|40 weeks ago I read a theory that going for 50 coffees with people you’ve never met is the entrepreneur’s equivalent to the theory that doing anything for 10,000 hours will make you an expert on it. While I get the idea, 50 coffees is far easier than practicing something for ten years, and while I’m far from lazy I decided to set out on a fairly simple mission: over 50 weeks I’m inviting 50 interesting Vancouverites, most of whom I have never met before, to go for coffee. I’m using this as an exercise in networking for myself and for V.I.A. while also using it as a platform to introduce you to some people who are doing really cool stuff in the city you live in.
Meet Sam Sullivan. Former Mayor of Vancouver, curator and host of the Public Salons that I recently ENCOURAGED you to attend and the Urban Forum that our Robert White ATTENDED, Member of the Order of Canada, Adjunct Professor with the UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture as well as a longtime advocate for the densification of Vancouver. After his 15 year tenure as a councillor and then mayor, Sam has continued to tackle civic issues in this great city by starting Global Civic, an organization “for research and reflection on civil society, local government and citizenship.” and one of the big issues he’s tackling right now is the one of densification and, subsequently, housing affordability and livability. 7 years after coining (and subsequently trademarking) the term “EcoDensity”, this month Sam’s message has reached a bit of a fever pitch as he (and it) is currently on the cover of both the Georgia Straight and Vancouver Magazine.
In his COVER STORY for the Straight Daniel Wood calls urbanism “The new environmentalism… primarily about cities” and I’m personally sitting somewhere between Sam and Jane Jacobs on the densification issue, while leaning quite a bit further in favour of towers than Jane. I’m not an expert on the subject like the incredible panel that he brought together for the Urban Forum, but I feel pretty strongly that we should be building up downtown and also that as citizens of the greatest city in the world all of our neighbourhoods are going to have to compromise and absorb more density if we all want to continue to live here. Read the Straight article HERE for a hard look at the issue and Sam’s take on it.
I was honoured to share a wonderful lunch (and, of course, coffee) at Diva at the Met with Sam and his lovely partner Lynn Zanatta, and while we did touch on the issue of density it was mostly a friendly chat between people interested in making positive moves in a city we love. I’ve been accused of leaving my 50 Coffees readers wanting more with these features, and I stand guilty as charged as it’s how I designed it! So I’ll once again not tell you everything that we talked about and leave you to guess.
Stay tuned for more 50 Coffees!