Young Urbanists

June 21, 2018 in Uncategorised

City-building activities don’t often include the voices of the kids, which means we’re all missing out. Not only do they provide refreshingly imaginative ideas, but building cities that are kid-friendly is good for everyone.

As Enrique Penalosa, the mayor of Bogota, Columbia, says, “Children are a kind of indicator species. If we can build a successful city for children, we will still have a successful city for people.”

For today’s episode, you’ll hear from a group of kids in grade 1 and 2. John recently presented to a local school about urban planning and asked the kids to design their own cities. The results were pretty awesome, so we thought you needed to hear what they had to say. Some ideas included building more walkable neighbourhoods, providing diverse housing options for people, creating accessible schools, and… embedding trampolines into sidewalks. Did we mention that they were all under the age of 9?

According to experts on childhood brain development from the University of Minnesota, children spend up to two thirds of their time in imaginative play. This time spent pretending helps kids come up with alternative ways of thinking, which results in increased creativity and better problem solving.

So maybe, we should ask kids for their ideas more often to tap into their creativity for how to build better cities.

Anthropology & Equity

June 18, 2018 in Politics

Today’s guest is Katrina Johnston Zimmerman, an advocate for equitable and women led cities. Through her observational methods as an urban anthropologist, Katrina is working to make cities more inclusive for everybody.

In this episode, Katrina and John talk about:

  • How Katrina understands cities through the lens of an urban anthropologist
  • Some shifts that have occurred in cities over time
  • The importance of advocating for women led cities
  • How cities can become more equitable




National Strategies for Cities

June 4, 2018 in Community, Politics

How we build our cities is always going to be intertwined with politics. This episode is the second of two episodes where John talks to urbanists who have become politicians.

In the last episode, John talked to Jyoti Gondek, a city councilor in Calgary, about what it’s like to be a urbanist turned politician at the municipal scale.

Today, John talks to Andy Fillmore, a Member of Parliament, about what it’s like to be an urbanist turned politician at the national scale.

 In this episode, Andy and John talk about:

  • Why urban planning is an important profession that is going to help save the world.
  • The National Housing Strategy: a 10 year, 40 billion dollar strategy that was announced by the Liberal government in late 2017.
  • Why investing in infrastructure is important (even though it is seen as an un-sexy topic).
  • How citizens can get involved in political decision making.