Article, Urban Issues

Nathan Edelson looks at the future of inner city planning at the 2019 Jim Green Memorial Lecture

June 11, 2019

At the seventh annual Jim Green Memorial Lecture, community planner Nathan Edelson explored the future of urban planning and how to encourage community engagement in policy-making processes.

This year’s lecture took place on March 13th, in the Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema at the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts. Over the past seven years, SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement has partnered with the Jim Green Foundation to host and organize the annual Jim Green Memorial Lecture.

Nathan Edelson speaks at the seventh annual Jim Green Memorial Lecture.

Our 2019 speaker, Nathan Edelson, is an experienced community planner who has worked in Vancouver and other cities in North America. His nearly 50 years of experience saw him contribute to innovative initiatives and serve as the former Senior Planner for the Downtown Eastside, where he worked closely with none other than Jim Green. Edelson also served as the Founding Executive Director of Little Mountain Neighbourhood House.

Nathan Edelson meets with audience members after the lecture.

Edelson’s talk focused on the importance of community development and what that might look like as our cities and neighbourhoods change. He reflected on his experiences working as a planner and the people that he has met throughout his career. One of the biggest lessons he learned about was the importance of words and place names, especially when it came to identifying the Downtown Eastside and reducing stigma: “Words matter. It’s not ‘skid row.’ It’s not ‘East Downtown’. It’s the Downtown Eastside.” He also stressed the power of community activism and organization and the importance of family connections and community institutions, saying that for communities like the Downtown Eastside, they are “places to support those experiencing change in their lives.”

Watch the video of Nathan Edelson’s full talk on our YouTube channel or below.

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