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Summit looks to bridge isolation through community strategies

September 17 2012 City joins SFU and partners for week of events

“In many ways Vancouver is a model of inclusion, with dynamic neighbourhoods and cultural harmony,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “But isolation persists for some, and we must boost efforts to make our city even more vibrant, friendly and connected.

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A unique, week-long Community Summit September 18-23 will bring together youth, writers, elected officials, business leaders, library specialists, entertainers and members of the community to explore the troubling problem of isolation and disconnection in the cities of Metro Vancouver.

The City of Vancouver has joined with SFU, the Vancouver Foundation and other community partners to host the inaugural Community Summit Alone Together: Connecting in the City, a six-day series of workshops and events designed to bring people together to address the issue of isolation through discussions, music, poetry, comedy, debate and film.
      
The summit was designed in response to the Vancouver Foundation’s research on connections and engagement, which revealed a “powerful yearning for stronger connections in and between communities.” 

The summit also supports the Healthy City Strategy, launched by the City of Vancouver in June. The strategy encourages healthier people, healthier communities and healthier places.  A key theme of the strategy is the promotion of inclusion, belonging and connectedness in our city and neighbourhoods.

“In many ways Vancouver is a model of inclusion, with dynamic neighbourhoods and cultural harmony,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “But isolation persists for some, and we must boost efforts to make our city even more vibrant, friendly and connected.

“Isolation can impact our physical and mental health and diminish the contributions citizens make to our neighbourhoods and local economy.

“Whether it’s at a neighbourhood bench in a quiet community garden or a bustling public square, we need to create compelling opportunities for conversation and engagement, and expand the ways we weave together our vast array of cultures, beliefs, neighbourhoods, incomes and ages.

“This summit, and the many conversations and actions it catalyzes, will lead to a healthier, happier and more cohesive Vancouver.”

On Friday, Sept. 21, Mayor Robertson will join mayors from other cities in the region for a mayor’s roundtable on urban isolation and stronger communities.  Mayors will discuss municipal strategies for strengthening community bonds, increasing residents’ sense of belonging, and building more vibrant and resilient communities.

The Community Summit kicks off Tuesday night at the Orpheum Theatre with a discussion featuring SFU Chancellor Carole Taylor, Toronto artist-activist Dave Meslin, former city planner Larry Beasley, CBC radio host Nora Young, and the Vancouver Foundation’s vice president of public engagement and communications, Catherine Clement.

Spoken-word artist Shane Koyczan and Vancouver band Bend Sinister will also appear.

For a complete list of events, times and locations, visit the summit website.

The Healthy City Strategy is a long-term, integrated plan for healthier people, healthier places, and a healthier planet.

Healthy City Strategy

The Healthy City Strategy a long-term, integrated plan for healthier people, places, and planet. Learn more about our goals and actions.