Symposium Agenda, June 7-8

Agenda for Living Together: Connecting housing, social well-being and resilience.

June 7th – 8th, 2022
Attend in-person for one or both days, OR attend select panels virtually via Zoom livestream.
SFU Wosk Centre for Dialogue, 580 W Hastings St, Vancouver

Tuesday, June 7th

JUNE 7In-personVirtual
8:00am – 9:00amNetworking, coffee, registrationNo virtual programming
9:00am – 11:00amTackling loneliness: Lessons from near and far
Sarah Silva,CEO, Hiy̓ám̓ ta Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Housing Society
Joan Ramon Riera Alemany, Councillor, City of Barcelona
Ashley Flanagan, Research Fellow, National Institute on Ageing
11:00am – 11:30amBreakOnline discussion
11:30am – 12:30pmDialogue activities with attendeesNo virtual programming
12:30pm – 1:45pmCatered lunchNo virtual programming
1:45pm – 3:15pmFLUID Sociability tool: Demonstration and panel discussion
Bruce Haden, Co-Founder, Human Studio
Sadhu Johnston, Former City Manager, City of Vancouver
Iris Lok,University of British Columbia, Department of Psychology
Madyson McKay, Project Manager, City of Calgary
3:15pm – 3:20pmBreakNo virtual programming
3:20pm – 4:20pmTowards Metro 2050: Equity report and mapping tools
Erin Rennie,Senior Regional Planner, Metro Vancouver
Laurie Bates-Frymel,Senior Planner (Environment), Metro Vancouver

Wednesday, June 8th

JUNE 8In-personVirtual
10:00am – 12:00pmResilient and socially connected housing: Learning from industry champions
Michael Eliason, Founder, Larch Lab
John Wall, Public Architecture, Vienna House project
Kent Patenaude, Development Manager, Lu’ma Development
12:00pm – 1:00pmCatered lunchNo virtual programming
1:00pm – 4:00pmWORKSHOP – Guidelines and policies for social connection in multi-unit housing: A co-creative workshop
Michael Epp, Director of Planning, City of North Vancouver
Madeleine Hebert, Housing Researcher / Intern Architect, Happy Cities
Houssam Elokda, Interim Managing Principal, Happy Cities
No virtual programming

Tackling loneliness: Lessons from near and far

Tuesday June7th, 9:00a.m.–11:00a.m.
In-person OR virtual

No one is immune from loneliness or social isolation, but strong evidence shows that this crisis disproportionately affects lower-income households, seniors and people facing discrimination (not unlike socio- economic factors putting people more at risk of COVID-19). In recent years, younger people have also expressed worrisomely high rates of loneliness—often higher than seniors. For seniors, though—the demographic that receives the strongest attention from Canadian policymakers on this issue—the health consequences can be severe, often compounding other age-related vulnerabilities.

We all have a role to play in tackling loneliness and social isolation. The leadership that we need includes government policymakers and funders; municipal planners and health professionals; developers, architects and housing operators; non-profits, faith groups and businesses; researchers and consultants and individuals.

Learn from a fantastic panel of Indigenous, local, national and international leaders and then join fellow participants—both online and in person—to learn from each other, find ideas for deepening your work and build a stronger collective voice.


Sarah Silva, Chief Executive Officer, Hiy̓ám̓ ta Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Housing Society

What have Hiyám̓ Housing leaders learned so far on their journey to providing new affordable housing that helps welcome more Squamish home? How will Hiy̓ám̓ Housing offer solutions to social isolation for residents, and how can Squamish culture be advanced within new buildings? What can non-Indigenous communities learn from this journey to improve opportunities for social connections and better relations within other homes and communities?

Joan Ramon Riera Alemany, Councillor, City of Barcelona

What are the roots of loneliness as a problem demanding civic action in Barcelona, giving rise to their 2020-2030 Municipal Strategy Against Loneliness? What were the key steps in crafting and launching this 10-year strategy? What impacts have they seen so far and what can Canadian municipalities learn?

Ashley Flanagan, Research Fellow, National Institute on Ageing

Where are we at in Canada in terms of policy attention on loneliness and social isolation as it pertains to older adults? How do we compare internationally and what can we learn from other jurisdictions? Where are there strengths and gaps in Canadian policy approaches and how might we build upon efforts underway and perhaps expand beyond older adults to encompass all impacted Canadians?

FLUID Sociability tool: Demonstration and panel discussion

Tuesday, June 7th, 1:45 p.m.–3:15 p.m.
In-person OR virtual

Join us for a session led by Bruce Haden from Human Studio. During the session, Human Studio will do a demonstration of the FLUID Sociability tool. FLUID is a public good agent-based online simulation tool that allows for quantitative sociability comparisons of different options while buildings are in the early design stages.

The FLUID demonstration will be followed by a panel-style discussion featuring Sadhu Johnston, former City of Vancouver City Manager, Iris Lok from UBC Psychology and Madyson McKay of the City of Calgary. Together, they will discuss the potential impact of FLUID for architects, developers and municipalities and its ability to provide quantitative and comparative data to support design for social connection. They will also discuss the next steps in the project’s evolution.


The FLUID project helps address social connection within our built environment. Social connectivity is a central tool for increasing societal resilience and being able to successfully respond to challenges such as economic inequality, climate change and other potential shocks. Architectural and environmental design can foster (or hinder) certain aspects of social interaction, and so make it easier or harder to form the relationships that lead to individual and community resilience.

FLUID Sociability allows architects to compare designs at early stages in terms of how they support Encounters (the physical opportunity for social interaction), Greetings, and Conversations. The FLUID work is led by Human Studio as a public good project. It is funded by BC Housing and the Robert Woods Johnson Public Health Foundation. Software builders are Distnc.

Towards Metro 2050: Equity report and mapping tools

Tuesday June 7th, 3:20 p.m.–4:20 p.m.
In-person OR virtual

As part of its work to inform Metro 2050—this region’s draft updated regional growth strategy—Metro Vancouver commissioned a social equity report and produced a set of 49 social equity maps for the region based on different indicators of equity including demographic, housing, environmental, economic, and social development data. These maps will be updated with 2021 census data next year.

In 2022/2023 research into social equity and regional planning will continue with a series of “case studies” looking at how spatial equity analysis can support planning decisions that foster equitable outcomes.

Join other Living Together participants to learn about these resources and tools and to take part in a conversation about what types of future case studies might be useful as we work towards more equitable, complete, socially connected and resilient communities.

Resilient and socially connected housing: Learning from industry champions

Wednesday June 8th, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
In-person OR virtual

Join us to hear from industry champions who are working to design and develop more sustainable, affordable and socially connected housing. Each presenter will share a short presentation, followed by a guided Q&A discussion.

There is enormous opportunity to alleviate loneliness and social isolation—and build community, social connectedness and resilience—through the design and programming of multi-unit housing (while advocating for renter protections, more equitable housing policy and poverty eradication!). Forward-thinking architects, developers, housing operators and non-profits are working hard to create and maintain innovative housing forms that support social connectedness and well-being. However, we need supportive policy and funding systems to mainstream this innovative housing.

Our champions will present innovative projects and policies that overcome systemic barriers to create spaces and programming that foster social connectedness. They will also share examples of challenges and barriers to mainstreaming innovative housing across the province.

Workshop: Guidelines and policies for social connection in multi-unit housing: A co- creative workshop

Wednesday June 8th, 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
In-person only

Join us for an in-person workshop led by the team at Happy Cities. The design of the built environment can be pivotal in our ability to feel healthy, safe, and socially connected. During this workshop, we will use design thinking to envision what design guidelines for social connectedness in multi-unit housing could look like and what accompanying policies are needed to implement and incentive such guidelines.

The workshop will feature a presentation by Michael Epp, Director of Planning from the City of North Vancouver, on the Active Design Guidelines. Michael Epp will share how the municipality built, implemented and incentivized the guidelines. Using the Active Design Guidelines and other examples as inspiration, we will work in multidisciplinary breakout teams.

In the first breakout activity, we will look at successful examples of multi-unit housing that enables social connectedness and identify important spatial criteria. Using different lenses including building codes, existing policy and guidelines, affordability, equity and sustainability, we will identify important elements for social connectedness. Once we’ve identified elements, we will co-create “roadmaps” for stakeholders to design and implement guidelines and policies for social connectedness in multi-unit housing.

This workshop is meant to kick off future cross-sectoral policy design dialogues with municipalities across B.C. Following the workshop, Happy Cities will compile the workshop results into a brief.