VOOR URBAN LABS + HUMAN STUDIO
Place-based planning is the key to how we as urban advocates prioritize how we can build our cities to be centred on the economic prosperity of local communities skewed towards inclusivity, ensure environmental sustainability, and create safe, vibrant, and liveable places.
Recently, Voor Urban Labs was invited by Human Studio – a Vancouver-based architecture and urban design firm – to collaborate as strategic partners to align our mutual passion for how we engage with communities to create meaningful places that connect people. Our first project together as co-proponents was to conceptualize, prepare, and submit a joint proposal to create a people-first community hub and safe haven for one of the city’s most vulnerable neighbourhoods with a prominent provincial government housing agency.
As committed experts in community engagement, multi-stakeholder ownership, and capacity building – as well as our authentic relationships and connections to Indigenous Peoples – the Voor team brought its breadth and depth of competencies and capabilities to the relationship with Human Studio to make our joint submission a stronger, more rigorous proposal for a more inclusive community hub.
Together, our team has practical experience decolonizing urban planning by following the Seven Generations philosophy: building for the present, as well as three generations past and three generations in the future. Our goal for the joint proposal was to facilitate a process that makes it easy for people to exchange ideas, solve problems, and build resilient communities.
We believe city planning must move past reconciliation and embrace the critical work of redress and repair. Combined, Human Studio and Voor have a Canada-wide track record in partnering with Indigenous communities, addressing the challenges and opportunities of the urban Indigenous population. Our approach integrates urban Indigenous engagement with community hub architecture that is so essential to success. We stand for inclusive co-design, co-create, and co-build – no exceptions. Everyone is included in our process – structurally, politically, and systematically.
We accomplish this foundational inclusivity through programming – green healing spaces, sacred spaces, and integrated communities – and by assembling adaptive teams to build capacity for social enterprise and procurement. Through Voor’s executive advisory capacity and input from Indigenous team members, we deliver insights and recommendations for politics, change management, terminology and language, landscape and space programming, housing guides, and community engagement best practices.
Both Voor and Human Studio are passionate about community-building for everyone, including Indigenous populations. We want to support the richness of local communities to become stronger and more diverse, and to influence governments and cities to understand their local places and invest in place-based planning that delivers equity in livability and enhances human connectivity to their places.