Data

Location
Vancouver
British Columbia
Canada
Scope of Operations & Activities
City/Town
Sector
Non-Profit or Non Governmental
General Issues
Education
Environment
Governance & Political Institutions
Specific Topics
Youth Issues
Homelessness
Links
CityHive official website
Radius - Why CityHive
CityHive's Facebook
CityHive Twitter
General Types of Tools/Techniques
Inform, educate and/or raise awareness
Specific Methods, Tools & Techniques
Civic Education

ORGANIZATION

CityHive Vancouver

January 25, 2020 Jaskiran Gakhal, Participedia Team
January 25, 2020 si3g17
Location
Vancouver
British Columbia
Canada
Scope of Operations & Activities
City/Town
Sector
Non-Profit or Non Governmental
General Issues
Education
Environment
Governance & Political Institutions
Specific Topics
Youth Issues
Homelessness
Links
CityHive official website
Radius - Why CityHive
CityHive's Facebook
CityHive Twitter
General Types of Tools/Techniques
Inform, educate and/or raise awareness
Specific Methods, Tools & Techniques
Civic Education

CityHive is a youth-driven organization based in Vancouver, which works to bring together young people in civic education programs and projects to help shape their cities. Youths engage in consultation and implementation of initiatives to aid institutions and organisations.

Mission and Purpose

CityHive was founded in Vancouver, Canada in 2017 and created in order to face major existing and latent challenges concerning issues such as the understanding of migrants, polarised groups, and education. A key belief of CityHive is that the youth have innovative energy that they would like to harness in order to combat the stated issues, raise awareness and allow young people to become engaged in a democratically political landscape. 

This organisation envisions a city where youth actively partake directly in the planning and decision making processes that affect their city. By doing this, CityHive allows young people to feel empowered and involved, and gives them a sense of duty, thereby enabling them to have a direct impact on their city. All of this is ultimately designed to realise the vision of a 'sustainable, inclusive and liveable' Vancouver, somewhere youth will want to live and stay.[1]

Origins and Development

Veronica Bylicki and Tessica Truong, co-founders of CityHive, envisaged development of a symbiotic relationship between residents aged 16-30 and institutions to create a more sustainable and engaging relationship with the city. Tessica Truong was inspired to create CityHive due to reconstruction in her childhood residential neighborhood that made the area exclusive to a small community and closed off from non-residents.[2] Her concerns that the area's youth were not able to contribute to the planning and decision making processes inspired her to create a forum called 'Plan-it Earth'. She experimented with programs and initiatives to create a more inclusive city until she co-founded CityHive.[2]

Organizational Structure, Membership, and Funding

CityHive was co-founded and co-directed in 2017 by Veronica Bylicki and Tessica Truong. The reason for creating this organisation was to bridge the disparity between the youth and institutions in which they reside. This organisation receives a wide range funding from sponsors such as:

  • City of Vancouver
  • Downtown Vancouver
  • Generation Squeeze
  • Real Estate Foundation (British Columbia)
  • Landlord BC
  • Landlord Registry (from Landlord BC)

The exact amount of money donated is not stated. However, it is clear that CityHive has a healthy relationship with many organisations that sponsor it, allowing projects to be realised with the goal of Vancouver becoming a more democratic and inclusive city. 

Membership

One of the driving forces of this organisation since its inception is called '30Network'. This is a public 'think-and-do-tank' for thirty civic-minded leaders under thirty who come together to learn about civic issues affecting Vancouver. Participants are selected after sending off a Civic Engagement form. Applicants are hand-picked from a range of social backgrounds and a diverse scope of experiences. Even though CityHive does not claim that the selected applicants are representative of Vancouver, it is clear that they value diversity and multiplicity amongst the chosen leaders, allowing the network to be more socially representative. 

Participants for other events are sometimes selected by project leaders if they are presumed to be experts or advocates of a particular viewpoint, but otherwise are open to the public. Some projects such as 'Bring Your Own Suitcase' rely on migrants to show up.

Specializations, Methods and Tools

Major Projects and Events

After being selected, the group of thirty applicants come together and discuss issues such as environmental/energy problems, homelessness, and education quality. They then consider ways to solve these issues by creating projects that are sponsored and funded to catalyse success. 

Ice Breakers- depolarising politics

This project aims to foster dialogue between polarised groups in light-hearted and enjoyable social settings. This could be between, for example, drivers and cyclists or teachers and students.

It works by first selecting a polarising issue/topic that will spark deliberation and engagement amongst the public. Then, experts and advocates on each side of the debate are invited to speak at the events, allowing for a fairer representation of each viewpoint. The last stage opens the events to the public to gauge their thoughts, ideas, and viewpoints. Once everyone has gathered together, a team initiates dialogue by tweeting provocative or polarising viewpoints to encourage communication, whilst also being the ones to facilitate the conversation. 

Other forms of Ice Breakers also are being carried out. One event saw a giant 'Jenga' game being played which let the public engage in differing opinions to depolarise motorists from cyclists. This allowed for groups to empathise with the struggles of a group with a differing view, bringing people together.

MentAlly

'MentAlly' is directed at the wider public and then the millennial generation in Vancouver who may have mental health issues or barriers preventing them from voting in elections. 'MentAlly' seeks to boost the confidence of these individuals and give them a sense of autonomy to enable them to vote in local, provincial or federal elections. Leaders who are working on this project planned to train volunteers and begin pre-voting services in the months of July, August and September of 2018. In the Month of October 2018, the team at MentAlly planned to hand out 'toolkits' to voting stations.[3] This project seeks to remove mental health as a barrier to political participation.

Count Me In

The 'Count me In' project aims to boost civic engagement of people of the ages 24-35 who are reported to be the bracket of people with the lowest turnout in Canada. 'Count Me In' takes a newer approach by targeting people in their workplaces and third places to encourage them to participate in elections. 

There are said to be three layers to this project. The first layer will be the ambassador team themselves who will be responsible for disseminating information to their friends and family, the immediate social circle around them. The second layer come from the people in those workplaces whilst the third layer comes into play by partnering with coffee shops or dining establishments.[4]

Public attention is grasped through items such as posters, banners or board signs displaying politically provocative slogans/messages to encourage and elicit political thought and therefore political engagement.[4] Texting services will also be used to remind and persuade people to vote, as most younger people nowadays are online and have mobile devices. 

Bring Your Own Suitcase (BYOS)

Those in charge of this project looks at understanding, tolerance and acceptance of migrants in Vancouver. The 'Bring Your Own Suitcase' project is an interactive series of events where residents and migrants exchange a wealth of knowledge for mutual benefit. In these events, migrants bring an item which they first brought with them when arriving in Vancouver. Project leaders of BYOS suggest that here, community building achieved through storytelling.[5] In addition to this, it has been said that when you do not recognise the qualities and assets that people bring with them, it can make them feel alienated within the community that they are living in. 

Analysis and Lessons Learned

CityHive was founded in 2017 and launched many projects which have changed and evolved over time to cover a wider range of issues. In 2017, projects looked dominantly on housing issues such as the barriers first-time renters face in Vancouver in 'Housed Up'. On the other hand, 'Empty Nests' looked at trying to promote healthy relationships between renters and rentees. Since then, CityHive has come to focus more on other social issues such as education, understanding of migrants and attempting to depolarise groups within society. This shows that CityHive is actively trying to address a multitude of issues that Vancouverites face. 

Although CityHive, and more specifically, the '30Network' community has shown valiant efforts to increase the democratic inclusivity of Vancouver, there are still elements which could be improved.

Firstly, thirty people do not seem like a lot of people if CityHive is trying to be inclusive. There should be larger teams and more of them. This would allow for a greater participation and involvement of youths, working together simultaneously to create a more democratic Vancouver. There may also be some form of unconscious bias when selecting applicants since they are handpicked, which means that not all applicants have an equal chance of becoming part of the '30Network' initiative. As Keren and Teigen suggest, people often look at stereotypes and heuristics unknowingly because they are unable to analyse information completely.[6] These cognitive shortcuts, as described by Keren and Teigen mean that people often overlook information and come to premature conclusions.[6] This means that those who are picking candidates to join the '30Network' could unknowingly pass unfair and biased judgement on applicants due to gender or social background. It has also been said that people are swayed not only by negative but also positive stereotypes,[7] perhaps giving people unwarranted advantages.

Accessibility may also be an issue for people wanting to get involved. These events and programs not all over Vancouver and are limited to the city alone at best. This may prevent many people from getting involved with their projects and limiting the amount of exposure and popularity the non-profit organisation gets through 'word of mouth'. Because of this, it might not cater to sections of the Vancouver/ Canada that need to be encouraged the most to engage civically and participate politically. Therefore, it is likely that they are operating in areas where there are relatively high levels of civic engagement in the first place.

Despite funding from multiple organisations, with smaller projects still trying to raise upwards of $1000, and this may not be enough to expand initiatives across the city. Money is always an issue, especially for upcoming organisations like CityHive. The lack of funding or periods of lower donations from sponsors may halt the quality of projects and not allow for the best execution of programs designed to encourage people in civic engagement. If this is solved by cutting costs, people may ignore or dismiss projects if they are not seen as good quality. Funding may also be an issue since CityHive is a non-profit organisation, and a drop in funding may cripple the organisation. 

Migrants may not feel comfortable out of fear of judgement, prejudice or discrimination. Despite projects such as 'Bring Your Own Suitcase' trying to abolish just that, it still may be hard for migrants to show up if they feel uncomfortable revealing themselves if they will be seen as others. This may especially be hard if they have already settled well into the community and have adopted the language, culture or tradition of Vancouver. As previously stated, migrants may be judged based on stereotypes or heuristics[6] and this may prevent real understanding between migrants and other members of the public. 

People may be turned off from civic engagement due to texting services. It is clear that texting (SMS) is one of the main and most popular forms of communication in recent history. However, this has also increased the number of spam text messages. According to Nagwani, the majority of SMS text messages are now spam.[8] This means that people may be first be deterred from using text messaging services in the first place, but it could also mean that people get frustrated by constant text messages reminding them to vote. This frustration and annoyance could lead to the opposite effect of people not wanting to go and vote. In addition, it is very easy for text messages to be ignored from 'silent' functions on phones, especially if people are at work. Encouraging civic engagement via text messaging may also not work if people's devices are not in areas of sufficient signal. It is clear that texting services are dependent on a lot of factors and thus may not be the best method of trying to increase civic engagement.

There was little media coverage, but it was positive. Ducklow praises CityHive for empowering the youth and allowing them to engage in key decision making process in Vancouver.[9]

Publications

Does this organization publish reports, studies, or other media? Help us complete this section!

See Also

Deliberation

References

[1] 'CityHive' main website, 2017/2018, https://www.cityhive.ca/. Viewed 10 December 2018.

[2] Truong. T, 2017, 'Why CityHive? The power and potential for youth to transform cities.' https://radiussfu.com/guest-blog-why-cityhive-youth-transform-cities/. Viewed 10 December 2018.

[3]' MentAlly Pitch Deck', 2018, pp.4, https://www.cityhive.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/MentAlly-Pitch-Deck.pdf. Viewed 10 December 2018. [DEAD LINK]

[4] 'Count Me In Pitch Deck', 2018, https://www.cityhive.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Count-Me-In-Pitch-Deck.pdf. Viewed 10 December 2018. [DEAD LINK]

[5] Nyberg. J, Yusef. A, Bravo. M, 2018, 'Bring Your Own Suitcase', pp. 6, https://www.cityhive.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/BYOS-Pitch-Slides.pdf. Accessed 10 December 2018. [DEAD LINK]

[6] Keren, G. and Teigen, K. H. (2004) ‘Yet another look at the heuristics and biases approach’, in Koehler, D. J. and Harvey, N. (eds) Blackwell handbook of judgment and decision making. Malden: Blackwell Publishing, pp. 89–109. doi: 10.1002/9780470752937.ch5. Viewed 11 December 2018.

[7] Shields, S. A., Zawadzki, M. J. and Johnson, R. N. (2011) ‘The impact of the Workshop Activity for Gender Equity Simulation in the Academy (WAGES–Academic) in demonstrating cumulative effects of gender bias’, Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 4(2), pp. 120–129. doi: 10.1037/a0022953. Viewed 11 December 2018.

[8] Nagwani, N. K. ,2014 ‘A Bi-level text classification approach for SMS spam filtering and identifying priority messages’International Arab Journal of Information Technology, 14(4), pp. 473–480. Available at: https://iajit.org/PDF/%20Vol%2014,%20No.%204/8538.pdf. Viewed 11 December 2018.

[9] Ducklow. Z, 2018 'Emerging Leaders working to give millennials political vote' . https://thetyee.ca/Presents/2018/10/24/Emerging-Leaders-Working-Millennials-Political-Voice/. Viewed 11 December 2018.

[10] '30Network Civic Engagement Application' , 2017/2018, https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeTW6L2nrCELAsnraue-zV39fjU0ZrgyyJH_OQ8vvXnIvGbkw/viewform. Viewed 10 December 2018.

External Links

Notes

This entry was originally submitted as a case and was converted to an organization to align with Participedia classifications.