This article was published originally on The Vancouver Observer on October 8, 2015.

We the City Community Summit explores the power of cities

Vancouver Observer, October 8, 2015,

Later this month, SFU Public Square is launching its fourth large-scale community summit aimed at provoking thought and action around the challenges and opportunities of cities.  The We the City Community Summit will be headlined in partnership with Vancity with an engaging and interactive celebration featuring world-renowned artists Candy Chang, Teju Cole and Buffy Sainte-Marie. To learn more about We the City: An Evening at the Centre, click here.

“I am very excited about this year’s Community Summit,” says Shauna Sylvester, Executive Director of SFU Public Square. “The Summit will reflect on the theme of city building through a series of imaginative and interactive events.”

From October 30 to November 7, SFU Public Square will host 12 events, which will explore city building by examining the role arts and culture, universities, housing, youth, aboriginal people, research and innovation, community engagement, gender and literature can play in creating thriving and distinct urban communities. 

“Our aim is to profile the increasing pressure facing municipalities by surging urbanization and to explore what holds people to our urban cores,” says Sylvester. “Through this forum we hope to have an important conversation about our possible future – one where we won’t just survive, but also thrive.”

Sylvester says she expects thousands of Metro Vancouverites to be involved in the conversations provoked by the We the City Summit – both in person at events and through online dialogues.

There are a wide range of events and initiatives taking place as part of the Summit. Here’s a summary of the highlights:

Researching the City - October 30, 2015

Think research is boring and unrelated to the real world? Think again!  Researching the City is an inspirational evening showcasing how seemingly "abstract" research activities, all related in some way to the 2015 Community Summit theme of city-building, have real world impact on our city.Click here for more information.

Campus to City: Colleges, Universities and City Building – October 31, 2015

Designed by students from across Canada, this participatory, moving conference will bring together students, university faculty and staff, city building leaders and community partners to reimagine how colleges and universities can be a driving force in creating vibrant, livable, and sustainable cities. Click here for more information.

Housing in the City: Beyond the Headlines – November 2, 2015

 Headlines remind us constantly of our housing crisis: prices run amok, renovictions, and near-zero rental vacancy rates. This evening of storytelling will consider the landscape of housing in Vancouver and beyond, with an eye on working households, at or below median income, in urban centers across Canada. Click here for more information.

Action for Housing Now: Creating Affordable, Suitable and Secure Housing in Canadian Cities – November 3, 2015

In partnership with the Tyee Solutions Society and the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, we are hosting Actions for Housing Now. Attendees of this invitational event will collaborate on real-world policy solutions for affordable, suitable, and secure housing for working households in Canadian cities, to be presented to Canada’s new federal government. Click here for more information.

TILT City: Engaging the Streets – November 4, 2015

In partnership with HCMA Architecture and Design and their TILT curiosity labs, we invite you to make your mark! Join other engaged citizens for this one-day interactive event that gives you the chance to temporarily transform spaces in the public realm! Spend the day collaborating in teams to concoct, craft, and communicate your urban interventions! Click here for more information.

We the City: An Evening at the Centre – November 4, 2015

Cities are a reflection of our human needs and values. Join us as we consider how the arts create, reveal, critique and enhance the identity of our urban centres and powerfully foster connection, incite social change and build capacity for healthy communities. Candy ChangTeju Cole, and Buffy Sainte-Marie will provide compelling talks and Mo Dhaliwal will guide us through the signature event of the 2015 Community Summit, co-presented with Vancity. Click here for more information

City Conversations: Would Cities Be Different If Designed By Women – November 5, 2015

This special edition of City Conversation focuses on women’s perspectives on city building and bring a gender lens to city building. Click here for more information

Open City: One Book, One SFU with Author Teju Cole & Eleanor Wachtel – November 5, 2015

Teju Cole will be in conversation with CBC Radio’s Eleanor Wachtel as they explore the power of cities and the lure of literature in this inaugural event of SFU Library’s One Book, One SFU. Click here for more information.

Leading and Learning: Innovative Tools for Advancing Sustainability in Surrey – November 5, 2015

The City of Surrey is updating the Sustainability Charter, our 50 year vision for becoming a more sustainable city.  Join us for an engaging evening with thought leaders who will present their ideas on innovative tools for creating more sustainable cities - with keynote speaker Chris Ragan, Chair of the Eco-Fiscal Commission. Click here for more information.

THRIVE! Surrey in 2030 – November 7, 2015

Think like a city planner, take part in a unique city-building simulation, and experience what it feels like to live in the Surrey of 2030. Apply now to be one of 100 selected residents to build a vision for a city where everyone can thrive. Click here for more information

Additional events are in the works. Make sure to check back frequently to the We the City 2015 Community Summit site for additional offerings.