Voor (dutch, preposition) /voːr/, [vʊːr] 1. for,
2. before, 3. in front of
Voor Urban Labs gathers people together to co-design and build creative solutions to complex social challenges. We believe everyone has a right to healthy communities, creative spaces and meaningful work and we support all the parties to bring their best effort to the table. We believe complex problems require authentic conversations that are informed by diverse experiences to work for your specific solutions.
WHAT we’re best at
Our core team builds lovely ambitious solutions to complex challenges and along the way we employ planners, designers and sector leaders where we need additional specific intelligence. As critical urbanists we know that it takes everyone to show up to participate.
Our ethical framework means community work is all about “nothing without us” and our research is non-extractive because solutions must be rooted in education and empowerment of all parties. Each initiative we support is grounded in our decades of experience breaking down silos to ensure equity and imagination are foundation principles for community solutions.
What we have done
Voor is designed as a people and strategy hub that leverages our experiences in research, design, engagement and building solutions – from building community infrastructure and housing, delivering thousands of events, festivals and publications, developing social policy, securing millions in public and private funds, designing research studies, and scaling up social enterprise and traditional business models.
Meet the Voor Team
(In alphabetical order)
Honey Mae Caffin
Design, Communications & Marketing
She has worked in academic publishing and in the non-profit sector. This provides a broad experience with both institutional design and community design frameworks.
She advocates for grassroots, community-level issues around ecological restoration, indigenous rights, open access to ICT (knowledge economy) and regenerative agriculture (food security) literacy for marginalized communities.
Research Assistant, Knowledge Mobilization Hub, NUICC
Sarah Chahley brings with her more than a decade of experience working with folks on the front line and interfacing with resource partners to fill in gaps in impacted communities. Her non-profit sector experience on Vancouver Island ranges from disability services, working with women living in/out of shelters, supporting people living with addictions and concurrent disorders, coordinating hardship assistance for low/no-income individuals and families, and most recently as a specialized case manager and employment consultant.
She is Tsimshian from her mother’s side, and mixed settler ancestry on her father’s side. Sarah is completing a Bachelor of Social Work Indigenous Specialization at the University of Victoria, and has completed a year of Indigenous/Xwulmuxw studies at Vancouver Island University. Sarah is a parent and is currently studying the Sm’algyax language through the University of Alaska SE. Sarah’s family has been impacted by the child welfare system and the sixties scoop. Her research interests explore the incorporation of reclaiming and integrating traditional languages with Indigenous communities, and pathways forward to healing, rebuilding and strengthening communities that are finding their way back to their cultures.
Research Associate, Strategy Co-Lead
With a reputation for being highly collaborative, effective, and socially-responsible in business, David has been recognized for leadership over many disciplines with multiple stakeholders. With a specialty in placemaking, cultural literacy, and strategic planning, David places a high value on the idea that business is about relationships, and that organizations succeed when they are people-centred and accountable to their communities.
David has served the community locally on community economic development and finance fronts as a member of the CCEC Credit Union Board of Directors. He was an Advisory Council member, Surrey Cares Foundation, supporting endowment funds growth strategy. David also served the Board of Directors of the Congress for the New Urbanism, Cascadia Chapter. David has Finnish/American family roots.
Kanatase Horn M.A, PhD Candidate
Instructor, Law & Legal Studies, Carleton University
Chair, Knowledge Mobilization Hub, NUICC
Kanatase Horn is a member of the Mohawks of Kahnawake, and currently lives in the Ottawa region with his family. He is a PhD candidate at Carleton University, in the Department of Law and Legal Studies and teaches at Univ of Ottawa and Carleton University. His work challenges the frequent assumption that cities are incompatible with expressions of Indigeneity, and instead celebrates how Indigenous peoples have developed strong urban communities over the decades.
In his work Kanatase explores the role of kinship and the interwoven relationship between reclaiming of urban spaces as Indigenous spaces through political processes, exploring UNDRIP as a platform and framework to flex greater political influence in urban environments in ways that reflect their inherent right to self-determination. Kanatase has also investigated Indigenous over-representation in the criminal justice system in urban contexts. Kanatase holds an MA from Carleton University in the School of Canadian Studies with a thesis: “Reconfiguring Assimilation: Understanding the First Nations Property Ownership Act in Historical Context.”
Social Media Coordinator, Communications & Marketing
Born in a small town outside of Vancouver, in Sto:lo Territory, Kristen grew up exploring the outdoors, surrounded by the beauty of Coast Salish lands. Before studying Biology and Environmental Science at university, she backpacked through Southeast Asia. Once she returned home, she wanted to share her passion for environmental conservation through advocacy and communications.
She is reconnecting with her Metis and Cree roots and exploring Indigebous Studies. She has worked in communications and social media management in various fields. She also specializes in digital marketing and has a passion for ecological restoration and Indigenous reconciliation.
Irwin Oostindie, Director
Research Lead, Strategy & Business Lead
With more than three decades track record in complex cross-cultural environments, Irwin has worked for multiple local governments, First Nations, public sites, as Executive Director for multiple non-profits, and founded multiple community formations in Vancouver’s inner-city and suburbs. An expert in urban planning, social procurement, community cultural and economic development, he is also a thought leader on redress and reconciliation in Canada. He is happiest at work co-designing multi-stakeholder solutions to complex problems facing impacted communities.
Isabela Ortiz Orozco B.A., GDip
Research Associate, Project Coordinator
Isabela wishes to focus her future work in community development in which concrete solutions for inclusion, representation and justice supporting vulnerable communities of the urban spaces.
Researcher, Indigenous Design, Engagement, Landscape Architecture
Chelsey has extensive planning and environmental design experience with Indigenous communities.
For the past seven years, Chelsey has worked on projects involving intensive, multi- stakeholder and community consultation where she has created interpretive strategies for a variety of unique site needs and constraints, including parks and recreation master plans. Chelsey led Voor’s recent community capital project engagement planning. Chelsey also supports Indigenous health communication and event planning.
Chelsey is a member of Bigstone Cree Nation (Treaty 8, Northern Alberta) and an Indigenous person of mixed heritage.
Research Associate, Voor Urban Labs Knowledge Mobilization Hub, NUICC
Tell us how we can collaborate in your next shared success.
VooR Urban Labs
#507 - 239 East Georgia St, Vancouver, BC V6A 4J7