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Social Cohesion, Intersectionality, Creativity and Resilience: Experiences in Metro Vancouver and Be

Many cities including Vancouver, Melbourne, New York, San Francisco and Boston are placing social cohesion as a central construct in their resiliency strategies. The Resilience Recommendations put forward by the Resilient Cities Urban Thinkers Campus, part of the World Urban Campaign component of UN Habitat III, highlight the importance of social inclusion and the empowerment of vulnerable populations, as well as the promotion of collaborative and creative solutions to urban stressors.

This workshop consists of a panel of diverse individuals. It takes place in Calgary at the "Building Resilience" conference on Sunday, June 18 at 2pm. Panelists will speak about their experiences both locally in Metro Vancouver and internationally in promoting social cohesion, using principles of intersectionality, grassroots organization and an inclusive and culturally aware approach.

Ellen Woodsworth, is the founder and co-chair of Women Transforming Cities International Society (WTC), an NGO that brings gender and diversity lenses to local governance as a way to improve social cohesion, build resilience and enhance the lives of all urban dwellers. She is a former City Councillor and international speaker on intersectionality and social cohesion and will outline the creation of advisory groups to city council in Vancouver, the development of WTC, its core activities and its involvement in the publication “Equity and Inclusion: a Guide for Municipalities”.

Dr. Joy Masuhara, co-chair of WTC, will discuss the concept of social cohesion and the relationship to resilience. She will discuss the involvement of WTC in the UN Habitat III process and the collaborative efforts of civil society organizations to bring gender and diversity components to the resulting policy paper “The New Urban Agenda”. She will also discuss the Women Friendly Cities Challenge, an international collaborative project, which involves building a framework by which cities can measure their progress in creating more inclusive and women friendly cities.

Andrew Martin, master’s student at the School of Community and Regional Planning at UBC and Canadian delegate at Habitat III, will bring an academic and youth perspective to this panel. He will use a “Right to the City” framework alongside insights from the Vancouver Foundation’s 2012 study Connections and Engagement on social isolation to ground explanations of his work. He will share his own academic research on how to create more vibrant public spaces at public transit nodes, how one new “regenerative” urbanism analysis tool from Barcelona is setting new precedents by emphasizing social cohesion alongside green infrastructure, and how we can create more inclusive neighbourhoods through community-oriented models of housing development.

Tasha Henderson, MA Planning, is a social planner with the City of Coquitlam, BC. She will speak about the role of social planners in promoting social cohesion and inclusion and her experiences working with marginalized communities. She will also discuss her work on planning with multicultural and indigenous communities.

In this workshop, participants will have an opportunity to discuss how social cohesion and inclusion is being promoted in their own cities and brainstorm ways in which these can be improved or expanded.

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