SFU City Conversations:
When Facts Fail
Municipal Policy in the Disinformation Age
Part of the 2019 Community Summit
Over the last decade, narratives surrounding climate, housing, drug, and transportation policies have taken centre stage in our news cycle and the collective conscious of Greater Vancouverites. Discourse about these complex issues has become highly polarized and clouded with misinformation.
Biased, misleading, and incorrect information has long influenced public policy development to varying degrees, but in our current age of disinformation, we’re witnessing a rise in “alternative facts” and the public delegitimization of experts. The misinformed and the “wilfully ignorant” often dominate the conversation, drowning out both expert analysis and constructive community input, proving detrimental to the people these policies attempt to help.
Are we trending toward a future where facts are less essential to the formation of public policy than exaggerations, falsehoods, and outrage? How has policy formation and analysis been disrupted in the disinformation age, and what can we do about it? Should public policy formation change to reflect our new realities? What does this mean on a local level?
Don’t miss this special edition of SFU City Conversations, taking place as part of SFU Public Square’s 2019 Community Summit, Confronting the Disinformation Age. As always, registration is free but required, and feel free to bring your lunch.
12:00 PM - Doors open
12:30 PM - Event
SFU's Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue - Room 320
580 West Hastings Street
We respectfully acknowledge that this event takes place on the Unceded, Traditional, Ancestral Territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ, and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm First Nations.
The SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue is located at 580 W. Hastings St (enter via Seymour Street courtyard entrance).
The venue is located a brief walk from Waterfront station and numerous bus stops. Visit translink.ca for more information.
Bike stalls are available outside the Hastings entrance of SFU Harbour Centre (located across the street).
Nearby parking is available at 500 & 400 W. Cordova St.
The venue and all floors within the building are wheelchair accessible and serviced by elevators.
Washrooms are located on the lower level, second, third, and fourth floors. All washrooms are wheelchair accessible.
The venue has a gender-neutral washroom, available on the second floor (take the hallway to the right).
If you have any questions, concerns, or comments regarding this event’s accessibility, feel free to connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 778-782-5959.
Meg Holden is professor of Urban Studies and Geography at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. Meg teaches courses in urban sustainable development, urban ethics, urban planning and policy, and urban theory. She received her Ph.D. in public and urban policy from the New School for Social Research and a M.Sc. and B.Sc.(Hons) in geography. Meg's research and professional work examines how cities and urbanites change in relation to demands, plans, actions, and new concepts related to sustainable development and community wellbeing. Meg is a research associate of the Canadian Index of Wellbeing and the Korean Community Wellbeing Institute. She also serves on the editorial board of Applied Research in Quality of Life and the Springer book series on community wellbeing and quality of life.
Dr. June Francis is the Director of the Institute for Diaspora Research and Engagement at Simon Fraser University, Canada, where she is an Associate Professor in the Beedie School of Business. She is the Co-Founder of the Co-Laboratorio Project, which works to strengthen collaboration, learning and innovation — for more inclusive resilient solutions in governance, policies and industry practice. As Co-Chair of The Hogan's Alley Society’s Board of Director she leads an organization whose mission is to advance the social, political, economic and cultural well-being of people of African Descent through the delivery of housing, built spaces and programming. She is an advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion for racialized groups as well as the advancement of non-traditional intellectual property law related to community well-being and cultural and human rights through her research, consulting, the media and as a volunteer.
Melody Ma is a civic and community advocate, writer, and technology worker. She is a neighbourhood advocate for Vancouver’s Chinatown, leading a campaign called #SaveChinatownYVR. She has also led other civic campaigns such as Save Our Skyline YVR for Vancouver’s view cones, TheRealFightforBeauty.ca that highlighted the role of “artwashing” by real estate developers in Vancouver, the rollback of the new City of Vancouver logo, and other campaigns.
Melody’s advocacy work has been featured on the Vancouver Sun, the Province, the Globe and Mail, Metro News, South China Morning Post, The Georgia Straight, CBC, CKNW, News1130, Global News, among other media outlets.
Melody is an active writer on urban and technology issues. She is a contributing editor and writer for The Tyee. Her opinion editorials have appeared on the Vancouver Sun, Globe and Mail, and The Georgia Straight.
Melody was an appointed member of the City of Vancouver’s Arts and Culture Policy Council.
Gordon Price, previously the Director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University, is a Fellow with the SFU Centre for Dialogue.
In 2002, he finished his sixth term as a City Councillor in Vancouver, BC. He also served on the Board of Metro Vancouver and was appointed to the first board of TransLink in 1989.