Last Friday June 15th the City of Vancouver in partnership with GenWhy Media and the Vancouver Design Nerds held a ‘Nerd Jam’ to get the wheels turning for the City’s latest ideas competition re:THINK Housing. The event held at the Hive was packed with over 80 people from diverse disciplines, ages and backgrounds brought together by their interest in housing affordability. Mayor Gregor Robertson was also a member of this eclectic crowd!
For those who have never attended a ‘Nerd Jam’ it is a hybrid between potluck and brainstorming session where people get together to share ideas and network in a casual environment. The evening started with a series of introductory presentations by the Vancouver Design Nerds, GenWhy and guest speakers. Attendees also had the opportunity to pitch their ideas to the crow which later became the themes for the breakout brainstorming groups.
The breakout groups engaged into deep conversations for about 45 minutes before regrouping for the concluding presentations and summary of the event. Each group had 2 minutes to present their ideas which ranged from new models for Co-Op housing, turning streets into amenity space for small housing, shipping container homes and temporary modes of occupation, to name a few. Lastly some guest critics gave a summary of the strongest ideas which provided a good closure for the evening.
The diversity of people and the success of the event is a clear proof that housing affordability affects many in Vancouver. A competition such as reTHINK is a great opportunity to open up the conversation and explore new modes of housing and livability. The submission deadline for reTHINK Housing is June 29th.
Alicia Medina Laddaga is an architecture and urban designer/researcher based in Vancouver. Originally from Mexico where she studied and practiced architecture, she moved to Vancouver in 2011 to pursue a Masters of Advanced Studies in Architecture at UBC. While trying to bridge the gap between two cultures (Mexico and Canada), Alicia keeps on developing her ideas about the ways in which dynamic and spontaneous processes transform cities into vibrant urban environments.