The People's Library of Occupy Vancouver

Equity, Access and Openness (@OccVanLibrary)

Tag Archives: housing

Why Occupy Vancouver became a Tent City and Lost the 99%

The following is a personal statement by one of the Librarians. The views expressed herein do not represent those of The People’s Library or Occupy Vancouver.

One Occupier takes a mid-day rest at The Library while another browses the collection

Occupy Vancouver has gotten a lot of flack for its tent city, but don’t blame us for that. Five thousand people descended on the Vancouver Art Gallery on October 15th because they were fed up with the status-quo. They consisted of young, old, students and trade unionists. They all had one thing in common: the growing economy has left them behind.

That’s because our economy is entirely based on unsustainable development. Vancouver’s celebrated urban policy is based on building and tearing down glass curtain condos that last 5-25 years. This is not a model of development worth exporting, and its bound to collapse. It’s also only a matter of time until anaemia from open-net fish farms will collapse Pacific salmon stocks, and tar sands tankers destroy the natural beauty and ecological wealth we have in Western Canada. These projects are negative-sum games that benefit a few large developers and corporations, (Canada’s and Hong  Kong’s 1%) while causing ecological and economic devastation for the multitude of small businesses and communities dealing with the externalities! (Our 99%)

It’s an economy that has created what Vancouver Magazine calls “Generation F”: a mass exodus of talented, educated young people on the losing end of Vancouver’s housing bubble. Its an economy that has deprived our First Nations of their traditional lifestyles, forcing them off their reserves. It’s also an economy that has put thousands of people out on the street.

It may be true that a number of homeless took advantage of the free food, medical services and security that came with the Occupy Vancouver site–but what do you expect in the homeless capital of Canada?  What do you expect from the city that tears down more social housing than it builds? What do you expect from a city whose government has reduced its social housing mandate for mega-developments to 0%?

The tent city wasn’t a creation of Occupy Vancouver’s organisers. I think more than anything, it speaks to the selflessness of the hundreds of volunteers that put their own pet projects on hold to advocate for the desperate need of the angry, bitter and hurt people that showed up at our protest and demanded a piece of our public space to inarticulately air their grievances.

Our critics tell us that the system isn’t broken, that you can still get things done by writing an email to your MLA. Explain that to the guy washing the windows at your favourite coffee shop some time. I’m sure he’ll be relieved to hear it. And unless you count the window washers who shine the “glass city” day after day, I think you’ll find, as we have, that the wealth has not “trickled down.”

Why did Occupy Vancouver get taken over by homeless? Don’t blame the city for scaling back social housing. It must have been the anarchists.

Protesters Plan to Occupy Little Mountain Housing Project

Little Mountain was one of the most successful public housing projects ever built. Known for its safety, the design of Little Mountain allowed neighbors to keep an eye on each other, while common areas created a space where neighbors could meet and share the burden of childcare.

Truly, it was a model of successful planning. It was one that many in the planning field believed should have been replicated around the world, if the Province hadn’t sold the land to a developer.

It was mostly demolished in 2009. Since this much-loved social housing project was destroyed, the developer has built nothing to replace it. The residents, including many elderly, have all been relocated. Demonstrators will be occupying the grounds today, risking arrest.

Literature on Little Mountain will be available in our library as soon as we re-launch.

The People’s Library is Safe! Occupy Vancouver moves 200 metres to Provincial Courthouse!

In an audacious new development, Occupy Vancouver has relocated to a new home to comply with the Court’s injunction! I’m happy to report that this scare has made our contingencies more robust than ever. Should we be forced to move again, we will likely be ready to resume service immediately from a temporary location.

Based on their first General Assembly at the new location, it seems the new location will give us a chance to deal with such issues as:

  • People smoking on site
  • Poor acoustics
  • Wind chill
  • Not being visible enough to the powers that be
  • Being a protest during a municipal election
  • Mud puddles

We are now located 200 metres to the West. The Library will resume operations very shortly. We apologise for the brief interruption of our services.

Cities for People, Not Profit! UBC Urban Studies Chair Elvin Wyly: The Right to the City

Elvin Wyly on The Right to the City at Occupy Vancouver, VAG. on November 12th, 20/11

 

For the Right to the City, Turn Left — Elvin Wyly at Occupy Vancouver

To Claim The Right to the City, Turn Left
Elvin Wyly, Nov 12, 2011, http://www.geog.ubc.ca/~ewyly/

Five weeks ago, a small group of committed activists went to Zucotti Park, a “privately owned public space” in New York City. At first, Occupy Wall Street was ignored. Then it was dismissed as just another protest by a few people on the far left fringe. No. This is a fringe of 99 percent. Occupations have spread to more than a thousand cities in a hundred countries around the world.

Can you hear us now?…

Full transcript available here!

Peak Oil and the 99%: Pat Gerber and Ben West

Peak Oil: No Tarsands, No Pipelines, No Tankers with Pat Gerber and Ben West
San Francisco Energy Analyst Pat Gerber and Local Activist Ben West discuss the Canada’s Tarsands-first energy policy and why it doesn’t work for the 99%.