Unsurprisingly, the youth know of a few good things in Whistler

Sustainable Cities is helping the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) engage youth in their Official Community Plan Update. The Municipality has begun a broad-based participatory process to create a community driven Update that is in line with the municipality’s long range plan, Whistler 2020, and reflective of community needs. Youth is one demographic they want to hear from.

With support from the BC Real Estate Foundation, SC and the RMOW are engaging youth in mapping their local assets. The project was kicked off on September 25th and 26th with a two day workshop where youth leaders were trained in asset mapping techniques and an initial census of youth priorities was gathered. Chief among the concerns of the participating youth were 1) drug and alcohol use in public spaces; 2) conservation of wilderness areas and; 3) protection of places for outdoor recreation.

This project is part of a longer term goal of integrating the youth voice into the decision making processes at the Municipality. If this weekend’s workshop was any indication, the RMOW will benefit form the critical and forward thinking skills of its young citizens.


About sustainablecitiesnetwork

Sustainable Cities International is a registered not-for-profit organization based in Vancouver, Canada. Operating since 1993, the mission of Sustainable Cities is to catalyze action on urban sustainability with cities around the world. We work by connecting and mobilizing people through the process of co-creating. We facilitate a thriving, international network of cities that act as urban laboratories: adopting, testing and improving on innovations. Ideas are accelerated through sharing of experience and cities are making transformational change a reality
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7 Responses to Unsurprisingly, the youth know of a few good things in Whistler

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Unsurprisingly, the youth know of a few good things in Whistler | Sustainable Cities : PLUS Network blog -- Topsy.com

  2. Max says:

    Very interesting work in Whistler. I feel that the fact that many of Whistler’s youths are temporary seasonal residents, and come from international background poses a unique challenge. Which youth are selected to be part of the process? How does one deal with the consistently changing population? In such a tourism driven economy, does the temporary tourist have an equal say as the local? Cool project!

  3. Eric Brown says:

    So far, the project in Whistler has targeted high school students age 13-17. They are relatively easy to connect with through the school and represent an important demographic of residents. The argument and politics for engaging this group are pretty straight forward: if the RMOW wants young people to stay in Whistler and enjoy living there, it must respond to the needs of these residents now and in the future (ie. when they move out from their parents homes and have to afford accommodation).

    This said, you are absolutely right that another HUGE youth population exists in the 19-30 range. By and large, individuals in this cohort are highly transient and come from allover Canada and other parts of the world. The service based economy of Whistler is dependent on these young people to work in the shops, restaurants and hotels. The resort and town would not exist without their (cheap) labour and I would argue that they also deserve a voice in the OCP process. However, I get the sense that there is some tension between “local” and “landed” residents of Whistler, and in whose image Whistler should be shaped. Market forces tend to shape Whistler in a way that already caters to visitors – which is how a lot of “locals” might see “landed” residents.

    I am looking to find a way to engage this group, through asset mapping or another means. I think it would be interesting to include their views on what makes Whistler such an attractive place to live and what could make it better. Asset Mapping night at Buffalo Bills anyone?

  4. Andy Friedman says:

    These are issues we’re really struggling with here in Colima, Mexico. We’re also working with local youth in a high school to engage them in the local planning process. And my fellow intern, Max is busy playing soccer to get to know the youth who aren’t in school, but where does the soccer end and the mapping/visioning start? In public participation processes, how do we find ways to engage the transient and the vulnerable groups who aren’t going to participate in a community planning workshop? Lock them in a room with tacos and beer?

    • gismendez says:

      I never though about the boundaries between soccer and planning! ūüėČ It’s a very valuable question. I think the core has to be on the trust and personal links of trust that you build along soccer, or whatever activity you have to endorse to get into the community.
      What does a community means, anyway? Share values, concerns, space and life. We need to adjust our methodology in order to fit theirs.
      We need to find the dots in order to connect them.
      I would like to know what Jackie (Durban) thinks about this!! ūüėČ

  5. Bongumusa says:

    Definately youth is a critical component of the society. They have a role in echoing what they think will advance their lives. They may be limited to what they need immidiately however it is upon us to allow them to consider the longterm benefits of today’s decision. The other issue which we need to look critically is how our processes provide opportunity to youth and youth orgainzations to make input and be actively involved. Today’s youth are tomorrow leaders???

    • gismendez says:

      That last one is surely a strong statement! Aren’t we still young Bongumusa? ūüėČ
      We need the generational balance, and I agree that our job is to transfer and be transferred the responsibility of action, actual action in the power of youth, and wisdom from the ones that are leading us now.

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