Guest blogger Tesicca Truong (@TesiccaT on Twitter) is the co-founder of CityHive, a recent recipient of RADIUS and Embark‘s SFU Student Social Innovation Seed Fund. The 2016-17 cycle of the Seed Fund is currently open, with the next deadline coming up on Feb. 6th – apply now!
When I was young, my neighbourhood underwent major redevelopment. High-rises, condos, parks, and playgrounds started to replace the home I knew. Everything changed so quickly, and there was little that the residents of our neighbourhood could do about it. Though I love Joyce-Collingwood, it was the process – how exclusive it was to the residents in the community – that bothered me. As a kid, I was powerless to stop it.
Though I am older now, that sense of intergenerational injustice in the planning and design of our spaces has stuck with me.
Why don’t young people have a say in the important planning decisions that affect their lives and cities? What possibilities are being missed every day because young people are excluded from the conversation? What harm is done? What message are we communicating to the next generation when we silence their voices?
It was these same questions that led me to come together with a group of youth when I was 15 years old, and organize a city-wide forum called Plan-It Earth (pun very much intended). The event brought together youth from across the City of Vancouver to learn about issues of urban sustainability. More importantly, youth were asked to design their ideal city, and present those ideas in the form of Co-Design drawings to planners and city decision makers. This was the critical piece. My peers were becoming more informed, but, they were also being given the opportunity to act on their newfound knowledge.
The forum was by no means a perfect solution, but it represented the first of my many iterations to address this sense of deep-rooted injustice. The Plan-It Earth forums grew to become the Vancouver School Board Sustainability Conference, currently in its fifth year. Read More