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How can Canada continue to work on making cities more inclusive?

over 3 years ago
CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

The Government of Canada is committed to a people-centred approach in the adoption of progressive and inclusive policies. Developing these policies means understanding the realities faced by all Canadians including its most vulnerable groups: Indigenous people, immigrants, youth, seniors, persons with disabilities, women and LGBTQ. The current landscape for these groups includes significant hurdles such as disparities in income, educational opportunities and access to social programming.

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  • NGolabi over 3 years ago
    In order to make cities more inclusive, there needs to be a more open line of communication with groups that currently have little to no voice. Today's youth are the one who will be taking on the responsibility of the future and yet there is still little engagement in working with them to establish policies that work. Inclusiveness must be introduced from the beginning of any endeavor and it is with the collaboration of youth that this can be achieved. By bettering access to services, health and education for these groups, it will help to ensure that each has equal opportunities and is not held back by obstacles such as cost and lack of education.
  • Nigel Bart over 3 years ago
    The issue of Mental Health is still very important when considering how our cities can be more inclusive. We need to address poverty, homelessness, inadequate housing, stigma and other issues in our cities and how these issues directly impact those with mental illness.
  • JAredMcG over 3 years ago
    One of the key ways that Canada can work on making cities more inclusive is to enable equal and fair access to services. 'The right to the city' involves making sure that everyone has access to effective public transportation, that rent never exceeds more than 30% of income, and that there is always fresh and affordable food in every neighbourhood - especially those with lower average incomes. Accessibility is the most important quality of an inclusive city. Accessibility of physical spaces and transportation infrastructure for those with mobility impairments. Strong public transportation networks, especially in lower-income areas of the central city would facilitate access to employment in what are the most available neighbourhoods for some of the most vulnerable groups. Ultimately, refocusing planning to encourage intensified public transportation networks, and dense housing clustered around transit hubs would be highly important to tackling issues of inequality in the urban setting.
  • David Fletcher, Green Coalition over 3 years ago
    We can encourage greater inclusiveness by making and remaking cities that are gentler, more people centred and cognizant of the ethological currents that, deep down, govern us. Our almost entirely artificial, infrastructuralized urban habitats have been constructed, essentially, without any regard to the most primordial level of human need. It is important to consider not just which group, specifically, has been neglected or excluded within policy implementation, but more broadly how we are all unwitting victims of our incessant drive for “progress.” We can all recognize that certain physical requirements must, at a minimum, be met in order to assure bodily health and security — housing, schools and basic services. But it is far from clear that these provisions are, in themselves, sufficient to guarantee a society that is, in the overall, happy, satisfied and at ease. If we are to address the needs of those who have been historically marginalized or excluded, it must be within a context of cities built on a human scale and with fundamental social and psychological needs at the planning center. These needs extend far beyond simple shelter and physical sustenance, important as those are. Cities need to deal with their sharp edges and hard surfaces and make our collective living spaces softer and more inviting. They need appeal to the senses and have a calming, restorative effect on mind and spirit. We need the quietude, the freshness, the sense of freedom and the serendipity that ample, richly biodiverse natural spaces provide. An ample, growing body of scientific research confirms this. Difficulties dealing with life in the city predictably begin in childhood. Frequently, these ramify into aberrant, self-defeating, anti-social, neurotic and even psychotic behaviours. Too often youth opt out, scrape out an existence in the streets and give in to substance abuse. Problems are not uncommonly transgenerational and lead to delinquency, crime and suicide. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, youth are among populations at increased risk of suicide, which is the second leading cause of death for Canadians between the ages of 10 and 24 and accounts for 24% of all deaths among 15 to 24 year olds. Children’s basic developmental needs are being seriously neglected as planners work out plans to bring families back to the city core. Comprehensive urban plans, Montreal’s recently adopted “Schéma d’aménagement” being a case in point (q.v. online), make very little reference to children’s fundamental needs other than the need for family housing, new schools and recreational facilities for organized activities. “Free play,” recognized among childhood developmental researchers as activity critical to becoming socially adept, coping with stress and building cognitive skills, is totally absent as a planning parameter. More than with structured, organized games or activities, free play, rambunctious and imaginative, leads ultimately to well adjusted, creative adults. Denial of early free play has been associated with social maladjustment and increased risk of arrest for committing a felony by early adulthood. Children are in learning mode right up to the threshold of adulthood. They do not have direct experience of what has gone before nor what is presently needed and are forced to depend on us to decide what comes next. But as adults they will inherit what we create, and whatever they become our society will, conversely, inherit. They are a choiceless 20% of our number at the most critical time of their lives; they have been excluded from decisions about how their lives should properly, and according to their nature, unfold. The most quintessential thing about children is that they do not remain such. They with their memories morph into adults. But what sort of adults will they be? As we think about inclusiveness, we must put these people, all of them, front and centre. They do not vote. They have no social or political power. We adults have been their poor proxies. We need to build great cities for them replete with abundant natural places for them to explore.
  • jacksonnicole over 3 years ago
    Creating safe spaces using the built environment has the potential to transform our cities and the way people use space. Echoing comments below, I agree that improving building codes and supporting physical access is an important step. The no-brainers of integrating urban braille, improving parks and outdoor infrastructure for multi-abled users, and implementing feedback loops to understand how people want to use space in their communities can all improve inclusion. Likewise, policies to ensure affordable housing is available in all communities (rather than siloed in a handful of communities) increases integration and inclusion.
  • mgifford over 3 years ago
    There is a lot that needs to be done to make our physical & virtual communities more accessible. Efforts should be strategic though. Encouraging improved building codes and providing support for physical access. Supporting accessibility improvements in open-source libraries which are used by communities across this country. Support for employment programs to help encourage better integration of people with disabilities into the work-force.
  • cbelle over 3 years ago
    The government of Canada needs to take a more intersectional approach in understanding the people who live in urban areas. There are many layers of oppression that affect certain individuals and communities. LGBTQ youth are among the most likely to attempt suicide and suffer from mental health issues like anxiety and depression so a lot more work needs to be done to support them. For example, more funding for youth support services, youth drop ins, youth mental health care, food, shelter, clothing and resources for homeless youth, less stigma around accessing harm reduction supplies like syringes, less barriers in accessing housing and shelters, particularly for trans and gender non-conforming youth who may experience transphobia or gender policing in shelters, more funding for counselling services and so on. Schools and service providers also need to make more of a conscious effort to include mandatory LGBTQ/2S policies that protect queer and trans youth from discrimination and harassment. LGBTQ/2S are more likely that their straight peers to be the victims of sexual, physical and verbal harassment and violence so more preventative measures need to be taken to protect these youth. Safer spaces are integral to improving the lives of marginalized communities.
  • Ellen Woodsworth Chairperson Women Transforming Cities International Society over 3 years ago
    The Canadian government could use an intersectional lens with disaggregated data from a fuller census to develop and implement policies and funding for women, the LGTBQI2S, elderly, youth, indigenous people and many others.
  • Ellen Woodsworth Chairperson Women Transforming Cities International Society almost 4 years ago
    Please check You Tube for the new video "Queer Consultation" about the New Urban Agenda's lack of LGTBQI2S or sexual orientation wording.
  • margpollon over 3 years ago
    Thank you for the opportunity to offer in-put for QUITO. Our focus is toward resilient communities during disaster but the principles are transferrable for building sustainable and strong communities. We appreciate the focus for being more inclusive making a 'whole community' rather than 'government' only approach - considering citizens as collaborators and partners, and as assets rather than liabilities. An effective community-wide emergency response must begin with community-wide planning and preparation. Unfortunately, in larger centres, it appears to be still left in the hands of the professionals and the other organizations are still left on the side-lines looking on... Local emergency managers who use a collaborative planning framework offer the communities they serve a much greater opportunity to have a network of prepared individuals and agencies who reduce dependence on municipal services and mitigate the damage caused by large scale events. Local governments do not have the capacity to manage the over-whelming needs of an entire community. With dependence on municipal services, residents are exposed to long-term recovery efforts.
  • Ellen Woodsworth Chairperson Women Transforming Cities International Society almost 4 years ago
    I just wrote a long note which was marked spam. Please correct.
  • Richard almost 4 years ago
    Create a national neighbour's day. Quebec has a fête des voisins program Austraila hasone also It is my understanding that the original idea came from France and has been adopted by several Euro members. The principal aim of Neighbour Day is to build better relationships with the people who live around us, especially the elderly and vulnerable. For the last six years my neighbours and I organise a pot luck meal were 300 people from the neighbourhood come for the pot luck supper and sit a single table. It is the biggest block party I know of. We have a pinata for the children, a children's parade, and a movie for the children in the closed off lane as well as dance in the lane. Over the years the community has coalesced: six musicians who did not know each practice every week at the community centre and play at every year, We now a a community choir of 30 people from the neighbourhood. Four members of the neighbourhood participate as volunteers with Revenue Canada Volunteer tax program. People are looking out for each other, break-ins have been stopped, people will know on your door if you forget to move you car prior to the coming of the street sweepers, I have neighbours help me shovel my car after a snowstorm and even shovel my doorway. We have set up a green lane committee who have put together a proposal that will be implemented this year and even had a Beetle dance night as fundraiser to help three women who feed our homeless every Saturday at noon and raised 1700$. We know have a Facebook site where we share neighbourhood issues, and information which has 160 members. Furthermore the local merchants make generous contributions to the event and even come to the community supper and dance.
  • Ariannek almost 4 years ago
    I agree with Marika Morris' comment, and wanted to add that our policies of inclusion should focus on creating space for people in Canadian society and communities-- that is true inclusion. The focus should be on creating environments which accommodate everyone, in that they all feel safe and have the right to engage with, and interact with the space, rather than the right of merely being physically present. This means giving consideration to the needs of the great diversity of Canadian citizens (which should be accomplished through focus groups and actually asking those people), and then taking all that information and creating spaces in which none would be limited, oppressed, or encounter obstacles.
  • Debutton almost 4 years ago
    There should be a requirement for a certain percentage of affordable housing within any community and any new development beyond a certain density. Municipalities are becoming more innovative as to the mixture of rental, owned and non-profits exist that allow for ownership of homes when you fall within certain income brackets. The problem is that most of these are located in areas that predominantly are far away from accessible transit and important community amenities. Vulnerable populations should not be confined to live adjacent to Industrial areas or on the sides of highways simply because that land is cheaper. We need policies that foster more innovation and allow for development, for example, where seniors can reside with youth and can create a community where they can learn and assist each other. Where youth educating themselves in social work or nursing could complete their co-op terms working with persons with disabilities and through this engagement with these communities their tuition could be subsidised to an extent. Having worked for non-profits that assist low income people with mobility challenges develop their homes so that they are able to function on a daily basis it is not that we have no grants for this entirely, more so the hurdles that are placed in the way for those who are vulnerable and don’t know where to look for help. Those students or those under-employed in political science, public administration or a number of fields could be paired with those who need assistance navigating the existing web of social programming. The government still hands out a crisp $5 bill to First Nations people who show their identity on “treaty day” (cbcunreserved). I’m sorry, but how is this still a thing? How about instead of condescendingly handing out $5 bills we combine all that money and ask the first nations communities what they would like to do with it. What they would like to see for their communities? Canada is an incredible country and we are very privileged in all the opportunities we have however compared to many other countries such as Australia and New Zealand we do not include and respect our Indigenous people to any extent of the level that we should.
  • PStein almost 4 years ago
    Building on a previous comment, recognizing municipalities as governments would go along way to mandate them to consult with Indigenous communities on the impacts of growth as our cities continue to expand.
  • Marika Morris almost 4 years ago
    If you want to make cities more inclusive for people living with disabilities, seniors, newcomers, Indigenous peoples, women, people who identify as LGBTQ, and people living on low incomes you need to hold focus groups with members of these groups about what they need, their priorities for change, and then actually work on those things. Do not rely solely on online consultations such as this, as one out of five Canadians does not have access to the internet. Policies of inclusion have to be more than statements, they have to support people in making positive change in their communities. For example, if Indigenous peoples in a city identify racism in hiring and housing as a barrier, the city could work with local businesses and landlords to promote better understanding and help them make positive links with Indigenous peoples in the community. Cities can play an important role in bringing people together.
  • aflynn almost 4 years ago
    Canada's should be to develop a clear federal urban strategy, which firmly recognizes cities as governments despite section 92 of the Constitution Act. Viewed in this light, Canada can recognize existing municipal efforts to develop inclusive participation models. Cities across Canada are engaged in programs aimed at promoting inclusively, such as participatory budgeting, citizen forums and social media campaigns. Canada need not invent the wheel for cities. There are two specific efforts that Canada can make in promoting inclusivity: first, the federal government may provide support and resources to cities to continue tackling these crucial questions. Second, Canada should promote indigenous-municipal partnerships by recognizing the ongoing, active relationships currently in practice and by providing specific programs with funding and best practices.
  • KTravers almost 4 years ago
    This requires a shift in thinking. The NUA strives to be transformative and Canada should model this paradigm shift in its own engagement. For example, instead of thinking of different groups as being inherently vulnerable (something that many of the stakeholder groups have pushed back on - e.g. women, youth, and differently-abled people), consider instead that they face particular barriers to participation and are more excluded as a result. Much of this exclusion is systemic since their needs were not considered from the onset, so we must make participation accessible and inclusive of all to begin understanding difference to make city services and spaces equitable as we move towards equality. People are experts of their own realities, it is they who can speak to the challenges they face and they who are best able to help define inclusive and responsive solutions.