Compassion, Connectivity and Safety
The quality of our social interactions and relationships is fundamental to living a longer, healthier and happier life. How we are with each other matters. In the event of natural disasters, those who have neighbours they can count on are more likely to survive than those who don’t.
Every day we face a choice of how we want to live in Vancouver. Will we treat others with compassion or indifference? Will we show kindness to strangers? Will we have faith in the fundamental goodwill of others, even those who are quite different from us? These are important parts of building a connected and compassionate city; one in which everyone belongs and everyone prospers.
But this is not easy work, and it will require all of us. It means listening to those on the margins and finding ways to include them. It means getting serious about the opioid crisis and rethinking how people with serious health issues access safe drugs. It means de-stigmatizing people with mental health issues and recognizing that these are features of being human that shouldn’t prevent participation in, and contribution to, the life of community. And it means finding a way to close the historical wound with indigenous peoples; by resolving past injustices and seeking reconciliation by growing our collective unity, wisdom, prosperity and cultures.
While a municipality cannot simply mandate connectivity, safety or compassion, we can invest in the conditions that may make them more likely to occur, and we can address internal policies or practices that may impede them. Our role is to inspire and embolden community building, and to support the initiatives of citizens, associations, non-profits and businesses who care about their neighbourhoods and who want to make them places where everyone can flourish.
Secure, affordable housing is the foundation of a healthy life and a strong city. Vancouver is experiencing a housing affordability emergency that threatens everyone's wellbeing. This may be part of a global crisis, but it demands bold, immediate local solutions. We need to ensure that Vancouver offers secure, long-term housing for people at all income levels. And we need to create the kinds of housing–and neighbourhoods–that nurture the social connections and sense of belonging that keep people strong, happy and healthy.
As mayor, I will deliver the urgent action we need to tackle the housing crisis. That means doing more with the scarce land we've got, and exploring new forms of housing that enable people to share space and resources if they wish. It means leveraging city assets to nurture non-market solutions such as coops, cohousing, non-profits and community land trusts. It means acting immediately to offer housing solutions to the people who need it most.
There is no single solution to fixing the housing crisis. It is going to take leadership, focus and determination. In 2017, Vancouver adopted a new housing strategy. We need to hone that strategy and fast-track its most effective actions to create the inclusive, affordable and people-centred housing we desperately need.
A Thriving, Creative and Innovative Economy
For over a decade, Vancouver has surprised economists and led the country in job creation and economic growth. And while many believe it is the real estate market that accounts for our growth, it is only one factor in a much bigger story.
Through intentional, focused energy by the City, its Economic Development Commission, and the private and non-profit sector Vancouver has developed a diverse, cutting-edge knowledge-based economy.
Our universities, entrepreneurial culture, talent and financial infrastructure have created clusters in the creative, clean technology, transportation and social innovation sectors. Our strong tourism, manufacturing, green technology and ship building industries and our position as a gateway to the Pacific have fortified our city's dominant economic position.
To keep Vancouver as a global leader in video gaming, a destination for eco-adventurers or as a beacon for cooperative and credit union development, we need to provide the facilities, services, and supports that will attract entrepreneurs and professionals and retain workers at all levels. Supports such as:
- Appropriate housing that is affordable for service workers as well as professionals;
- public and private transit into and within the City;
- living wage campaigns;
- affordable day care;
- quality public education and retraining programs;
- vibrant arts and culture; and,
- diverse food and entertainment offerings.
With well-conceived policies based on genuine community consultations, we can continue to develop a thriving, innovative and inclusive economy that leverages the strengths of our diverse and talented population.
A Resilient and Happy City
Poverty, climate change, refugees, high housing costs, cyber attacks. Many of the social, economic, and environmental challenges Vancouver faces are rooted in the choices made at the national and international level. But fortunately, we can respond to these challenges at the city level in ways that make all of us stronger over the long run.
We need to build systems that anticipate environmental and economic shocks. We need to pay as much attention to Vancouverites’ future wellbeing as we do to today’s issues. We need to consider the wellbeing of everyone, regardless of their socioeconomic status. And we need to come up with solutions that balance expert knowledge with deep engagement so that all Vancouverites, and not just a few interest groups, help shape our resilient future.
The good news is that one of the best ways to build a more resilient city is to strengthen the social connections that come when we work, play and share together. And these connections are key ingredients of individual health and happiness.
As Mayor, I will support the work of the city’s chief resilience officer, and leverage our collaboration with the 100 Resilient Cities network. I will provide leadership that combines evidence-based strategies with inclusive decision-making. I will ensure we respond to the stresses experienced by our most vulnerable citizens. And I will invite more Vancouverites into our city’s planning, so that our residents, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems can survive, adapt, and thrive.