Village Vancouver

Vancouver's Leader in Transition toward Strong, Resilient, Complete Communities

Common Ground - September 2009, "Welcome to Village Vancouver" by Kathie Wallace and Ross Moster

This article is also available here.

Talk to your neighbour. See what happens...

We want to spread the good news of neighbourhood-based individual action. What have you created this summer and what do you dream of doing next year? What do you like the most about living in your neighbourhood? What essential components make your community the place you love to live in? Please blog us at

In my village

The Laura Jamieson Housing Co-op (LJHC) is a dynamic and engaged community and a real example of how a village can thrive within a city. Members collectively own and democratically operate the LJHC. Participation is important and everyone has an opportunity to contribute in his/her own unique way. All members have an equal say in the operation and management of the co-op, including issues such as maintenance, grounds-keeping, finances and sustainability.

We are a diverse community, which brings a broad range of perspectives and encourages a culture of inclusivity and respect. As people do in a small village, we help each other in times of need. When an elderly couple moved into a smaller suite, more than 12 members showed up to help them with their move. Co-op members use common spaces for informal gatherings and socializing; events such as potlucks, kids’ parties, Spring Fling work parties and exchanges of goods and resources strengthen our social fabric. We also host a summer block party to celebrate our community and to connect with outside neighbours. Everyone contributes to the community, which makes our village a great place to live.

– Jamie Cowan and Lena Soots, Grandview

In the garden

The Two Block Diet turns our own neighbourhood into the place where we grow our own food. It started as a conversation between two neighbours about supporting each other to grow more food. From there, the initiative blossomed into a core of 10 households, along with a healthy following of interested sideliners. Our core organizing strategy consists of regular, voluntary work parties. Each week, we visit a neighbour’s garden and tackle a project. We all greatly value the shared experience of giving where “many hands make light work” and equally as importantly, we all take a turn on the receiving end. Together, we have built a greenhouse, raised an army of tomato plants from seed, built an herb wall, cleared an astounding pile of tree branches, added a hive of Italian bees and applied for a grant for a cooperative composting bin. These are only some of the countless benefits of working with, and getting to know, the people who share our street. See

– Julia Hilton and Kate Sutherland, Little Mountain

Salons: community conversations

At a salon, people gather to talk about interesting subjects. Whoever shows up, it is a space where all opinions are heard and everyone is listened to. Salons are easy to start and the open interaction can lead to community action. They are also a great way to make new friends and be entertained without spending a lot of money or using fossil fuels.

Salon d’Elan Vital (life force) is a local community-building salon in Kitsilano. Now in its third year, it is dedicated to good food and thoughtful conversation. Previous topics have focused on arts and culture, the health and well-being of individuals and the community, and social and environmental justice. Sd’EV has evolved to include potlucks, film nights and drop-in spaghetti nights and it has inspired others to create their own spaces for salons. The media artists’ nonprofit group (IMAPON) and Village Vancouver evolved, in part, out of Sd’EV.

Recent salons on “The future ain’t what it used to be: Envisioning sustainable scenarios in Vancouver and beyond” resulted in a group of people (many of whom didn’t know each other previously) presenting a proposal on urban farming that was passed unanimously by the North Vancouver city council. Contact us for help with starting a salon in your neighbourhood.

At Village Vancouver, we look forward to hearing your stories of what’s growing in your neighbourhood. Blog us at

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West End Community Potluck/WE Urban Garden Club (3rd Sundays West End Community Centre)

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