Solidarity Economics (2022)
As Director of Research at Solid State, I research and write about all things Solidarity Economics, a theoretical and practical pursuit of alternative ways of engaging in the economy which stands in contrast with Capitalist (or Neoclassical) Economics. Here I write and illustrate the conceptual foundations, values and practical elements that constitute the Solidarity Economy. Read it here.
Crisis Intimacies: The Dialectics of Shared Housing (2021)
My Master's thesis explores the formation and negotiation of shared households among renters in the City of Vancouver as a response to the ongoing housing crisis.
Building on previous scholarship which emphasizes how structural and contextual forces can shape housing choices and conditions, the study offers a glimpse into the lives of roommates as they navigate and cope with living in households that are often formed out of necessity, posing interesting challenges to the experience of housing and being-at-home.
Roommate renters are made to dwell in spaces built and designed for nuclear families, further complicating the experience of living together, in addition to grappling with insecure tenancies due to the lack of recognition of these types of households in city bylaws and provincial residential tenancy laws.
Using urban ethnographic methods and interdisciplinary theoretical frameworks, shared households are revealed as spaces of both crisis and intimacy, containing within them contradictory encounters and tensions, while at the same time laying bare moments of skillfulness, creativity, and care as roommates engage in a constant process of learning how to live together
Read it in full here.
Download my thesis defence presentation here:
Media Minds (2020)
In 2020, I co-authored a study and wrote this final report for a community-based pilot project called Media Minds, a free after-school program that provided team-based workshops helping youth to integrate better into their communities in Surrey, BC.
The project teaches grade 6-7 students filmmaking skills through a tiered mentorship program. University students mentor high school students, who in turn mentor the grade school participants. Methods I used involved fieldwork and ethnography, photo documentation and community engaged research, considering I was a participant-researcher within the entire project.
Done in partnership with Surrey Schools and SFU Surrey Community Engagement Office, the project was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Canada.
Download the full document here:
Urban Housing Policy Brief for Women Fleeing IPV in BC (2019)
An eight-page policy brief detailing the barriers to housing faced by women fleeing intimate partner violence (IPV) in British Columbia. Created using Adobe Illustrator, I write and illustrate to explain why the current housing structures fail women who face IPV. The relationship between women fleeing IPV and homelessness is also considered in that violence against women often has its own, specific pathway into homelessness that remains unaddressed in other related literature.
Download the full document here:
The Neo-Revanchist City (2018)
A historical and critical inquiry into the Foreign Buyer’s Tax in Vancouver, BC.
I. A Tale of Two City Animals
“We have not captured the Otter. I know people are very curious.”
(Howard Normann, Director of Parks, City of Vancouver)
On November 23 2018, news media outlets in Vancouver collectively reported on an all-out city effort to catch a river otter, which they’ve discovered, has eaten at least 7 valuable adult koi from the Dr. Sun Yat-Set Classical Chinese Garden (CBC 2018). At the time of my writing, the otter was reported to have gone into a “rampage” with its 10th casualty, provoking banter about whether one was on #TeamOtter or #TeamKoi in this playful saga. This tale of the otter and the koi became fodder for various news outlets in the city, perhaps because of a metaphor begging to be made. The Otter v. Koi debate was reported to reveal a “cultural blindness” at the heart of Vancouver history (The Star 2018). The Globe and the Mail similarly reports that the story slowly began morphing into something beyond the superficial narrative. Some interpreted the otter’s “remarkable 12-day reign of terror” as an analogue of the tensions over cultural relevance and belongingness in the city. Community advocate Melody Ma has compared the death of the koi directly to the death of Chinatown, a neighbourhood with racially fraught beginnings, now, once again at the mercy of one may argue, a present incarnation of a colonial past - gentrification.
For a seemingly banal encounter between two small animals, it’s worth interrogating why it garnered such emotional and active responses from the government and the community. Beyond these figurative musings, race has always implicitly and explicitly informed the discourse of belonging in Vancouver. Neighbourhoods are particularly useful units of analysis because they reflect specific histories in how certain neighbourhoods were borne out of enforced isolation as a result of second class citizenship. Chinatown, for example, clearly reflects the highly racialized struggles over landscape, houses, zoning, and ideologies of togetherness (Mitchell 2004: 35). “What are we really talking about when we talk about otters and koi?” asks the urban geographer Eugene McCann. “We’re talking about ourselves, our neighbourhoods, and our lives in a rapidly changing city” (The Globe and Mail 2018). In a survey conducted on August 2018, 90% of Vancouver residents have agreed that the city is in the middle of a housing crisis (Insights West August 2, 2018 – Global News). When asked about what they thought the primary cause of the housing crisis was, 84% of respondents agreed on the reason: “foreign home buyers.”