Action Network