Strong Democracies, Smart Cities? Swiss & Canadian Experiences

Location: The Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, AP Hall, Room 100, 580 West Hastings Street

2:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.: Public Symposium

5:45 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.: Pre-Reception Debate

7:00 p.m –8:00 p.m.: Reception

Globally competing city regions are shaping the daily life of an increasing share of the world’s population. At the same time, doubts in representative government have fuelled calls for more radical forms of democratic involvement. Enthusiasts of participatory democracy often refer to Switzerland with its strong local self-rule by means of direct legislation. Concurrently, governments in Canada and elsewhere are experimenting with deliberative citizen assemblies, new forms of community planning and the use of new social media. By bringing together leading scholars and practitioners of democracy and urban planning we set out to envision the democratic potential of urban space. We look at Zurich in Switzerland, and Vancouver, B.C, and ask: How well have democratic institutions tapped civic resources and diversity at the urban scale? And what exactly are the merits of democratizing urban space? Does more democracy actually lead to better governance, eventually even to “smarter cities”?

Sponsored by the Swiss Consulate in Vancouver, Simon Fraser University Centre for Dialogue Bruce & Lis Welch Community Award, UBC Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions, and the UBC Institute for European Studies in the UBC Department of Political Science.

RSVP here.

See full program and speaker information here.

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