City Builder Series: The Elected Official

January 20, 2020 in City Builder Series, Politics

We’ve released over 40 episodes of 360 Degree City, covering a crazy range of topics – from cycling to public art to urban agriculture and much, much more. 

While we’ve explored issues and topics related to cities, we thought it would be helpful to spend some time focusing on the different actors that impact city building. 

So, we’ve developed a multi-part series where John talks to different kinds of city builders about what they do, why they do it and what unique approaches and challenges they represent. Our hope is that by the end of the series, you’ll have some new perspectives on these actors and how to work with them – whether you’re a seasoned city builder yourself or you’re just starting to explore the complexity of our cities.

The first episode is about The Elected Official. John sits down with Calgary’s Mayor, Naheed Nenshi, to discuss what it means to be an elected official, the best of what they can bring to city building and some problematic practices of those who hold elected office. 

Design Justice

December 9, 2019 in Community, Design

City builders often talk about the need for community consultation. Consultation is important as it brings perspectives and feedback from community members. But too often, folks “consult” with a preconceived notion of the outcome or a limited application of what the community has to say. Another approach to involving the community is to co-create. That is, to develop ideas alongside the community.  

John sits down with Brent Brown who leads an urban design practice based around this concept of co-creation.

Brent Brown is an architect, planner and urban designer. He is also the founder of building community workshop, a non-profit community design group based in Dallas, Texas. building community workshop, or bc workshop for short, enriches lives of citizens by bringing design thinking to parts of the cities where resources are most scarce. To do so, bc workshop recognizes it has to understand the social, economic and environmental issues facing a community before beginning work.

Planning with Empathy

June 10, 2019 in Community

Urban planners, designers, architects and other city-builders can often experience tension between acting as an expert and learning from the community. But as we have explored in previous episodes, we are understanding more and more the importance of designing great places from a point of empathy and co-creation. I wanted to talk to someone who is doing all sorts of great planning work with communities by putting empathy at the forefront of her work. Leela Viswanathan is an Associate Professor at the School of Urban Planning at Queen’s University. Her research emerges at the intersection of planning, equity and diversity.

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