Our University of the Streets Café public conversations are much like any you’d have with friends or family around a dinner table, except with more people, more points of view, and slightly more structure. Conversations are hosted by a volunteer moderator who is there to welcome everyone and keep things on track. To get things started, there’s a guest, or sometimes two, who get the ball rolling by sharing their ideas, experiences and questions. After that, it's all up to the participants.
The ways in which residents interact with their built environment is a core concern in city planning. But who gets to draw up our landscapes, and to what extent does this suppress rather than empower community residents? This public conversation considers the power dynamics of a top-down decision-making process that acts as a vehicle for systemic violence. How does a veneer of institutional neutrality in urban development facilitate class disparity? To what extent does a lip-service to resident engagement mask a reality in which bureaucratic control and social capital ostracize those who are impacted most? How can we retain our communities by reclaiming our role in shaping them?
Gonzalo Lizarralde is interested in fostering an understanding of the processes of projects, as well as an understand of risks, of social housing, and of informality in the urban context. He holds the Reserarch Chaire Fayolle-Magil in architectural construction and sustainability in buildings. He is also director of the research group IF (grif) and of the Observatoire universitaire de la vulnérabilité, la résilience et la la reconstruction durable (Oeuvre durable). He is a founder of i-Rec, an international network of experts on risk reduction and reconstruction post-catastrophy. He has directed, or has participated in, numerous research initiatives, with a total budget of more than eight million dollars CAD. He is the author of The Invisible Houses and co-author of Rebuilding After Disasters. Since 2016, Gonzalo has been a member of the Collège de nouveaux chercheurs et créateurs en art et en science de la Société royale du Canada, the most important acknowledging body of emergent intellectual leadership in the country.
Jocelyn Bernier is a Pointe-Saint-Charles resident and a community organiser with the Opération populaire d'aménagement (OPA) of Pointe-Saint-Charle. She was awarded the 3M prize in health care leadership, in 2013.
Shannon Franssen has been working in the community movement since 1996. She has been a frontline worker with housing and homeless organizations and sat on numerous boards of community-based and social economy organizations in Montreal. She joined the Community Development Corporation, Solidarité Saint-Henri, as the coordinator in 2010. She's passionate about designing and implementing democratic and inclusive decision-making processes and other tools for community engagement and collective empowerment.
Élise Ross-Nadié is fascinated by numerical culture, politics and popular education. For the past ten years, she has been a member of autonomous collectives while active in the Quebec community and feminist movements. Most recently she has worked with members of the academic world in relation to her own graduate work in media studies. She is most specifically interested in violence in virtual applications, artificial intelligence and the politics of accessibility in multi-modal interfaces.
This conversation is co-organized with the CDC Solidarité St-Henri