Spacing Radio is the voice of Spacing, Canada's leading publication on urbanism.
Episode 75: What Does Change Cost?
With the Toronto budget about to be voted on shortly, we talk to crisis worker and homelessness advocate Diana Chan McNally about what the City needs to invest to help refugees and other unhoused people, whey the federal government needs to step up, and why the police don't need another big budget increase.
And, as part of the Spacing 20th Anniversary celebration, we talk to historian and author Adam Bunch, who recently won the 2023 Governor General's History Award for Popular Media, and who wrote our blog's most-read story, which he treats us to.
Episode 74: 20 Years of Spacing
Spacing is celebrating it's 20th Anniversary.
To celebrate, we talk to publisher Matthew Blackett and senior editor Dylan Reid about how the magazine came together, the latest issue and anniversary book The Big Book of Spacing, and our special exhibit at the Urbanspace Gallery.
And, at the same time the magazine began, David Miller had just become mayor of Toronto on a platform of change and urbanist principles. We ask him about Spacing's impact at City Hall, and how urban thinking has changed in the city in two decades.
The Future Fix: Preventing Extreme Heat Disaster
With climate change leading to more frequent and more extreme climate events, predicting the next disaster and planning for it is essential. In many areas of the country, that means using data to anticipate extreme heat events, and give communities time to prepare.
Dr. Ryan Reynolds is the researcher behind Resilience Mapping Canada. Reynolds uses data and other tools to help communities prepare for climate events, extreme heat, flooding, and more. In determining who is most vulnerable in extreme heat, Reynolds says:
"This includes the elderly (in B.C. we decided that was about 60 plus) that were most vulnerable... Another one is adults who live alone. They're not necessarily being checked in on on a regular basis, so if they are having problems they might not be able to get assistance with that particular issue... Small children, particularly if they're accidentally left in vehicles... Health factors: there are particular health and mental health conditions that are exacerbated by extreme heat."
Barbara Roden is mayor Village of Ashcroft, British Columbia. Ashcroft is actually a designated desert, so the community must be especially prepared for extreme heat events. To that end, they developed the Heat Alert Response Plan. For a small town, this presents challenges, but the village is embracing it. As Roden says:
"People like the fact that we're taking these steps, we are prepared. They just like to see their local government anticipating these things and being proactive, rather than reactive."
Listen to the episode to hear more about planning for extreme heat.
The Future Fix: Ending Energy Poverty
Many people across the country struggle to make ends meet. In many cases, that means they experience energy poverty: they can't afford to use energy when they need to, if at all. At the same time, we are trying to address climate change and become more resilient. What if we could address both concerns at the same time?
Energize Bridgewater was the winner of the 2019 Smart Cities Challenge. The program aims to identify where energy inefficiencies are in homes and find solutions to improve that efficiency, making the Town of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, better prepared for our changing climate, and helping vulnerable residents who experience energy poverty and struggle to afford power.
We talk to Bridgewater's Senior Energy Manager Asad Hussein and planner Meghan Doucette about the success of the program, and its future goals.
The Overhead: Women and Children Fleeing Violence
Women and children experiencing violence need housing options to be able to start a new life free of abuse, survive, and support themselves. But housing options that suit their particular situation and needs are often limited, due to the housing crisis, as well as a lack of appropriate services.
For these reasons, Tanyss Knowles, director of programs at the BC Society of Supportive Houses, says there is a connection between women and children fleeing violence and homelessness:
We know affordability is a growing issue across Canada and has been in B.C. for a long time. So women who come into temporary emergency services after leaving a violent home often can't move on to permanent housing because of the lack of affordable housing. And this has created a bottleneck in services, as more and more women and children are being denied access to services when they're seeking to leave a violent situation.
Sometimes, the barrier to housing for women and children fleeing abuse is baked into the standards set by government. Alina McKay, research coordinator at the Housing Research Collaborative, and University of British Columbia grad student Victoria Barclay have been researching how the National Occupancy Standards can actually impede access to housing. Victoria explains:
Because of the National Occupancy Standards, women who are fleeing violence with children are often actually denied housing because the family does not fit what that unit looks like. So if they need, according to their gender and the age of their children, four bedrooms when only two bedrooms are available, they're denied housing. Often that can mean they end up homeless.
How do we ensure women and children fleeing violence have a place to flee to?
The Future Fix: Lac-Mégantic: a model of resilience
Dans cet épisode, on découvre comment la ville de Lac-Mégantic, après avoir vécu le pire, s’est reconstruite pour devenir une meilleure version d’elle-même.
En juillet 2013, un train de cargaison qui transportait du pétrole a pris feu, déraillé et explosé en plein milieu de la ville de Lac-Mégantic. Six millions de litres de pétrole brut ont été déversés et la majeure partie du centre-ville a été détruite par l’incendie après que.
Cette tragédie a laissé beaucoup de marques et de traumatismes chez les gens de Lac-Mégantic, mais elle a aussi permis à cette ville de se reconstruire de façon inouïe. Non seulement, les résidents et résidentes de Lac-Mégantic ont fait preuve de résilience, mais ils ont également réussi, avec les efforts des fonctionnaires et des acteurs communautaires, à repenser leur ville - qu’il fallait presque rebâtir à zéro - de façon à ce qu’une tragédie comme celle-ci ne puisse plus jamais se reproduire.
Comment ont-ils fait? Comment le principe de résilience a-t-il pris forme dans la communauté de Lac-Mégantic? C’est ce que Danielle Maltais, professeure titulaire à l’Université du Québec à Chicoutimi et directrice de la Chaire de recherche Événements traumatiques, santé mentale et résilience, nous a expliqué dans cet épisode de Face au Futur.
Et, après avoir mis sur papier les grandes lignes de ce à quoi la ville devrait ressembler à l’avenir, Lac-Mégantic s’est rebâti en harmonie avec la nature. Alors que le pétrole a été responsable de la pire des catastrophes, c’est désormais des modèles énergétiques écoresponsables qui font avancer la région. Mathieu Pepin, chargé de projet en transition énergétique pour la Ville de Lac-Mégantic, nous a notamment parlé de la manière dont le projet de micro-réseau, unique en son genre, a pris forme et comment il continue, jusqu’à aujourd’hui, à inspirer d’autres communautés.
Bien fait, juste une petite commentaire
Great podcast (and associated publication) on Canadian urbanism. De plus, comme canadien francophone vivant hors Québec, je vraiment apprécie le fait que la balado touche, en français qu’en anglais, des enjeux urbains partout dans le pays, y compris des épisodes en français qui ne parle pas juste de la scène urbaine québécoise. Bravo! My only feedback is that it would be great if the producers/hosts did episodes on a wider variety of Canadian municipalities. For instance, there hasn’t yet been an episode discussing the urban issues transpiring in some of Canada’s biggest/most interesting (from an urbanism POV) cities such as Calgary (e.g. Green Line, new MAX BRT network, cycle track network, 5A infrastructure plan, Alpine Park), Halifax (e.g. the new Street Improvement Pilot Projects like on Yonge and Kaye), Moncton (e.g. Vision Lands), Kelowna (e.g. “first 5G Smart City project), or Winnipeg (e.g. Indigenous Urban design initiative).
Check it out!
Always worth a listen to prompt thought on varied themes and perspectives and discussion with others. Tight production and great music!
Thoughtful and well-researched discussion on everything urbanism. Always impressed with the calibre of guests too. Keep it up.