Spur Vancouver. Fuel Vancouver. Connect Vancouver. With these calls to action, change is coming to Vancouver! What this change will bring is anyone’s guess but here’s a peek at five growing trends in the city that have been repeatedly catching my eye.
1. CROSS-POLLINATION OF IDEAS: Truly innovative people, as you may have noticed, have diverse interests and diverse networks. They seem to have their feet in many worlds, drawing together ideas from here, new thoughts from there, and then catalyzing a whole new approach. There is unharnessed power in sharing ideas across industries, professions, communities, cultures and sectors. Indeed, ‘cross-pollination’ creates success. For one great example of this, some of us have to look no farther than the inaugural two-day FUEL Vancouver forum taking place from May 29-30. Co-founder of FUEL Vancouver, Jane Cox astutely states:
“We want designers to consider government, and entrepreneurs to consider design, and non-profits to consider technology, and technologists to consider charity. In Vancouver, we have everything we need except for cross-pollination. We are not interested in being another design conference that gets designers talking about design or a sustainability conference that gets all the ‘green’ folks. We want to get people jamming in atypical ways to solve challenges with a broader perspective.” [Thnk.org]
2. CO-CREATION: Enabled by cross-pollination, co-creation is a new discipline and has its true origins in the world of business. C. K. Prahalad and Venkat Ramaswamy are credited with coining the term. The concept of co-creation may still lack conceptual clarity but it is revolutionary in that it re-imagines “authority” as willingly suspending authoritative power and uniquely recognizing the collective power of groups and networks with equal influence.
“In our society, we often speak in terms of stars: individual bright points in isolation, but today, what we really need are constellations. How we work is shifting quickly from individuals and institutions to groups and networks… ” [FUEL Vancouver]
3. CO-WORKING: Grassroots communities, such as co-working spaces, are emerging in the city to supplant the role of these depleted institutions with vibrant clusters of activity. What sets co-working spaces apart from the regular shared offices is the sense of community and collaboration that it offers to people. Passionate individuals are self-organizing into collectives which also cultivates co-creation. One great example of a successful grassroots effort is Hive Vancouver – a sustainability and arts-focused co-working space in the historic Gastown area. Hive founders host a number of events, ideas labs and nerd jams to ensure that even long after the office hours are over, diverse people converge to unwind and engage at multiple levels, facilitating that “cross-pollinating” and changemaking.
4. CREATIVE PLACEMAKING: According to a pioneering non-profit placemaking organization called City Repair, placemaking is a multi-layered process. Citizens co-create active, engaged relationships to the spaces they inhabit – shaping them to foster a sense of communal stewardship and lived connection. The success of the non-profit Project for Public Spaces in New York, started in 1975, brought initial and growing interest in placemaking from several countries. The idea is now gaining momentum in Vancouver with a number of placemaking projects catalyzing the change. This growing trend in citizens recreating public spaces brings real value to the neighbourhood and a sense of pride to the community.
5. CIVIC INTERVENTIONS: Urban interventions are also moving the civic space forward. Individuals, communities and organizations are raising themselves to the call of conscience, a cause or creativity to be the change they want to see. Some are journeying beyond the beaten path, while others are casting their footprints on the road they continue to tread on. A great local example of this will be facilitated by Evergreen on June 7. Citizen-led interventions will shine across our city as part of Metro Vancouver’s first-ever festival of civic engagement: 100 in 1 Day. Robyn Chan, Volunteer Coordinator at Evergreen, says:
“Vancouver has a lot of great grassroots movements happening across the city. We see 100 in 1 Day as a chance to connect the great work happening across the city, and as a way to encourage citizens to take an active part in improving Vancouver.”
There is a distinct punch in the air. A whiff of celebration fills the senses reassuring us that change is coming to Vancouver. Can you feel it? The whole atmosphere at the Roundhouse remains dynamic and pulsing as well. Check out the full June line-up and pre-plan your days of change.
By Sonia Lotay, Roundhouse Blog Team. Sonia is an experienced media professional. She is über passionate about intercultural understanding, cultural marketing, arts and culture programming, grassroots initiatives and community development. Consider her a ninja with too many interests to hold.