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.
While the urban left tends to espouse support for poor residents, to what extent does its priorities actually serve to target the city’s most vulnerable? How can choices around urban planning and development effectively banish those whose lives are most deeply rooted in public space? This public conversation considers the extent to which efforts to animate public spaces can function to make these less inclusive, not more. How does attracting more affluent residents translate into increased policing, and what are other barriers to participation erected in the name of transforming our public spaces? How can we rethink both urban spaces and how we police those spaces to ensure we all respect the rights of the urban poor?
Andreane Desilets has worked in community organising since 1997, as a streetworker and a youth outreach worker, in different communities in Quebec and Ontario. Over the years, she has been involved with boards of directors, including those of ADDS, ADO-Jeunes and as a partner member on the Board of the Clinique Droits Devant, and RAPSIM. Since 2016, she is the executive director of Maison Benoit Labre, a community group that works with populations experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity in the Montreal South-West.
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.
This conversation is co-organized with the CDC Solidarité St-Henri