Select Page

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 Approach

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

Honey Mae is a creative technologist who practices design thinking in communications design, conservation advocacy, and in community-level food security literacy through regenerative agriculture.

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. 

Sarah Chahley

Research Assistant, Knowledge Mobilization Hub, NUICC

Bachelor of Social Work Student, Indigenous Specialization University of Victoria, BC

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.

David Laulainen

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.”

 

Kristen Munk

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

Passionate about working in community to build ambitious solutions to complicated challenges. Irwin is in his element connecting public policy, decision makers, and communities to design paths forward for enduring solutions. Through social research, engagement, policy writing, and building organisational infrastructures inclusive neighbourhoods and cities are created.

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

As a graduate student in Urban Studies, with a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences, Isabela has had the opportunity to work with non-profit organisations in projects focusing in rural Indigenous communities in Panama and since her arrival in Vancouver, she has made it her mission to focus her research in urban Indigenous Peoples. Some areas of study include the cultural and environmental battles among the Guna Peoples in the caribbean region of Panama, these being one of the first communities facing displacement caused by, among others, climate change; a forest governance and trade advisory program with the Emberá Peoples in the Darien region; and the economic discrimination among urban Indigenous Peoples in Canada, its history and repercussions.

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.

Chelsey Schmidtke

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.

Photo of Chantelle Spicer, project coordinator for Voor Urban Labs

Chantelle Spicer

Research Associate, Voor Urban Labs Knowledge Mobilization Hub, NUICC

Chantelle Spicer has Mi’kmaq, Moroccan and Austrian roots and is committed to working in good and respectful ways for Indigenous sovereignty as a visitor on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. She recently completed a Master’s degree in Anthropology at Simon Fraser University with their thesis titled: “Knowing the land as home and alive: Re-centering Snuneymuxw’s relationship to Saysutshun in co-management,” proposing the need to move beyond colonially-centered land co-management arrangements and to re-centre Indigenous processes and institutions. Prior to this, they completed a Bachelors in Indigenous Studies and Anthropology at Vancouver Island University. They are also the Co-Chair of Students for Consent Culture Canada where their work lies in building communities of care in and between social movements, advocating for institutional accountability and centering the experiences of communities marginalised and harmed by the current systems.

Tell us how we can collaborate in your next shared success. 

VooR Urban Labs
#507 - 239 East Georgia St, Vancouver, BC  V6A 4J7
info@voor.ca