October 28 – A conversation with Happy City about building back "Main Street"

November 02, 2020

By Methuseli Dube

This week we were grateful to be joined by Mitchell Reardon and Emma Clayton Jones from Happy City in a conversation about building resilience on Main Street, and how the process helps highlight the intersection between urban design and the emerging science of happiness. They presented research done with the Canadian Urban Institute and then we proceeded into a Q&A dialogue.

A main street is only as powerful as its community.


  1. The Pandemic Recovery Toolkit for Local Communities provides examples of programming and interventions, as well as advice on how to use an inclusive process for rapid placemaking. https://bringbackmainstreet.ca/rapid-placemaking                                                                                                                 
  2. One way to frame humanity’s 21st-century challenge is: to meet the needs of all within the means of the planet. In other words, to ensure that no one falls short on life’s essentials, while not completely exhausting earth’s resources. The Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries is a playfully serious approach to framing that challenge, and it acts as a compass for human progress this century. https://www.kateraworth.com/doughnut/                                                                    
  3. An article discussing the link between the community and main street businesses and how this link is necessary to preserve in order to save small businesses. It shows that businesses catering to local inhabitants tend to be doing better during COVID-19.  https://retail-insider.com/retail-insider/2020/8/main-streets-in-canada-seeing-success-with-local-shoppers-during-the-pandemic-studies/
  4. SFU’s Andy Yan helped create a new database aimed at boosting economic recovery in Canadian retail and commercial districts. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the urban planner sees opportunities for Vancouver and other B.C. cities to adapt. https://www.bcbusiness.ca/Want-to-get-Main-Street-back-up-and-running-Start-with-good-data                                                                                                                                                                                          
  5. A list of different public spaces and street use in Vancouver. https://vancouver.ca/streets-transportation/public-space-and-street-use.aspx                                      
  6. A link to the research done by the Canadian Urban Institute with Happy City. https://canurb.org/citytalk-news/cities-in-the-time-of-covid-19-how-do-we-bring-back-our-main-streets/