Publics In Formation (phd dissertation)

Publics In Formation: An Analysis of Woodward’s Contentious Redevelopment, 1995-2002

Thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

© Susan Pell 2010, SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY (All rights reserved. This work may not be reproduced in whole or in part, by photocopy or other means, without permission of the author.)



This dissertation investigates the concept of public formations through the case study of the contentious redevelopment of the Woodward’s building in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, 1995–2002, focusing on discourses of low-income community (LIC) advocates in the neighbourhood. It draws upon an interdisciplinary body of work that identifies publicity, plurality, and power as key aspects of publics. When applied to a notion of public formations, they are understood as 1) collections of discursive processes that create and sustain a community oriented toward matters of collective concern and as 2) consisting of constitutive practices and relational practices that vary in intention, orientation, and scale. Analyzing documents of the LIC advocates, the City of Vancouver, and the Vancouver Sun, three types of public formation are articulated: emergent, oppositional, and institutionalized. Corresponding to different moments in Woodward’s redevelopment, the public formations describe various collectivizing and public-making processes inherent in the struggle for social housing. It is argued the LIC advocates’ transformed Woodward’s redevelopment into a public issue, and further, these practices are forms of active citizenship, challenging the meaning of belonging in the Downtown Eastside.

Keywords: publics, social movements, citizenship, Woodward’s, Downtown Eastside, gentrification




To Shaunna and Rachel, for keeping me grounded in what is important and expanding what I thought possible.


While it is known that no work is every solely the creation of an individual, it has never been more apparent to me than in completing this dissertation. While this dissertation bares my name and I take full responsibility for any mistakes, misunderstandings, or muddleness in its arguments and their presentation, the success of these ideas are founded on collaboration. In particular, I would like to thank my supervisory committee for their support and ready encouragement, as well as providing me with an intellectual context while pursuing this research outside a discipline and department, without it, I would have been unable to navigate this interdisciplinary project. I would like to thank Dr. Angus for his infinite patience, and demonstrating for me how to be both a dedicated scholar and active citizen; Dr. Patton for teaching me how to be a good person and for shifting my understanding of myself from a student to a scholar; Dr Druick for ….

I would like to thank fastidiousness of the City of Vancouver archivists, Annie Goodwyne in the City Clerk’s Office, and Lorna Harvey, assistant to the Development Permit Board, for locating and providing free electronic access to early municipal records and missing appendice on Woodward’s redevelopment. Aaron Vidaver for his generosity in providing me access to the Friends of the Woodward’s Squat Archive, as well as for his foresight in collecting and preserving these invaluable documents and for his willingness to read and discuss with me the continuing significance of the Woodsquat. Jim Leyden for providing me access for documents of the Woodward’s Social Housing Coalition. Contributors to the Carnegie Newsletter, an invaluable community record, and editor, Paul Taylor for his commitment to…

My family for loving me irrespective of my “good works” and friends for encouraging me and supporting me, even while I was so self-involved. Matt for giving me space and cooking me dinners. Rachel, David, and Scott for helping me both finish this dissertation in the fastest of ways, and Rachel in particular, for having faith that it could be done.

It is to the remembrance and continued resonance of the energy put into Woodward’s redevelopment by the LIC advocates and in recognition of the various effects experienced by the different publics that this dissertation is dedicated, that its spirit might emerge again in new and unexpected forms.


Table of Contents


Approval……….. ii

Abstract……….. iii

Dedication……….. iv

Acknowledgements……….. v

Table of Contents……….. vi

List of Tables………………………………………………………………………… X

1: Introduction – Public Formations and the Case Study of Woodward’s Redevelopment……….. 1

1.1    Account of the Project, Concepts, and Arguments    1

1.2    Contributions to Existing Research    11

1.3    Sources    17

1.4    Chapter Outline    19

2: Literature Review – Theoretical Considerations of Publics and its Relationship with Social Movements and Citizenship……….. 22

2.1    Introduction    22

2.2    The Defining Characteristics of Publics: Publicity, Plurality, and Power    23

2.2.1    Habermas to Fraser: Sites – Publicity, Deliberation, and Contestation    28

2.2.2    Arendt to Warner: Actors – Plurality, Actions, and Audiences    31

2.2.3    Lefebvre and Bourdieu: Activity – Power, Spaces, and Embodiment    36

2.2.4    “Public” is an Analytical Cluster Concept    41

2.3    Social Movements Publics    43

2.3.1    Theories of Social Movements    47

2.3.2    Social Movements Perspective of Citizenship    59

2.3.3    Insurgent Citizenship within the Social Movement Public at Woodward’s    63

3: Approach to the Case Study: Methods for the Analysis of Public Formations……….. 67

3.1    Introduction    67

3.2    Application of Publics and Public Formations: Research Design, Ethics, and Forming (and Discarding) Hypotheses    69

3.2.1    Research Design    70

3.2.2    Research Ethics    71

3.2.3    Initial Hypotheses    73

3.3    The Arguments about Publics within Public Formations    78

3.3.1    Constitutive and Relational Practices    80

3.3.2    Theories of Counterpublics    80

3.3.3    Counterpublics Versus Public Formations    83

3.4    Rhetorical Analysis of Hegemonic Articulations    86

3.4.1    Hegemony, Social Movement Publics, and Articulation    87

3.4.2    Hegemonic Articulations and Defining Practices    92

3.4.3    Rhetoric of Social Movements    95

3.4.4    Hegemonic and Rhetoric of Protest Analysis    103

3.5    Historical Context of Woodward’s Development: Applying and Describing Emergent, Oppositional, and Institutionalized Public Formations    109

3.5.1    The Formation of Publics at Woodward’s    112

4: Emergent Public Formation, 1995–1996……….. 126

4.1    Introduction    126

4.2    Historical Context    128

4.3    Constitutive and Relational Practices    134

4.3.1    “See You At Woodward’s” (1995)    136

4.3.2    Development Permit Board Advisory Panel Public Hearing (June 1995)    146

4.3.3    Special Council Meeting on Woodward’s Heritage (July 1995)    156

4.3.4    Countering Representations in the Media    161

4.3.5    Moving Beyond the Development Permit Stage    168

4.4    Conclusion    174

5: Oppositional Public Formation in the Downtown Eastside, 1997–2001……….. 179

5.1    Introduction    179

5.2    Historical Context    181

5.3    Constitutive and Relational Practices    185

5.3.1    “Woodward’s Belongs To Us…” (1997)    185

5.3.2    Development Permit Board Hearing (1997)    197

5.3.3    “Daisies for Democracy” (2000)    214

5.4    Conclusion    218

6: Oppositional Public Formation in Vancouver, BC, 2002……….. 222

6.1    Introduction    222

6.2    Historical Context    224

6.3    Constitutive and Relational Practices    231

6.3.1    “Rally to Resist the Cuts!” (2002)    234

6.3.2    Woodsquat, “We Will Win!” (2002)    241

6.4    Media on Woodsquat (2002)    252

6.4.1    A Depoliticizing Mass Media Public    252

6.4.2    A Politicizing Social Movement Public    262

6.5    Conclusion    268

7: Conclusion: Institutionalization of Woodward’s Publics?……….. 275

7.1    Summary of Research Contributions    277

7.2    Future Research: Applying Social Movement Perspective to Institutionalized Public Formations    284

Appendix A – Chronology of Woodward’s Redevelopment……….. 287

Appendix B – DTES Low-income Community Advocacy Documents……….. 300

Appendix C – City of Vancouver Documents……….. 320

Appendix D – Local Mass Media Documents……….. 327

Appendix E

Bibliography……….. 352

List of Tables


Table 1: Levels of Analysis ……………………………………………………p.103

Table 2. Public Formations at Woodward’s, 1995-2005………………….p. 112




1: Introduction – Public Formations and the Case study of Woodward’s redevelopment

1.1     Account of the Project, Concepts, and Arguments

Outline of the Concept of the Public

I use the concept of the “public”as a way to think about contemporary possibilities of democratic participation. Broadly, this concept can be seen in two ways: Traditionally, the public brings forth ideas of a totality of subjects within a political community or of a national audience addressed by a national state. However, this totalistic, national conception of the public is not the only way to imagine the concept. There is an alternative concept of the public that points in a different direction, which is more constitutive. It examines publics on a plurality of scales and forms: the nation-state, but also street, neighbourhood, region, subculture, or spatially dispersed audience. It looks at the construction of worlds shared-in-common (e.g., Arendt, 1958; Young, 1995; Watson, 2002; Barnett, 2008; Mahony, et al., 2010). At times, this type of public refers to explicitly political forms of participation in debates and decisions of collective concern (e.g., Habermas, 1962; Fraser, 1990), while at other times, it stands for practices of sociability, where actors perform amongst an audience of peers and strangers within the theatre of public life (e.g., Sennett, 1977; Warner, 2002). The political and social aspects of publicness are not exclusive; rather, they both help to identify practices, topics, actors, rules and conventions of participation, and the boundaries within collective life. Conceived this way, the nation-state is only one possible form of political community from which publics emerge.

Following from this second, more constitutive and political notion, the term public is used in this dissertation to explore both collective identities and actions within unequally stratified political communities. Collective identity and action are primary means through which belonging, solidarity, and participation appear within democracies. As such, collective identity and action are connected with notions of citizenship, often epitomized as the primary form of identification and practice within political communities (e.g., Turner, 1997; Isin & Wood, 1999). However, just as the state has been decentred as the major context for public life, citizenship too can be approached as one among many (overlapping, if at times contradicting) forms of collective identity and modes of collective action (Holston, 1998; Bosniak, 2000; Stasiulis, 2002). Any consideration of the practices of collective action must pay attention to social movements. They are often conceived as primary actors that purposefully unite members of a community in order to press for change through forms of collective action. Analysts of social movements have been increasingly interested in how identities contribute to participation within social movements (e.g., Melucci, 1989; Johnston & Klandermans, 1995; Angus, 1997; Tilly 2008).

Bringing together the ideas of citizenship, social movements, and publics helps to focus on the activities of democracy as practices and processes rather than fixed statuses and states. Conceived as such, an empirical and theoretical investigation of publics can illustrate the ways in which collective identities and actions emerge within interconnected political communities. This perspective on publics can illuminate current possibilities for democratic participation.

In addition to highlighting processes of collective action, the concept of public also draws attention to practices of communication. Studies of public spheres and spaces emphasize dialogue and contestation as central practices that establish the common ground necessary for possibilities of collective identity and actions. Publics, in this sense, are rooted in notions of publicity and publicness, as those processes that bring issues into the open in order to be known and negotiated amongst a plurality of people (e.g., Arendt, 1958). However, because the world shared-in-common is not one of sameness or equality, relations of power mark efforts of public-making (e.g., Honig, 1995) Approaching publics as discursive helps to examine how — and perhaps why — political agency varies according to who speaks, how, where, and to whom. It emphasizes that all political discourse, including those of social movements and active citizens, is rhetorical. As such, public discourse can be studied as practices of persuasion and identification (Burke, 1966, 1969), as forms of address that seek cooperation and action upon the part of the audience.

I draw upon the concept of public to study possibilities of democratic participation. I investigate the discursive processes of collective action and public-making, examining how social actors seek to engage, influence, and change their political communities. This study approaches collective identities and actions as emergent, performed within particular discursive and spatial contexts. It sees communication and politics as relational and mutually reinforcing processes. This study of publics examines the implicit and explicit rules of participation, how processes of inclusion and exclusion occur discursively and spatially, why these affect social actors and spaces differently, and how the relations of power can be challenged and changed to provide for greater equality, respect, care, and mutual aid for all. Such an orientation toward the public is theoretically and empirically interdisciplinary and ethically minded. It foregrounds the world we collectively make and use in common, as well as our responsibility to others with whom we share this space.

The Case Study

This dissertation uses an analysis of publics to investigate the case study of Woodward’s redevelopment, an iconic building in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver (see Appendix A for a chronology of Woodward’s redevelopment). Woodward’s’ hundred-year history is filled with struggles amongst local residents, businesses, community organizations, housing activists, and politicians over its meaning and use. It has stood as a symbol of the area’s destitution, the potential for economic revitalization, and the hope for community self-determination (Sommers & Blomley, 2002; Blomley, 2004). After its closure as a department store in 1993, the boarded-up building was at the centre of controversy between proponents of social housing on the one hand, and advocates of commercial revitalization on the other. Sitting empty for over a decade, the building was the site of years of community activism that challenged and successfully blocked attempts by private developers to convert it into all-market housing. Following years of protest that climaxed in a tactical housing squat of the property in the fall of 2002 by local residents and housing activists, the City of Vancouver gained ownership of the property in 2003. Eager to redevelop the space, the City initiated public consultations and a design competition in the spring of that year to determine the future of Woodward’s. The outcome was a plan to redevelop the Woodward’s site into a multi-use facility composed of mixed-income housing (200 non-market, 536 market), commercial businesses (including a food store), non-profit organizations, municipal and federal government offices, and Simon Fraser University’s School of Contemporary Art.[1] The contentious processes of transforming the Woodward’s building, along with its meanings and uses, illuminates contemporary possibilities for democratic participation within various public spaces, institutions, and movements in Vancouver, and more generally, for political spaces in Canadian cities.

Conceived at its broadest level, this case study focuses on communication practices and democratic possibilities within Canadian political culture, specifically, the relationship between the competing publics of social movements, media representations, and political institutions as they struggle to determine the uses of urban spaces. This field of research is approached through an analysis of discursive activities, which include language strategies, spatial tactics, and symbolic practices. These activities are seen as central to the construction of politicized identities, social solidarities, and collective actions. Using an interdisciplinary perspective on publics to explore democratic participation at the intersection of discourse, social space, and political participation, I ask, who were the social actors involved in Woodward’s redevelopment? What were they advocating for, how, and with what effect? Where were spaces of collectivization and public-making during the redevelopment? What collective identities and actions were mobilized, how, and with what effect? What rhetorical practices supported these processes? How did relations of power effect abilities to participate in the redevelopment process? What does Woodward’s redevelopment tell us about current possibilities for the formation of democratic publics? How are they created, maintained, and transformed? By whom are they challenged? What means do they use, to what ends, and with what effect?

With these broad questions in mind, this dissertation investigates practices of publics through the analysis of various levels of discourses prevalent in controversial debates during the redevelopment of the Woodward’s building, focusing on the period between 1995 and 2002. This period is broken down into three major phases, when key decisions were being decided and protests were being held that combined to determine Woodward’s future in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood. The dissertation focuses on the public formations that emerged through various campaigns to mobilize residents of low-income communities in the Downtown Eastside (DTES). Through close readings of the low-income community (LIC) advocates’ discursive practices, I analyze these as constitutive of a social movement public that formed and transformed in relation to publics in the City of Vancouver, the local mass media, and the business and resident associations of the nearby Gastown neighbourhood. This level of analysis explores the use of rhetoric by LIC advocates to build collective identities and pursue collective action.

Not only are the particular discursive practices of the public formation analyzed, but the larger field of discourse is also considered within the context of hegemonic struggles over the meaning and use of Woodward’s redevelopment. The competing discourses of “gentrification” and “revitalization” emerge as key to the battle for Woodward’s waged between advocates for social housing and those for market housing. I analyze these various discourses as processes whereby redevelopment is framed as a public issue. Also, because Woodward’s redevelopment illuminates relations of power operating within a rapidly changing urban context, this study explores these larger discourses with the questions of who decides the direction of “communities,” what histories are used to support these futures, how these decisions are made and with what variable effects.

Therefore, this study of social movement publics helps us understand the state of democratic politics within contemporary Canadian culture, both empirically and conceptually. Empirically, the social movement public is shown to manifest itself within discursive spaces, practices of identification, and forms of collective action. This can be seen in documents and texts that build solidarity and encourage the participation of the LIC in Woodward’s redevelopment. Conceptually, social movement publics are seen in reciprocating and reinforcing (even if at times conflicting) relationships with institutionalized publics — often, though not always, those of the state and media. Through analyzing this dynamism between movement and institutional publics, this study contributes to an understanding of the sites, actors, and activities that constitute political communities and explores the limits of contemporary democratic participation.

The Concepts

In analyzing this case, I use public as an interdisciplinary concept to identify the formations of sites, actors, and activities engaged in political and cultural practices of publicity, plurality, and power. I define public formations as discursive processes involving the creation (and sustaining) of relevant communities oriented toward matters of collective concern. This definition draws attention to both collective communicative practices (public spheres) and the production of discursive-spatial relationships (public spaces) in order to demonstrate that public formations involve both constitutive and relational practices.[2] These reciprocal and reinforcing processes consist in constituting a collective (by forming identities, generating discourses, establishing social cohesion and solidarities) and relationships with other publics (to engage, influence, challenge, or transform them). Public formations can be differentiated based on the orientation, intention, and scale of the dominant discursive practices within and between publics. Public formations are multiple and dynamic, particular and relational. This conceptualization of public formation processes builds on literature of publics and counterpublics, drawn from social and political theory, cultural studies, and urban studies. Strategically synthesizing these fields, I examine the discursive-spatial practices of the various public formations at Woodward’s as triadic processes of publicity, plurality, and power. That is, the LIC advocates’ discourses are investigated as processes of publicizing issues (forms and effects of redevelopment), concerning a plurality of subject positions (defining relevant communities and audiences), and as a site of contestation and relations of power where multiple social actors struggled to determine the future of the DTES.

The Argument

In analyzing decisive moments in the redevelopment of Woodward’s, it becomes apparent that various public formations were emerging and transforming within the context of broader hegemonic struggles. These hegemonic struggles involved competing understandings and experiences of development, social housing, and rights of citizenship amongst social actors vying to direct the future of the DTES. Reflecting this broader context, shifts in the public formations are evident in the changing constitutive and relational practices of the various publics. Focusing on discursive-spatial responses and effects of the LIC advocates, I explain these shifting practices as three types of public formations.With emergent public formations, the issues, actors, and relationships are unsettled and fluid. This characterized the first phase of redevelopment. The middle phases of redevelopment were characterized by oppositional public formations, as the issues and actors became highly contested. At the conclusion of the redevelopment process, there was a sedimentation of the issues, actors, and relationships into an institutionalized public formation.While these describe phases in the dominant relational pattern between various publics, they do not tell a straightforward rise-and-fall story of social movement activities. Rather, they demonstrate a mutually responsive and effective relationship between institutional and oppositional politics within the context of hegemonic struggles. Within these struggles, social actors create, incorporate, build upon, reactivate, deviate, and abandon discursive practices as they construct collective identities and pursue collective actions, contributing to rich and dynamic political processes. However, seeing these ongoing practices requires an analysis of democratic participation that does not start and stop with institutional politics. Instead, it needs to be open to ways of being political beyond the dominant institutional context and thus take a social movement perspective.

In the various substantial chapters, the campaigns to include non-market housing in Woodward’s by LIC advocates are shown as succeeding in making Woodward’s redevelopment a social and political issue within broader publics. However, in both the public spheres of the City and the local mass media, there was a disconnect between publicity afforded to the message of social housing and the LIC advocates’ ability to affect public actions on housing in Woodward’s. The LIC advocates were able to publicize the issue, but less able to affect the outcome of public actions within spaces of broader (municipal) decisions and (regional) media representations. That is to say, in this case, for the social movement publics, the hegemonic spaces of the City and the media were spaces of publicity but not of public action.

If the democratic potential of contemporary political culture is judged according to the relationship between publicity and public action, where the voicing of one’s reasons in public has the ability to persuade the audience and affect the outcome of the public action under consideration, the advocates of the low-income community and social housing in the DTES experienced only partial democracy. Because publicity and public action were not jointly possible for LIC advocates, there was weak potential for democratic engagement within the institutional political spaces relevant to the redevelopment of the Woodward’s building. However, the LIC advocates’ continued efforts to participate in the public life of Woodward’s, the DTES, Vancouver, and beyond suggests a continued desire for democratic participation on the part of marginalized citizens within their political communities. The possibility of connecting these various political realms is an open question, for both Vancouver and Canadian political culture at large.

1.2     Contributions to Existing Research

This dissertation contributes conceptually and empirically to existing research primarily in the interdisciplinary study of publics, but also to studies of social movements, especially those approached through the lens of communication studies in the Canadian context. Furthermore, this research provides one of the first sustained analytic studies of Woodward’s redevelopment and the first comprehensive reading of collective actions based on documents collected in the Friends of the Woodward’s Squat Archive, adding to social histories and sociological studies of collective actions for housing in Vancouver, BC.

In taking an interdisciplinary approach, this dissertation contributes to the theoretical conceptualization of publics, particularly in relation to social movements. It brings together uses of public from communications and media studies, social and political theory, urban and cultural studies, attempting to reconcile various conceptions of public discourse, public spheres, and public spaces. Other studies have brought together discourses on public spheres and public space, particularly social geographers who emphasize spaces of visibility for free speech and association, publicity and protest, like parks and plazas (e.g., Mitchell, 1995, 2003; Howell, 1993; Kohn, 2004), or urban political theorists who focus on the democratizing effect of cities as spaces of difference and cosmopolitan engagement (e.g., Sennett, 1977; Young, 1990; Walzer, 1995; Delanty, 2006). Building on these studies, as well as those that link publics with citizenship and democracy (e.g., Alejandro, 1993; Somers, 1993; Dahlgren, 1995; Fine & Harrington, 2004), this dissertation links public spheres and spaces to an analysis of how social movements form collective identities and actions.

This dissertation studies public formations empirically. While there is a large body of research on normative claims about publics (e.g., Habermas, 1962; Fraser, 1990; Calhoun, 1997; Angus, 2001), there is a dearth of empirical studies (Mahony et al., 2010, p. 1). Paralleling recent studies (e.g., Newman, 2007; Barnett, 2008; Mahony, et al., 2010), I seek to remedy this lack by grounding conceptual claims about publics in empirical research. I provide an in-depth reading of discourses emerging from within and through a social movement public, as well as a comparative analysis of the relationship between municipal governments, local mass media, and social movements. My analysis explores the variable effects and possibilities of these social actors’ discursive practices. Further, it outlines a methodological approach, based on hegemonic and rhetorical analysis, in which to study the practices of public formations.

Supported by the case study on Woodward’s, this dissertation contributes to the growing literature on publics and counterpublics (e.g., Warner, 1992, 2002; Asen, 2000; Squires, 2002) by proposing an interdisciplinary conception of public formations. I examine public practices along three dimensions: publicity, plurality, and relations of power. Further, this study conceptualizes three types of public formations: emergent, oppositional, and institutionalized. Thus, beyond the specificity of my case study, I shall argue that these ways of thinking of the public can contribute more generally to the study of communication practices, collective action, political agency, and the possibilities for democratic participation.

I place the discussion of social movement publics within a specifically Canadian context. Drawing upon the literature on social movements, this dissertation brings resource mobilization theories (e.g., McCarthy & Zald, 1977; Tilly, 1978; Tarrow, 1993) and theories of new social movements (Melucci, 1989; Touraine, 1988) to the study of community mobilizations within marginalized neighbourhoods. However, I seek to move past the assumption that the ultimate goal of movement mobilization is the inclusion of movement demands within the agenda of the state. Rather, in accordance with studies of the rhetoric of social movements (McGee, 1980b, 1983; Deluca, 1999; Morris & Browne, 2004), I explore how collective actions have multiple audiences and aims. I do not use the state and the status quo as the baseline from which to measure social movement activities; instead, I focus on the construction of alternative conceptions of resources and movement through collective action.

In Canada, there is a growing body of work that challenges the statist assumption of traditional movement literature (e.g., Magnusson, 1996; Angus, 2001; Day, 2005), and I see my dissertation contributing to that literature. There have been informative studies in Canada on social movements and the politics of urban space (e.g., Isin, 1998; Foster, 2002; Conway, 2004), theoretical discussions of social movements and publics (e.g., Angus, 2001), public spheres and Canadian culture (e.g., Dorland & Charland, 2002; Karim, 2002), poor people’s organizing (e.g., Greene, 2005), and studies of social movements communication (e.g., Uzelman, 2002; Hackett & Carroll, 2006). However, there has not been a thorough conceptualization of the relationship between publics, social movements, and democratic spaces in a Canadian context. My research fills this gap. It contributes to an understanding of contemporary democratic struggles in Canada through an analysis of strategies adopted by both social movement and institutional actors within Vancouver.

Lastly, this dissertation contributes to social histories and sociological studies of collective actions for housing in Vancouver, BC, through investigating the case study of Woodward’s redevelopment. With the completion of the redevelopment conveniently timed to coincide with the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics Games in Vancouver, there has been a plethora of popular essays touting the success of Woodward’s as a “social experiment” in ethical architecture mixing the rich and poor (notably written by those involved in its redevelopment, (i.e., Weir, 2006; Campbell, et al., 2009; Enright, 2010), as well as feature articles more critical of the Woodward’s project (Dempsey, 2004) and others less so (Baker, 2009; Harris, 2009). However, there have been few sustained academic studies of the community mobilizations involved in the Woodward’s redevelopment.

Notable exceptions are works by social geographers, Nick Blomley (2004) and Jeff Sommers (2001, also Sommers & Blomley, 2002). Both Blomley and Sommers approach Woodward’s through critical studies of gentrification in the DTES from social-spatial perspectives. Blomley (2004) analyzes how “property” figures materially and discursively in local resistances in the DTES to gentrification, including those involved at Woodward’s. He discusses activists’ critiques of gentrification and displacement of low-income residents and the challenge to the ownership model of private property advanced in their oppositional claims to collective ownership of Woodward’s (46). Extending this line of reasoning, Blomley (2008) argues that Woodward’s is a “commons” (p. 317), evidenced in moral claims by local residents to the building as a community property. Further, discussing poor people’s claims to “rights not to be excluded” (p. 316), he applies the concept of “enclosure” to the process of gentrification within inner-cities as a way to reframe moral and political discussions of property relations. Sommers (2001) also places Woodward’s at the heart of confrontation in the DTES over the shifting moral-social geography of the neighbourhood. As part of a larger study of representations of the poor in the DTES, he analyzes the discursive construction of Woodward’s. These take polarized forms of discourses employing nostalgic memory of the area (as part of a process of maligning the current population in the neighbourhood and negating social struggles over the place) and counter-narratives of “the fighting community of the poor” (p. 265) contesting representations of “balancing” market housing in the neighbourhood, considering it a “social mix” rather than gentrification (p. 272–3). Applying a similar spatial-discursive reading of the “worst block in Vancouver,” i.e., 100 W Hastings where Woodward’s is located, Sommers and Blomley (2002) argue the building is the centre of political and symbolic struggles in the DTES. Again, noting that the discourse field is split between those that pathologize the neighbourhood as a “ghetto” and those that recognize the fight against dispossession and displacement, Sommers and Blomley conclude the struggle boils down to “who has the right to claim this place as home” (p. 52). This research on Woodward’s redevelopment confirms Sommers’ and Blomley’s readings of discursive practices in the DTES, particularly as represented in struggles over defining the proliferation of development as gentrification or revitalization.

While I am also interested in the resistance to hegemonic forces in the DTES, this dissertation shifts the focus from the content and import of the protests to an analysis of how collective identities and action emerged during Woodward’s redevelopment. This research contributes to the literature on Woodward’s as an analysis in the tradition of narratives of resistance, telling a story that is against encroachment and for community rights, told about and by low-income residents of the neighbourhood. My research entailed the first scholarly analysis of the Friends of the Woodwards Squat Archive (Vidaver, archivist). I examined this particular community mobilization in the context of larger struggles for social housing at Woodward’s that began in earnest in 1995. By studying the duration of struggle over Woodward’s development, I map the shifts in the practices of the LIC advocates as they respond to changing social and political contexts. Further, I explore how these discourses served as resources for mobilizing collective action within specific campaigns, adding to histories of social movements in the DTES.

The interdisciplinary study of publics has the advantage of opening many avenues of investigation and contributing in novel ways to existing research. Yet, it carries with it the difficulty of negotiating the various perspectives, approaches, and assumptions across disciplines within an ever-expanding universe of potentially relevant studies. In the end, I believe this research is most successful as a nuanced cultural sociological study of public-formation and social movements. It moves the concept of the public away from its assumed dependence on the state, showing it instead to be dynamic, formed by social actors from multiple discursive and spatial contexts.

1.3     Sources

The empirical study of Woodward’s redevelopment analyzes three distinct sets of documents: municipal, media, and community advocate texts. Documents produced by low-income community advocates in the DTES are taken from two major sources: the Carnegie Newsletter and documents collected in the Friends of the Woodsquat Archive, particularly the W.O.O.D.S.Q.U.A.T. Newsletter; and a special issue of the West Coast Line, entitled Woodsquat (Vidaver 2003–04) (for an account of these sources, see Appendix B). The core municipal government documents analyzed come from the Development Permit Board and Advisory Panel public hearings in 1995 and 1997, the City’s website on redevelopment of Woodward’s (“The Future of Woodward’s”), and various Vancouver City Council meetings concerning Woodward’s during the 1990s and 2000s (see Appendix C). The third set of documents is comprised of mass-media representations of Woodward’s redevelopment between 1992 and 2007, focusing on articles in the local daily broadsheet, The Vancouver Sun, and supplemented by the other local daily, The Province (see Appendix D). Together, the municipal government, LIC advocacy, and media documents recount, elaborate, and contest the significance of the Woodward’s building within the context of the political struggle for social housing and the elimination of poverty within British Columbia and Vancouver.

These three sets of documents are investigated through rhetorical analyses (described in chapter three on methodology). I examine how political communication is carried out and contested, moving from the institutional imperatives of public hearings to the political strategies of social movements. I explore how municipality, media, and social movement sources provide different accounts of the site, people, and activities involved in processes of public-making. I analyze the relationship between these modalities (site, people, and activities), as well as the interactions between these various publics themselves. This is done through a rhetorical analysis of the articulations and preferred readings (re)produced in different texts. This analysis considers the positioning of cultural and political legitimacy during the various campaigns and the means by which competing discourses and speakers are included within various public spaces and spheres.

I seek to highlight the interaction and conflict between community activists and government officials, as well as to analyze the interpretations by mainstream media sources. Such analysis makes possible a comparison of rival conceptions of citizenship and democracy by actors involved in grassroots community mobilizations on the one hand, and those engaged at the level of formal political institutions on the other. It highlights forms of intervention and engagement in democratic politics, examining the various contributions from those that seek to maintain the status quo and those that seek to transform it. As well, it draws attention to the rules organizing political discourse: to modes of exclusion and practices of contestation. Overall, then, this textual analysis uses the many discourses generated in the redevelopment of Woodward’s as a case study to understand political and cultural participation in an urban context.

1.4     Chapter Outline

This introduction has summarized my case study and some of my major questions and terms. In chapter two, I outline interdisciplinary theories of the public that describe it as a discursive-spatial concept. Emerging from these theories, I define public as a cluster concept indicating sites, actors, and sites of publicity, plurality, and power. Publics are also connected conceptually with social movements and citizenship. Chapter three discusses the methodological approach used in the analysis of discursive practices during Woodward’s redevelopment. It explains a shift in thinking about publics as formation consisting of constitutive and relational practices. It further differentiates four public formations that correspond to various moments in Woodward’s redevelopment process. They are emergent (1995–6), oppositional within the DTES (1997–2001), oppositional with Vancouver (2002), and institutionalized (2003–). An outline of these various formations is also provided, linking the historical context, dominant discursive practices, and primary sources. In the next three chapters, I conceptualize and analyze the shifting public formations at Woodward’s. Chapter four explores the “emergent public formation,” analyzing the LIC advocates’ initial collective actions against Woodward’s redevelopment as condos, as connected to the gentrification of the DTES, and their participation within various public hearings. Chapter five investigates an “oppositional public formation in the DTES,” focusing on the LIC advocates’ protest of an all-market housing project at Woodward’s and the increasingly divisive politics within the neighbourhood. Chapter six again examines an “oppositional public formation,” but this time at the level of Vancouver, as the LIC advocates repositioned themselves as a social movement for social housing in opposition to the BC Liberal government’s neo-liberal social policies. The conclusion briefly summarizes the major arguments of the dissertation and suggests possible future research on institutional public formations.


2: literature review – Theoretical Considerations of Publics and its relationship with Social movements and Citizenship

2.1     Introduction

This chapter has two major purposes. The first is to review the interdisciplinary literature on publics in order to outline the theoretical lineages this dissertation draws upon and from which it departs. The public is described as a cluster concept bringing together sites, actors, and activities oriented toward publicity, plurality, and power. Positioned this way, the concept allows for an analysis of the emergence and maintenance of publics through attention to both discursive and spatial practices of the various spaces, subjects, and issues active during Woodward’s redevelopment. The second purpose of this chapter is to connect the concept of publics to the study of social movements. Conceptually, tying publics and social movements together aids in situating the investigation of Woodward’s redevelopment within the broader context of democratic practices of citizenship and resistances to the reconfiguration of social rights during the shift to neoliberal social policy in BC and Canada. As such, the study of Woodward’s redevelopment can contribute to an understanding of contemporary democratic participation in Canadian urban centres.

The chapter starts with a mapping of the theoretical concept of publics as sites, actors, and activities oriented toward publicity, plurality, and power. Next, the concept “social movement public” is outlined, connecting publics with theories of social movements. Lastly, social movement publics are described in terms of their relationship to citizenship and democracy.

2.2     The Defining Characteristics of Publics: Publicity, Plurality, and Power

In this section, I map an interdisciplinary, conceptual field of publics that pulls together theories from social and political theory, communications studies, and urban studies. Rather than provide a comprehensive literature review, I synthesize theories and concepts to argue publics are characterized by media and sites of publicity, a plurality of actors and audiences engaged in intersubjective dialogues, and activities performed and embedded in relations of power.

While a concept of public is relevant to many disciplines, the theories I draw from, and to which I address my work, are interdisciplinary and oriented toward concerns of democracy. In particular, I borrow from urban studies, communication studies, and social and political theory. Though definitions of public within these fields are not uniform, there seems to be general agreement on its use. In urban studies, public tends to refer to space and property or the state and collective ownership of land, buildings, art, and so on.[3] In communications studies, public more often focuses attention on discourses, audiences, or media (in mass, alternative, and/or corporate forms), signalling production, receptivity, and interpretation. Public is also often used here in distinction to privately owned or operated media.[4] In social and political theory, public tends to describe a sphere or institution that highlights particular ethico-normative procedures.[5] Read separately, these fields inadequately capture the complexity and value of the concept public; however, read together, the significance and potential of public is found in its form as a discursive-spatial concept.[6]

An interdisciplinary approach builds on the work of urban, cultural, and political theorists who have charted the variable, and at times contradictory, use of public (Weintraub & Kumar, 1997; Hannay, 2005; Mahony, et al., 2010). Studies often take the form of a comparative analysis of the public with its opposite, usually positioned to be that of “the private.” The most thorough articulation of this dichotomy comes from Jeff Weintraub (1995). In reviewing the binary of public-private, he suggests that these can be grouped in relation to liberalism, citizenship, sociability, and feminism and that these correspond to notions of the public good, civic participation, public life, and democratic and domestic spaces. Further, the concept of public incorporates contracts, jurisdictions, collective decision-making, diversity, social distance, inequality, and the gendered division of social and political life. Weintraub draws the primary distinction between the polis and cosmopolis, where the former emphasizes political and democratic space for equality and collective action and the latter the space of sociability for diversity and being (p. 309–310). Weintraub argues the separation of social and political life of the public is an essentially modern formulation, though he suggests combining the advantages of the polis and cosmopolis by understanding the different public spaces they represent (p. 310). This is to say, the unity of the polis needs to be understood and advanced alongside the diversity of the cosmopolis and vice versa.

In distinction to treating the public as an illuminating half of a dichotomy, an alternative interdisciplinary approach involves considering the public as a cluster concept, where there are key, though often contradictory, components present in varying degrees (Kohn, 2004). Articulating it as such, Margaret Kohn (2004) argues the public brings forth and connects issues of ownership, accessibility, and intersubjectivity (p. 11). Like Weintraub, she highlights the sociability and citizenship aspects of the public within a spatial framework that emphasizes property and physical places of political participation, particularly in the form of free speech and solicitation. Her approach stresses the relationship between the public as a sphere (ethico-normative, in the form of law and constitutional free speech) and a space (place, in the forum of open and accessible property), illuminating the places of politics and the politics of places.[7]

Like Kohn, I approach public as a cluster concept. However, while learning from this spatio-political frame,[8] my emphasis is on its discursive character, which carries with it cultural and rhetorical connotations. Specifically, I focus on how discourses create spaces for the reciprocating processes of collective action and identities, and how particular spaces lend to the emergence, incorporation, and influence of these discourses. While my analysis is concerned with public space (both in its materiality and theoretical use), and though I label my approach discursive and spatial, my focus is more on the discourses that activate collective identities and actions in relation to particular places, with an eye toward the spatial practices underlying and occurring within these discourses. To direct attention to these discursive spaces of collectivization, public is conceptually developed as a set of relationships between sites, actors, and activities of cultural and political participation oriented toward publicity, plurality, and power. Publicity, invoking notions of visibility and circulation of discourses, highlights deliberative sites where social actors attempt to participate in, affect, and expand particular discourses, as well as media of contestation pursued through agonistic discursive practices. Plurality draws attention to world-making possibilities of publics through the constitution of actors and audiences, performed in inter-subjective dialogues and collective actions, where collective identities and social solidarities are created and negotiated. Power, manifesting itself in forms of authority and legitimacy, emphasizes the co-production of spaces and discourses embodied as limitations and potentials of social relations and practices in particular and constructed environments. Approaching publics as a cluster of discursive and spatial practices of publicity, plurality, and power helps to theorize democratic participation as it emerges in and through the actions of citizens, when oriented toward questions and concerns of public life and collective interests.

While there has been much written on the decline of the public (Boggs, 2000; Kohn, 2004; Marquand, 2004), in this dissertation it is approached as active and evident in the practices of actors as they engage in discourses and action in their political communities. The conception of public here is presented in conversation with the works of Jurgen Habermas (1962, 1974, 1992), Hannah Arendt (1958, 1982), and Henri Lefebvre (1974), as well as the critical engagements with these ideas, particularly by Nancy Fraser (1990), Michael Warner (2002), and Pierre Bourdieu (1977, 1979). Habermas conceptualizes the paradigmatic description of “the public sphere” as an institutional form of rational deliberation aimed at consensus-building on issues of public interest. Arendt (1958, 1982) articulates the public realm as a space of action and plurality for the possibility of creating worlds in common. Lefebvre (1974) contributes to a theory of the public by accounting for the production of social space in everyday relations. Through a critical interpretation of these works, I build a spatial-discursive concept of the public as a cluster of practices oriented toward publicity, plurality, and power.

2.2.1     Habermas to Fraser: Sites – Publicity, Deliberation, and Contestation

Political notions of the public often come into dialogue with Habermas’ theorization of a public sphere. His seminal work, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of the Bourgeois Society (1989 [1962]), sparked debates and shaped the terms of future work on public spheres.Habermas provides a historical account of the rise of the bourgeois public sphere in the eighteenth century, relating it philosophically to the Enlightenment and culturally to the expansion of the printing press. From this historical account, he grounds a normative claim regarding the public sphere that, as an ideal, is a mediating mechanism between society (family and market) and the state (realm of public authority). Habermas bases the grounds of the public sphere on publicity and criticism. As a site of publicity, where individuals gather to engage in reasoned, public debate, the public sphere provides a forum for private interests to be transformed into general interests (p. 30–31). For Habermas, the public sphere functions at an institutional level and has a political orientation, where critical-rational debate leads to truth and decision-making based on public opinion (p. 104). Consequently, the publicity of public sphere is underscored by principles of accessibility, equality, and deliberation aimed at establishing consensus on the common good (p. 36–37). Institutional public spheres allow for politics to consist of reasoned debate by the general public — not by force or private interests. While Habermas’ formulation of the public sphere has been subjected to many criticisms, particularly the historical accuracy of his substantive claims (Eley, 1992; Emirbayer and Sheller, 1999), the utility of the public sphere as a normative concept of open, equal, and accessible deliberation, found in sites of publicity, is fairly unchallenged (Fraser, 1990; Howell, 1993; Calhoun, 1997).

Fraser’s (1990) critique of “the public sphere” is emblematic of those who see it as ultimately useful for democratic theory and practice. While referencing the historical contentiousness of Habermas’ work,[9] Fraser’s major contribution comes in her critique on Habermas’ normative claims and her reconceptualization of it. She charges Habermas’ public sphere with being inaccurately conceived as singular, as well as ideologically masculine, which, together, perpetuate a classist/sexist/racist hegemonic order (p. 62). She forcefully argues this “bourgeois masculinist” public sphere is dependent on inequality, restricted deliberative topics, and a strict separation of civil society and the state, which serves a small and particular segment of the population (propertied middle-class men, presumably also white and heterosexual) and limits the public sphere’s democratic potential. Habermas’ public spheres are thus incapable of serving as an inclusive space of publicity and public reasoning in “actually existing democracies.”

As an alternative to Habermas’ singular public sphere, Fraser proposes a concept of “subaltern counterpublics.” Fraser describes counterpublics as “parallel discursive arenas” (p. 67) that provide spaces for marginalized groups to construct their own collective agendas away from dominating groups. They serve two purposes. First, counterpublics are an internalizing space for a group to retreat and reflect. Second, they act as an externalizing space in which the participants articulate, learn, and practice (political and social) strategies that can then be projected into the wider public (p. 68). In this model, deliberation on the “common good” is neither prescribed nor assumed prior to being formulated in the sphere. This, she argues, enables the participants to raise matters of personal concern while still allowing the dialogue to transform these private interests into public ones (p. 72). There is also the possibility that new identities will be formed along with discursive (public) opinion (p. 68). This shift to a more procedural conception of the public sphere, as opposed to a substantive one, engenders a deeper and more expansive understanding of accessibility and openness of public spheres as the topics, views, and interests are determined in the space amongst the participants, rather than excluding people (knowingly or unknowingly) beforehand. Subaltern counterpublics thus facilitate democracy through increasing the (contestational) discursive sites and capabilities of citizens in and between multiple public spheres.

Both Habermas’ bourgeois public sphere and Fraser’s subaltern counterpublics each provide a normative understanding of public spheres as fora based on principles of openness, accessibility, and equality, and together they point to sites of deliberation and contestation. Publicity is a necessary dimension of public spheres to ensure spaces for constructing, circulating, and challenging discourses within forums meant to accommodate the vast diversity and plurality of citizens’ interests. Publicity is both a requirement of a public and an outcome of practices within it (Habermas, 1974, 1989). In particular, it emphasizes the ability to disseminate and expand discourses beyond particular interpretative communities or spatial restrictions (Felski, 1989). Two primary means of publicity are circulation in media and visibility in physical spaces.[10] It is the privatization of public spaces (like parks) (Davies, 1992; Mitchell, 1995, 2003) and commercialization of mass media (Habermas, 1989; Keane, 1991) that most often concern those interested in democratic function of public spheres, as these processes threaten the principles of accessibility, openness, and equality.Publicity then also signifies the invisibility and depoliticization of discourses, actors, and sites by undemocratic forces. The normative claims associated with public spheres and counterpublics thus lend to a critical conception of effective political discursive sites, highlighting the necessity of openness, equality, and accessibility that are expanded through deliberation, contestation, and publicity.

2.2.2     Arendt to Warner: Actors – Plurality, Actions, and Audiences

Similar to the public sphere (but not synonymous with it), Arendt (1958) articulates the public realm as a key political space of plurality and action. The public realm is analogous to the ancient polis, where, “To be political, to live in a polis, meant that everything was decided through words and persuasion and not through force and violence,” (p. 26). In distinction to the sameness of the private realm (p. 24–25), for Arendt, the plurality of the public realm comes in the form of multiple perspective and inter-subjective dialogue of matters of collective concern. The public realm acts as a stage for presenting one’s distinct perspective in the presence of peers capable of understanding one another. Identities are also constituted in and through one’s speech and actions, disclosing “who” participants are based on their performances (p. 179). The public realm creates the condition for human plurality to be characterized by equality and distinction (p. 175). In being able to see (be seen) and hear (be heard), the public realm provides for the transformation of private experiences into public discourses, as social actors participate in constructing the world they share in common (p. 24–25, 50–52). Craig Calhoun (1997) thus describes Arendt’s public as a plurality, where solidarities are mutually created in a space rather than uncovered or discovered (p. 233). The necessary plurality of the public realm, of multiple perspectives, emphasizes the always already occurring differences — as distinctions created through the activity of articulation — amongst those who actively create a world in common together.

In bringing people together to engage publicly with one another, the public realm creates the condition of possibility for collective action. Arendt explains, “Action not only has the most intimate relationship to the public part of the world common to us all, but is the one activity which constitutes it” (p. 198). Action, as she defines it, is twofold: it is to begin, to create, to set in motion and it is the carrying through of an act with others (p. 189). Speech and action of the public realm have the possibility of both bringing something new into the world and being remembered and continued because it is performed in front of and amongst an audience of peers. That is, public actions have the character of constituting and instituting collective life, defining collective identities, and constructing forms of social solidarity. Arendt argues, however, the public realm has been superseded in the modern age by the social realm, where freedom is relocated in absence of necessity in life rather than the ability to act in concert with others (p. 31, 33, 46). The prominence of the social realm erases the plurality of the public, as it is based on the sameness of sustaining life, not the distinction found in action. The social operates like a large family, where authority is centralized, negating the possibility of collective actions emerging out of inter-subject dialogue and action (p. 31). For Arendt, then, the social, unlike the public, is a depoliticized space where there is neither a plurality of perspectives nor the ability to act (to create and carry through) with others.

As an activity of world-making, “the public” calls attention to the people who perform acts of creating spaces in common through intersubjective discourse. The public, then, is an active audience, of those who participate in witnessing (seeing, hearing) and further disseminating (speaking of) actions (Arendt, 1982). Such an articulation of “public” resonates with Michael Warner’s rhetorical approach to “counterpublics” (2002). Though not referencing Arendt (and more reacting against the constrictive normativity of Habermas’ public sphere), Warner theorizes the relationship between text and audience. He argues a public is a form of discourse, oriented toward stranger-sociability and expansive circulation that is actively taken up by an audience (p. 56). Texts invoke a public through creating an address and an addressee. An addressee engages in a discourse, adding to it or not, while the circulation of the text continues to extend the public (p. 54, 59). Warner argues for the agency of publics, where membership comes through attention to and identification with the discourse (p. 52, 61). A public, in this sense, is a form of participation rather than a state or place of being (p. 53). Further, for Warner, the public is not simply for acts of deliberation and reason (p. 63), but also, and maybe more so, it is a space of/for creativity and imagination (p. 88). Discursive practices are seen as capable of producing spaces and of being a social platform for launching political practices of a different kind — that is, of “poetic world-creating” (p. 82). Warner, like Fraser, uses the term “counterpublic.” However, for him, it is neither necessarily normative nor institutional (p. 82). Rather, counterpublics seek autonomy from “The Public,” as well as the possibility of transforming public life through practices (p. 89), not just (state) policy. This is a conception of the public as a constitutive audience, emerging through discursive performance and circulation, not simply a counter — or oppositional — public addressing institutional ones.

Proposing an affinity between Arendt and Warner suggests that a concept of “publics” involves the constitutive potential of people — as active actors and audiences. It emphasizes the plurality of social actors that manifests itself in the performance of one’s distinctiveness, through speech and action, amongst a group of peers. Further, these actions and performances are a form of world-making that brings forth something new and that is continued (circulated) by others. These two parts of action are mirrored in publics, as they are both constitutive (new) and institutional (continued). However, Arendt and Warner differ in their conception of “the public” as a space. For Warner, the public is discursive (and textual) and finds space in circulation. Arendt, on the other hand, has a more unmediated sense of the public, which is founded in a shared inter-subjective location of acting, speaking, seeing, and hearing. Further, Arendt’s differentiated realms of activity stress the separation of the public and private.[11] Yet, the spatiality of the public is not integral for either conception. Rather, the space of the public indicates a mode of activity that is oriented toward others (audiences and actors) that are marked in their difference (as distinction and as strangers), or rather, their plurality. The restrictive spatiality of Arendt (as demarcating the public and private) and the boundless spatiality of Warner (as expansive textual citation) are thus better understood as an ethos, one oriented toward publicness.[12] Such an ethos points to publics and forms of publicness performed in spaces of plurality through intersubjective dialogue amongst an active audience. Constituting publics thus has world-making potential.

Linking plurality to actions and performance in the public realm suggests neither plurality nor publicness are inevitable. Rather, this essential heterogeneity of a subject positions collected together in, and made known through, the public is constituted by discursive practices. These discourses are always embodied, as they emanate from particular people responding to and creating their relationships and environments.[13]As discourse is practiced in public, a reality is produced, agreed upon, contested, or ignored.[14]As such, the public functions as a stage of participation and performance with and amongst others, where individual experiences are externalized, and (at times) come to pluralist (public) understanding of collectively lived in and shared environments. Therefore, the public can be conceived as an interpretative community (Felski, 1989, p. 8), which is subject to contestation and affected by public action, yet capable of contingent practices of solidarity.However, the community cannot and should not be assumed to be homogeneous, or necessarily exclusive. Rather, the plurality found in public suggests a site of discourse where multiple subject positions are constructed in performances and actions.

2.2.3     Lefebvre and Bourdieu: Activity – Power, Spaces, and Embodiment

The intellectual tradition of “public spheres” speaks to the discursive notion of the public that is a site of publicity and a plurality of actors. Yet public also indicates spatial practices. Public space, in this sense, is not the taken-for-granted physicality of places, which appear to simply exist and contain matter; rather, “space” is produced in and through practices, and operates in relation to discourse, each mutually constituting the other. Henri Lefebvre and Pierre Bourdieu each bring a nuanced account of the interrelationship between space and discourse. Lefebvre (1974) provides an analytic framework in which to conceptualize and analyze the production of space as a social product, while Bourdieu (1977, 1979) lends to an understanding of the embodied potentials and limits of social relations as practical activities and (classed) dispositions. Together, they point to everyday practices in social space that precede and impact the activities of publics and publicness, both in the intentions of publicity and plurality. As such, an understanding of “publics” must account for relations of power, manifesting in contested relationships between, and within, embodied spaces and discourses.

For Lefebvre (1974), space is productive, being both produced in, and producing, social relations. These social relations and practices mark and make a space. Every society has its own particular mode of producing spaces (p. 31), making the production of space an activity that is historical and dynamic (p. 46). Rejecting abstracted and fragmented notions of space, Lefebvre proposes a unified conception of space as an intersection of mental, social, and natural-physical fields. When approached as such, “(social) space” is recognized as a “(social) product” (p. 26). It is relational, practiced, and embodied. Further, the activities of producing space are activities of power, where discourse underwrites possibilities for space, just as space underwrites possibilities for discourse, each serving to control and limit the other. Therefore, Lefebvre argues that space has an active role in social modes of production and operates within a myriad of relations that work with and against each other (p. 16), maintaining and challenging the status quo (p. 11). This relationality points to a dialectic of perceived, conceived, and lived spaces (p. 39). These carry the past into the present as a dynamism of representational space (how people live in spaces) and the representations of space (how space is conceived) that occurs in spatial practices (how space is perceived) (p. 33). Each of these simultaneous moments in the production of space allow for the knowledge of the interpenetration of social spaces, which counters notions of separable spheres (p. 86). And further, a transformation of social formations necessarily requires the creation of new space, which of course carries with them new modes of production and new social relations (p. 59).

Whereas Lefebvre focuses on the production of social space, Bourdieu’s analysis starts with practical activity — those things that people do in their everyday lives without thought or reflection, as a way to understand space as embodied. Bourdieu (1977) uses the concept habitus to point to a dialectical relationship between bodies and space (p. 89). Further, it is a relationship between non-discursive and discursive practices, as well as the coordination of these practices (p. 81). Habitus, then, describes a “system of durable, transposable dispositions” (p. 72). Dispositions are learned and embodied manners of going about things in everyday life, schemes of perception, rhythms of practices and life, and unquestioned assumptions about the order of the world (p. 172, 214). Cognitive and social structures are practiced through these dispositions (p. 468), which is to further say, culture itself is embodied in these internalized codes and forms of perception (1979, p. 2–3). These socially and culturally learned dispositions are not external to agents but manifest themselves in practical activity, in actions as simple as postures, uses of social space, and responses to surveys. That is, people always already have a sense of place (or of their place), and these are in fact learned and socialized dispositions that reproduce the social order.

Lefebvre and Bourdieu both emphasize the uses and practices of space and its relationship with discourse. For them, space is embodied and lived in, where the rhythm of places and practices mark — and are marked in — everyday interactions. In understanding these spaces as contested, competing discourses between what is conceived and what is experienced, Lefebvre and Bourdieu also point out that power is central in the structuring of spaces and its uses. Focusing on the complex relationship between space and discourse as an intersection of perceived, conceived, and lived experience (Lefebvre) and as a system of durable and embodied dispositions (Bourdieu) allows for a more nuanced and attentive analysis of the concept public. They put in relief the relations of power operating in and through the sites, actors, and activities of publicity and plurality. While theories of public spheres and the public realm focus more or less exclusively on discursive practices, this spatial approach highlights the impact (both restrictive and permissive) that space has on the possibilities for communicative and political participation — that is, publicity, plurality, and power. Publics, as produced in space and productive of space, thus involve not only the intentionality of discursive activity, but the invisibility of practical activity. Further, spatialized publics are always embodied, not simply abstract discourses. The concept, and the manifestation, of publics then contain dispositions that serve to exclude and include particular activities, actors, and sites. However, publics are also intervening spaces between experience and discourse that serve a translative possibility of moving the taken-for-granted into discursive spaces of contestation and collective action, and potentially social transformation.

Plurality and publicity, if they are to be connected to the material world of discursive-spatial practices, must be articulated with recognition and awareness of the context and consequence of ever-present relations of power.[15] Because the public is foundational to the formation of shared truths, as well as being a site of identification for both dominant and marginalized members of interpretative and affective communities, these sites and practices are thoroughly invested with actual and potential cultural and political capital. Therefore, publics and publicness involve practices of legitimacy and authority. While ideally being a space for recognition and consideration of particular issues and identities, access and participation within publics is not equally available to all actors, discourses, and sites in terms of their visibility, influence, and effect. Some actors’ private experiences and articulations are not publicly legitimated (when they should be), while others’ understandings receive social authority more readily (when they should not be). Further, some actors (like the state or corporate media) can address and influence multiple audiences, while many other publics struggle to be heard and seen. This is to say, some publics benefit from, and control, the common sense (or hegemonic) understandings upon which discourses and modes of publicness are predicated.[16] Consequently, relationships within and between publics must be understood as practiced on unequally and unjustly stratified spaces, even while the concept of “public” aspires to equality and at times justice. As such, the variable ease in which power, as forms of legitimacy and authority, operates within and between publics must inform any concept (and study) of its discursive-spatial practices.

2.2.4     “Public” is an Analytical Cluster Concept

While this is not a comprehensive literature review, it attempts to weave together approaches from urban studies, communication studies, and social and political theory. While it does not provide a detailed account of contributions of particular individuals and disciplines concerned with publics, it does provide a purposeful sketch of the public as a discursive-spatial concept involving sites of publicity, the plurality of actors, and activities invested in relations of power. Yet, publics are never solely discursive or spatial. Rather, publics are produced, and reproduced, as a relationship between discourses and spaces; that is, discourses underwrite spaces, as spaces simultaneously engender discourses. Therefore, the public can be understood as a space for discourse, as well as a space of discourse.

Learning from these authors, publics and publicness is approached as an interdisciplinary cluster concept that struggles with the responsibility of locating, describing, and analyzing intersectional cultural and political practices of publicity, plurality, and power. Publicity highlights the many spaces and practices of deliberation and contestation that are oriented toward circulation and visibility of public discourse. It calls attention to a group’s construction of discourses in relation to their intended audiences and the hoped-for result of the discourses. Plurality emphasizes inter-subjective dialogue and action within the public realm. It directs one to the taking up and performing of identities, as well as constructing subject positions and social solidarities within contingent interpretative communities. Paying attention to relations of power illuminates practices of plurality and publicity operating within an unequal discursive, material world. It highlights the variable legitimacy and authority afforded to and assumed by publics, and unequal relationships between publics.

Of course, not all of these aspects are present evenly or consistently in particular public formations. The substance and form of publics are variable, multiple, contradictory, and contingent. They reflect and affect the historical context in which they emerge and in which they are sustained. However, keeping in mind these various conceptual strains simultaneously when investigating and analyzing discursive-spatial practices allows for the complexity and particularity of each public formation to come into view. By assuming publics to be a collection of particular practices and not a predetermined model (of sites, actors, or activities), this cluster concept of publics also affords the possibility of witnessing novel and emerging practices, relationships, and spaces used in public formations. Publics manifest themselves then in constitutive practices of forming a group identity, social solidarity, and collective action and in relational practices oriented toward other publics, building alliances, contesting representations, and influencing the outcomes of decisions (to suggest only a few examples amongst many possibilities). This conception of publics can be empirically investigated through an analysis of the relationship of sites, actors, and activities, as they appear in public sites (such as institutions and texts) through the communicative activities and political actions of social actors (individual, collective; marginal, dominant) in regards to issues of collective life. Such an approach leads one to the study of publics formed in and through social movements, particularly those engaged in democratic practices of citizenship.

2.3     Social Movements Publics

The discursive-spatial approach to publics, as it has been outlined here, is conceptually and empirically linked with social movements. The concept of publics as a cluster of sites (or media) of publicity, plurality (actors and subjects), and power (activities) can be studied in the issues and practices of social movements. Social movements are sites of publics and publicness. Their activities produce and critique events, texts, subjects, and discourses, as well as respond to and elicit responses from other social actors, like political institutions (government) and the media. The construction of (and response to) these social movement activities provides the discursive-spatial material in which to empirically analyze the formation of publics. Publics and social movements are also connected at a deeper conceptual level. Publicness is often the very heart of social movement activities. Social movements seek to make issues, identities, and practices public and to address collective issues, often with the intention of challenging dominant hegemonies. As such, social movements are agents of publicity and spaces of plurality that operate discursively to affect collective interests and political spaces. The generation of social movements discourses create sites of identification that contribute to collective actions and social solidarities oriented toward the matters of common concern. Social movements are primary actors engaged in challenging and transforming relations of power and central spaces that create the conditions for re-making the world.

The conceptual move to start analysis of publics from the perspective of social movement actions places the activities of people in their everyday environment as the point in which to understand and critique cultural and political activities and relationships. This is a view from the ground up, as it were, and attunes one to subtleties of social and political engagement and intervention that work to transform the meaning and effect of democratic participation within neighbourhoods, communities, and more broadly. This co-conception of social movements and publics takes as a given an active notion of publics. It begins with, and emphasizes, the potential and actual actions of particular social actors in their embodied environments. From that vantage point, the organizing rules and structures of social and political relations of power are analyzed (Lefebvre, 1974; Bourdieu, 1977; Magnusson, 1996, 1997, 2000; Holston, 1998; Day, 2005), rather than the other way around. Further, joining publics with social movements encourages problematization of these commonsense assumptions and rules of social and political organization.

This active conception of the public (along with politics) is in contrast to a totalized notion of a “depoliticized” public spheres. Depoliticized publics suggests an overdetermining ability on the part of the dominating class to control and dictate social and political relations (as in the case of ideology; see for example: Althusser, 1971) or the impotence of political action in the face of mass society and impersonal administrative culture (see for example: Debord, 1967; Habermas, 1970; Adorno, 1981; Rosanvallon, 1988; Pensky, 2003). While there is a depoliticization and bureaucratization of public space, dialogue, and life, there continue to be actions operating outside this logic, which seek to transform public life on the level of the individual and collective. Administrative, and hence depoliticized, public spheres are not an inevitability, but are products of hegemonic claims that are open and subject to challenge, critique, and reversal. In both theory and practice, it is these challenges and critiques of relationships and processes in public space, dialogue, and life that this analysis is oriented toward. This is to say, the focus on active publics is a political position and methodological ethic that assumes the agency of people in their everyday lives and communities as the determinant of a democracy’s viability. It privileges these activities of social actors over the reification of structures. And further, it seeks to encourage investigations of practices that have always imagined and practiced worlds other than those represented in dominant social and political relations. So while there may be a depoliticization of institutionalized (liberal? statist?) public spheres, to extend this judgement to all publics is to miss much of the activity that is going on in communities and social movements. To mitigate such blindspots, then, attention here is placed on activities in publics rather than presupposing (imposing, or bemoaning) passivity. The study of publics in this project is thus a study of social movement publics.

“Social movement publics” describes collective formation of actors sharing a common identity and understanding of an issue (if only temporally and contingently), who are engaged in practices of intervention, social solidarity, and collective actions oriented toward social change (regressive, progressive, transformative, etc.). Social movement publics are (often) involved in hegemonic struggles as they articulate alternative visions of social relations and practices that are concerned with both changing individuals and institutions. Social movement publics aim to expand their forms of reasoning through communication practices, as opposed to engaging in violent confrontation or secret operation. While a social movement public may not be organized democratically or seek to enlarge and deepen democracy, their engagement in struggles over matters of collective concern and efforts to influence public opinion grounds their formation and function within this political context.

I use “social movement public” to indicate that I am neither strictly discussing a social movement (and thus explainable by social movement theory alone) or a public (explainable by theories of public alone). Rather, by joining together these bodies of theories, particularly those working at the intersection of communication practices of collective formations, I focus on a concept of a public oriented toward social change (in this case) pursued through the actions of marginalized members of the political community. To this end, social movement theories help to illuminate practices of publics that emerge outside the state in the activities of social actors addressing issues of collective life. A theory of social movements thus helps to decentre the state in understanding publics. However, theories of publics, especially those emerging within rhetorical studies, also contribute to understandings of social movements. They illuminate how communication practices serve as resources in collective action and identity formation, as well as how the circulation of discourses create relationships between audiences and texts-spaces that produce material effects, reproducing (and at times transforming) forms of political identity, agency, and practices. This suggests a deep connection between social movements, citizenship, and democracy as forms of communicative performance in and through publics. To argue this case, I first discuss two dominant approaches to theories of social movements, resource mobilization theories and new social movement theories of collective identity and action, and then discuss and suggest an alternative rhetorical approach to social movements that better captures the discursive practices within social movement publics.

2.3.1     Theories of Social Movements

Within social movement theory, it is generally agreed that social movements are multiple and diverse in their forms, practices, and ends. However, besides their variability and orientation toward “change” through collective actions, there is little consensus on the definition or approach to the study of social movements. There are those that study social movements as a form of collective behaviour (Turner & Killian, 1957; Johnston & Lio, 1998), as organization involving processes of resource mobilization (McCarthy & Zald, 1977; Tilly, 1978; Benford & Snow, 2000), as agents of collective action and identity (Melucci, 1989; Touraine, 1988), and as distinct rhetorical formation (Cathcart, 1972; McGee, 1980b). The two approaches that predominate (particularly in sociology, which has been the dominant discipline studying social movements (Scott, 1990) are resource mobilization theory and new social movement theories of identity and collective action.

There are numerous variants of resource mobilization theories; however, its central characteristics are captured in early writing by John McCarthy and Mayer Zald (1977). Moving the field of research away from social psychological studies of collective behaviour, McCarthy and Zald argued social movements be studied as social organizations formed as “preference structures directed toward social change” (p. 153). Approached as an organizational form, social movements are capable of being examined in terms of its support base (including levels of commitment and contributions of labour, money, etc., as well as recruiting and retaining members), tactics and strategies used in the pursuit of goals (including mobilization supporters and neutralizing opponents), and its relationship to the larger society (including access to social infrastructure, such as communication media, pre-existing networks, and so on) (p. 152). An analyst can investigate resources available to a social movement organization (such as expertise, networks, and so on), their relationship with media and authorities, as well as amongst movements themselves, and opportunities and constraints within the social and political field (p. 149–150). Conceived as a supply-demand model, McCarthy and Zald argue one can measure costs and rewards to individuals engaging in social movement activities and the successes and failures of social movement strategies and tactics in relation to goals (p. 151–152) and hypothesize relationships between social movement and social structure (p. 157). Resource mobilization theory, as outlined by McCarthy and Zald, emphasizes rational choice understanding of social movement organizations, including the logistics of initiating, sustaining, and succeeding in movement aims (Carroll, 1997, p. 9–10). As such, resource mobilization theory is concerned more with instrumental questions of how collective action happens.

Looking at the organizational form of social movements, others in the resource mobilization theory paradigm emphasized external context of social movement activities. Focusing on the interactions between social movements, the state, and other institutions of civil society, Charles Tilly studies the political opportunities and “repertoire of collective actions” (strikes, demonstrations, petitions, etc.) within the movement’s historical context (Tilly, 1978), looking at the “interplay of interests, organization, and mobilization, on the one side, and of repression/facilitation, power, and opportunity/threat on the other” (p. 4–60). Elaborating on the political opportunities of social movement organizations, Sidney Tarrow describes innovative forms of collective action within the context of cycles of protest that lead to the temperance and incorporation within a society’s repertoire of collective actions (Tarrow, 1993, p. 283–4). The protest cycles, though not regular or uniform, include the features: “heightened conflict, broad sectoral and geographic extension, the appearance of new social movement organizations and the empowerment of old ones, the creation of new ‘masterframes’ of meaning, and the invention of new forms of collective action” (p. 284). Studying protests events through types of collective actions, participants, targeted groups, claims, and observable outcomes (p. 287), these cycles of protest explain the seeming institutionalization of movement organizations’ aims and practices within the mainstream social and political context, as well as how outside groups move into a more centred position, though with the tempering of their claims. Moving from this focus on social movements and the social structure, other resource mobilization theories have focused more on communication resources, studying the asymmetrical relationship between social movements and mass media (Gamson & Wolfsfeld, 1993) and analyzing frames within public discourses (Snow, et al., 1986; Johnston, 1995; Benford & Snow, 2000). These branches of research have contributed to understanding the construction of social reality through encoding processes embedded within media and movement texts and the interplay between these different framing processes. Common across these various resource mobilization theories is their institutional and organizational approach to social movements that focuses on empirical studies of “how groups form and engage in collective action” (Carroll, 1997, p. 8). Resource mobilization theories investigate the internal and external organization of social movements, relationships between SMO and other social and political institutions, including the state and media, and connect these actions within a broader historical and ideological context.

Considering the dynamic processes of mobilizing resources, political opportunities, and framing processes has the benefit of providing an empirical means in which to study how social movements organize; however, it also has limitations. Resource mobilization theories tend to be grounded within a social order framework that is oriented toward the settling of disruptions into a functional and stable social whole. By assuming the eventual incorporation or moderation of social movement activities, it de-emphasizes critiques of the state, media, and the status quo that do not seek inclusion, but rather their transformation. Further, resource mobilization theories assume the centrality of dominant actors, like the state and media, and use these conventional forms of organization as the means to measure, interpret, and evaluate social movements. It thus sets up a hierarchy of social organizations and “telos of normatization” (Scott, 1990, p. 10).[17] In contrast to this narrative of inevitable inclusion and incorporation of social movement activity, my study of collective action at Woodward’s shows the institutionalization of demands for social housing was not inevitable, nor was the incorporation of the LIC advocates’ innovative forms of collective action; rather, it was the success of a hegemonic struggle (both on the part of the LIC advocates and on the part of the state to end protest actions). By focusing on the organizational and rational features, the resource mobilization approach subsumes much of the distinct and active dimensions of social movements. Further, in approaching social movements as objects of study, observable and measureable in the material world, resource mobilization theories have often not distinguished between their “empirical generalizations and analytic definitions,” and the movement’s existence behind the evidence of protest activity (Melucci, 1989, p. 24). In objectifying social movements as aggregate data within empirical studies, resource mobilization theories neglect the importance of constructing alternative modes of social meaning and the role identities play in contributing to collective actions (Cohen, 1985, p. 665). For an understanding of these processes, one must turn to theories of new social movements that focus on symbolic dimensions of movements and identity formation.

Theories of new social movements have been developing since the 1960s to explain novel forms of collective action emerging in the women’s movement, gay liberation movement, civil rights movement, the environmental movement and so on. In distinction from older movements, these social movements seem to advance through new forms of activities occurring in spaces of civil society that emphasized new identities and alternative forms of social relations and practices (Cohen, 1985; Buechler, 1995). Buechler (1995) suggests six characteristics that unite theories of new social movements, in contrast to resource mobilization theory. They share concerns with symbolic action in the cultural spheres (not instrumental action in the political sphere), emphasize processes of autonomy and self-determination (not strategies of gaining power), focus on the role of values (in distinction to conflict over material resources), problematize the construction of collective identity (not assuming conflict and interests as structurally determined), argue grievances and ideologies are socially constructed (not based on group’s social location), and “recognize a variety of submerged, latent, and temporary networks that often undergird collective action” (as opposed to centralized organizational form) (p. 442). New social movement theories, again not homogeneous, share an interest in understanding “why specific forms of collective identity and action have appeared in late twentieth-century Euro-North American societies” (Carroll, 1997, p. 8). They are concerned with the constitution of collective identities and solidarities within collective actions, and focus on cultural activity, especially the role of language in understanding and advancing the struggles in which social movements are engaged (Carroll, 1997, p. 23). While theories of new social movements vary, two dominant strains have been the study of social movements in the context of transformations at a society-systems level (Touraine, 1985, 1988) and those that focus more closely on the creation of meaning, identities, and collective action (Melucci, 1989).

Representing a form of analysis at the level of systemic fields of action, Touraine (1988) studies the shift to a post-industrial society as a means to understand why social movements have emerged and operate as they do. Emphasizing structural conflict over historical movement (1985, p. 773), Touraine argues that there is no primary inconsistency that new social movements are responding to; rather, the social situations in which social movements operate are the outcome of their struggles that call into question forms of historicity and cultural models of practice within a society (1988, p. 66, 68). A social movement can be defined by ascertaining the “definition of the identity of the actor, the definition of the opponent, and the stakes, that is, the cultural totality which defines the field of conflict” (p. 760). These “express the central conflict of a societal type” (p. 761). Understanding the significance of social movement symptoms and products of societal transformation is found in the “interrelation between conflicting actors and the stakes of their conflict” (1985, p. 760). Social movements are thus the subject through which to examine changes at a structural level and those happening at the level of social action.

An alternative approach to new social movements, Melucci (1989) shifts the focus of research to the level of symbolic challenges created through collective action. He focuses on the “plurality of perspectives, meanings and relationships” within collective actions (p. 25). Using a more analytic definition, social movements are described as forms of collective action that involve solidarity, engagement in conflicts, and that push at the limits of tolerance within a system (p. 29). Rearticulated as such, social movements are interpreted as signs that “translate their actions into symbolic challenges to the dominant codes” (p. 12). The task of the analyst becomes explaining (not assuming) the existence of a social movement (p. 30); that is, how a “‘collective actor’ is formed and maintained” (p. 20). Melucci argues the formation of a collectivity can be located in a “multipolar action system” (p. 26). The negotiation of a “we” has three dominant orientations: “the goals of their action; the means to be utilized; and the environment within which their action takes place” (p. 26). Further, seeking to analyze the construction of collective action, the processes of unity, individual participation (p. 20), the concept of “identity” comes to the fore of research on social movements. Melucci defines three dimensions of collective identity that are also related to construction of social reality. These are: first, “formulating cognitive frameworks concerning the goals, means and environment of action; second, activating relationships among the actors, who communicate, negotiate, and make decisions; and third, making emotional investments, which enable individuals to recognize themselves in each other” (p. 35). Melucci, in placing practices of collective action within their social contexts, provides a method in which to link cultural activities and social expectations through a notion of collective identity formation.

Theories of new social movements are useful in drawing attention to why social action is occurring within civil society and how the construction of shared identities lends to collective action. However, theories of new social movements have been criticized. Melucci’s theory of collective action is described as lacking an analysis of unequal access to structural power in which social movements function (Carroll, 1997, p. 19) and Touraine is critiqued for being unable to explain “movement mobilization, organization, and issue formation” (Scott, 1990, p. 8). Both also over-emphasize cultural action to the point of obscuring political action (p. 14). However, attending to the specificities of social movement activities, neither assuming an organizational form nor abstracting the movement out of its historically situated context, can allow an analyst to move beyond the reductive tendencies of new social movement theories.

Resource mobilization theory and new social movement theories can be combined to consider how movements mobilize around particular issues, how collective identities contribute to collective action, and why movements emerge when and where they do. By incorporating aspects of both of these frameworks, Angus (2001) offers a more comprehensive definition of social movements when he suggests that they are “non-institutionalized social groups who push for a social change of some sort” (Angus, 2001, p. 59). They create political spaces that define members’ identities, goals, and the meaning of successful action (Magnusson, 2000, p. 299). Social movements provide a “sense of identity and purpose and constitut[e] collective existence in a form that enabl[es] them to act together to carry this identity and purpose forward” (Magnusson, 2000, p. 298). Social movements thus create communities and the spaces for these communities to discuss and decide what future they will to bring into being (Angus, 2001, p. 84).[18] Such a definition draws attention to the importance of both how social movements mobilize around social issues and how they create meaning as part of the process of engaging publicly in cultural and political domains. In particular, these defining characteristics emphasize the importance of communication to the formation of social movements and the pursuit of collective actions. To see how these practices happen, not as features of an organization but as a movement, one can turn to the study of social movement as a rhetorical process.

Moving away from sociological theories to focus on communication practices of social movements, rhetorical studies provide an alternative approach to collective actions, events, and discourses. A rhetorical approach to social movements focuses on discursive activity found in rhetorical documents (McGee, 1980b), such as speeches and pamphlets, but also in body rhetoric (Griffin, 1964) and image events (Deluca, 1999), as in the case of mass demonstrations, media interventions, or staged public events. Rhetoric here is seen as facilitating identification (Burke, 1969; McGee, 1975, 1980b; Charland, 1987; Patton, 1995), as well as being persuasive, where there is a discursive relationship between texts/events and actors/audiences. A rhetorical approach fosters an active and constitutive understanding of social movement activity that does not ask questions of subjectivity, individual motivations, or social psychology; rather, it sees discursive activity as a critical and interpretative process in relation to other social discourses and knowable through the transformation of meaning and use of key ideographs (like public, freedom, privacy, democracy, etc.) (McGee, 1975; 1980). Therefore, social movement activity is located and analyzable in rhetorical practices and hegemonic articulations (Laclau & Mouffe, 2001; Deluca, 1999; Angus, 2000) that intentionality attempt to contribute to, affect, and alter cultural and political discourses. It addresses both how social movements are formed, mobilized and maintained, as well as situating these practices within the broader cultural and political context.

A rhetorical or discursive approach to social movement activity accounts for the public dimension of such collectively oriented action. Social movement activity provides sites (discursive and spatial) of identification that can enable the constitution of “a people” (McGee, 1975; Charland, 1987). Identification, as a text-audience relationship, encourages particular collective action. These can include acts aimed at plurality and power, as well as establishing alternative times and spaces of cultural and political relations (Magnusson, 1996). Further, social movement activity is concerned with publicity — for the expansion of discourses and for controlling representations of discourses. Social movement activity, understood rhetorically, focuses then on communication. This conception of social movement activity as communicative is always relational and in a process of exchange. The communicative practices of social movement activity both generate and are generative of publics (Angus, 2000, 2001), and as such, there is an intimate mutuality between social movements and publics.

Using a rhetorical approach to study social movement publics emphasizes how language and symbols are used by social actors to do things in the material world. The site of analysis begins at the level of the claim, paying attention to the mobilization of discourses in relation to particular audiences and with particular intentions in mind. Yet, the specificities of these rhetorical practices are also capable of being read in a context of broader discursive struggles, linking individual claims within social movement documents to larger hegemonic struggles. Social movements are seen as agents of change, challenging and transforming symbolic and material practices through their discursive practices. Placing social movement publics’ discursive practices within a context of hegemonic struggles highlights that collective actions are predicated on the formation of identities, and further that these actions and identities are constructed out of competing discourses within a society. Social movement publics are thus actively engaged in the process of defining the meaning, practices, and entitlements of belonging within political community, whether it be at the scale of the nation-state or city neighbourhood (Pell, 2008). The significance of social movement publics as intervening into the hegemonic struggles of the terms of belonging can be assisted by connecting them to notions of citizenship.

2.3.2     Social Movements Perspective of Citizenship

Theories of social movements highlight that they are central sites for the politicization of identities in both their progressive and conservative manifestations. While not always explicitly articulated as such, when social movements address issues and meanings of membership within a political community, citizenship is being invoked and negotiated. Social movements are primary agents that push and pull at the limits of citizenship, while at the same time the practices within movements transform statuses and rights of membership within broader communities. However, recognizing social movement publics’ engagement in matters of collective concern as active practices of citizenship requires understanding citizenship as processes of struggling over rights and responsibilities of belonging within a political community.

Focusing on contestation over the meaning and effect of exclusion (and inclusion) within political communities emphasizes that citizenship is dynamic and particular. Rather than being viewed as a stable and static status, citizenship emerges in the active, historical process whereby different groups seek to define the membership within a polity (Isin & Wood, 1999; Turner, 1997). Citizenship arises then in peoples’ (peaceful and violent) negotiation of the issues of collective existence, where the questions of how we will govern ourselves and how will we live together in this space are addressed (Magnusson, 1996). In this regard, statuses and rights of membership can be thought of as the institutionally recognized forms of citizenship, which include the achievement of rights (civil, political, social) and responsibilities (voting, protesting, paying taxes), while practices of citizenship are always subject to variable recognition based in part on the legitimacy from where they emerge. Citizenship, thus conceived, is a relationship between statuses (as recognized within institutions) and practices (that seek recognition) (Isin & Wood, 1999), within a plurality of relevant communities (Magnusson, 2005). In other words, citizenship is an identity claim for inclusion within a political community in addition to the right to define what this belonging will entitle. This broad approach taken from the perspective of social movements encourages a description of citizenship in its historical, dynamic, multiple, and relational dimensions, where it is seen to emerge in struggles like the one over the fate of Woodward’s and the neighbourhood of the Downtown Eastside. It can be argued then that citizenship is not only granted (by the state), it is also claimed (by the people).

A social movement perspective helps to highlight citizenship as an individual’s participation and identification within a community that might involve a city and a neighbourhood, as much as a country and region. As a form of identification, citizenship is intimately connected with issues of belonging to a particular group (Mouffe, 1992), along with the rights and responsibilities of membership (Marshall, 1992; Turner, 1997). Furthermore, citizenship reflects a particular conception of the political in which the practice of (some) identities and actions are deemed legitimate and included in that community, while others are not (Bosniak, 2000). Within a democracy then, citizenship serves as a primary marker of political inclusion and exclusion (Mouffe, 2000). The placement of this boundary depends on the identities and practices of citizens themselves as they push and pull at the limits of what is deemed political. This suggests that there are overlapping and competing definitions of citizenship, even within a political community, where there exists privileged and marginalized citizenship(s). Relations of power are thoroughly invested in the conceptualizations and many practices of citizenship. Therefore, central to an analysis of citizenship is describing the reciprocal process of engaging and contesting the delimitation and boundary of the political and the meaning and effect of participation, as well as the transformation of identity positions into claims for citizenship (Young, 1989; Holston, 1998; Isin & Wood, 1999).

In trying to capture the radical and emergent aspects of citizenship, in both its multiple and process-based forms, James Holston (1998) suggests the term insurgent. Insurgent citizenship is an analytical concept that directs attention to peoples’ practices in, and use of, space. It emphasizes peoples’ everyday practices as creating actually liveable spaces. These spaces of insurgent citizenship locate places in the city (or other locations) that open social imaginaries to alternative futures. These are antithetical to the modernist project of state-building and the consolidating of its political authority. Citizens are not bound to reproduce the ‘statist’ quo. Rather, in rejecting “the state as the only legitimate source of citizenship rights, meanings, and practices,” insurgent citizenship “refer[s] to new and other sources and to their assertion of legitimacy” (Holston, 1998, p. 39). This conceptualization aligns with a social movement perspective by privileging the actions of people within their various communities as the location of citizenship. It recognizes a plurality of sources and sites of citizenship. Such an approach undermines the state as sole or ultimate location, judge, and grantor of citizenship. Alternatively, political power is dispersed within the many sites from which citizenship emerges and from where it seeks legitimacy and authority.

Insurgent citizenship emphasizes the dynamic process of claim-making and contestation as central to defining membership within a political community. Holston explains,

Citizenship changes as new members emerge to advance their claims, expanding its realm, and as new forms of segregation and violence counter these advances, eroding it. The sites of insurgent citizenship are found at the intersection of these processes of expansion and erosion (1998, p. 48).

Because he is discussing the complexity of practices, Holston notes that insurgent citizenship comes from any social group, “elite or subaltern” (1998, p. 49), calling attention to both progressive and regressive movements of citizenship.

By locating citizenship in these spaces where people live and interact, one can analyze political, social, cultural, and economic participation as it happens. This is in opposition to abstracted and normative claims of what citizenship should entail and how it should be practiced, which tends to be the case when approached through the perspective of the state.[19] This approach shifts attention to the many means, places, and possibilities for democratic participation that are always occurring, even though they are not always defined as citizenship. Insurgent citizenship, then, directs analysis to spaces of contestation to see who, where, and how political authority is claimed and legitimated. Here the activities of participants themselves are seen as ultimately being the source of the political and citizenship.

2.3.3     Insurgent Citizenship within the Social Movement Public at Woodward’s

Throughout this dissertation, the campaigns for Woodward’s by advocates of the low-income community that emerge through a social movement public are approached as spaces of insurgent citizenship. In these spaces, the interests of both the elite and subaltern contested the redevelopment of Woodward’s as attempts to define the future direction of the Downtown Eastside. This struggle amongst the citizens of and beyond the area caused the politicization of different identities and communities through various acts of claiming rights to be heard in the decision-making processes over the future of the building and neighbourhood. Focusing on the side of the LIC advocates, the legitimacy of their politics resided in public opinion and community solidarity. Being acknowledged and supported within the neighbourhood was as important to the success of its political action as being incorporated within the policies of state institutions, if not more so. Consequently, the LIC advocates used the spaces of the city, and particularly the Woodward’s site itself, as a field in which to stake their citizenship claims. To them, meaningful citizenship in the DTES of Vancouver, B.C., Canada, meant a right to housing and the ability to participate in the creation of their community — a belief they declared and defended in their actions and words in public hearings, in the courts, in the media, and on the streets. Citizenship, practiced in view of Woodward’s, was an assertion of rights (e.g., housing and participation) based on identities (e.g., DTESer) rooted in a sense of belonging within a community. It was further a demand for recognition of the state’s responsibility in creating or alleviating poverty, as well as an act to address social housing and homelessness with the resources at their disposal within their neighbourhood. In other words, citizenship at Woodward’s was practiced, not granted.

In exposing issues of social housing and low-income peoples’ exclusion from decision-making processes within their political communities, the LIC advocates’ campaigns for Woodward’s raises the problem of limited access to meaningful democratic participation in the DTES through the institutions of the state. The marginalization of their claims and demands in official channels of political participation required that the LIC advocates use different strategies in order to be heard. They raised their collective voice in the streets and published their own newsletters. The case of contested citizenship rights and practices at Woodward’s thus begs the question of the relationship between communication and democracy. Democracies, to be considered responsive to the people and representative, at the very least require spaces for emergent citizenship claims. Especially for those collectives that are advancing more radical or less recognizable forms of citizenship, this ability to address relevant communities regarding their issues demands access to the means of democratic communication. These means are found in formations of publics. It is here that social movements can create discourses and tactics for their distribution within other publics — that is, they are space of publicity. While publics do not guarantee an equality of exchange, they do provide an analytical and political focus on where and how such equality can be gained. Therefore, democracy and practices of citizenship are bound to the communicative possibilities of emergent publics, particularly those of social movement publics. Using concepts of citizenship and social movement publics ties the struggles over Woodward’s redevelopment to broader questions of democracy and possibilities for meaningful participation.

This chapter attempts to both define concepts — namely publics, social movements, and citizenship — and to develop the connections between them. Publics are described as sites, actors, and activities oriented toward issues of publicity, plurality, and power. Further, as a cluster concept, publics highlight both discursive and spatial practices. The notion of social movement publics is introduced as a type of public oriented toward social change. Uniting the theoretical fields of social movements and publics, communication emerges as a key variable in which to understand process of social change. A rhetorical approach to social movement publics is argued to capture how identities formation and pursuit of collective action happened, as well as to being able to connect understandings of claims to broader discursive, hegemonic struggles. Finally, social movement publics are situated as a form of citizenship practices because the orientation toward issues of collective concern and the meaning of belonging to political communities. By linking social movement publics to citizenship, struggles over Woodward’s redevelopment are approached as involving questions of democracy and the meaning of political participation. This chapter develops the main theoretical and conceptual issues of this dissertation. The following chapter takes these concepts and discusses their application, outlining a methodology for the study of Woodward’s as a public formation.

3: Approach to the case study – Methods for the analysis of Public formations

3.1     Introduction

If politics is about the way people organize their affairs – and about the way their affairs are organized for them – then we have to look carefully at what happens in the places where people actually live. This means attending to the politics of everyday life, and also to the ways in which people move out of their everyday routines to make wider political claims. Shifts of the latter sort are typically understood as social movements … but the activities concerned are really political (Magnusson, 1996, p. 9).

The previous chapter discussed the interdisciplinary literature on concepts of publics and its relationship with social movements and citizenship. This chapter moves from a theorization of publics to its application. I describe my methodology, conceptually and practically, of the study of publics within public formations. Based on my empirical research, theories of publics were modified into a notion of “public formations.” These I defined as collections of discursive processes of creating (and sustaining) a relevant community oriented toward a matter of collective concern. While a public is one set of discourses (united, more or less, in their shared orientation) and a public formation is all the discourses on the matter. Reconceived as such, both the specificities of a public and the relationships between publics can be explored. As applied to my dissertation, for example, I analyze particularities of LIC advocates’ publics within the context of its relationship with various other publics (Gastown Residents Association, the City of Vancouver, etc.) concerned about Woodward’s. All together these are a public formation.

This chapter describes both the initial application of theories of publics in the research design and analysis of the various Woodward’s documents and the reconceptualization of public formations presented within a historical narrative, as a means to situate the interplay between the theoretical and empirical projects. In outlining the conceptual approach to publics within public formations, it also discusses the analytical tools used to study these formations, four forms these publics take during the various moments in the Woodward’s controversy, and the rationale for categorizing these formations as such. The purpose of this chapter then is to attend to the epistemological and ethical questions of researching the everyday — and extraordinary — politics of Woodward’s redevelopment.

The chapter starts with a discussion of my research design and ethics based on an interdisciplinary notion of publics as a cluster concept. Next, it describes the reason for the reformulation of public formations, as well as elaborates a notion of it. The second section focuses on a methodological description of hegemonic and rhetorical analysis that were used in the analysis of discourses during Woodward’s redevelopment. The last section provides a cataloguing of the four types of public formations and situates these within a historical outline of Woodward’s redevelopment. In bridging the theoretical and empirical chapters, this chapter also serves as a space for reflection, allowing me the opportunity to locate myself as a researcher within this process. As such, the voice in this chapter is much more clearly my own.

3.2     Application of Publics and Public Formations: Research Design, Ethics, and Forming (and Discarding) Hypotheses

My problem is how research and theory go together or how they co-exist without either subjugating the other (particularly the theory over the practice, or my desires/ideals over what actually happens). This is a “professional” issue of whether I am doing a case-study or a writing a manifesto. I find it hard to describe and not prescribe. This is a balance I am trying to sort out, which goes back to my concerns about normativity. I think I was telling you before I am all super-ego. As a continuation on my therapy-research, I am trying to sort out a way of caring and not judging, or judging but loving (or something like these and not these at all) as applied to public and private life. All of this is to say, I would suggest that political projects should not be determined beforehand but should arise out of the actions/needs of the participants though I don’t know how to say this without “shoulds” (Pell, email correspondence, 2007, March).

In this section, I explain how I used the concepts of publics, and later publics within public formations, within my analysis of municipal, media, and social movements texts. Particularly in the rethinking of project, which occurred the past year, I reflect too on the decisions I made and the positions I take as a researcher of social movement activities and why. To some extent, this reformulation maps my maturing as an academic, which I learned requires a great deal of self-awareness. For those raised on fuzzy borders between self and other, as I was, this was both a painful and liberating process.

As a means to situate the move to conceptualize publics within public formations, I will first describe how the theoretical readings discussed in the previous chapter informed and shaped the design and ethics of this research project. After this, I outline how I use this concept of publics within public formations to analyze the struggles over Woodward’s redevelopment. This provides explanations of how I reconciled the theoretical literature within the empirical investigation, and how I positioned myself as a researcher within this process.

3.2.1     Research Design

While Woodward’s redevelopment was chosen early in my studies as a case in which to investigate publics and publicness, it was the theoretical literature that initially informed the design of my research project. To begin, I conceptualized my project as investigating public discourse as it unfolded during Woodward’s redevelopment, with particular attention paid to the highly public event of the Woodward’s squat in 2002. (In the course of study, my project expanded to include the whole of the redevelopment during the building’s tenuous vacancy, between 1993 and 2003.) This led me to a study of existing and public documents and texts, rather than creating and analyzing new discourses, which would be the case with interviews or ethnography. With this decision in place, the discursive-spatial concept of the publics oriented me toward particular media, actors, and activities that one might anticipate in a study of publics, public spheres, and publicness. In particular, these disciplinary literatures pointed to social movements, media, and government as potential actors in publics and sites of publicness. It was through these media that public issues were created and publicized. Similarly, at their best, they cultivated plurality and enabled a diversity of social actors to participate in public life and engagement.

The literature also suggested which activities a public might be engaged in and where to locate them. In particular, I focused on three types of activities: publicity, plurality, and power. Publicity refers to making issues, identities, etc., visible and disseminating them more broadly. Plurality indicates discursive practices of addressing various audiences and engaging in intersubjective dialogue that attend to common issues. Power comprises performing actions and subjectivities within unequally marked fields that prohibit and facilitate some practices and subjects over others. Drawing upon the literature, I looked for evidence of these activities both in texts and in material places. While my project was to analyze texts, I was also conscious that discursive practices are in a mutually constituting and effecting relationship with spatial practices, and further, that these relationships were produced, embodied, and affective. I was thus prevented from abstracting and distancing the texts from the spatial-discursive practices from which they emerged and to which I would be contributing.

3.2.2     Research Ethics

Equally contributing to my research design was the inspiration and repulsion I experienced by studying the various theoretical and methodological approaches to publics and publicness. While not naming names, I wanted in particular to respect the diversity of knowledges, practices, actors, and spaces involved in the redevelopment of Woodward’s. Similarly, I was anxious not to enforce my authority as an academic through a process of theory-testing and normative moralizing of what should or should not have happened during the various campaigns for social housing at Woodward’s — that is, I did not want to assume the position of expert who would be entitled to bestow advice or judgement on actions of which I was not a participant or to evaluate them based on criteria external to the participant’s own framework.

I also had to distinguish between my work as a researcher and my own political beliefs. While I found it easier to sympathize with the advocates for low-income community in the DTES almost across the board, I had to note this feeling along with my reactions to reading texts I disagreed with. I also had to not marginalize discourses that I preferred not to find. For example, in 2006–7, I was quite prepared to tell a story about the Woodward’s squat as based on practices of mutual aid and respect, which had little need for the state because of this self-regulating autonomous community. But of course, the squatters were as much oriented toward the state as they were to their own personal needs. I not only had to acknowledge but also include the diversity of tactics and subject positions in my understanding of the social movement activities. While this seems obvious to me now, it was quite a struggle at the time to sort out how to ethically and politically tell stories about political actions with which I sympathize. Throughout the research process, then, I had to often reflect on my own position, being aware of what I think, want, and desire, and not imposing these on the texts. Thus, I was committed to approaching the empirical materials rigorously, respectfully, and sensitively in order not to objectify the social actors, spaces, and activities as passive and abstract discourses, and in order that the voices in the texts would retain their situated integrity and not be subjected to my own analytic voice or my political beliefs. These ethical and political commitments may not be referred to explicitly throughout this text; however, they formed the core of my analysis and presentation of the material, as well as dictated the type of story I tell about Woodward’s redevelopment.

Theories of publics, public space, and public spheres thus contributed to how I proposed and approached the study of the redevelopment of Woodward’s by informing both my research design (e.g., in the selection of sites of analysis and key conceptual thematic) and research ethics (e.g., what was investigated, how, and the effect of these decisions). It was a project that would examine municipal, media, and social movement documents, during the Woodsquat, with attention paid to thematics of publicity, plurality, and power.

3.2.3     Initial Hypotheses

The theoretical literature also served as a source for hypothesizing the organization and character of publics in the material world, which were incorporated into my initial design and analysis. Reflecting on the writings of public spheres across the various disciplines, though mainly from social and political theory, media studies, and social movement studies, I categorized three types of publics: ideal, hegemonic, and autonomous (see Appendix E). These were differentiated according to the normative or conceptual accounts of the discursive styles (i.e., consensual, contested, transformative), sites of analysis (i.e., state, media, social movements), types of activities (i.e., deliberation, representation, participation), and so forth. I conceptualized these as follows:

Ideal Public: Within these spheres, there is a tendency to reconcile competing interests of private individuals through rational deliberative processes, grounded in a tradition of ‘enlightened’ and ‘responsible’ parliamentary government.

Hegemonic Public: These spheres rest on a foundation of contestation, where competing interests vie to control perceptions of reality and hence hold cultural and political power.

Autonomous Public: These spheres are founded often on particular and contingent claims and activities of grass-roots collectivities, which are not necessarily oriented toward either formal institutions or other publics more broadly.

I tied these attributes to the social actors and media of publicness I proposed to study in Woodward’s redevelopment. I planned to organize and present my analysis thematically, with a chapter on the City, the media, and social movement, investigating each as a social actor in the redevelopment process. I hypothesized that the municipal government in Vancouver would operate as an ideal public that was expected to reconcile the competing interests of the polity; the local mass media would be a hegemonic public that represented (unevenly and unequally) contestation over public issues; and the social movement for housing would be formed as an autonomous public based on contingent claims and grassroots activities. Besides approaching the social actors as emblematic of types of publics, these categories helped to sensitize me to the various conceptions and possibilities of public life and engagement. They led to me to notice relationships based on contestation, reconciliation, and social change. As well, they helped me to conceive of the principles underwriting discursive practices within the spaces of the city, media, and social movement. For example, I paid attention to conflicts between groups that were based on different notions of participation (e.g., direct or representative) or the various assumptions of the meaning of inclusion in decision-making processes (e.g., contributing to the outcome or being apart of consultations).

Further wanting to understand the redevelopment as a whole and how issues may have built on each other or fragment, I also expanded the timeframe, and thus the documents, under analysis at this phase in the research. What had been a study of the three-month period during Woodsquat was now exponentially larger, including all the municipal, media, and social movement documents pertaining to Woodward’s after its closure as a department store to the sale of the condo units in 2007. Having gathered all my documents, I wrote three chapters describing the actions of the City, the mass media, and the social movement and argued that in their own particular ways they contributed to the eventual redevelopment of Woodward’s.

The conclusions I drew in these thematic chapters addressed the active roles each of the social actors played in Woodward’s redevelopment. Writing the media chapter first, I argued that the local mass media was a social actor in the redevelopment through the framing issues and naturalizing addressee-audience relations (e.g., coupling police and protesters within news stories, as opposed to protesters and the government). I describe the framing practices in the following chapters within discussions of the mass media’s representation of debates of the revitalization of the DTES vs. its gentrification and the problem of homelessness discussed apart from a lack of social housing.

Next, I wrote up the findings from the minutes of municipality’s public hearings (1995, 1997) and report of the consultation processes of Woodward’s future (2003). While the least developed of my arguments, I suggest that the official decision-making spaces of the City diffused and marginalized the interests of low-income residents of the DTES (to meaningful participation, social housing, social services, and so on) through their inclusion in the municipal processes that negotiated their demands with those of the city residents at large.

Lastly, I analyzed documents emerging from the many community mobilizations by advocates for the low-income community in the DTES. I argued these mobilizations moved the redevelopment of Woodward’s from a technical decision-making process to a political one. The advocates’ discourses demonstrated constitutive and relational characteristics that contributed to the creation of Woodward’s redevelopment as public issues. Further, I argued the LIC advocates were successful in their goals to publicize the need for social housing and to obtain some affordable housing at Woodward’s; however, their concurrent critique of the processes (public hearings and city consultation) and their desire to meaningfully affect the decisions over redevelopment in the neighbourhood was not successful because in the publics of the media and City, they lacked legitimated expertise, authority, and “viable” (read “private”) values; that is, they were unable to affect the reigning neo-liberal hegemony. This suggested that public formations during Woodward’s redevelopment provided spaces of publicity but not public action for the LIC advocates in the DTES. While I was attached to all my thoughts and conclusions about Woodward’s redevelopment, it was the story of the constitution of publics, the relationship between publics, and the possibility of publicity apart from public action that I wanted most to tell. This required a rewriting of chapters with a new conceptual framework (the one you are reading about now).

Thus, while the categories ideal, hegemonic, and autonomous and the concept of publics as publicity-plurality-power were initially useful in orienting me to media of publicness, normative assumptions, and particular practices, in the end they limited my empirical analysis. Assuming that a public needed to include aspects of publicity, plurality, and power set up an evaluative situation that seemed to suggest I needed to point to presences and absences, rather than describe the practices I came across. Linking the categories to types of social actors also obscured the practices I saw in the various documents. Specifically, when trying to understand the competing normative claims or multiple identities and goals within a public, the relationship between the various social actors within and across the publics, or how the publics’ practices affected each other (or not), these categories proved to be overly reductive. They homogenized the various public media and social actors. In this sense, what I assumed the data to say (which I naively expected to be very neat and tidy) got in the way of me describing complexity and contradictions of what was happening within and between these various publics. As starting hypotheses in my investigation, these categories as tied to a particular social actor and medium had to be discarded.

Therefore, in the process of investigating the discourses on Woodward’s in the municipal documents, media representations, and social movement documents, I had to loosen the theoretical categories in my mind (and in my dissertation proposal) in order to observe, situate, and interpret the discursive practices within the contexts in which they deployed, circulated, and functioned. As important as discarding abstract (and naïve) understanding of social actors (e.g., of social movements as heroes and media as foes of social change), was reorganizing the thematic chapters into a historical narrative that could emphasize constitutive and relational processes occurring within the LIC advocates’ discourses. This meant moving from an account of publics, which ran the risk of appearing isolated and independent, to an analysis of publics within public formations, which highlighted publics as always multiple and interconnected, as groups engaged and competing in the construction of public issues and seeking to affect the outcome of issues. Thus, I realized the conceptual finding (of publics as constitutive and relational practices) and methodological finding (that one should approach publics as embedded in public formations) was central to understanding my empirical research findings. These findings served then to organize and communicate what I found meaningful in the discursive practices of the LIC advocates as they participated in public life and engagement over issues that affected themselves and their neighbourhood.

3.3     The Arguments about Publics within Public Formations

Emerging out of my research on Woodward’s redevelopment, I argue publics within public formations can be studied empirically as active collectivization processes that centre on practices of identification and engagement. These public formations involve both constitutive practices (forming group identities, establishing social cohesion, creating histories, and so on) and relational practices (contributing to larger discourses, attempting to influence and affect others, and so on). The active practices of public formations can be studied as processes of publicizing issues, creating and occupying subject positions, and reflectively engaging in relations of power. In their everyday occurrences, public formations are variable and dynamic, particular and relational.

Further, public formations can be differentiated based on the orientation, intention, and scale of the discursive practices that emerge out of these processes. Based on the study of discursive practices during the various campaigns for social housing at Woodward’s, I argue there are three types of public formations: emergent (focusing on construction of issues, actors, and relationships within an unsettled discursive field), hegemonic (settling of issues and actors within an oppositional relationship, with practices oriented toward dominance within a reduced but contestable discursive field), and depoliticized (a sedimentation of the issues, actors, and relationships, with little movement possible within a highly determined discursive field). The categories of public formations are returned to in the final section of this chapter where they are situated within the changing historical context of Woodward’s redevelopment.

In the remainder of this section, I connect my notion of publics within public formations to theories of counterpublics in order to further develop my understanding of constitutive and relational practices. Following this section, I describe the rhetorical analysis I used to examine the various discursive practices. I then conclude by returning to a discussion of the different types of public formations, which I describe as emergent, oppositional, and institutionalized. Such a discussion of the conceptual results of my research serves to situate my analysis in the subsequent empirical chapters.

3.3.1     Constitutive and Relational Practices

I define public formations as a collection of discursive processes of creating (and sustaining) a relevant community oriented toward a matter of collective concern. They are constituted through an audience’s attention to a particular discourse (issue, identity, event, text, etc.), who then seek to further develop it. Developing the discourse can occur through formalizing an issue (identity, event, text, etc.) or expanding and circulating the discourse in relation to other issues, groups, or spaces. Public formations centre then on two reciprocal and (often) reinforcing processes. One concerns practices of constituting the collective through use of issues, places, and shared experiences (to name a few possibilities) to establish group identification, social cohesion, and collective action. The other concerns practices of acting in relation to other publics that aim to engage, influence, challenge, or transform these other publics. This working definition borrows from the concept of counterpublics found in the works of Fraser (1990) and Warner (2002). I briefly describe these different concepts, outlining the similarities and divergences with my own definition.

3.3.2     Theories of Counterpublics

Fraser’s concept of subaltern counterpublics lends to my conception of public formations. Fraser popularized this concept in response to Habermas’ exclusive and homogenizing public sphere. She retains the normative account of public spheres as deliberative spaces, founded on open accessibility and social equality, where citizens address common affairs (1990, p. 57). Yet, key to Fraser’s notion of subaltern counterpublics is their multiplicity and existence within stratified societies. Enjoined with dominant public spheres, Fraser conceptualizes the “parallel discursive arenas” of subordinated groups that reconceptualises democracy as “contestation among a plurality of competing publics” (p. 65, emphasis added). Subaltern counterpublics are described as providing subordinate groups with internalizing spaces to construct counter-discourses and externalize space where these counter-discourses are circulated within broader publics (p. 67). Not separatist, these subaltern counterpublics have a publicist orientation (p. 67) and contestual relationship with dominant public spheres (p. 70).

Further, Fraser differentiates between “weak” and “strong” publics, judged according to the effect of deliberative practices on opinion-formation and decision-making. Within “weak publics,” deliberate practices are concerned exclusively with opinion-formation, while within “strong publics,” “discourse encompasses both opinion-formation and decision-making” (p. 75), particularly in the form of policy and laws. Subaltern counterpublics thus contribute to democracy by increasing capabilities of the citizens to participate in and amongst multiple public spheres (p. 67). Fraser provides then a normative account of multiple public spheres as formed through deliberative participation, with subordinate groups contestatory counter-discourses being included within broader political discourse and having the potential to effect public opinion formation and decisions at large.

In contrast to Fraser’s normative approach, Warner (2002) uses a discursive approach in conceptualizing publics and counterpublics. He differentiates “the public” as a “social totality” used in the sense of a people (p. 49), a “concrete audience” as in a crowd bound together by watching a particular performance (p. 50), and “a public” as a kind that “comes into being only in relation to texts and their circulation” (p. 50). Focusing on the latter, he theorizes the relationship between discourses and audiences as a self-organized space constituted through participation in a discourse (p. 50, 56) that requires both attention (p. 60) and further circulation (p. 62). Warner’s conceptualization of publics, and counterpublics alike, focuses attention on the world-making possibilities of discourses (p. 82). Recognizing that publics have long organized themselves outside of dominant culture (p. 81), Warner describes counterpublics with the same practices of attention and circulation. However, he does not place dominant culture as the audience necessarily addressed by the discourses of counterpublics.

Warner critique’s Fraser’s concept of subaltern counterpublic as identical to Habermas’ rational-critical public sphere with only the preface of “oppositional” (p. 85). He seeks instead to enlarge the concept of counterpublic to include discourses not necessarily oriented toward public opinion, but to “embodied sociability, affect, and play” (p. 88). This concept of counterpublic is beyond a reformist approach that keeps a public’s agency in the form of a relationship between citizen and the state. The hope of many counterpublics is not directed at policy (and as such address the state), rather, they hope for transformation of “the space of public life itself” (p. 89). In emphasizing the cultural politics of a public, Warner highlights the variety and multiplicity of audiences and discursive practices.

3.3.3     Counterpublics Versus Public Formations

My definition of public formations draws from both of these articulations of counterpublics. Like Fraser, I identify and distinguish between two discursive practices that address internal and external audiences. To this end, I distinguish between constitutive practices, where group identities and discourses are formed, and relational practices that seek to address other publics. Like Warner, I focus on the rhetorical processes that occur within these two forms of audience-orientation and the effects of these discourses. Similar to Fraser, I agree that a strong public formation has the ability to affect public opinion (or discourse) and decision-making. While this may not be the intention of all public formations, those that seek to affect public discourse should also be able to affect the decisions being addressed. I term these democratic public formations, where there is a direct correlation between publicity and public action. However, this judgement of “democracy” or not is based on the intentions of the public formation itself, not a prescription of what a public should do or not. While my concern is largely with politically oriented public formations that seek to transform political institutions and policies, like Warner’s counterpublic, transformation is not solely tied to the state, but occurs as much through discursive practices that aim to remake public life. I disagree with Fraser who implicitly ties the generation of internally oriented counterpublic discourses to their later circulation within larger publics. The constitutive and relational practices found in public formations are neither ordered temporarily or hierarchically. Rather, the practices are associated but not dependent upon each other. Both practices are equally important though potentially emphasized differently within particular public formations.

In distinction with both of them, and in line with an increasing number of writers who do not find this implicit oppositional construction conceptually useful (Asen, 2000; Squires, 2002; Hutton, 2010),[20] I chose not to preface public with “counter” though my focus is on the discursive practices of marginalized groups.[21] Like Warner, I do not want the publics of subordinated groups to be tied to oppositional critical-rational deliberative spaces. Moreover, I want to leave open the possibility (at least conceptually) that public formations are radically emergent and autonomous, and not necessarily oriented or responsive to a perceived outside. In this sense, I disagree with Fraser that counterpublics must have a “publicist” orientation beyond the constitutive practices of identification. My definition of public formations is not normative but empirically oriented and descriptive. Therefore, my conception of public formations is attentive to the specificities of particular discursive practices and their various orientations, which does not privilege — but rather recognizes — the multiple audiences that a public can and does address.

Choosing not to use counterpublic, in my discussion of public formations during Woodward’s redevelopment, I use the term emergent, oppositional, and social movement public to refer publics formed in and through the discursive practices of the LIC advocates in the DTES. Each of these labels is ascribed according to the predominant character of the articulations and naming practices of the LIC advocates. However, each of these publics is operating within a public formation, with publics engaging with one another in a hegemonic struggle over the meanings, processes and outcomes of Woodward’s redevelopment. In the next section, I simply use “social movement public” within the discussion of my analytic approach. Social movement publics is meant to be descriptive of the general practices of critical intervention and social change pursued by members with marginalized issues, identities, or practices within a political community, which is not dissimilar from the conception of a counterpublics occupying subordinate statuses discussed in Fraser’s subaltern counterpublic (p. 67) or Warner’s counterpublics (p. 86). However, I want only to emphasize the orientation toward social change sought in a public broader than that of the advocates’ public, with more specific characterization emerging after empirical analysis.

Turning to the description of the empirical analysis, in the next section I further specify how I examined the various discursive-spatial practices through a discussion of social movements’ hegemonic articulations and the rhetoric of social movements. I show how these analytical tools lend to an empirical analysis of the constitutive and relational practices of public formations as they emerged as in the claims of the various publics.

3.4     Rhetorical Analysis of Hegemonic Articulations

In what follows, I situate a study of public formations within the context of hegemonic struggles of social movements, and further describe how these discursive practices can be analyzed rhetorically. To make this case, I first suggest the constitutive and relational discursive practices of social movements (that emerge in the form of claims) often take the form of counter-hegemonic articulations. Such articulations intervene at the level of common-sense understandings in order to bring a new sort of public attention to taken-for-granted issues, identities, and practices. These articulations consist of defining practices that include who the group in question is, along with their adversaries and allies, and how they conceive of the situation into which they are intervening. Such defining practices provoke the interest of both analysts of hegemony (Laclau & Mouffe, 2001; Carroll, 1997; Angus, 2001) and protest rhetoric (Griffin, 1964; Simons, 1970; McGee, 1975, 1980b; Morris & Browne, 2006).[22] Hegemony and rhetoric are not oppositional frameworks, but complementary (Cloud, 1998; Deluca, 1999). Combined they lend to a multi-level analysis of claims emerging in and through social movement publics, particularly in the context of unequal relations of power.

Hegemonic and rhetorical modes of analysis contribute to an investigation of social movement claims as read within a public’s discourses. They lend to an examination of addresses, addressees, audiences, and the content and form of messages (conventional approaches to rhetorical analysis). More particularly, though, they examine the construction of subject positions, the use and modification of key terms, or “ideographs” (i.e., democracy, redevelopment, citizen, rights, etc.), material effects of narratives, and the relationship between claims and the grounds to which they appeal (combined concerns of hegemonic and protest rhetoric analysis). While hegemonic analysis is oriented more toward agonistic struggles between competing discourses and subject positions (Laclau & Mouffe, 2001; Mouffe, 2000), analysis of rhetoric of social protest emphasizes the discursive practices of building spaces of identification and social unities (Burke, 1966, 1969; McGee, 1975; Charland, 1987). Both these orientations need to be brought to bear on a study of the multiple constitutive and relational practices emerging within social movement publics. It is such an analysis I applied to the struggles over Woodward’s redevelopment.

3.4.1     Hegemony, Social Movement Publics, and Articulation

The constitutive and relational practices emerging within and through publics, and in this case social movement publics, construct issues, actors, and relationships within discursive fields marked by more or less settled hegemonic formations. Social movements bring into the public realm alternative views of issues (identities, practices, perspectives) that they argue need to be addressed collectively, often with an end view of social change and transformation. In making issues public, social movements engage in processes of creating (and sustaining) a relevant audience (or community) oriented toward a matter of collective concern. These are practices of identification and collectivization. Further, because social movements are oriented toward change, they are also engaged in practices of developing and expanding the public concerned with these issues (identities, practices, perspectives). These are practices of relating to other publics, with the intent of engaging, influencing, challenging, or transforming them. Social movement publics are thus involved in hegemonic struggles to articulate alternative visions of social relations and practices that are concerned with both changing individuals and institutions.

The particular use of hegemony I use originates with the Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci (1971) and is later developed by Laclau and Mouffe (2001). Gramsci describes “hegemony” as a form of consensus, leadership and authority, with it being the central form of power in civil society. His purpose was to rethink Marxist debates about ideology and strategies of social change (Morton, 2003). Gramsci argued it was not enough for revolutionary forces to take control of the state; rather, a party needs to first control the ruling beliefs of a political and cultural community, with these popular beliefs having material force (Gramsci, 1999, p. 215). Such a notion of hegemony does not see power as only centralized within the state (as a form of coercion), but also diffused across institutions of civil society (as forms of consent) (Carroll & Ratner, 1996, p. 6). Carroll (1997) conceives hegemony as the consent of the dominated to their subordination through the internalization of reigning ideas and implicit support in perpetuation of the “common-sense” positions of the dominant class. Hegemony’s mode of power comes in the form of common-sense and taken-for-granted assumptions about social practices, ideas, and relationships. Establishing or challenging a hegemonic formation is not then a matter of revealing the “Truth” (as is it believed when ideology is positioned as mystification); rather, social reality can only be understood in and through competing of discourses (Laclau & Mouffe, 2001).

With a shift in conceiving power as residing in discursive practices of civil society and the worldviews maintained through common-sense understandings, everyday cultural practices come to the fore as sites of power and resistance. However, hegemony is also a site for social struggle and oppositional politics (Carroll, 1997, p. 25). Intervening in everyday social practices, ideas, and relations, which both maintain and challenge relations of power, is crucial to processes of social transformation. Contesting a hegemonic formation must include a counter-hegemonic strategy to replace the existing status quo with an alternative worldview, practice, subject position, and so on. A concept of hegemonic struggle thus expands the relevant audiences and practices of social change, as it becomes about competing worldviews (not just state rule), and culture and everyday life become sites of strategic intervention. Social movements are key agents in challenging hegemonic formations through contesting common-sense ideas and practices and through articulating alternatives in the form of counter-hegemonic articulations.

Bill Carroll’s work has been key in developing the concept counter-hegemony in relation to social movements in the Canadian context. For Carroll, social movements are primary agents of counter-hegemony. He writes,

…movements may be viewed prima facie as agencies of counterhegemony. By mobilizing resources, and acting outside established political structures of state, parties, and interest groups, movements create independent organizational bases for advancing alternatives. By contesting the discourses of capital, patriarchy, industrialism, racism and colonialism, and heterosexism, movements destabilize the identities of compliant worker, subservient wife, or closeted queer, and create new ways of thinking about ourselves and the world around us (Carroll, 1997, p. 25).

While using a sociological (rather than a rhetorical) approach to social movements, Carroll draws attention to the reinforcing processes of counter-hegemony of articulating alternative worldviews and alternative subject positions. Counter-hegemonic articulations have a transformative effect of creating new practices in everyday life, and with it, challenging and changing common-sense notions of the actor and their world. However, this is not an essentialist notion of identity. Rather, it is an identity that is formed discursively. Read this way, Carroll’s work contributes to an argument that it is through the cultural politics of counter-hegemony, advanced through the discursive practices of social movements, that social change is created.

Ian Angus (2001) also links together social movements and counter-hegemony, and further ties these to democracy. Angus describes social movements as diagnostic agents (p. 58) within civil society that call attention to issues and actors that have been excluded or harmed, and unaddressed by the existing democratic institutions. He states, “Social movements embody the lively and creative responses of the public to problems that movements define and to which they propose solutions” (p. 48). Social movements thus move a private experience into a public issue (p. 49), by amplifying issues and seeking wider influence (p. 46), and as such, they bring new issues, identities, and institutions into political culture (p. 44). Angus thus places social movements as agents of democracy, arguing that they keep the state responsive to the demands of citizens (p. 48). He explains, “Social movements are important because they are the form in which the agenda of citizens is made visible to others and expressed politically such that it can be debated and acted upon. Movements are the essence of the process of democracy” (p. 59). Further, democracy is repositioned as a dynamic process dependent on public spheres. He continues,

Universality — or, the group identity of the citizens — should not be understood as something given to us in the past when democratic institutions were set up and that we have simply inherited. It is continually recreated and extended through social movements that bring new groups and issues into the public sphere. The adversarial conflict to which this gives rise is essential to the extension of participation and the practice of a well-functioning democracy. A better understanding of the process of democracy as an ongoing project, as something to which we can contribute in our own time, and also as a goal that is not yet – and perhaps never will be – entirely accomplished (p. 51–52).

This process of creating an identity of citizen within a democratic culture and bringing new issues into the public sphere rests contingently on hegemonic articulations (p. 67).

3.4.2     Hegemonic Articulations and Defining Practices

The concept of hegemony focuses attention on the articulation within struggles between groups in society and on strategies for change within the discursive field. Laclau and Mouffe (2001) place the practice of articulation as central in counter-hegemonic struggles. Political practices and struggles respond to and occur within particular historical contexts. In our time, the relative openness of the social field, where grand narratives (of God or Universal, for example) no longer maintain a fixed, naturalized, or transcendental order, requires articulatory practice to discursively unify political spaces, identities, and practices. The practice of articulation “constitutes and organizes social relations” (Laclau & Mouffe, 2001, p. 96); as such, “Every social practice is therefore — in one of its dimensions — articulatory” (p. 113). Articulations are also always partial and contested (p. 187), as they seek to determine and fix social relations within a particular configuration.[23] For example, it is not from God that some present-day citizens have rights. Rather, citizenship rights emerge and are sustained through struggles by actors to make social relations rest on a foundation of universal democracy (itself a contestable term), through discursively connecting responsibilities and entitlements of people in a political community. The discourses have material effects that can be seen in the changing meanings, practices, and experience of rights. These meanings and practices shift with articulations that configure and reconfigure a particular hegemony. Hegemony, resting on an open, constructed, and contestable (not transcendent) social field, is thus the product of articulations and countered by articulations. Such a notion underscores that all social identities and collective unities are based on discursive practices that work to establish meaning in, between, and amongst actors.

In seeking to alter perceptions and to realign the ideas, values, and commitments of their social-economic-political environment, many social movements are in some way or another engaging in hegemonic struggles through their alternative articulatory practices. Social movements articulations develop through three fundamental definitional practices: “1) defining itself; 2) redefining the social situation; and 3) defining an antagonist” (Angus, 2001, p. 65). These practices enable social movements to challenge common-sense assumptions by making “questionable what has previously not been questionable and thereby open up larger areas of social life to public discussion, decision and action” (p. 65). Transforming the natural into something that could and should be changed is the normative work of counter-hegemonic articulations. Counter-hegemony strategies have a more universal orientation. While not all social movement activity is hegemonic in this sense,[24] those that are aim to expand and assume a dominant position within the relevant political community, demanding that they broadcast their discourses to and within larger publics.[25] Being engaged in hegemonic struggles, in this sense, means battling to transform the reigning order.[26]

Hegemonic struggles are thus particular to democratic societies where rule by the majority is (supposed) to determine the formation of social relations, and where social change comes through altering public opinion and building contingent unities between diverse social groups. Because they involve discursive practices aimed at changing the common-sense assumptions of political community, hegemonic struggles and counter-hegemonic articulations are founded on rhetorical practices that build alliances and coalitions (as modes of identification) as the means of social transformation. Building coalitions happens through construction of a contingent unity (Laclau & Mouffe, 2001, p. 94) linking social groups together in the pursuit of a goal. Such contingent unities are set in contrast to an essential identity as forms of solidarity because “political identities are not pre-given but constituted and reconstituted through debate in the public sphere” (Laclau & Mouffe, 2001, p. xvii). Often this contingent unity is established through the creation of chains of equivalence, where an overarching concept — like democracy, sustainability, equality — enable groups to identify with each other and coordinate their struggles, building social solidarities. Analogous to the definition practices occurring in social movements, creating chains of equivalence requires a vision of the sort of society being sought and a definition of an adversary, drawing a frontier between the internal and external boundary of the group (p. xix). These discursive practices define a field of antagonism by articulating who is included inside and outside of the group (p. 151). Using this language in the case of Woodward’s redevelopment, for example, one could argue the LIC advocates drew a distinction between members of the low-income community in the DTES and those opposed to this group, defined by their varying positions toward gentrification, and that they rearticulated the field of antagonism as that of development and housing within this marginalized urban neighbourhood.

Attending to the construction of counter-hegemonic articulations and expansion of these discourses through chains of equivalence, an account of hegemonic struggles highlights the necessity of public engagement and contestation for possibilities of social change. The theory of hegemony is also useful in showing how social movements’ definitional and discursive practices work to publicize alternative worldviews and contribute to bringing them into being.

3.4.3     Rhetoric of Social Movements

While hegemonic analysis emphasizes struggle between groups within society and the process of expanding solidarities as part of advancing agonistic struggles, the practices of collectivization within social movements (i.e., defining the group and being coalitions) can be better understood through a rhetorical framework oriented toward practices of identification and attendant to their material effects. Kenneth Burke’s (1966. 1969) work on symbolic action was central in shifting studies of rhetoric from a focus on persuasion to one on identification. He argued belonging to a community is essentially a rhetorical process (1969, p. 28) and that this unity is the fundamental goal of communication (1966, p. 20). As he states, “… the members of a group promote social cohesion by acting rhetorically upon themselves and others” (1969, p. xiv). From this perspective, rhetoric is defined as an inducement to action or an attitude, characterizing speech as predominately hortatory (1966, p. 20) in that one seeks to gain another’s cooperation (or even one’s own [1969, p. 38]) through identification with her or his ideas. However, identification also signals division, for to be ‘like’ one is to know what one is not (1966, p. 5; 1969, p. 22). As such, rhetorical practices can equally separate as unite, at times creating forms of disidentification (Patton, 1995). These processes align with notions of hegemonic articulations and definitional practices. Linking theories of publics and identification suggests that rhetorical practices are oriented toward (and capable of) creating conditions for cooperation and social cohesion by providing spaces of identification for an audience in relation to a collectivizing discourse.

Maurice Charland’s (1987) notion of constitutive rhetoric goes deeper into the process of group formation, particularly in regards to political action. He argues rhetoric has a material effect, which he outlines as a textual process of identification with a discourse. Identification happens through the production of subject positions within a text (i.e., political speech, position paper, etc.) that calls for readers to see themselves reflected in this position and to then act in accordance with this identity in the world. Using the case of “The People” as invoked in political texts, Charland shows constitutive rhetoric to be a specific form of discourse that simultaneously addresses an audience while also calling it into being. The simultaneously calling forth and addressing “The People” is achieved through the construction of a historical narrative that encourages the reader to claim an identity within the espoused collective consciousness and to perform the role of this narrative within the material world (p. 139). Charland thus argues that constitutive rhetoric is an embodied ideological narrative. First, (borrowing the language of Althusser) it interpellates the audience (p. 141). Secondly, this identification necessitates action in the material world (p. 141). Constitutive rhetoric thus explains how discourse enables an individual to enter into a collective consciousness through identifying and performing a role in a political narrative and how this rhetoric provides the (new) subject with motives and logic in which to understand and act (p. 148).

While Charland underscores the material effect of rhetoric, Cindy Patton (1995) describes how identification is predicated on a space in which it can be performed and played out (p. 227), focusing attention on how discourse is spatially grounded. Spaces where identities are performed are predicated upon and operate within a field underwritten by (various forms of) capital. Drawing on Bourdieu, fields are described as sites of power, where actors struggle over the control of capital (both how it is constituted and its constitutive value) and the rules of how the values are understood and used (p. 228). The ability to control capital within a field conveys the power to produce and restrict the effect of discursive practices by controlling the terms of debate, rules of evaluation, and sphere of reception and influence (p. 224) — this is to say, (political, cultural, social) claims are only effective within a discursive field if they possess the capital within which the field is legitimated. This particularly important insight helps one to understand the changing ability of social actors to press claims, seek rights, make demands, and so on within shifting political spaces. The performance of identity (as both a spatial and discursive practice) is thus situated in fields of power that enable and restrict its effect. Analysis of identification thus needs to consider not only ideological-material effect of constitutive rhetoric, but also the discursive field in which discourses (symbols) are predicated upon in order to understand their transformative potential.

Kevin Deluca (1999) puts together theories of hegemony and social movement rhetoric, arguing social movement is a rhetorical process that deconstructs established naming practices of the world.[27] With new social movements operating in the cultural domain or civil society, a major (though not exclusive) social movement practice is challenging symbolic goods and changing social reality at the level of collective consciousness and symbolic interpretation. Deluca follows Burke (1966, 1969) in viewing social action (like identification) as rhetorical and further, like Charland (1987), that rhetorical activity is constitutive of collectivities. A rhetorical theory of social movements is necessary then to understand social change. Social movements’ change of public consciousness can be measured in changes in key terms (e.g., truth, rights, freedom, democracy). Drawing on the work of McGee (1975), Deluca looks to ideographs[28] as a means to study these changes. Social movement discourse is analyzed synchronically (relationship between ideographs in the present) and diachronically (use of an ideograph through time). However, he goes beyond this rhetorical analysis, arguing an understanding of ideographs needs to be supplemented with a theory of hegemonic articulation. It is through these latter concepts that the synchronic structure of ideographs can be understood as contingent within a social field of hegemonic discourse.

Bringing together hegemony and rhetoric of social movements, Deluca describes articulation as both a speaking forth and linking elements that occurs in a discursive field. Drawing on the work of Laclau and Mouffe (2001), articulations are conceptualized as attempts to stabilize meaning and the context of taken-for-granted categories, by fixing discourse and controlling rules of the discursive interplay. Antagonism is the limits of hegemonic discourse. Just as ideographic analysis needs to be supplemented with articulation theory, the same is true in reverse: articulation theory needs to consider rhetoric. Rhetoric constructs hegemonic discourse and discursive elements compel beliefs and actions. Ideographs occur in real discourse and they are dynamic. They do ideological work. Therefore, hegemonic articulations call attention to how “synchronic structures of ideographs are constructed, maintained, and transformed” and ideographs explains the connection between elements giving them “rhetorical force and enmeshing …[them] in daily political struggles over the rhetorical terms that define our worlds” (p. 44). It is in the interplay of rhetorical strategies of ideograph use (for example, in the case of Woodward’s social housing, gentrification, and so on) and counter-hegemonic articulations that the discursive work of social movements can be understood as a form of democratic engagement in public formations.

Using a rhetorical approach in the conception of hegemonic struggles thus focuses attention on discursive practices of oppositional groups as they attempt to supplant dominant sets of meaning with alternative worldviews. It considers the creation and dissemination of counter-hegemonic articulations, including defining the field of antagonism, and construction of contingent unity between groups through chains of equivalence. It also pays attention to changes in the meanings of key terms.

Together, concepts drawn from theories of hegemony and rhetoric of social movements help focus on the constitutive and relational practices emerging within and through social movement publics. Theories of hegemony point to the broader context of relations of power supported and perpetuated through control of common-sense and everyday practices. It also shows how these are constructed and challenged through articulations that posit subject positions, draw boundaries between in and out groups, and outline the field of antagonism. The articulations also construct contingent unities between social actors and connect social and political projects through creating chains of equivalence that lend to the social solidarities. In their progressive form, social movements are active agents contributing to the democratic process of public-making by expanding inclusion of emerging issues and actors and responsiveness of institutions to the demands of citizens. Social movements define the group, adversaries, and the situation in which they are struggling, and when oriented toward hegemony, they construct counter-hegemonic articulations that seek to challenge and transform the common-sense assumptions of dominant discourse. Theories of hegemony assist then in analysis of the publicist function of social movement publics.

Theories of the rhetoric of social movements complement the study of social movement publics by placing analytic focus on concurrent processes of collectivization occurring through processes of identification. Rhetoric builds social cohesion and unity through seeking cooperation of the audience with the speaker/discourse. Further, constitutive rhetoric produces material effects through subject embodying positions within political narrative and then performing these roles in everyday life. However, the possibility and effect of enacting discursive positions is predicated on a field in which to perform the identity. The process of constructing sites of identification, and its relationship with rhetoric and action, is useful for understanding social movement rhetoric (or any collective discourse that seeks social change). It highlights how particular claims are transformed into public problems that demand collective action to address (and remedy) the issue. It also emphasizes the relationship between discourses, identities, and action. Both rhetoric and hegemony thus show the relations of power occurring in and through public discourses. These are practices that can be analyzed in both their constitutive and relational aspects.

3.4.4     Hegemonic and Rhetoric of Protest Analysis

Joining hegemonic and rhetoric of protest analysis allows for the investigation of multiple levels and orientations of discursive practices and effects. In particular, these analytical frames allow for an examination of social movement claims, intervening practices, and the discursive field in which they appeal to for authority and legitimacy. There are three levels of analysis. The broadest occurs at the level of hegemony with a consideration of the circulation of hegemonies, capital, and ideographs within multiple and interconnected discursive fields. Here discourses often serve as the background of common-sense and taken-for-granted assumptions. The next level is that hegemonic struggle and collectivization, where analysis focuses on critical interventions within discourses, looking at how elements of discourse (issues, identities, practices) are operationalized. Here circulates articulations, definitional practices, and constitutive rhetoric. The narrowest level is specific claims involving constitutive and relational practices. Analysis at this level focuses on individual statements, investigating the work of discourse (see table 1 below). These various levels represent scales of discourse, though not necessarily ranked hierarchically. The discussion above addressed forms of analysis at a more conceptual level, focusing on the relationship between hegemony and rhetoric, and how these contribute to an understanding of hegemonic struggle and collectivization. This section describes my application of these concepts, focusing on the analysis of claims.

Table 1: Levels of Analysis

Addressing the largest level of analysis involves asking questions about the reigning hegemony and the intervention being made by social actors to create new or alternative public formations. As an analytic term, considering hegemony points to forms of social and political power gained and maintained through the consent of those dominated and achieved through the ruling group’s worldview taking on the status of common-sense (Carroll, 1997). It also includes analysis of the forms and use of capital that underwrites the discursive field, by looking at the construction of authority and legitimacy through considering discourse in terms of the parameters of debate, rules of evaluation, and the spheres of reception and influence (Patton, 1995). It also examines the key ideographs at play, looking at what other terms these are connected to and how these terms have changed over time.

Questions to get at this level include: What is the common-sense position being relied on? What ideographs are used in these debates and how? Whose interests are served by these discourses? How? At what costs (social, economic, political, environmental, personal, etc.) are these benefits gained and how is this justified? What form of capital (cultural, financial, political, and so on) support these discourses? What is the range of permissible debate within the discourse? How is this enforced, by who, and with what effect? In the analysis of Woodward’s redevelopment, these sorts of questions addressed broader discourses of development, neoliberalism, citizenship, heritage, and social responsibility. Within such discourses, ideographs such as gentrification, revitalization, rights, participation, among others, are circulated. The capital that underwrote these discourses shifted, drawing sometimes on financial capital, cultural capitals, historical capital, and moral capital, and these varied according to speakers.

The next level of analysis focuses on sites and moments of intervention into particular hegemonic discourses through active practices of articulation, defining practices, and constitutive rhetoric. Here one looks for the description of subject positions, particularly in the form of positing new social actors (e.g., feminist, locavore, cyclists), their adversaries, and potential allies. Further, one would look at how this subject is said to act in the material world. The account of the situation, or the reason for the intervention, is also analyzed. This includes noting appeals to broader narratives, rearticulating historical or existing narratives, or new narratives. This also helps to take into account the field of antagonism and also the construction of chains of equivalence across different social spaces and groups.

Analysis at this level targets the articulation of the struggle, the social actors involved, and the rationales for the intervention. Focusing on a set of documents or a particular document, questions would include: What is the social struggle? Who are the social actors involved in it, how, and why? Who are positioned as the protagonists and antagonists of the social struggle? What do these various actors believe, value, want? What is being fought for? What needs to change and why? Who is being targeting in the address? What sorts of issues, identities, practices are being advocated? On what basis are these being sought? What connections are being made between the issues, identities, and practices? What connections are made with other types of issues, identities, and practices? What past, existing, or new narratives are being invoked? On what ground do the advocates claim authority? In terms of this case study, these questions helped to focus on the (changing) forms of identification of the advocates of the low-income community in the DTES; for example, from being “old-timers” or existing residents in the neighbourhood or opponents of Premier Gordon Campbell or squatters. As well, even when not explicitly stated, the identity of the LIC advocate also suggested who their opponents were. Analysis at this level also pointed to the issues that were at play in the redevelopment, whether it was displacement of residents, rights to housing, crisis of homelessness, lack of social housing policy in the DTES, cuts of social housing, or procedures used during public hearings. Expanding the study to include the whole of the redevelopment period was particularly interesting in terms of analysis at this level. Studying discursive practices over time captured shifts and changes occurring within the defining practices, the identification practices, and the hegemonic struggles. As a result, the categorization of the four public formations rests on the analysis of discursive intervention at this level. These are discussed in the following section.

The last level of analysis occurred at the level of a particular claim. At this level, I examined rhetorical practices, considering how dimensions of the medium, message, context, and audience fed into the construction of the claim. These forms of analysis focused on the spaces and scales of address, modes of address, the orientation toward various audiences, and the effects and force of the claim-making. I was not concerned about questions of the internal subjectivity of the addressee, not seeking to understand motives or psychology. Rather, my focus was the operation of discourse at the level of appearance (Foucault, 1972). While this is not a formal discourse analysis, I was interested in what was said in the text. How was the statement deployed within the text? How did it operate and was practiced? And (referring back to the first level of analysis) what discursive rules underwrote the claim?

Questions at this level included: What is the stated intent and desired outcome of the claim? Focusing on modes of address: How is the claim made (i.e., pamphlet, newsletter, demonstration, public hearing address, etc.) Did it use verbal, visual, embodied forms of rhetoric? Who are the targets of the address? Focusing on spaces of address: Where does the claim-making take place? What spatial practices underwrite the claim? How does the claim produce space? What tactics and strategies are used in the claim (identification, defining antagonisms, persuasion, appeal of emotions, threats of violence, etc.)? How will the claim be fulfilled or acted upon?

It is the analysis of the claims made and the various social actors during the Woodward’s redevelopment that serves as the basis of my theses. They lead to my claim that public formations are composed of constitutive and relational practices, as well as my argument that processes of identification factored into the struggles as much as the processes of engagement and publicity. It was attention to the specificity of the claims that forced me to release my initial hypothesis that publics were tied to particular social actors, and that made me consider all the audiences addressed and the goals sought through the diversity of tactics in the fight for social housing. Analysis of the claims provided richer information about the effects of what we say and do, how we are forced to say different types of things or say things differently when we speak to various audiences and in various spaces, and how we can hope and strive to change discourses.

It is attention to the hope, force, and effect of discursive practices that ties together these three analyses. The constitutive and relational practices occurring in claims were analyzed while keeping in mind the larger orientations toward collectivization (identification) and hegemonic struggle (expansionist publicity), and the hegemonic and discursive fields in which these interventions were operating. It is also through consideration of all these levels of discursive practice that theoretical aims of my dissertation overlapped with my empirical study in trying to understand public formations as a play of discourses oriented toward publicity, plurality, and power. These public formations are distinguishable according to the orientation, intention, and scale of the discursive practices. In the final section of this chapter, I outline four categories of public formations during Woodward’s redevelopment. It is here that I bring together the historical context of the redevelopment, the relevant sources used in my readings of discursive practices, and the conceptualization of the public formation.

3.5     Historical Context of Woodward’s Development: Applying and Describing Emergent, Oppositional, and Institutionalized Public Formations

While “publics” describe a particular collective form, “public formation” describes the various publics attentive to a particular issue, identity, or practice. There is great variability in and across public formations that are witnessed through empirical analysis. My study of Woodward’s redevelopment begins with the community advocate-led practices of publicity and collectivity. As a starting point, I focus on publics forming from the ground up, as it were, not those summoned by state or represented in the media.[29] This approach rests on my use of a social movement perspective that sees the activities of social actors as the motor of social change and social reality as produced and reproduced through everyday practices (which are organized through discourses that structure, facilitate, and impede these practices).[30] However, by also situating the public of the LIC advocates in the context of its relationships within the public formation surrounding Woodward’s redevelopment, my analysis emphasizes the relationship of this public with other publics (like advocates of the Gastown residents), as well as the relationship between different spaces and discursive practices (e.g., presentations during public hearings or speeches at rallies). Therefore, my approach allows me to witness the generation of discourses, responses by adversaries and institutions, and then how these responses cycled back into future practices of the LIC advocates. As such, my approach to publics within public formations provides an analysis of hegemonic struggles and their outcome in the case of Woodward’s redevelopment, as well as contributes a substantive study of resistance to neoliberal urbanization and the reconfiguration of social citizenship within British Columbia and Canada. It is to be able to describe these variable practices of constituting (and sustaining) publics and the relationship between publics that I reconceived the project as a study of publics within public formations.

In studying the discursive practices of the LIC advocates’ public, I differentiate four types of publics within their specific public formations. These are categorized based on the orientation, intention, and scale of the discursive practices within and between publics, which considers dimensions of publicity, plurality of subject positions, and relations of power. The three types of public formations are defined as emergent, oppositional, and institutionalized.[31]

Emergent: focus on construction of issues, actors, and relationships within an unsettled discursive field;

Oppositional: settling of issues and actors within an oppositional relationship, with practices oriented toward dominance within a contestable discursive field; and

Institutionalized: sedimentation of the issues, actors, and relationships, with little movement possible within a highly determined discursive field.

These are not mutually exclusive categories; rather, they represent dynamic discursive processes. Within the categories of public formations, I explore: (1) the publicization of issues (i.e., specific claims about the redevelopment, interventions into key discourses); (2) the construction of a plurality of contingent subject positions (i.e., relevant communities and audiences); and (3) the spaces of contestation and power, where social actors struggle to define (symbolically and politically) and decide upon the redevelopment of Woodward’s and with it the future the DTES. This analysis of Woodward’s thus draws together the three levels of hegemonic, rhetorical analysis through consideration of this triadic process situated within its public formations. However, categorizing public formations as such can contribute to further analytic clarity of the various constitutive and relational practices occurring within and in between publics.

While each of the subsequent chapters describe and analyze the constitutive and relational practices forming these various public formations, here I provide a brief typology of these discourses as situated within the historical context of their emergence. In sketching the public formations, I also describe the primary sources that served as the evidence of these readings (see table below). Through this historical-conceptual narrative, I hope to outline, explain, and justify the organization of my research findings, as well as advance the analytic use of the concept of public formations.

3.5.1     The Formation of Publics at Woodward’s

Woodward’s has long played a pivotal role in our city. It once provided food, household goods and employment to many people in the local community and beyond. Today, it is the focus of a neighbourhood’s hopes and dreams (City of Vancouver, “Future of Woodwards”).


Table 2. Public Formations at Woodward’s, 1995-2005
   Emergent Public Formation, 1995–1996 Oppositional Public in the DTES, 1997–2001 Oppositional Public in Vancouver, BC, 2002 Institutionalized Public Formation, 2003–2005
Conceptual Definitions of Public Formation Construction of issues, actors, and relationships within an unsettled discursive field Settling of issues and actors within an oppositional relationship, with practices oriented toward dominance within a contestable discursive field Settling of issues and actors within an oppositional relationship, with practices oriented toward dominance within a contestable discursive field Sedimentation of the issues, actors, and relationships, with little movement possible within a highly determined discursive field
Key Historical Moments in Woodward’s Redevelopment Development Permit Board Public Hearing on Fama Holdings’ Preliminary Development Application (June 1995)Municipal Public Hearing to change Woodward’s Heritage Designation (July 1995)“See You At Woodward’s” campaign in DTES (spring-summer 1995)

NDP provincial government funds cooperative housing in Woodward’s (November 1995)

Partnership between NDP, Fama, City of Vancouver, and Woodward’s Coop Committee (1996)

Fama drops social housing project in Woodward’s (April 1997)“Woodward’s Belongs to Us” campaign in DTES (spring-summer 1997)Development Permit Board Public Hearing on Fama’s Final Development Application (October 1997)

Fama tries to sell Woodward’s to company (spring 2000)

“Daisies for Democracy” campaign in DTES (spring-summer 2000)

NDP provincial government buys Woodward’s (March 2001)

(Election of BC Liberals May 2001)Liberal provincial government cancels over a 1000 units of social housing, including Woodward’s (April 2002)Liberal provincial government rumoured to be selling Woodward’s (summer 2002)

“Rally to Resist the Cuts” campaign in DTES (September 2002)

Squat of Woodward’s (September-December 2002)

(Election of Coalition of Progressive Electorate to Vancouver City Council, November 2002)

City of Vancouver buys Woodward’s and BC Liberals funds 100 units of social housing (January 2003)City of Vancouver’s community consultation on the Future of Woodward’s (2003–2004)Publication of “Woodsquat” (West Coast Line, 2003–4)

City of Vancouver awards Woodward’s redevelopment to Westbank Projects and approves plans, including partnership with Portland Hotel Society and Affordable Housing Society for 200 units of social housing (summer 2004)

Woodward’s officially reopens (February 2010)

Key Discourses and LIC Advocates’ Intervention Heritage and gentrification, connecting the built and social environment Belonging and revitalization, marking the relationship between ownership and privileged community Social rights and critiques neo-liberal policies and practices of solidarity Meanings and effects of community mobilizations, City consultation, and redevelopment
Symbolic value of Woodward’s Heart of the DTES Fate of the DTES Crises and neglect in DTES Future of the DTES
Primary Sources used in Analysis Carnegie NewsletterMinutes for the Development Permit Board and Advisory PanelMinutes for the Special Council Meeting (public hearing)

Vancouver Sun

Carnegie NewsletterMinutes for the Development Permit Board and Advisory PanelVancouver Sun W.O.O.D.S.Q.U.A.T. Newsletter,Carnegie Newsletter“Woodsquat” (West Coast Line, 2003–4)

Vancouver Sun


Consultation ReportMinutes for City Council MeetingsCarnegie Newsletter

Vancouver Sun

            While a public was always somewhat associated with Woodward’s throughout its commercial history in the DTES, a politicized public came into form with Fama Holding’s preliminary application for an all market-housing development. In the first of a series of campaigns, advocates for the low-income community (LIC) in the DTES responded to this application by mobilizing neighbourhood residents for the upcoming Development Permit Hearing (June 1995) and a Special Council Meeting (Public Hearing) to change the Woodard’s heritage designation (July 1995). A public formed under the slogan “See You at Woodward’s.” Protests and demonstrations of this time focused on emphasizing Woodward’s as a symbolic heart of the neighbourhood and home to the local residents. This challenged visions of a gentrified DTES that were advocated for by the newly formed Gastown Residents Association (GRA) as “revitalization” (Aird, 1995; Carnegie Newsletter, 1995, May 15; Bula, 1995, June 20).

Despite many LIC advocates participating in these Public Hearings and in collective actions, such as painting the windows at Woodward’s and Cleaning Bees, Fama’s preliminary development application was approved. Woodward’s also received heritage designation by the City of Vancouver at the Special Council meeting, without amendment to recognize its historical significance as tied to its place within the low-income community. Though the LIC advocates’ discourses did not affect the outcome of these hearings, their rallying for social housing in the redevelopment did produce results. Not only did many members of the DTES come together to collectively fight for an inclusive vision of their neighbourhood, but the provincial New Democratic Party (NDP) government also announced in November 1995 that they would fund a third of the housing units at the welfare rate levels in the Woodward’s building (Sarti & Bula, 1995). A partnership formed between Fama, the NDP, the City of Vancouver, and newly formed Woodward’s Coop Community that for the next fourteen months negotiated a mixed market and social housing, commercial, and retail project.

I describe this process of creating a public issue out of Woodward’s redevelopment by the LIC advocates as an emergent public formation. Emergent public formation calls attention to the initial generation of discourses by LIC advocates to challenge the redevelopment process as a strictly technical procedure between the private developer and the City of Vancouver. I analyze constitutive practices of the LIC advocates in issues of the Carnegie Newsletter that centred on critiques of an all-condo development at Woodward’s as a process of gentrification and a threat of displacement of the existing low-income. By creating spaces of identification with the issues of housing and the historical importance of Woodward’s to the LIC community, I show how a public emerged and acted in response to these discourses. The LIC advocates’ discourses simultaneously contributed to relational practices of the public, as members of the LIC community engaged in the various public hearings to contest Fama’s vision of Woodward’s and the DTES. These practices are read through the minutes of the public hearings and further contextualized in relation to the representations within news stories in the Vancouver Sun. The concept of emergent public formation, as applied to the initial period of struggles over Woodward’s redevelopment between 1995 and 1996, contributes to understanding the construction of issues, actors, and relationships within the many discourses circulating about Woodward’s within an as of yet unsettled discursive field. In chapter 4, then, I analyze how the LIC advocates worked to establish social housing in Woodward’s as a public issue, and further, how their claims relied on, responded to, and fed into larger hegemonic struggles concerning the discursive fields of heritage and gentrification.

To the shock of many of those involved in the negotiations over the social housing proposal in Woodward’s redevelopment during1996, Fama broke from their partnership with the NDP and social housing in April 1997. They announced their intention to seek final approval of their development permit for 419 market housing units, along with retail and commercial space. LIC advocates increased the number, scale, and variety of their collective actions protesting Fama’s proposal. As their campaign slogan insisted at the time, “Woodward’s Belongs to Us…Not Aghtai” (Carnegie Newsletter, 1997), the president of Fama Holdings. Contesting the private ownership of Woodward’s, the LIC advocates engaged in more direct actions spanning the summer of 1997, such as all-night vigils and occupations of Fama’s corporate offices, trying to pressure Fama and the City of Vancouver to include social housing in Woodward’s redevelopment and recognize the needs of the low-income residents in the DTES. Further seeking to reinvigorate the public for social housing in Woodward’s, the LIC advocates also claimed the low-income residents should have a both a voice and a place in Woodward’s because the fate of DTES would be determined by who Woodward’s belonged to and the definition of belonging. Evident in different meanings, the LIC advocates were mobilizing DTES residents within an increasing fractious Eastside area of the downtown, with GRA advocates seeking to undermine the legitimacy of the low-income community. The LIC advocates challenged their adversaries, organizing speakers to oppose the application at the Development Permit Board Public Hearing in October 1997. Again, Fama’s application was approved; however, this decision was marked by an expanded public acting for social housing in Woodward’s redevelopment.

With the permit in hand, Fama did not rush to develop its property; rather, by 1999, it was actively trying to sell Woodward’s. It proved not to be an easy sell. Opposition to Fama and the development of condos in the DTES continued, along with the marked increase of homelessness and poverty in the neighbourhood, making the aged building even more financially risky for private developers (“Salvage Operation”, 1997). Beyond Woodward’s, the communities within the area were also increasingly divided on the issue of the placement of social housing. The LIC advocates pressed for social housing in the DTES to meet the needs of the existing community, as GRA advocates described the DTES as a “ghetto,” blaming the presence of social housing and services, and sought instead more market housing to revitalize the neighbourhood. The local mass media caricatured these two views on the effects of gentrification/revitalization as a debate between those advocating for “Gentriville” or “Poorhaven” (Beers, 2000). With Woodward’s in a development limbo and the DTES teetering along with it, the NDP government made the bold move to buy the property for 300 co-op housing units in March 2001 (Sandler, 2001). Yet, three months later, the NDP lost the provincial election to the BC Liberals, putting the project back in jeopardy.

This second phase in the redevelopment of Woodward’s is described as an oppositional public formation within the DTES. “Oppositional” publics signify a more cemented and polarized relationship amongst the various publics attentive to Woodward’s redevelopment, along with an intensified engagement with and struggle for control of public discourse. The LIC advocates increasingly positioned themselves in opposition to their adversaries, whether they were the GRA advocates, Fama, or proponents of condos in the DTES. These discourses that constituted the public are drawn again from issues of the Carnegie Newsletter. The appearance of increasingly divisive communities in the DTES is supported in representations in the Vancouver Sun. While there were many visions in the first phase, this period is marked by more stable and consistent articulation by the LIC advocates to include social housing and the needs of low-income residents in Woodward’s redevelopment. This is seen in particular in the minutes of the public hearing. In having to engage in a more direct struggle for social housing in Woodward’s and for the place of the low-income residents in the DTES, the LIC advocates’ articulation also contributed to more unified positions in struggles within spaces of the DTES, the public hearing, and the media. The concept of oppositional public formation calls attention to this settling of issues and social actors within an oppositional relationship, with practices oriented toward dominance within a contestable discursive field. Particular to the public of the LIC advocates, their opposition was to exclusive, all-condo development in the DTES. As such, this oppositional public formation occurred at the scale of the DTES and was oriented toward hegemonies within the neighbourhood. This is analyzed in chapter five.

The newly elected Liberals brought sweeping changes to social policy in British Columbia. This included cancelling the social housing project at Woodward’s. The cuts to social spending and programs in the province, along with a billion-dollar bid to host the Winter Olympic in Vancouver in 2010 by the government, led to many protests against the Liberals. With a rumour circulating that the government was also planning to sell Woodward’s again to a private developer, LIC advocates in the DTES and community, labour, and social justice organizations across the city coordinated a series of rallies to resist the Liberal cuts. The first rally to publicize the issues of social housing and homelessness was staged at Woodward’s on September 14th, 2002, starting a three-month squat of the Woodward’s building. Having already suffered through the spectacle of Expo ’86 and its accompanied gentrification, advocates of the low-income residents of the Downtown Eastside staked their claims at Woodward’s for rights to housing, inclusion to municipal decision-making processes over the fate of the building (and with it the neighbourhood), and community autonomy. Further, uniting together interests in social justice and critiques of the neo-liberal policies of the BC Liberals, squatters and their supporters increasingly articulated the fight for social housing at Woodward’s as a social movement in opposition to the Liberals. This repositioning expanded the public concerned about social housing at Woodward’s, an effective constitutive practice, that also marked the greater publicity brought to bear on the issues of the DTES. As such, the building’s emptiness symbolized both the crisis of housing occurring in the DTES (and across Canada) and the neglect of the government to address these issues. The struggle at Woodsquat thus created and renewed forms of social solidarity within Vancouver, and Canada, centring on social rights to housing.

In expanding the public for social housing, the squatters and their supporters equally draw adversaries. The squatters endured two police evictions, mass arrests, and ongoing action by the City to close down the squat,[32] as well as mass-media attention that sought to divide the squatters between those seeking social services for the homeless and those politically fighting for social housing (Ward, 2002, October 15). During this phase more than any other, the struggle over Woodward’s redevelopment occurred in the representation of the mass media, as it did in the collective action within the public space the sidewalks around Woodward’s. Further, the squat contributed to the social justice issues becoming top issues in that fall’s municipal election. This suggests that scale of the public formation grew, just as the orientation shifted to include critiques of neoliberal social policy of the BC Liberals and with it rights to housing. Partially as a reflection of the discontent with the provincial government, a progressive municipal Council (COPE) won the election over the incumbent right-leaning party (NPA). Not without controversy, COPE negotiated the end of the squat and purchased the Woodward’s building to finally fulfil its designation as mixed market and social housing and commercial enterprise.

This last phase is also characterized as an oppositional public formation, but this time reconfigured at the scale of Vancouver, BC, Canada. Further, the LIC advocates articulated their position as a social movement for housing suggesting engagement in hegemonic struggles also on a broader political scale. The claims of the squatters and their supporters are taken mainly from the W.O.O.D.S.Q.U.A.T. Newsletter and supported by articles in the Carnegie Newsletter and other documents produced during the Woodward’s squat, collected in the special edition of the West Coast Line (2003–4), entitled “Woodsquat.” However, both because the LIC advocates lacked a public forum to address the redevelopment of Woodward’s, as they had in previous struggles within public hearings, and because the scale of struggle grew beyond the DTES to include audiences of Vancouver, BC, and Canada, public discourses appearing in the mass media are crucial to understand the redrawn field of antagonism. The representations of the issues, actors, and practices are drawn from the Vancouver Sun, not only because this is the leading local broadsheet in Vancouver, but also because LIC advocates critiqued coverage in this newspaper. The concept of oppositional public formation again describes the oppositional configuration of actors within a more settled discursive field; however, the concept is rescaled to include a fuller analysis of the relationship between public discourse, social movements, and media within hegemonic struggles. The analysis in this, the last of my empirical chapters (six), focuses of the constitutive and relational practices within the oppositional public formation concerned about Woodward’s redevelopment, but this time oriented and rescaled to Vancouver, BC, Canada. However, it also pays attention to the relationship between social movements and media as creating the condition of possibility for democratic engagement.

After the purchase of Woodward’s from the provincial government in 2003, the City of Vancouver initiated public consultations on the redevelopment of Woodward’s. The City’s consultation involved targeted workshops and an Ideas Fair that brought together interested individuals and organizations from across the city. Though the consultations involved resistance and controversy (Carnegie Newsletter, 2004, September 1), the years of planning, campaigning, and multi-party negotiations ended with the reopening of Woodward’s in February 2010. Branded by boosters as a “social experiment”[33] that mixed low-income and market housing, as well as a Stan Douglas’s massive photo-mural of a 1971 Gastown Riots,[34] it was presented by its advocates as a model of socially responsible architecture during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics (Enright, 2010). With Woodward’s redevelopment completed, the future of the DTES leaned predominantly toward the “revitalization” of low-income neighbourhoods, as Vancouver sought to transform itself into a world-class city.[35] However, the transformation of Woodward’s has continued to provoke critique and collective action from LIC advocates in the DTES. These practices draw upon various discursive practices used during the many earlier campaigns for Woodward’s, particularly the assertion of the right of the low-income residents to their part in the city,[36] as well as further squats and tent cities to protest the lack of social housing, with these occurring before and during the 2010 Winter Olympics. While perhaps more evident of an ambivalent or cynical acknowledgement of the continued reappearance and significance of the protests for social housing at Woodward’s, images and stories of the Woodsquat have also been incorporated into the design of the building’s exterior as one in a series of embedded photos along the outer wall, an echo of earlier inscription by LIC advocates.

I propose this latter period in the redevelopment of Woodward’s can be described as an institutionalized public formation. While I do not apply this analysis in this dissertation, I suggest this public formation is marked by the sedimentation of the issues, actors, and relationships, with little movement possible within a highly determined discursive field. It suggests the broader hegemonic struggle over Woodward’s, occurring in visible collective actions in the DTES, more or less ended with the public consultation and award of a redevelopment contract to Westbank. Focusing on the institutional space of the City, I believe an analysis of the public consultation would show it to be a process that restricted and limited the LIC advocates’ ability to meaningful participation in directing Woodward’s redevelopment, even as they tried to engage in the official process. Nonetheless, critiques of Woodward’s redevelopment continued to circulate amongst LIC advocates, appearing regularly in the Carnegie Newsletter, as well as “Woodsquat,” a special edition of the journal West Coast Line (2003–4). It recounted the 92-day squat, contextualizing the action within the history of struggles in the neighbourhood for housing and self-determination. Both these publications feed into collective memories of resistance to gentrification in the DTES, contributing to later analysis and collective actions for housing. However, having not performed this analysis, I only suggest this might be the case.

In the following chapters, then, I focus on the active practices of constituting a public and changing relationship between publics, developing these conceptualizations of public formations. To state again, chapter four looks at the emergence of Woodward’s redevelopment as a public issue. Chapter five describes an oppositional public formation within the DTES and chapter six examines an oppositional public formation within Vancouver. Each chapter is structured according to the LIC advocates’ major constitutive and relational, both within DTES neighbourhood and within other publics. For that reason, in addition to analysis of the LIC advocates’ campaign, the first two periods (chapters four and five) describe discursive practices within public hearings that occurred in 1995 and 1997, and the latter period focuses on media discourses (chapter six).

4: Emergent Public Formation, 1995–1996

4.1     Introduction

This chapter focuses on the first period of redevelopment at Woodward’s. Spanning the years 1995 to 1996, this first phase was ushered in by the purchase of the building by Fama Holdings Ltd. and is perhaps best known for a protest campaign that had as its slogan the phrase, “See You At Woodward’s.” This period begins with the initial public hearing on the application for commercial and market-only housing and ends with the agreement between the NDP provincial government and Fama to develop 210 units of social housing in a mixed-development project. In addition to bureaucratic and political processes, the period was also marked by the initiation of organized protest surrounding the future of Woodward’s. I argue that this period can be understood as a time of emergent public formation. Advocates within the low-income community (LIC) clashed with proponents of market housing as each vied to define the terms of Woodward’s redevelopment, and to establish their primacy as the relevant voice of the community in the DTES.

In this chapter, I use the lens of emergent public formation to analyze the various dimensions of publicity, subject positions, and relations of power that occurred within the struggles over Woodward’s redevelopment. This chapter explores (1) the publicization of issues (e.g., the potential effects of all-market redevelopment and the meaning of heritage); (2) the construction of a plurality of contingent subject positions (i.e., relevant communities and audiences); and (3) the site as one of contestation and power, where social actors struggle to define and decide the fate of the DTES. In particular, by paying attention to the orientation, intention, and scale of the discursive practices of the actors involved, it is possible to chart the process by which Woodward’s redevelopment emerged as a pressing social issue within the neighbourhood. I show how the LIC advocates’ call for inclusive community development was rooted in an alternative collective identity and notion of heritage. Through the efforts of LIC advocates, Woodward’s came to be seen as the historical heart of the low-income community in the DTES.

This chapter begins with an outline of this period. Corresponding to the first level of analysis described in the previous chapter, I place the claims of the LIC advocates in their initial historic context. Next, I describe their practices and connect them to larger struggles over collective identity and action. First, the “See You At Woodward’s” campaign is analyzed, looking at how sites of identification and solidarity were created and how these contributed to collective actions performed at the level of the neighbourhood. Next, I examine municipal public hearings where LIC advocates squared off against Fama and advocates for market-only housing. Furthermore, I analyze how the municipal space influenced the form and content of these competing claims. Lastly, I explore how the LIC advocates used various media to circulate counter-discourses, connecting this with the broader discussion at the beginning of the chapter and commenting on the effect of these layered practices.

4.2     Historical Context

“Woodward’s is a tradition, a building, and the centre of a lot of controversy and politics” – Paul R Taylor (Carnegie Newsletter, 1997, November 1, p.7).

While it was known that the Woodward’s department store had been financially struggling for some time, the news of Woodward’s closure in 1993 came as a shock to many in the DTES community.[37]Woodward’s was never just a department store — it was the heart of the DTES neighbourhood, a commercial and social centre (Cameron, CN, 1995, June 1, p. 20).[38] Both before and shortly after the department store closed, there were attempts to bring a mixed-use, mixed-income housing development to the Woodward’s site. Jim Green, in particular, championed a proposal to convert Woodward’s into a combination of social and market housing, retail businesses, and community services. Green was a local community activist with Downtown Eastside Residents Association (DERA) during the 1980s, who worked for the provincial NDP government throughout the 1990s on issues of community development (again, with Woodward’s, a key development project), and continued his advocacy for Woodward’s as a City Councillor with the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE), the left-leaning governing municipal party, from 2002–2004. Even though he was working on behalf of the provincial NDP government at the time of Woodward’s closure, Green found it challenging to secure the necessary partnerships or raise the funds to redevelop the building as social housing. This was not only because the complexities of upgrading and converting the heritage site were deemed financially “risky” (Aird, 1993, January 19, February 11), but also because of recent changes in government funding. In 1993, the federal Liberals shifted responsibility of social housing to the provinces, no longer directly financing the building of new housing (Wolfe, 1998).[39] Without this funding for social housing, Green was left in the difficult position of competing with private developers to purchase and convert Woodward’s.

As an example of neoliberal social policies occurring at the federal level, the downloading of housing and offloading of other social services had a significant impact on Canadian cities. With such policies escalating in Canada throughout the 1990s (Jensen, 1997; Brodie, 2000; Siltanen, 2002),[40] municipal governments were put in a position of having to manage and service increasingly marginalized populations who had less and less access to social provisions, while simultaneously trying to attract capital investment to provide employment and raise the city’s tax base in order to fund municipal-level social services.[41] As with many cities moving out of resource-based and industrial economies, Vancouver’s economic strategy was to promote itself as a “livable” and “global” city, creating policies to establish desirable real estate, dynamic downtown areas, and hosting global events to stimulate the tourist industry.[42] Often policies converged on reinvestment in inner-city heritage districts (Shaw, 2004), with development of housing increasingly falling to private developers and private-public partnerships. These policies and processes became increasingly precarious and contested. As in the case of Woodward’s redevelopment, while the City pursued policies of “revitalization” in the downtown, the low-income community in the DTES, directly affected by these policies, termed these threats “gentrification” (Ley, 1994; Sommers, 2001; Blomley, 2004).

Struggles for social housing in the DTES did not start with Woodward’s. Vancouver’s Expo ’86 already gave the residents in the DTES experience with redevelopment and gentrification. Prefiguring future actions at Woodward’s, squatting was a tactic used during Expo to try to save buildings for social housing. However, as one participant at the time said, “A crash pad and a long term housing fight are separate goals” (W#53, p. 2, originally published in Open Road #19, Summer 1986).[43] With about 2500 lodging-house units lost in the DTES and 1000 people evicted from Single Room Occupancy hotels in the lead up and aftermath of the international event,[44] low-income community advocates dug in for the long haul in the fight for affordable housing.

The threat of Woodward’s conversion to condos was particularly significant. For many, it was seen as the anchor of the historical low-income neighbourhood, with the fate of its redevelopment tied to that of the surrounding community. As Green commented of Woodward’s redevelopment before it closed, “It’s the battle for the neighbourhood. Otherwise we’ll be seeing nothing but luxury condos being built in the area” (as cited in Hogben, 1992, p. D6). Many in the community and media were concerned that a redevelopment of Woodward’s into largely market housing would spur gentrification of the DTES (Sommers, 1993; Sarti, 1995,February 14; Aird, 1995). Be that as it may, the advocates of social housing were not able to secure ownership of Woodward’s. Fama Holdings — a private development firm headed by Kassem Aghtai — put forward an application to develop the building into 350 condos and three floors of retail in the spring of 1995.

There was outcry from residents in the DTES. As reported in the Vancouver Sun, Green stated, “Let’s be honest about it — there is going to a lot of collateral damage to the low-income people from this project … This project will cut a swath through the heart of the community, drive up property values and make it harder to build social housing” (Sarti, 1995, April 7,p. B3). While he was often the voice for the mixed-income housing project within the mass media, it was never just Jim Green who fought for social housing at Woodward’s. Green’s advocacy work was always only part of larger community mobilizations with the DTES for non-market housing in Woodward’s.[45] The proposal for an all-condo project thus initiated a series of highly visible campaigns for Woodward’s that countered Fama’s claim and advanced alternatives. LIC advocates asserted the building should serve the needs of the existing low-income residents in the DTES as an inclusive community development project and must include non-market housing.

Neoliberalism, revitalization, and gentrification marked the stage in which LIC advocates initiated their campaign for non-market housing in Woodward’s in 1995. The LIC advocates were aware of the broader issues; the fight over Woodward’s redevelopment was emblematic of hegemonic struggles at the time concerning shifts in social policy, urban redevelopment, and housing. As will be seen, LIC advocates framed their analysis in terms of gentrification, attempted to reframe debates about heritage, and, at times, directly critiqued neoliberalism as they fought against threats of displacement and social housing. However, often at this point the discussions more often focused on the local effects of redevelopment on the low-income residents in the DTES and the need for residents to unite and act together for Woodward’s and the future of the community.

In the following sections, I argue the community mobilizations in the DTES constructed Woodward’s redevelopment as a relevant issue to low-income residents in the neighbourhood, using both constitutive and relational discursive practices. In articulating a claim for Woodward’s that was rooted in its social heritage within the community, LIC advocates created subject positions that encouraged identification, social solidarity, and collective action amongst low-income residents. Further, LIC advocates asserted political and cultural rights to inclusion in the decisions over Woodward’s use, self-determination in directing the area’s present and future, and social rights to affordable housing.[46] These discourses circulated within both the low-income community in the DTES and within broader publics in Vancouver. At the scale of the neighbourhood, the discourses constituted an emergent public. When relating these claims within the decision-making spaces of the City and representations spaces of the local mass media, they served as counter-discourses. Together, these two overlapping and reinforcing processes of creating space of identification (constitutive practices) and engaging in public contestation (relational practices) inscribed Woodward’s redevelopment as a social issue, and politicized identities, histories, and uses of place along with it.

4.3     Constitutive and Relational Practices

As one of the processes of constituting Woodward’s as an emergent public formation, advocates of the low-income residents of DTES claimed they were the primary community concerned and affected by Woodward’s redevelopment, particularly if it was to be only market housing. They made this argument in spaces of the DTES neighbourhood, in municipal hearings, and in numerous media outlets. In order to assert this position, they generated arguments that served, first, to establish a shared identity amongst the low-income residents that connected their history in the neighbourhood to the right to social housing in the area, and, second, to encourage residents to act collectively to fight so that Woodward’s might be a more broadly inclusive community redevelopment project. The LIC advocates defined and defended themselves as a central (and often a collective) actor within the redevelopment processes, speaking for the interests and future of the neighbourhood. They located their position within a historical narrative of Woodward’s as the heart of the low-income community and used this as their social centre. Such a historical narrative offered a politicized identity for DTESers that called on residents to act in support of their claim to Woodward’s and to their right to determine the use of their environment.

Campaigns mobilized community members to participate in collective actions to mark the building as central to the collective interests of the neighbourhood. Community members were present at various municipal meetings as part of the redevelopment, particularly the Development Permit Board meeting and a Special Council meeting amending Woodward’s heritage designation in the summer of 1995. The mobilization for social housing at Woodward’s also reflexively commented upon their own media representations. They countered discourses that presented market housing at Woodward’s as inevitable and necessary to remedy the “declining” neighbourhood, which they saw as opposing the needs and presence of the already existing community. In both the spaces of the City and the media, the LIC advocates attempted to expand the heritage debate to include notions of social heritage, requiring preservation of the existing low-income community as much as the built environment.

This period, then, marks the emergence for Woodward’s as a social issue (of housing, gentrification, and heritage) that politicized identities, histories, and uses of place. The LIC advocates contributed to the emergent public formation by constituting spaces of collective action and, relationally, by engaging and critiquing discourses in the City and local mass media. To elucidate the practices of the emergent public formation, I first analyze the campaign initiated in April 1995 by LIC advocates in the DTES, “See You At Woodward’s,” that mobilized the low-income community around the redevelopment through collective identities, actions, and counter-discourses. Next, I examine the Development Permit Board Public Hearing on Fama’s proposal and the Public Hearing at a Special Council Meeting amending Woodward’s heritage designation in the summer of 1995. Lastly, I discuss the LIC advocates’ response to local mass media representations during this period. Though composed of different audiences, spaces, and styles of rhetoric, each set of claims by the LIC advocates consisted of constitutive and relational practices.

4.3.1     “See You At Woodward’s” (1995)

Collective Identities and Shared Memories  

While other condo projects were already popping up in the DTES, the possibility of more condos at Woodward’s led to almost immediate community mobilization to prevent this outcome and to advocate for an inclusive community-based development. An issue of Carnegie Newsletter entitled “The Monster that ate Woodward’s” (CN, 1995, April 15) featured a cover article analyzing the impact of Woodward’s sale to Fama for the low-income community in the DTES. In it, the author Jeff Sommers describes market housing at Woodward’s as potentially worse for the DTES than the Expo ’86, linking the fate of building with that of the DTES neighbourhood. He states, “Whatever happens in the Woodwards building will have a dramatic effect on the direction the neighbourhood takes in the next 10 years” (Sommers, CN, 1996, April 15, p.2).[47] This connection is repeated often, and by all interested parties, throughout Woodward’s conversion. Sommers’ article warns of the threat of displacement of low-income residents as property values increase with the “yuppie life-style” (p.3), bringing in a “vision of the neighbourhood [that] doesn’t include the people who live here now” (p.3). To counter (or “balance”) this external view of revitalization, the people of the Downtown Eastside needed to have their voice heard.[48] Sommers writes, “It’s about time the people of the Downtown Eastside started saying what kind of community should be here. The people, not the planners and developers, need to say what plans we have for this part of the city and figure out ways to make them real” (p. 3–4). This defining piece sought to politicize the residents of the DTES by making Woodward’s redevelopment an issue of potential displacement that transforms a potential individual problem of eviction a collective concern for the community, eliciting collective action. It called for this politicized subject to act in opposition to processes of gentrification (that has been recast by its proponents as revitalization) and to unite as a community in order to speak up for their right to self-determination. Sommers thus rhetorically transforms fragmented individuals into a contingent collective with the potential to oppose the city planners and act autonomously for the future of their neighbourhood.

To be a political agent for the DTES community, at this moment, required acting in relation to Woodward’s. Echoing Sommers’ call for action, John Shayler, in “Woodwards: Give Up and Buy In?” states,

As pressure builds on the Downtown Eastside there will be more developers who will want us to buy in for a couple of units, a few jobs, some vague promises… That is why it is so important that we take a stand. And what better place to do this than at Woodwards, at Abbott and Hastings, where a large red brick building was once the meeting place for a community. What better corner to rekindle a spirit and create our own vision for the neighbourhood, instead of buying into someone else’s. The time seems right for us to once again say what we want for the Woodwards building, what kind of housing will work best for the neighbourhood (CN, 1995, April 15, p. 4–5).

Shayler invoked a history of community politicization (for the Carnegie Library, CRAB park), recalling successful unity in the past, and pressed for this spirit to be brought to the fight for Woodward’s (p. 5).[49] He implored, “From the four corners of the neighbourhood it is time to join hands, forget past differences, and rekindle the spirit that changed the name of a community from Skid Road to the Downtown Eastside. We are being invited to give up and buy in. Let’s stand up and speak out” (p. 5).[50] Because of its special place in the history of the community, Woodward’s is cast as the primary site for DTESers’ to stake their claim for the neighbourhood and to visions of an inclusive future.

Sommers’ and Shayler’s rhetoric moved the building beyond its commercial role as a department store by emphasizing it as a symbolic and public space that sustained the culture of the low-income community in the DTES. This memory of Woodward’s as a significant place in the social life of the DTES was mobilized for a campaign for an inclusive future by recalling peoples’ previous experiences and attachment to the building, as the “social centre” for the working-class neighbourhood (Cameron, CN, 1995, June 1, p. 20). The memories of Woodward’s served as a site of identification for LIC residents and a reason to fight for continued space for the low-income community in the neighbourhood. Woodward’s, in short, became a political project for residents in the DTES.

Both Sommers’ and Shayler’s articles asked people to get involved and have their voices heard as part of identifying as long-term residents in the neighbourhood and by virtue of having a privileged relationship with Woodward’s. The community mobilization was organized by the Carnegie Community Action Project (CCAP), an offshoot of the Carnegie Community Centre Association, and supported by the Downtown Eastside Residents’ Association (DERA) — both autochthonous organizations with a history of mobilizing the community, especially in the area of housing.[51] To further organize around Woodward’s, and to enlarge the attentive DTES public, Shayler also announced in the Carnegie Newsletter the beginning of regular strategy meetings. The first was to be held during the DERA General Meeting on April 20th, where Fama representatives would be present to discuss their development plans (p. 5).[52] The CCAP would also be visiting various hotels, centres, and drop-ins to “see what kind of community you want to live in” (Sommers, CN, 1995, April 15, p. 4). They were also leading a call for moratorium on condo development and a community-based housing policy negotiated between province, city, and community (p. 17). The meeting and the call for a moratorium functioned as additional sites of potential identification, as aspects motivating a sense of belonging, for this emerging public. Emphasizing the significant history of the building, and the low-income community’s need for representation, the articles of “The Monster that ate Woodward’s” thus whetted the appetite for collective action in the DTES.

Collective Actions and Counter-discourses

The first in a series of collective actions in the spring of 1995 used the rallying call “See you at Woodward’s,” taken from the “familiar phrase in Vancouver’s lexicon” (CN, 1995, May 15, p. 2). These initial actions served both symbolically and physically to mark the building as belonging to the DTESers. For example, on May 6, 1995, community members went to Woodward’s to clean and paint pictures on the window panes (CN, 1995, May 15). It was a tactic that sought recognition and publicity of Woodward’s as a home (and at home) in the DTES. The “domestic acts” demonstrated responsibility and obligation on the part of the LIC advocates for Woodward’s, as well as functioned as a “claim of ownership,” albeit collective ownership (Blomley, 2004, p. 39). The “Woodward’s Window Project” displayed community visions for affordable housing, gardens, and so on. It was described as an affirmative act, uniting the community and connecting it to the neighbourhood’s history (CN, 1995, May 15, p. 2).

Reinforcing their identities as DTESers, the participants were displaying not only their claim over Woodward’s, but their pride as a community. One commentator, Todd Odnell, states in the Carnegie Newsletter that the windows “shows how much people care about their land” (1995, May 15, p. 14) and that these actions have “begun to reclaim what is a valuable signpost for this community” (p. 14). This reclamation was equally a cultural celebration as it was a political demonstration. The article “Downtown Eastsiders Just Want to have Fun” discussed the Woodward’s Window Project as both a “good fight” and “fun” (CN, 1995, June 1, p. 38). Further, it stated “See you at Woodward’s” was a rallying cry that “reflects the pride and determination of residents in protecting the historic heart of our community and bringing it back to life” (p. 38). The “Hand Around Woodward’s” action in conjunction with the window painting had over 150 participants, and was also described as a “joyful declaration to reclaim Woodward’s” (CN, 1995, June 15, p. 2). This articulates how the collective actions at Woodward’s united both the cultural and political dimensions at play in the struggle to determine the neighbourhood’s future that was grounded on a shared past.

In calling attention to the historical relationship between Woodward’s and the DTES community, the campaign was also fighting for a particular future of the neighbourhood — one that would preserve its inclusive character. The community advocates were asserting, “Woodward’s should be an INCLUSIVE project that would be a model for all the city, accommodating a range of citizens and services” (Pranzo, CN, 1995, May 15, p. 2, emphasis in original), that would emphasize (and solidify) its role as a “gathering and meeting place” (p. 2). The LIC advocates argued community-based development “would help stabilize the neighbourhood, not one that will add to the growing megaproject and condo pressures” (in announcement for “Hands Around Woodward’s” action, CN, 1995, May 1, p. 6). This project to “Bringing Woodward’s back to life… and back to the community” contained three goals:

1) To bring people in the community together to create a model development that reflects the historical sharing of Woodwards.

2) To call for the halt to condominium development until there is a comprehensive and inclusive strategy in place.

3) To plan a comprehensive housing strategy that will protect existing housing while creating new housing to house people who wish to stay in their community, while welcoming others who value it (CN, 1995, May 15, p.13).

This campaign was redefining the meaning of Woodward’s redevelopment. These goals argue the building did not need to be condos; the neighbourhood did not need to be fixed by bringing in wealthier residents; Woodward’s was a tradition space of sharing; a knowledgeable proactive community was present in the area; current residents should not be forced to move. Further, discussion of what the problems were and strategies to deal with them was required. This claim shifts knowledge and authority from residing solely with planners and developers, to strategies developed in conversations with people familiar and experienced in the neighbourhood.

In redefining the situation, these goals created space for the community to constitute themselves as the rightful heirs to Woodward’s, based on a shared history and residency in the neighbourhood. Not only was a discursive context generated to unite the community, but visions, arguments, and analysis were also established that would be used in the fight against condo developers and to lobby the municipal government for inclusive housing. The LIC advocates’ collective actions were using the building, and the painted windows, to publicize their claim for Woodward’s. The goal was to implement a vision of inclusive community development, one that would be an alternative to market-driven private development. However, this was not something they could do on their own. They would need financial support from governments, sympathetic private investors and approval from the City for development permits and so on. The LIC advocates’ self-constituting rhetoric would also have to address larger public spheres more directly.

Momentum for an inclusive Woodward’s project continued to build over the next couple of months in anticipation of the Development Permit Board’s Public Hearing on Fama’s application for an all-market housing project. There were demonstrations, community celebrations, letter-writing campaigns to Kassem Aghtai (the head of Fama Holdings), and petition gathering. The community was also actively constructing alternative discourses on the redevelopment of Woodward’s. In contrast to notions of urban revitalization expounded by the local business community and city planners, community activists labelled redevelopment of the DTES as gentrification. LIC advocates defined gentrification as “the process by which middle-class urbanites move in on cheap property, often heritage buildings, evicting the poor who live in the area” (CN, 1995, May 15, p. 12). It increased property values leading to evictions, displacement, and homelessness. Both because of its large physical presence in neighbourhood (almost a whole city block) and its symbolic importance, the redevelopment of Woodward’s into condos was described as a potential tipping point for full-scale gentrification of the DTES. Critics called it the “tip of the iceberg” (CN, 1995, June 1, p. 2), with the potential “ripple effect” through the neighbourhood that promised to divide low-income residents from the condo-owners and end with the former’s displacement (CN, 1995, May 15, p. 12).[53] However, condos at Woodward’s were neither seen as inevitable (the community could fight it) nor apolitical. Rather, LIC advocates argued profit was a primary motive pushing gentrification of the DTES. These interests penetrated City Hall.

In the article “Friends in High Places: The NPA and Development in the Downtown Eastside” (CN, 1995, June 15), Sommers exposed the relationship between Gastown developers and ruling NPA’s city planners.[54] He discussed the City’s “gentrifying policies” (p. 30) and the pro-development lobby that were unsupportive of social housing in the DTES, connecting policies, private interests, and active planning, which if uncontested, would change the face(s) of the neighbourhood. Sommers argued, “You can bet that some people at city hall will be working overtime to make sure the Downtown Eastside gets redeveloped for profit and not for people” (p. 31). The use of these broader discourses helped to contextualize the experiences of the low-income residents in the DTES. Sommers provided an analytic frame in which to discuss Woodward’s redevelopment. He articulated individual’s private fears of eviction within a counter-discourse that critiqued practices by private developers that led to displacement of existing residents. The discourse served as motivation for residents of the DTES to collectively organize in order that community interests be placed above business interests. However, it was not just business interests that needed to be countered. There was also a problem of representation. Sections of the Gastown business establishment were claiming to speak for the DTES (Sommers, CN, 1995, June 15, p.30). LIC advocates had to define and defend their community’s entitlement to speak on behalf of the DTES. It was not enough then to publicize counter-discourses; they would have to collectively move these discourses into other public’s space. Namely, they would have to confront both the city planners and the Gastown advocates at the Development Permit Board and Advisory Panel’s (DPBAP) Public Hearing on Fama’s initial application on June 19, 1995.

4.3.2     Development Permit Board Advisory Panel Public Hearing (June 1995)

Though Woodward’s redevelopment was increasingly contentious, it was not the political space of the City Council where the redevelopment was initially deliberated. Rather, the contested redevelopment process began in the Development Permit Board Advisory Panel (DPBAP).[55]As a public forum, the Development Permit Board heard speakers for and against the proposed application. However, the DPBAP was (and is) a technical forum operating within the pre-existing policy context laid out by Council. It has a circumscribed and limited form of authority, which repeatedly came under attack during Woodward’s redevelopment. During this hearing, those in favour of the market-only housing came out in the largest numbers (a situation that was to reverse at the next public hearing, two years later). The proponents mainly represented Gastown businesses and merchant associations, while the speakers opposing the application mainly represented DTES non-profit and community associations (DPBAP-J95, p. 4–5).[56] It was here that the LIC advocates directly addressed the potential gentrifiers of the DTES, yet in a highly a regulated manner.

Fama Holdings’ (and Brooks Development Planning, Inc.) preliminary application proposed to “reuse, rehabilitate and design the former Woodward’s building, a Class ‘C’ building on the Vancouver Heritage Register.”[57] They sought 23,000 square feet of retail and commercial use and 370,000 square feet for residential use (354 units) (DPBAP-J95, p. 2). Addressing the issues of social housing, developer Jonathon Barrett pointed out the Downtown District, which Woodward’s was a part of, had no requirement for inclusion of non-market housing. He suggested the City could buy the market units and provide these as non-market housing (DPBAP-J95, p. 3). As made clear in their application, Fama, as a private developer, had no responsibility to provide social housing, or necessarily consider the needs of the existing community. This was a role for the state. As described above, it was one the federal government had stepped away from.

There were 21 speakers in favour of Fama’s application. Those who spoke for the application argued it would “revitalize the area,” link Gastown and International Village;[58] add to the rental stock; “balance” the neighbourhood through financial stability; preserve Woodward’s as a heritage resource; financially contribute to the city (which was losing property taxes on the inactive lot) and so on (DPBAP-J95, p. 5). The advocates also supported the proposal’s technical compliance with the zoning requirements. Social housing was not mandatory, yet advocates claimed the proposal aligned with the recent Victory Square planning guides (DPBAP-J95, p. 5). While this appeared to support and lend legitimacy to Fama’s application, the speakers did not explain how the proposal met the planning guidelines or proved that Woodward’s was covered by these guidelines.[59] Continuing to discredit social housing as an option, an advocate argued “a project of this size should not be held hostage by a general lack of social housing in the city,” stating Woodward’s was already a risky development project. Further, placing social housing in the development was discounted because it would use up half of BC’s social housing funding for the year, implying that non-market housing was needed elsewhere. Moreover, proponents asserted the already high concentration of social housing in the neighbourhood was part of the problem. “Concentration” of social housing in the DTES was the inverse of the claim that “balance” was needed to stabilize the neighbourhood. Both discourses were circulating in the mass media at this time, resonating with notions of revitalization through market housing (e.g., Aird, 1995).[60] Speakers explained the “area will continue to deteriorate if the only new development is for social services or non-market housing” (DPBAP-J95, p. 5). While acknowledging housing as an issue, it was argued social housing should go elsewhere.

As opposed to negate effect of social housing in Woodward’s, proponents argued for the benefits of market housing. Proponents stated market housing would not displace people, “rather it brings people to the community” (DPBAP-J95, p. 5). Fama’s proposal would also have a positive effect on local businesses, whereas a project with social housing and services would keep businesses, jobs, and stability at bay. In this sense, the proponents blamed the people in the neighbourhood for its deterioration. Such an argument is predicated on the assumption that issues of poverty and crime should not be addressed through increasing social welfare and housing, but with capital investment and with people with money in their pockets.[61] New residents were needed. The argument for Fama’s proposal thus hinges on the notion that market housing leads to improvement of the neighbourhood, an ideological position supported by neo-liberal urbanization.

In addition to countering the proponents’ claims, the opponents of Fama’s proposal offered alternative conceptions of heritage and critiqued the redevelopment process itself. Many of the opponents’ claims refuted those of the proponents for the proposal. The opponents countered the claims that condos would lead to “revitalization,” stating instead that an all-market housing development project was a process of gentrification that pushed low-income people out. As one opponent explained, “the revitalization that has taken place since 1979 has displaced 3,000 units of SRO housing” (DPBAP-J95, p. 6). Moreover, they argued the DTES was a stable and enduring community, with an average length of residency of 17 years (DPBAP-J95, p. 6). Many of the arguments against the proposal were thus based on its potential effects on the long-term low-income residents in the community. The opponents asserted that Fama’s proposal did not meet the needs of the existing community, stressing the need of affordable housing and a food market (DPBAP-J95, p. 5–6). Critiques of the Fama’s proposal thus argued that heritage is more than that of the built environment. Woodward’s was historically significant because of its longtime use by low-income residents. Tying together the history of the place to the practices of the residents, an opponent stated, “the heritage of the Downtown Eastside is its people, and the Woodward’s building is an important part of their community” (DPBAP-J95, p. 6).[62] The heritage of the local community needed protection in the form of policy in the same way as the built environment needed protection. This was a glaring lack in the permit requirements and biased the redevelopment in favour of Fama’s proposal at the cost of the living heritage of the local community. Because of their long social heritage within the neighbourhood, LIC advocates argued that the low-income community was the primary community in the area and needed to be included in decisions over its future redevelopment.

The opponents to Fama’s proposal thus demanded a public hearing so that the needs of the area might be effectively discussed. Opponents pointed out that here was no strategy or policy in place to protect low-income housing in the neighbourhood (DPBAP-J95, p. 5–6). Further, it was argued, “the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood is being eroded piecemeal by the City’s zoning areas (e.g., Victory Square, Downtown South)”, countering that Woodward’s was “excluded” from the Victory Square planning public consultations (DPBAP-J95, p. 6).[63] As such, a large part of the criticism of Fama’s proposal was directed at the Development Permit Board’s procedures and the lack of policy that worked in favour of market housing. Further, it suggests that the LIC advocates sought to participate in the planning and policy processes, particularly, since in a case like Woodward’s, a lack of policy dramatically affected their neighbourhood. There was no such opportunity to discuss social policy, like housing, prior to the initiation of Woodward’s redevelopment. As such, policy governing Woodward’s redevelopment was restricted to limited notions of heritage, while the absence of housing policy helped to determine the outcome of the public hearings.

Despite the arguments made by the opponents, the application was approved. Fama’s proposal met the demands of the existing policy and guidelines. The application for a development permit in this zone only required that heritage issues be addressed and not meet social housing needs. In fulfilling such requirements, neither Fama nor the proponents necessarily needed to argue the case against social housing. If the proposal was to be rejected, the onus was on those arguing against it to shift the terms of debate. Overwhelmingly, the proponents of Fama’s proposal spoke about the issue of housing, which suggests the degree to which it was relevant. However, technically speaking, housing was not a pertinent issue. There was no policy concerning the social impact of housing, neither in terms of types of housing to include in developments nor a clause that would disqualify a proposal based on the effects of a particular type of housing. The opponents attempted to address the absence of policy and need for an alternative process because the condos would affect the DTES’s low-income community. However, this proved unsuccessful in a forum predicated on technical demands of bylaws and guidelines, and further, which was not capable of creating policy (or determining priorities) itself.

While not all those on the Board were necessarily satisfied with the proposal — because it lacked consideration of social needs — it was still passed unanimously. The Development Permit Board’s Advisory Panel was interested in the site being developed. The panel addressed questions of design, storage space for bicycles, parking, and heritage restoration. While all members of the panel made reference to housing in the neighbourhood, only one was concerned with access for existing residents (Neale, DPBAP-J95, p. 6). By contrast, three panelists suggested social housing could go elsewhere or could be addressed in the future (Waisman, Kwon, Kellington-Catliff, DPBAP-J95, p. 6–7), and two are explicitly pleased with the prospect that this project would revitalize the area (Bowering, Grant, DPBAP-J95, p. 7). Taking a pragmatic position, Mr. Grant’s comments were reported to say,

…there is very little funding available at present for affordable housing, and the various attempts that have been made on this site in recent years to respond to the area’s affordable housing need have been unsuccessful. He did not believe delaying this project in the hope that an affordable housing project can be created was warranted, particularly since this developer is prepared to take significant risk to accomplish a development that will serve civic needs, .i.e., area revitalization and heritage preservation (DPBAP-J95, p. 7).[64]

Thus the Panel was more concerned that the building be developed and its heritage character be preserved as the means to revitalize the area. They did not comment on the residents’ concerns about displacement or address the procedural issues.

In contrast to the Advisory Panel, the Board members, who all occupied civic roles, hoped that the development would address local needs. Yet they approved the proposal because it met existing policy, specifically the Downtown Official Development Plan, heritage policies, and sentiments of the Victory Square review (DPBAP-J95, p. 7). City Engineer David Rudberg recommended amendments to the application that would pursue a non-market housing component and the assurance of a food store (DPBAP-J95, p. 7). City Manager Judy Rogers stated that the community had legitimate concerns about social housing, which the City shared, but that in this case it could go to a different site (DPBAP-J95, p. 7).[65] However, put most bluntly, Board member Scobie stated, “a vacant building serves nobody’s interests well” (DPBAP-J95, p. 8). Further, “He pointed out, it is the Board’s mandate to administer rather than establish policy, and there is no obligation within the existing policy framework to suggest a requirement for any component of non-market housing as part of this proposal. … There is heritage policy in place to support this initiative; there is no policy in place which would require the provision of some non-market housing” (DPBAP-J95, p. 8).[66] Because it did not have the authority to establish priorities and policy, the Board’s hands were tied by policy.

While providing a public forum to speak on the proposal, the Development Permit Board was a technical forum, one that does not address the political nature of development. Yet, in approving this initial proposal for all-market housing within a heritage policy context, precedence was set for future struggles in Woodward’s redevelopment. Later efforts to include non-market housing in the redevelopment of Woodward’s — not only by the community, but also the city and provincial government — were bound by this approval that remained in effect until the City bought the building in 2003. Further, future policy on social housing and planning guidelines for the DTES were never considered in terms of this project because they were not in effect at the time. The development permit procedure is thus a self-referential and serial process, one that does not easily allow for broad consideration of development projects. Because this civic procedure was framed in this way, the decision not to have social housing in the development is presented as an apolitical one — as a technical matter rather than a political one. Moreover, beginning with this forum, the DPBAP actively depoliticized the decision-making process, viewing issues like social housing as outside the admissible terms of contestation. Here, the public hearing of the Development Permit Board is seen as having the power to decide on the future of the DTES, however, it was a public forum that allowed publicity as voice, but not public action as decision-making. Residents of the DTES could argue against the proposal, but only issues that violated existing policy could alter the proposal. This depoliticizing process thus helped to determine the direction of the DTES and also restricted the possibilities for public action.

4.3.3     Special Council Meeting on Woodward’s Heritage (July 1995)

A month later, the battle to define the meaning of “heritage” continued at the public hearing on the amendment of Woodward’s heritage designation during the Special Council Meeting. Such public hearings are quasi-judicial processes used to consider and decide on rezoning applications.[67] As a special meeting of City Council, it is a legislative body that can make motions and direct official action. Unlike the Development Permit Board and Advisory Panel, then, it has the authority to make and amend bylaws. Its role is to allow the public to speak to Council on an issue, and Council’s role is to listen to the public and decide on motions.

At a public hearing[68] on July 18th to designate the Woodward’s building as protected heritage property, Fama proposed to reclassify the building as a “C” category heritage designation (SMC-H, p. 3).[69] Such a designation would protect the building, but also enable Fama to seek relaxations in terms of Floor Space Ratio (FSR) in the form of a bonus to increased density of the suites.[70] In terms of the application, City Council received 154 letters in support of the application and 48 letters in opposition, including a petition with 38 names opposed to the application (SMC-H, p. 6). Like the Development Permit Hearing, the proponents argued the proposal would revitalize the area (SMC-H, p. 7), making “the community a safer place to live, visit and work” (SMC-H, p. 7). The proposal would “revive its historic character,” which was at risk of not being restored if the building were to remain vacant. Further, it was argued the developer was putting himself in financial risk with the project, at a time when no one else had proposed an alternative (SMC-H, p. 7). Addressing the call for affordable housing, proponents for Fama’s application refuted that this proposal would displace people and stated there was the opportunity for social housing elsewhere. One speaker claimed, “Poor people do not want to be ‘ghetto-ized’, and would prefer to have other people live in the neighbourhood who could afford to buy a condominium. Poor people aspire to improve their situation, and are not opposed to progress” (SMC-H, p. 7).[71] However, those that came out to speak against the proposal contested this account of the proposal and the characterization of people in the neighbourhood.

In addition to the petition presented to Council, four speakers opposed the application. One of the speakers pointed out that the meeting had been requested to take place in the DTES, but because the City refused, “many of the neighbourhood residents are not present to voice their objections” (SMC-H, p. 8). Those able to attend made clear that it was neither the redevelopment of the building nor the retention of its heritage character that was being opposed; rather, it was the lack of mixed housing that would include affordable housing for the poor (SMC-H, p. 7). Recalling arguments from the Development Permit Board Public Hearing, they pressed the point that heritage does not reside just in the built environment, “it is also people and community. Revitalization for the residents of the Downtown Eastside means getting kicked out of the community” (SMC-H, p. 8). This notion of heritage highlights the relationship between the existing community and social uses of places, acting as a historical foundation on which to base claims. Moving low-income residents out of the DTES through upscale development changes the social heritage of the neighbourhood, something that also needs protection. This is to say that practices imbue the built environment with significance, and the historical importance of Woodward’s draws from its use by the low-income and working-class neighbourhood. Implicit in this claim was the LIC advocates’ demand for recognition of the low-income community as the legitimate community in the DTES, one that has a right to stay put and not be displaced by redevelopment. They argued mixed housing within an inclusive community development would ensure a place for the “old-timers” and stabilize the neighbourhood (CN, 1995, May 15, p. 11). Receipt of heritage designation should thus require simultaneous protection of the built environment, the community, and the social space in which the community lives. To do this required provision of non-market housing for low-income residents.

Bud Osborn, a poet and activist in the DTES, encapsulated the relationship between heritage and the vision of the neighbourhood for the low-income residents (or citizens, as he terms them, emphasizing a politics of belonging). The following is an extract from “An Address for the Vancouver City Council & Developers of the Woodward’s Building” (CN, 1995, August 1, p. 13–14).

Because it is a community which / welcomes accepts tolerates has a place for / not only the mentally ill but those most troubled and most vulnerable / and this is an exceptional quality / a conscious decision to strengthen rather than further weaken this / community / would indeed make the downtown eastside a spiritual cornerstone / in a materially prosperous city / and something to be pointed to with civic pride / as a significant aspect of our heritage / a heritage which here is a response / to a cry for help from those most vulnerable and most undesirable / a response such as can be found nowhere else in north america / and a vital first sign of our city’s willingness / to make this commitment / would be for fama holdings limited / to either assist this cornerstone project or step aside / in which case woodwards much remain empty / until we agree to develop woodwards / for the needs of those who are poor in almost / every way there is to be poor/ but to make a civic commitment a covenant like this / is what would really designate woodwards as a heritage site / a heritage worth passing on (Obsorn, CN, 1995, August 1, p. 14).

Osborn emphasized that the heritage worth protecting in the DTES is its tolerance and acceptance, where it welcomes and is a refuge for the poor in an otherwise prosperous city. This vision builds on strengthening the community; however, to do so requires the developers (private interests) and the City (public interests) commit Woodward’s for the resident poor. Osborn asked these parties to go against the trends in North America (of gentrification) that would rather displace the marginalized than address the problems of social inclusion. Posed in such a way, Osborn indicated that there is a choice on the part of developers and City Council in whose interests they serve, in what priorities determine both the heritage and future of the neighbourhood and city, and in recognition of difference within the political community, which includes the vulnerable and undesirable.

However, it was again Fama’s vision of the DTES that succeeded. At the public hearing, a motion was put forward for Woodward’s to receive a “C” category designation that would make it eligible for a heritage density bonus in the form of a floor space relaxation. While this passed, Jenny Kwan,[72] the sole COPE City Councillor, attempted to amend the motion to tie the heritage density bonus to the provision of a mixed housing (one-third non-market housing, one-third market housing and one-third market rentals) (SMC-H, p. 9). This motion lost due to opposition from seven councillors and the mayor (SMC-H, p. 10). Kwan also moved a motion that “Council instruct staff to consult and work with the developer, the community (including businesses and residents), the Federal Government and the Provincial Government to create a mixed inclusive development plan that will meet the needs of all the residents in the Downtown Eastside, Gastown and neighbouring communities” (SMC-H, p. 10). This too lost.

While the arguments for an inclusive development that would provide non-market housing as key to preserving the heritage of the DTES did not move the majority of City Council, an alliance between COPE and the DTES was being formed. In part, this alliance ensured advocacy of the latter’s interests in City Hall, and it was with the support of sympathetic elected representatives that the community eventually succeeded in gaining some voice in the redevelopment of Woodward’s. However, this was still to come and the advocates for non-marketing housing in the DTES, and a more inclusive municipal process, continued to voice their frustration within their community.

4.3.4     Countering Representations in the Media

Woodward’s was already a contentious issue before the announcement of Fama’s bid to purchase the building and remained so before and during the various public hearings. Like the public hearings, in the local mass media, the contest over Woodward’s was cast as a debate of revitalization versus gentrification. When Fama first announced their proposal to buy Woodward’s for an all-condo project, Jim Green, advocating for a combined commercial-retail-mixed housing project, argued this application would kill the neighbourhood by driving up property values. Fama countered it would revitalize the DTES. Vancouver Sun reporter, Robert Sarti, described the positions, “It will tear the heart out of a neighbourhood and create a mess in the long run that the tax-payer will have to clean up. Or it will fight crime and revitalize a community that has been going downhill for years” (1995, April 27, p. B3). These positions were presented in a polarized fashion, with little available movement between them.

Other articles in the local mass media were drawing attention to social issues in the DTES, connecting them to Woodward’s redevelopment. Many reported on a fear of displacement of the “old-timers” in the neighbourhood that would occur as more condos were developed. In “Lowest-income area caught in condo vise,” Sarti explained, “While an increase in street crime is driving down the quality of life of residents, a surge of upscale condo developments is threatening to inflate property values and price of old-timers out of their low-rent hotels. ‘It is going to be like Expo all over again, only worse — even more people out on the street,’ says Charlotte Prince, who has lived in hotels along East Hastings for the past 15 years” (1995, February 14, p. B12). Aird, also of the Vancouver Sun, even supported affordable housing in the neighbourhood, advocating, “…caring is a good thing, and so is the activism of the Carnegie Centre and the passion of every other interest group in this most fractions of communities. Too bad that all this passion fires a battle of the haves and have-nots, while governments do nothing to change the fundamental injustice of inadequate housing” (1995, p. B1). Her position on the DTES “turf wars” even received criticism from the newly established Gastown Residents Association (GRA) who were asserting that DERA and Carnegie did not speak for the condo-owners in the area. Rather, the GRA advocates were happy about the potential for more condos as they said it would help fight crime and balance the social housing bias in the area (Aird, 1995). While prior to the public hearings the LIC advocates’ argument that Woodward’s development would gentrify the DTES received somewhat sympathetic framing in the media, where the debate was largely framed in terms of gentrification, displacement, and apathetic government, the representation of the public hearings themselves were less sympathetic.

As the response to the public hearings in the local alternative media by the LIC advocates suggests, it was not just in City Hall that representation would have to be fought for. Representations of the issues in local mass media also had to be countered in order for critical discourses to circulate in larger publics. Reports in the Carnegie Newsletter about the Development Permit Board Public Hearing on Fama’s proposal tied together media representations, Gastown business interests, and the civic redevelopment process. In the cover article, “See you at Woodward’s. The Vision is still Alive” (CN, 1995, July 1), Shayler rejected the Vancouver Sun headline “Developer wins Woodward’s Project” (p. 2).[73] He pointed out that while the Development Permit Board (which included at least two developers of the six on the panel) “made it easy for Fama to slide over the initial hurdle” (p. 2), Fama had yet to even purchase Woodward’s, with final approval for the proposal not expected until March 1996 (p. 2). He stated,

because Fama Holdings Ltd. is far from winning anything, the community still has the time to fine tune a better plan. In fact, Fama has publicly said on a number of occasions that if they get a serious offer they will walk away from Woodward’s if there is a better plan.

What is very clear from petitions and letters is that a growing number of people in the Downtown Eastside, and around the City support a shared and inclusive model for Woodward’s that reflects the buildings history, with a wide-range of market and non-market housing, mixing seniors, singles, and families with child care, community and cultural facilities, and of course a restored food floor (p. 2, emphasis in the original).

Because Woodward’s did not yet belong to Fama, the community could still stake its claim and, because of growing support (i.e., a widening public), they still could potentially win the building for their own visions. He continued,

If Woodward’s and the community is going to be won, if long-term residents of the neighbourhood are going to be treated with respect and dignity, and if these low-income residents are going to have the right to live in an inclusive community, then we will have to fight for it, practice what we preach, so to speak. This means that we have to grow in numbers. This means that organizations with constituencies will have to knock on doors and talk to people. This means that individuals will have to get involved. It is one thing to talk about fighting for what we believe in; it is another to actually do it. The time is now. The place is Abbott and Hastings. See You At Woodward’s” (p. 3, emphasis in original).

Shayler was building on the previous work to constitute the low-income residents as the relevant public entitled to Woodward’s. This was in opposition to the “Gastown Crowd,” who he described as, “In whining loudly about their own self-interests, in seeing themselves as the first ‘real’ people in the area, they refuse to recognize the history of the community, and the struggle of the long-term, low-income residents to make it a better, healthier, safer, more tolerant, and more human place to live and work” (p. 2).

In juxtaposing the two communities, it is evident that each community was trying to delegitimize the other’s claims to Woodward’s. But the grounds of authority and rights were different. For the Gastown crowd, it was their financial capital that gave them a say over Woodward’s. It was a new claim for use of the space. On the other hand, for the low-income community, it was the length of time in the neighbourhood and their use of the place that constituted their claims to continue to reside there. As such, defining Woodward’s was also about defining the vision of the DTES community. For the advocates of the low-income community, the vision of DTES was about tolerance and accessibility. It required an inclusive form of community development. As a social movement definitional process, the low-income DTESers were not only seeking to define the neighbourhood and redefine the social situation, but they were also defining their antagonists — developers, City Hall, the mainstream media and advocates of private interests in the broader community.

The July 18th public hearing, in which heritage and density at Woodward’s were debated, received more attention from critics in the Carnegie Newsletter. Both the politicians’ and developers’ promises were subject to criticism. In recounting the track record of development projects in the DTES, Nigel Watson wrote, “With the help of city councillors and city planners, these developers have dragged citizens through an exhausting series of hearings and meetings on the pretext of public consultation. But when the dust has settled and they have gotten the City’s approval for their plans, they have walked away from those promises” (CN, 1995, August 1, p. 3), often pursuing exclusive market developments. In addition to serving the interests of private developers, the limited terms of debate at the hearing were critiqued. In “Woodward’s and the Axe” (CN, 1995, August 1), Paul R Taylor argues, “You have to address heritage and density or you’ll be told to sit down… ‘If you start to speak on the proposal of Fama Holdings to build exclusively for well-to-do yuppies you’ll be cut off… ‘What should we do?’” (p. 2). In addressing the Council as a concerned public, the LIC advocates in the DTES had to struggle within terms of debate set by the City, and supported by the business community and mass media that benefited from this process.

The hearing also set precedents with regards to Woodward’s redevelopment. Because the approval of the heritage designation and bonus density might set Woodward’s down the wrong path to market housing, Shayler advocated at the public hearing that Woodward’s would be better empty longer in order that the redevelopment was done right, rather than allowing for a project that would create more homelessness in the neighbourhood (CN, 1995, August 1, p. 2). Developing critiques against claims made during the two public hearings by Fama’s advocates, commentators in the Carnegie Newsletter also argued the decline of the neighbourhood was not the result of the low-income community, but the greed and neglect of private “developers and speculators” who sit on their “hoarded-up” properties waiting for land values in the area to rise (CN, 1995, May 15, p. 11–13). Refuting the notion that it was the poor who caused problems for the DTES, Dayle Mosely (from DERA) said, “The closing of Woodward’s caused the closure of other businesses. You can’t blame people for being poor or unemployed. It’s the property owners sitting on real estate, waiting for the market to change, that are keeping much of the retail aspect empty. DERA and the community support development, but it has to include housing and facilities for local residents” (CN, 1995, August 1, p. 3). This was not the only place the community had to struggle to have their voice heard. Because they wanted to mark the building as their own, they also had to seek venues outside the local neighbourhood from which to effect broader discourses in the local mass media.

A central problem is thus the mediation of representation and voice. In the battle concerning which groups were part of the “legitimate community” and whose voices were heard, media played a crucial role. In “Yuppies in the ‘Hood’,” Tommy Shutz provided an analysis and critique of the bias in the Vancouver Sun toward the interests of Gastown developers. He noted it was “not the first time the Sun has sympathised so publicly with the problems of privileged Johnny-come-latelys,” with “media-anointed voices,” making “their personal opinions a public issue” (CN, 1995, July 1, p. 4). The attention to media representation extended the community’s analysis of the private interests involved in the “revitalization” of the DTES, as well marked another site of engagement and struggle in the fight for Woodward’s (another public to address, another front to fight on). It was not enough to campaign in the neighbourhood, to lobby the government, to participate in City public forums, and appeal to the developer. Activists also had to tackle the mass media if possibilities for inclusive housing were to succeed.

While LIC advocates were making their case in the Carnegie Newsletter, the “Gastown crowd” were also mobilizing for their interests. One individual tried to silence the critical voice of the Carnegie Newsletter by appealing to the City to remove funding (even though the City did not provide such funds) (CN, 1995, July 1, p. 2). As Gurlewshi responded in the Carnegie, while the “yuppies” may try to remake the DTES in their own image, “One thing they won’t get is the Carnegie Newsletter. It’s independent, it’s combative — and it’s going to stay that way” (p. 3). It was the alternative media of, and for, the low-income community. This intimate relationship between the Carnegie Newsletter and the interests of the low-income community demonstrates the intimate relationship between social movements and media. While there is often an asymmetrical relationship between mass media and social movement (Gamson et al., 1992; Gamson and Wolfsfeld, 1993), alternative media, in this instance, publicized and amplified the voices of marginalized communities, advocating for social issues often in a much more explicit manner than was possible in the more hegemonic mass media.

4.3.5     Moving Beyond the Development Permit Stage

The mobilization for Woodward’s to be an inclusive community development was relentless, even in the face of the City approving Fama’s development permit, the DTES community did not back down. Because final approval was not granted, there was time for the community to propose an alternative to Fama’s proposal. In November 1995, the Committee to Save Woodward’s (CSW) made its appearance and a declaration for an alternative plan. The CSW called for “a mix of market housing, social housing and co-operative housing; combined with a grocery store priced to the community… and [including] educational, recreational, health, treatment, and employment dimensions with a truly community-oriented plan” (CN, 1995, November 15, p. 11). They challenged the view of the DTES as a ghetto and that there was an over-concentration of social service and low-income housing in the DTES, which had been used to dismiss non-market housing in Woodward’s in the public hearing. Their declaration stated: “We are asking that this commitment be followed up and the Downtown Eastside strengthened, not weakened to where it will be no more than a ghetto of anonymity amidst affluent alienation” (CN, 1995, November 15, p. 11). They positioned the DTES as a neighbourhood threatened not necessarily by poverty and crime but rather by development and displacement. The CSW positioned the DTES as a cohesive community, one that “survives within a common unity of shared poverty, mutual aid, tolerance and support for human beings unwanted elsewhere, or unable to afford living anywhere else” (CN, 1995, November 1, p. 11). Moreover, an all-market housing Woodward’s site would be a “death blow” to this community, the CSW argued. Ultimately, despite its lack of financial capital, the community was able to muster enough social capital to succeed in their fight to include affordable housing in Woodward’s.

The provincial NDP government announced at the end of November 1995 that it would fund one-third of the housing units at welfare-rate rent levels. Further, the NDP advocated for Vancouver and Fama to support a mix of co-op and market housing (CN, 1995, December 1, p. 9). Premier Harcourt, among his final acts as premier, stated, “I am prepared to keep on this to make sure Woodward’s becomes the flagship and not the death knell of the community” (cited in Sarti & Bula, 1995, p. B1). While it appeared to be the initiative of the provincial government to ensure a mixed-housing project in Woodward’s, it was with the collective actions of the DTES that this became and remained a public issue.[74] Vancouver Sun reporter, Bula, states, “The issue of what will happen to Woodward’s and whether there will be social housing has become a prominent political issue in the city. Advocates for the Downtown Eastside, for whom Woodward’s has become the political symbol of the gentrification of their community, have been lobbying hard to make the building a community centerpiece” (1995, December 21, p. B3). As described in the Carnegie Newsletter, “The factors that brought the prize within reach was the growing unity of residents and community groups — the agreement that Woodwards must be an INCLUSIVE project, making room for a range of income levels and interests” (Hennessey, 1995, January 15, p. 2). That is to say, Woodward’s was a site of identification that served to contingently unify the LIC advocates in a vision and fight for their neighbourhood. Further explained in a Carnegie Newsletter update, “What has brought this much progress so far is the willingness of all the groups to work together for the common good. Representatives of several groups from a wide spectrum of the community have been actively participating in the process — from residents and housing groups to service providers and job creation projects” (1996, February 1, p. 4). These coalitions placed pressure on the City to support inclusive development and to include the community within the negotiations. By being participants in the process, the advocates of the low-income community could press for further inclusion.

However, creating coalitions also required expanding those interested in the issue of social housing at Woodward’s. As recounted in the Carnegie Newsletter (as one of many chronologies that historicize this process), community unity with groups in and outside the neighbourhood was crucial in the campaign for the building. Community unity was also crucial in bringing about the commitment from the provincial government, with Fama and the City following suit. However, it was not a done deal. The members of the low-income community would need to continue to advocate for the project. Also, as Taylor pointed out, the development of the site would not solve all the problems of housing and homelessness in the neighbourhood (CN, 1996, February 1, p. 2). He noted, “It will be well worth the effort to create something on that forlorn stretch of Hastings that will be an asset to the community and an example to inner cities all over North America of how to fix up old buildings and strengthen the fabric of the community at the same time” (p. 2). Woodward’s was thus not just conceived as a local project, it was a gaining a grander vision, one that had the potential to be a model for community development in North America, “not a neighbourhood-busting elite ghetto” (CN, 1996, February 15, p. 2).

With an agreement in the works, the next fourteen months had BC Housing (the relevant departmental arm of the NDP), Fama, the City of Vancouver, and newly formed Woodward’s Co-op Committee (and non-profit society incorporated on April 15, 1996) hashing out the details of the project.The plan was to include 210 units of social housing (100 units for deep-core needs), 160 market condos, and two floors of shops and offices (CN, 1996, March 1, p. 7).[75] The DTES community elected Jim Green to serve as a representative within these negotiations because of his experience both with the community and social housing projects (CN, 1996, January 15, p. 2). The LIC advocates also continued to organize public meetings. For example, there was a Woodward’s Forum held on February 1, 1996, that discussed affordable housing within the context of gentrification and communities of urban poor (CN 1996, January 15, p. 2; CN, 1995, April 1, p. 21). The Woodward’s Co-op Committee established subcommittees to address design and development, recreational and community space, and employment (1996, April 1, p. 25), and to provide regular updates and forums for community input. The outcome was five principles advocated for by the Woodward’s Committee:

1. all units to be self-contained (including kitchen and bathroom),

2. housing low-income residents in DTES, including singles, couples, families, and disabled people,

3. the Woodward’s partnership is one community with common governance and integrated neighborhood that are not divided by social class or household type,

4. commercial component should reflect the values and needs of the resident community,

5. 1/3 for deep-core needs (CN, 1996, April 15, p. 8–9)

In a practice of visioning, these lists of principles address not only what the units would be like, but also the ethos that they would create for the residents and community. Reflecting the diversity of the community needs, and a priority of community values over property values (CN, 1996, March 1, p. 7), these principles demonstrate the emboldened campaign of the DTES not only to have an inclusive mix of social housing, but further, to define the meaning of ‘inclusivity’ as self-governance, seeking to “structure [the] project so that the eventual residents will manage their own housing democratically, in a co-op” (CN, 1996, March 1, p. 8).

Woodward’s was seen as a victory, but also a place for the community to continue to fight the war on poverty. As poet and organizer, Bud Osborn wrote at the time:

I will say that this new deal at Woodward’s is an important beachhead from which to struggle and resist / and our fight in this war on the poor our battle in the downtown eastside / is now building to building and block to block (CN, 1996, March 1, p. 38)

However, it was a local battle that was occurring in a globalizing context. Elsewhere, Osborn connects the poverty in the DTES with a global war, which in Canada is reflected in the Free Trade Agreement and Bill C-76 (Canada Health and Social Transfer) that was remaking social rights and welfare (CN, 1996, March 1, p. 28). So while multiple parties were negotiating a settlement that would include provisions for affordable housing, there was still sceptical uncertainty regarding who would be included in the final project. And this battle soon re-emerged in the 100 block of W Hastings, when Fama left negotiations in April 1997, marking a renewed campaign for Woodward’s that manifested itself in a more oppositional public formation.

4.4     Conclusion

In the first campaign for Woodward’s, “See you at Woodward’s,” the already existing local organizations helped to facilitate the coming together of the DTES community as the relevant public for Woodward’s redevelopment, and in the process made it a public issue. These were primarily DERA and the Carnegie — the latter as an association, through the newsletter, and particularly through the Carnegie Community Action Project. These associations helped to coordinate activities, provided physical spaces for meetings, along with administrative and office resources, and the means to publicize the various parts of the campaign, all of which are evident in announcements in the Carnegie Newsletter. They created a framework and community context in which analysis, critique and action could take place around the emergent issue of Woodward’s redevelopment, its role in gentrification of the DTES, and its connection with larger provincial, national, and global infrastructure restructuring. Woodward’s became, then, not just about social housing; it was also about alternative modes of community-led development, local self-determination and vision for the future of the community, and meaningful participation in larger public spheres, namely the municipal and provincial governments and the mass media. They were creative and persistent in their struggle to publicize and claim that Woodward’s belonged to the DTES low-income community, based on its history as the heart and meeting ground of the neighbourhood.

As an emergent public formation, the low-income community succeeded in publicizing issues of redevelopment, differentiating between private developer-led projects that threaten to intensify gentrification in the DTES and more inclusive community-led projects that could be a model for social and built heritage preservation of low-income neighbourhoods. A plurality of subject positions was also created that sought to legitimate the low-income as the heir to Woodward’s. These subject positions ranged from legitimate old-timers in the neighbourhood to yuppies and gentrifiers who were seeking to destroy the heritage of the DTES. In accepting a discourse that placed the low-income DTES residents as entitled to Woodward’s because of a history of use of the building as a social space, this subject position also politicized identity as a DTESer and called for action on the part of the actor in ensure that Woodward’s remained accessible and inclusive. This identity was in opposition to those subjects that were positioned as newcomers. However, it was not applied to all new residents to the area but instead only those that sought to remake the neighbourhood in the image of upscale condos that displaced the existing community. To be for the DTES was to be an active advocate, and further, to not be a “yuppie.” Also, within the plurality of subjects, the central actors in the redevelopment were defined. These were predominantly the private developer Fama and the Gastown businesses and residents who supported the preliminary proposal of an all-market condo project; the City Council and Development Permit Board, along with the relevant bureaucratic arms that regulated and administered planning and housing in the DTES; the local mass media that contributed to the framing of the issues at play in Woodward’s redevelopment (like displacement, gentrification, revitalization, and so on); the provincial government who had jurisdiction over the provision of social housing funding; and the low-income community in the DTES. However, the relationships between these different actors were not static. During this time, the provincial government seemed to be more closely aligned with the DTES than with the private developers, the City of Vancouver, or the media representing these various interests.

Woodward’s was thus a site of contestation and enactment of power. Within the spaces of the community, including on the walls of Woodward’s, civic spaces of public hearings, and within the local mass and alternative media, these various social actors were competing to define the issues and necessary actions to be taken to redevelop Woodward’s and redirect the future of the DTES. These spaces afforded the actors’ varying abilities to act authoritatively and decisively on the redevelopment of Woodward’s. The City had ultimate jurisdiction to grant a development permit, but the developer had the financial power to initiate the development process (a goal equally sought for by the City and vying communities). The low-income community asserted their moral authority based on their history in the neighbourhood and use of Woodward’s, and a particular understanding of its heritage. During this period, these different forms of discursive capital were not equal in determining the fate of Woodward’s, but they were all able to influence the course of the redevelopment, particularly its formation as a partnership between the provincial government, private developers, city government and the community. While this was not in the end a stable formation, it did create a context in which late calls for dwelling rights and participation were framed. These concurrent processes of publicizing, positioning subjects, and struggling for power contributed to Woodward’s formation as an emergent public.

As an emergent public, the low-income community of the DTES constituted itself as central, and also established particular relations with other publics. Advocacy for inclusive social housing served as a means of identification and politicization for these responsive community members. Advocacy for Woodward’s was grounded in the area’s history and the neighbourhood’s heritage as an accepting and tolerant community for its low-income residents. Through memories of Woodward’s as a gathering place for this community, residents asserted the prerogative to determine its redevelopment, tying together history, place, and rights through notions of use of space. However, the effectiveness of such a claim was based on a larger public recognition of this community’s legitimacy. In that sense, the underlying struggle centred on defining the relevant and legitimate community in the DTES. This could not rely solely on the constitutive potential of the DTES community as the right heir of Woodward’s. It required recognition by other publics, particularly within the City of Vancouver, and this further required a somewhat sympathetic media. Fortunately for the low-income community, their unified and effective campaigning succeeded, at least for the time, to harness wider community support as well as support from the provincial government in the form of social housing funds that could be included in the negotiations over the mixed-housing development. Unfortunately, though, this was not a process they could control. In the end when the negotiations between the provincial government and Fama fell through, it was the community who had to fight to reassert their right to the building and with it the fate of the neighbourhood. By this time, they were no longer the only community claiming legitimacy in the area. Rather, the next phase of Woodward’s redevelopment, between 1997 and 2002, marks a time of direct confrontation between interests of the business community and low-income community. It is in this transformation of relationships between the various social actors, and the resulting shifts in discourse and power, that Woodward’s moved into an oppositional public formation, which I address in the next chapter.

5: Oppositional Public Formation in the Downtown Eastside, 1997–2001

5.1     Introduction

This chapter discusses the oppositional public formation sparked by Fama’s cancellation of the social housing project at Woodward’s in April 1997. The ensuing period includes the LIC advocates’ campaign “Woodward’s Belongs to Us…” (1997); the Development Permit Board Public Hearing decision in favour of Fama’s all-market housing proposal (1997); a publicity campaign by the low-income community advocates, “Daisies for Democracy” (2001); and the purchase of the building for mixed housing by the provincial NDP (2001). This period is characterized by a settling of two opposing blocs of interests: those advocating for the LIC and their conception of the public interest, and those promoting an all-market housing project, who pursued a different conception of the public good, one that was aligned with private economic interests. I argue these two positions are emblematic of hegemonic struggles within oppositional public formations. At this point, the conflict was still centred in the Downtown Eastside and had not yet become a city-wide struggle.

As in the preceding chapter, I focus on public formation as a triadic process of publicizing issues, addressing a plurality of subject positions, within a space of contestation and power. The previous chapter examined the formation of an emergent public. This chapter explores the process by which an oppositional public was formed. Here the public becomes a more confrontational field of struggle, where actors conceive of themselves as antagonistic, struggling for dominance within various arenas of discourse. In this case there was a solidifying of positions between those advocating for the interests of the low-income community and those advocating business interests at public hearings and in neighbourhoods. Each vied to establish as dominant their side’s vision for Woodward’s redevelopment. Considering orientation, intention, and scale, the LIC advocates’ discourses appear as counter-hegemonic articulations. They continued to press for social housing in Woodward’s and declared the building a community property. Drawing upon a history of housing activism, social housing advocates sought to establish Woodward’s as an emblem of the low-income DTES community. While they spoke out about the negative effects of the redevelopment at the Development Permit Board Hearing, the LIC advocates were now also critiquing Fama more directly, moving their campaign for Woodward’s and social housing beyond the DTES and into the broader public. In this more determined form, the LIC advocates’ discourse shifted from one that sought inclusiveness to one that demanded recognition of rights. The analysis examines how the struggle for Woodward’s symbolically transformed the site to a space of direct political contestation between competing interests in the neighbourhood, one that had the potential to decide the future of the DTES and the place of the low-income community within it.

I begin my description of the oppositional public formation within the DTES by recounting the historical context of this period in Woodward’s redevelopment. However, because the broader discussions around gentrification and neoliberalism remained relatively unaltered since the first campaign, this section attends more to the local context bridging the two periods. Next, I discuss the “Woodward’s Belongs to Us” campaign. I argue that in this campaign, LIC advocates increasingly came to be organized as an oppositional front in the ever more divided and contested real estate politics of the DTES. This is followed by an examination of the Development Permit Board Public Hearing on Fama’s final application. The chapter ends with an analysis of the “Daisies for Democracy” campaign (2000) that describes the LIC advocates’ appeal to citizenship rights to housing. It served to expand their public support, a process that I examine in the following chapter.

5.2     Historical Context

The worst scenario would be to see the [Woodward’s] site boarded up for years; the 2nd worst would have it become the site for more highrise and highrent condos with no community input (Taylor, CN, 1992, November 1, p. 4).

“Hurry up and wait…the repeated themes in this project” (CN, 1996, June 15, p. 19) was the update in the Carnegie Newsletter in June 1996 after months of negotiations between Fama and the provincial NDP government over the inclusion of social housing at Woodward’s. With the initial enthusiasm of the provincial funding for social housing at Woodward’s wearing off, the reality of the negotiations became a subject for concern for LIC advocates. Echoing fears during the Special Council Meeting on Woodward’s heritage designation in 1995, LIC advocates knew the development had to be carefully planned right from the beginning. As Bud Osborn warned, “woodwards must remain empty until we agree to develop woodwards for the needs of those who are poor” (Osborn, CN, 1995, August 1, p. 15, punctuation and capitalization in the original), because “Not doing it right now means no second chance” (Taylor, CN, 1996, June 15, p. 19). Continuing to recognize a shared fate between the DTES and Woodward’s, LIC advocates called for prudence in the negotiations even though there was an increasing urgency for housing in the neighbourhood. Yet, while the negotiations between Fama and the NPD proceeded, there was little the LIC advocates could do for fear of jeopardizing the process and hence the prospect of social housing at the site. During this waiting period, the LIC advocates had to be satisfied with continuing to participate in the process, as they sought to maintain and build public support for social housing.

Restricted to providing input on the co-op housing aspect of the project in the role of community representative during the negotiations, the LIC advocates continued to press for affordable housing at Woodward’s. Various sub-committees of the Woodward’s Committee hashed out visions and practical concerns for housing at the site. Advocates pressured the City to contribute funding to the project — and they succeeded in having the City transfer $1.1 million from funds provided by an earlier Concord Pacific development to Woodward’s(CN, 1996, February 1, p. 4). Social housing supporters gathered information within the community and issued updates and reports (CN, 1996, February 1, p. 5). Activists also worked to soothe frustrations amongst low-income residents at the seeming lack of progress in the development (CN, 1996, April 1, p. 26). Among other functions, these neighbourhood dialogues served to underscore the link between Woodward’s and the low-income residents of the DTES.

While the wider campaign for social housing at Woodward’s ceased during the fourteen months of meetings between Fama and the NDP, discussions continued within the low-income community. Forming and sharing collective memories were particularly important at this time. Building a local history of the previous campaign, there was the retelling of the struggles that succeeded in Woodward’s “com[ing] home.”[76] Keeping Woodward’s on the agenda, articles in the Carnegie Newsletter often recounted moments in the redevelopment and various resistances to it.[77] An art show at the Pitt Gallery also featured photos of the low-income community’s paintings on the Woodward’s window, as part of the Woodward’s Window Project (CN, 1996, January 15, p. 9).[78] This understanding of the area’s history placed the low-income residents at the centre of a long history of political resistance in the neighbourhood. By highlighting the continuity of their presence and activism in the area, this narrative affirmed LIC residents’ claims as the central actors in the story of the DTES.

With their success rallying around Woodward’s, LIC advocates maintained the building as a symbol to unite the community (CN, 1996, March 1, p. 6). Statements such as “Together we will help to make Woodward’s Co-operative another warm home with a strong community voice” (CN, 1996, November 1, p. 27) added Woodward’s to a history of solidarity and political action in the community. However, these various practices of sustaining the public around Woodward’s also point to the contingent character of the unity amongst low-income community members as an attentive audience to the redevelopment process. Their collectiveness and publicness was not inevitable. When the fortune of the co-op housing project took a downward turn, these memories became resources that mobilized community advocates once again.

After Fama broke from the negotiations with the provincial NDP and the DTES community in April 1997, the advocates for the low-income community rearticulated their claims to the Woodward’s project. In contrast to the rhetoric of inclusive community development, the LIC advocates’ increasingly asserted ownership and rights to Woodward’s based on their historic use of the building and the neighbourhood. Using the slogan “Woodward’s Belongs to Us,” the campaign against Fama and all-market housing became a campaign of resistance to gentrification as such, now seen as threatening to displace the long-time residents and divide the neighbourhood. Building momentum in various public actions throughout the summer, the LIC advocates came together to make a definitive declaration against Fama’s all-condo housing proposal for Woodward’s at the Development Permit Board Hearing in October 1997.

5.3     Constitutive and Relational Practices

At this time, three major discursive practices suggested that the conflict over Woodward’s was coming to resemble what I have been calling an oppositional public formation. First, Woodward’s redevelopment was articulated as a site of counter-hegemonic struggle, marking a more direct engagement by LIC advocates in various public spheres and spaces. Second, political actors came to understand themselves through essentially antagonistic identities: the subject position of “low-income community advocate” was created for low-income residents and activists in opposition to the antagonistic subject of “private interest advocates” construed as private developers, the state, and supportive mass media actors. Third, Woodward’s became a nodal site for social citizenship rights. This created the possibility of coalition-building and contingent unity between multiple interests groups within the DTES and Vancouver around issues like social housing. In this way, LIC advocates succeeded in redefining and positioning themselves as a forceful opposition within redevelopment struggles in the DTES.

5.3.1     “Woodward’s Belongs To Us…” (1997)

“Let’s Keep the Vision Alive” exclaimed the cover of the Carnegie Newsletter (1997, April 14) in the first issue published after the breakdown of negotiations between Fama and the NDP. Accompanied by an image of Woodward’s iconic ‘W’ — a common symbol in the battle over Woodward’s—and a black and white photo of Fama president Kassem Aghtai (along with his telephone number), this cover launched the new slogan in the campaign, “Woodwards belongs To Us… Not to Kassem Aghtai” (1997, April 15). With less need to generate a discourse that linked collective identities in the DTES with Woodward’s, the collectivization processes focused on constructing counter-discourses and collective actions. Shifting to a more explicit critique of property values and relations and a personal appeal to Aghtai, the LIC advocates in the DTES reinvigorated the community mobilization for Woodward’s, this time in more direct opposition to the private interests of Fama and their civic supporters.

Collectivization: Counter-Discourses and Collective Actions

Two days after Fama’s April 4th announcement they were leaving social housing negotiations, community organizations in the DTES held an emergency meeting — this urgency speaks to the significance of the project and the mobilizing capacity of the community. The thirty participants, representing key groups in the neighbourhood, issued the press statement entitled “Community groups claim betrayal over Woodward’s cancellation” (CN, 1997, April 15, p. 3). It described the surprise the Woodward’s Co-op Committee felt after fourteen months of participating in the negotiations and provided the community’s perspective of the agreement’s breakdown.[79] Muggs Sigurgeirson, president of Carnegie Community Association, stated, “If it’s going to be all condos, there will be no hope for this community, and equally no support from this community,” and “she predicts Fama will face fierce community opposition” (p. 3). However, this was not just a warning; it was accompanied by actions. The press statement reported, “Others at the meeting vowed to do everything possible to scuttle Aghtai’s project,” which already included spray painting the boarded-up Woodward’s. Statements written on the building included: “Woodward’s belongs to the people,” “We are here to stay. We live here,” “Zero Displacement!” “Keep your word,” “The poor are people,” “No market development here,” and “Justice — Woodward’s for the community” (CN, 1997, May 15).[80] These discourses focused the LIC advocates’ fight as one of opposition against Fama. A meeting participant asserted, “If he [Aghtai] thinks those condos are going to be an easy sell, it’s our job now to prove him wrong” (CN, 1997, April 15, p. 3). While this was a threat directed at Fama, it also served to unite the community in actions to save Woodward’s. The LIC advocates were preparing to take to the streets, City Hall, and the press in order to block Fama’s all-market condo development proposal in their neighbourhood. While the public hearing on Fama’s proposal was delayed, the LIC advocates acted immediately within public space to express their frustration, galvanize the public around Woodward’s and disrupt the redevelopment process.

A series of actions were scheduled to discuss, publicize, and protest Fama’s actions. These included a strategizing session at DERA’s monthly and community issues meetings, organizing for the development permit hearing, and performing two direct actions: a vigil and a demonstration. The demonstration, “Woodward’s Belongs To Us… Not to Kassem Aghtai,” was organized for April 19th, the Saturday before the expected permit hearing (21st). It was an act to “reclaim Woodwards” (CN, 1997, April 15, p. 18). The poster for the action described the betrayed vision of Woodward’s. Defining the situation, it stated,

For over 14 months people in the Downtown Eastside have worked hundreds of volunteer hours to make sure that the historic Woodward’s building will become a positive model for our city. Their hard work, cooperation, and creative solutions have lead to a plan that is inclusive, with affordable housing and community services to be shared by a wide mix of people. This bright vision for Woodward’s seemed to be just around the corner from becoming reality.

Suddenly, and without warning, Kassem Aghtai of Fama Holdings Ltd. Broke his work and destroyed the agreement he had with the community. It is true Kassem Aghtai has money. But no one developer has the right to determine Woodward’s future. We have given Woodward’s its history.

Now we are coming together to reclaim that history not only for the Downtown Eastside but for the entire city. Come and join us!

Let’s Keep the Vision Alive (CN, 1997, April 15, p. 32).

Providing the history of the relationship between Fama and the LIC community served to broaden the potential public. Besides the shared history between the building and the community, it brought in additional reasons to get involved: it is a model for inclusive developments, the plan has been developed by volunteers working in the DTES, the developers broke promises, its community-given history — all suggesting an ethical dimension to the DTES’s fight for Woodward’s.

Preceding the demonstration, there was an “All Night Vigil at Woodward’s” on April 18th, organized by the Political Response Group (PRG).[81] It was a new direct action tactic in the fight for Woodward’s — one that would often be repeated. Vigils signify a preparation for religious observance, mourning, or watchfulness, all relevant in the LIC advocates’ action. The community was mourning the loss of social housing, celebrating its place in the neighbourhood with a political ritual of public demonstration, and standing guard over the building against private development. Twelve members of the PRG matched the solemnity of this vigil in the daring occupation of Fama’s West Vancouver Office. It was staged as a “symbolic and peaceful” protest of “Fama’s violent occupation of the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver” (CN, 1997, May 1, p. 2). In cooperation with other DTES groups, PRG demanded social housing in Woodward’s, claiming, “As Woodwards goes, so goes the Downtown Eastside” (p. 2). A statement distributed during the action described the condos as “a death-blow to the unique, creative and valuable community of economically poor people in the DTES” (CN, 1997, May 1, p. 2).

While community activists sought to symbolically join Woodward’s fate to the DTES before 1997, at this point it became a central notion. However, it was not only used by the LIC advocates to create unity within the DTES, it was used by advocates for the Gastown Residents to stigmatize the low-income community. For example, the first issue of The New Downtown[82] had the headline, “The Damning of the Downtown Eastside: Drug trade and theft rule the neighbourhood,” with the subscript, “The situation [drug trade] has turned almost every Downtown Eastside business owner into an underworld operator” (CN, 1997, May 15, p. 32, brackets in the original). These claims are countered in the Carnegie Newsletter: “They claim the betrayal of community rights at Woodwards as a victory for the desired wonder of complete gentrification and openly assert their God-given rights to ‘clean up the whole blight-ridden area east of Cambie’” (CN, 1997, May 15, p. 32). Demonstrating the intensified divisions between communities in the neighbourhood, it continued: “Well, this bunch of invertebrates does not speak for all or even some of the people living and working in Gastown, and many are mighty pissed-off at their arrogance. The shit’s about to hit!” (p. 32)[83] Primacy of the low-income community in this inner-city neighbourhood was being challenged by other wealthier groups coming into the area (the antagonistic “yuppies”). Similar to the public hearings in 1995, they vocalized their vision for a different downtown as one with less social services and housing in the area.[84] The low-income community advocates used this antagonistic group to become more unified around a common identity. Both of these adversarial groups were engaged in constitutive practices, though these groups would directly contest one another in broader public arenas.

Hegemonic Struggles: Counter-Discourses and Actions

In addition to public collective action and the use of mass media, the community was also preparing for the battle in civic spaces, specifically the upcoming Development Permit Hearing, on April 21, 1997. It was here that Fama’s all-market housing proposal[85] was to be heard. In seeking to mobilize organizations and individuals to attend and speak against Fama’s proposal, an article in the Carnegie Newsletter announced and explained the importance of the upcoming hearing. It stated the community had a necessary role to play at the Development Permit Board Hearing. They needed “to tell civic officials that without community housing, the redevelopment of Woodwards is not acceptable,” and further that “The city should rescind the heritage density bonus it has given to FAMA that makes an all market project economically feasible. It needs to send a message to this developer, and to other developers, that he can’t steam roll this community just because it is poor. Those days are over for good” (CN, 1997, April 15, p. 2). Woodward’s redevelopment was an issue of civic representation, of ensuring that the interests of all DTES residents were considered. It is not just Fama that needs to be confronted, then, but also city policies and practices that make possible the redevelopment of Woodward’s in favour of market interests only, and that would reshape the DTES in the process. As such, the City equally became an adversary of the LIC advocates, to the extent that it enabled private development interests to be pursued over the community’s interests. Learning from these past experiences, the community better prepared to contest both the application and the process.

In mobilizing the low-income community, the first move by LIC advocates was to argue that Fama’s proposal was not inevitable, but as something the community can and should oppose. This placed the redevelopment within a contestable discursive field, where LIC advocates would practice counter-hegemonic articulations. The situation is defined as such,

The Woodwards Coop would have given the community a stake in and some control over a part of the Downtown Eastside which is being placed under immense development pressure. Without it, we will be stuck with a gigantic market steam roller that will push redevelopment east along Hastings Street, eventually pressing onto Main. This will not only change the streetscape, it will also shove people along in front of it. If you think we have problems now, just wait for another 2 years when FAMA has built almost 400 condos in Woodwards.

BUT This is not yet a done deal. Support for mixed housing in the Woodwards Building is now very widespread. Even the Vancouver Sun supports it. A Sun editorial points out: ‘As Woodward’s goes, so goes the Downtown Eastside’” (CN, 1997, April 15, p. 2).[86]

The announcement was not only calling people to fight for the Woodward’s project, but to fight against the possible effects of more condos in the DTES by connecting it to an already established critique of gentrification within the neighbourhood. These are hegemonic strategies rearticulating the political field by redefining the situation, the necessary actors, and adversaries.

A Special Report of the Community Action Project on Woodward’s gathered together public discourses on the broken promises for social housing as a means to intervene into broader debates. Reprinting letters of support in mainstream media for social housing at Woodward’s, the report built a case for social housing in the DTES. It also demonstrated a convergence of interests between the community, political leaders (municipal and provincial), and the media: without social housing in the DTES, there would be displacement of low-income residents, an unacceptable outcome, “a social tragedy” (“Salvage Operation,” p. A14). It is not just displacement that was feared, but homelessness as well. In addition to media quotes, key points to mention at the Development Permit Board Hearing were provided (CN, 1997, April 15, p. 17). These built upon the community’s analysis of the situation, generating counter-discourses.

The Special Report is evidence that the community was trying to connect the proposal in City Hall to broader public issues. These points served to unite the community in its fight against condo development. The points included the following: Fama’s “abuse of the system,” (e.g., Fama was expected to submit the co-op plan at the hearing to then be amended later); the “significant difference” between a mixed-income project and an all-condo project that required the City’s reconsideration of granting concessions around amenity space and the residential density bonus; the guaranteed “gentrification and displacement” this project would inflict upon the neighbourhood; and the “faulty procedure followed by city hall” and poor “inter-departmental communication” that allowed one department to negotiate the terms of the development, while another department worked to purchase property from Fama, a collusion placing Fama in a financial position to pursue all-market housing (CN, 1997, April 15, p. 17). However, it was not just analysis that was needed. These discourses needed to be embodied in the presence of community members at the hearing. The LIC advocates argued the DTESers needed to come together and materialize their unified voice. This was their strength: “Community activism, public pressure and all of us working together are infinitely more powerful than Aghtai, Owen or Campbell can even imagine. May the Force be with us” (Taylor, CN, 1997, April 15, p. 27).[87]    

With the April 21st permit hearing postponed, it was not until October 20th that the community could directly address the proposal and City within a deliberative space.[88] However, this did not stop them from addressing other publics using a diversity of tactics. Demonstrations, meetings, and critiques continued to build momentum within the community throughout the summer. Early public meetings, coordinated by PRG, CCAP, and DERA, strategized the campaign for Woodward’s. As reported in the Carnegie Newsletter, the ideas generated included confronting Aghtai on moral grounds and publicly questioning his integrity, making Woodward’s a “human rights issue” and setting up a “tent town in Shaughnessy[89] to short-circuit their apathy, complacency and ‘bulldozing’ strategies” (CN, 1997, June 15, p. 3). Adapting these discursive strategies, in June numerous DTES groups got together to stage another protest at Fama’s West Vancouver office (June 25th). Another twenty-four-hour vigil and fast occurred on June 30–July 1st at Woodward’s (CN, 1997, July 1, p. 7). CCAP also held workshops in the neighbourhood hotels in the lead up to the hearing. This allowed for information exchange on housing and development issues in the DTES, including updates and discussions on Woodward’s, and related issues of condo development and the small suites.[90] The CCAP were also starting to organize for an anti-conversion/demolition bylaw that would secure SROs —though far from ideal, they were vital to the affordable housing stock in the area. The connection of these housing issues to the municipal policies contributed to a focus on the city as a site in which to effect social change. That would require an investment in these issues of a broader public.

The struggles of DTES were being taken beyond the neighbourhood, as the community advocates sought to expand their relevant audience. This need for solidarity was described by Bud Osborn: “I believe that for the Downtown Eastside to survive the massive upscale assault on its land… will require a strong voice and radical action from the residents of the Downtown Eastside, so it can be seen that we are willing to fight for our community; but I also believe this voice must be combined with a loud and public voice of solidarity from many people outside the DE” (Osborn, CN, 1997, June 15, p. 12). This suggests that it was no longer simply an issue in the DTES, but one that required uniting with groups beyond the area. Demonstrating a broader appeal, DTES activists hung a banner on an overpass, set up for commuters to see on their way into Vancouver, with a message denouncing Fama’s occupation of the DTES (CN, 1997, July 1, p. 13). Alliances were also being established with Christian groups, particularly concerning issues of poverty, as Woodward’s was recognized as the “linchpin of social housing in the Downtown Eastside,” which was “holding back the gentrification” (reprinted article from Christian Info News, cited in CN, 1997, July 15, p. 4).

Solidarity was also found outside of Vancouver, with a letter sent from the president of the Community Enhancement and Economic Development Society (BC Interior) to the president of Fama, condemning their withdrawal of social housing in the Woodward’s project (CN, 1997, June 15, p. 3). It stated, “A healthy downtown community in our largest city is the best interest of all British Columbians. That justice and social fairness is guarded and nurtured is the responsibility of us all” (p. 3). While there was growing solidarity with the DTES, it had the effect of changing the focus of the community’s claim to the building — at least while in these alliances. The issue became much more centred on social housing, moving away from earlier demands for inclusive community development and affordable cooperative housing. The latter, though not a major departure from the former, does shift away from the claim for self-determination, which had been included in a notion of governance within the co-operative housing.

While at this time the DTES advocates were seeking only to ensure that the housing needs of the existing residents be recognized, later this contingent unity with a larger public would have the impact of weakening the argument of entitlement to Woodward’s by the low-income residents. This happened through the necessary compromising of the needs and interests between allied groups and by strengthening the building’s heritage significance for Vancouver at large, disconnecting it from the history in the DTES advanced by the low-income community.

5.3.2     Development Permit Board Hearing (1997)

The creativity and determination of the DTES’s organizing culminated at the Development Permit Hearing in October, the space where the fate of Woodward’s would largely be decided. The night before the Permit Board Hearing, a cardboard village was set up on the City Hall lawn and a twenty-four-hour vigil was held to “highlight the down-the-road possibilities/consequences if this market-only idea was approved” (CN, 1997, November 1, p. 7). The DTES community also organized a “People’s Permit Hearing” outside in the hall (CN, 1997, November 1, p. 7). Over one hundred people were reported to have turned out to protest Fama’s proposal (Proctor, 1997, p. A4). However, even with the success of generating and circulating counter-discourses within the public spaces of the community, the reception and effects of such discourses within the deliberative space of public hearing was another matter. Here, counter-discourses had to contend with the official terrain of city politics and manoeuvre within a technical, policy-bound setting.

In a reversal of the June 1995 Development Permit Board and Advisory Panel Hearing, the opposition far outnumbered those speaking in favour of Fama’s proposal, which remained essentially the same.[91] Dismissing the fourteen months of work on a social housing component to the project, Fama Holdings presented a replica of the preliminary proposal (three levels of commercial and five levels of residential), with amendments only increasing the number of market housing units (419 up from 354) and the floor space ratio reflecting the heritage density bonus granted by the City. While co-op housing had been “strongly encouraged and pursued by City staff,” the Development Planner Jonathan Barrett (Brooks Development Planning Inc.) reported that “after wide-ranging discussions with Provincial agencies, neighbourhood agencies and the City, the applicant concluded that the proposal to include non-market housing was not viable” (DPBAP-O97, p. 3). Further, in relation to the Board’s “mandate to require non-market housing,” Barrett taunted the panel with their own limitations, stating, “The Board is not authorized to make policies, by-laws and guidelines but is limited in its jurisdiction to those policies, by-laws and guidelines established by Council. There is no policy that requires non-market housing in the DD zone, which is the existing zoning applicable to this proposal” (DPBAP-O97, p. 3).[92] Terry Partington of Fama Holdings cited bureaucratic inefficiencies when responding to a panel question on why the non-market housing was not pursued. He explained, “The original intention had been that the negotiations were to be concluded in four to six months. However, after fourteen months the negotiations were still not concluded, and Fama withdrew from the negotiations in April 1997” (DPBAP-O97, p. 9).[93] Fama’s preliminary proposal had already set the precedent for this hearing. The technical — not political, not social — dimensions of the proposal were all that was to be considered. As one panel member, Oberlander, explained, “the Panel has only been asked to comment on this complete application based on the preliminary approval of June 1995. The applicant has met the requirements. Since it is not a rezoning application, additional demands cannot be made” (DPBAP-O97, p. 9).

As later reported in the Carnegie Newsletter, Taylor described it as such, “The Development Permit Board is 3 bureaucrats who are only mandated to look at the technical side of proposals: they are not a political body accountable to voters, to the public. This did not daunt anyone. Council chambers was packed, people were crammed in sitting on the floor, there were scores holding a Peoples’ Permit Hearing in the hall and many more just stayed outside and talked to passers-by” (CN, 1997, November 1, p. 7). Irrespective of the largely non-persuasive character of the public hearing, there was still the ritual of public voicing of support and opposition to the proposal. And even if these did not all have their intended effects, the statements for and against did become part of the public record, and thus the official history and memory, of Woodward’s redevelopment.

At this meeting there were ten speakers for the proposal, overwhelmingly from relatively affluent Gastown.[94] The most common reason for supporting Fama’s proposal was framed in terms of heritage, with Woodward’s being “a significant heritage resource for city, primarily as a historic landmark” (DPBAP-O97, p. 4). Its “rehabilitation” would revitalize the “Victory Square area,” and particularly, “More market housing is vital to the improvement of the neighbourhood: it will bring more social balance, financial stability and job opportunities to the area,” while not displacing anyone (DPBAP-O97, p. 4).[95] These arguments recall the earlier claims supporting the preliminary proposal. The neighbourhood requires a balance of social classes, with the assumption that there are already enough low-income residents in the area.[96] Again, the project is conceptualized within the Victory Square area, denying the identification between Woodward’s and the DTES neighbourhood. These arguments also contribute to the delegitimation of existing low-income residents by suggesting it is people with money that are needed in the area, not those who might live in social housing were it to be created. One commenter explained, “The project has the potential of bringing into the area a substantial amount of income that will, in part, be spent in the community” (DPBAP-O97, p. 4). These arguments also rest on an approach to urban revitalization that sees private investment as more effective than social investment.[97] This alignment with a notion of revitalization also implicitly refutes its framing as gentrification of the DTES. As such, “The Gastown business community is anxious for this project to proceed because it will be valuable to the Gastown and Downtown Eastside community” (DPBAP-O97, p. 4).

With the heritage policy in place, advocates for social housing in Woodward’s had an uphill battle to fight. However, building upon the strategy and information meetings, and the earlier organizing for the postponed April 1997 hearing, those speaking in opposition accomplished drawing a large public to counter the proposal, with over fifty present to speak.[98] Such an increase suggests the successful of mobilizing people to attend, but also the success in expanding the sympathetic public for social housing at Woodward’s. While this in part may reflect increasing concern with issues of poverty in the DTES, it could also be an effect of a shifting emphasis on social housing as the key demand for Woodward’s instead of inclusive community development. Social housing signifies a claim that has the potential to appeal to a broader range of constituents and operate within a wider discursive field. It perhaps even suggests a closer alliance between the DTES and social democrats.[99] However, as already suggested, this replacement of inclusive community development with social housing was a double-edged sword that both helped to expand the interested public while transforming the primary interests of the public. This unity necessitated an umbrella term, “social housing,” which was never able to deliver to each component of the coalition the entirety of their claims. The majority of affiliated speakers were with DERA and Carnegie; others spoke from the Unitarian Church, the Environmental Youth Alliance, Vancouver Status of Women, Four Sisters Housing Co-op, United Natives Nations, Tenants Rights Action Coalition, and Woodward’s Cooperative,[100] while an even larger portion of speakers had no stated organizational connection (DPBAP-O97, p. 5–6). In addition to the speakers, a petition with over 2000 signatures was presented to the Board.

Fama’s all-market housing proposal was opposed predominantly because of the impact it would have on the existing DTES community. Disagreeing with the placement of Woodward’s in the Victory Square area, critics argued that “the building’s biggest asset is its social heritage value as the cornerstone of the Downtown Eastside” (DPBAP-O97, p. 7). LIC advocates argued that the community was crucial in giving Woodward’s its historical importance. Outside of this context, or this community, Woodward’s would lose its meaning and significance. Such a claim also makes the existing community central in the area’s redevelopment. Many of the reasons for opposing the project were then based on the community’s needs. These included the need for a food store (which had been recommended by the Board in 1995), affordable housing (with the opportunity existing, and also recommended by the Board previously), and social services (DPBAP-O97, p. 7). Not only did the proposal not meet the needs of community, it would negatively impact the area, particularly by contributing to the neighbourhood’s gentrification. The injection of further market housing in the neighbourhood then would not address or solve the problems in the area but instead serve to exacerbate them (DPBAP-O97, p. 7–8).

The dominant arguments for rejecting Fama’s proposal for an all-market project were articulated by Marg Green, President of the Woodward’s Co-op Committee, reprinted in full in the Carnegie Newsletter (Nov 1, 1997, 8–10).[101] She argued the situation in the DTES had changed so much since the initial proposal that the preliminary application should no longer apply. She recalled the situation,

As you know, that permit was given in spite of much protest and concern on the part of our low-income community. We saw — and still see — such a development as an engine driving gentrification rapidly forward and pushing out the poor to make way. Your go-ahead was given, in spite of our protests, not because it was the best option for the development of that site, but rather because in the opinion of city staff at the time, it seemed to be the only one. The building had already been vacant for several years and the popular wisdom at City Hall was that funding for social housing in the building could never be found.

However, the prospect of nearly 400 condos was frightening to a community already in a housing crisis. It could not stand by and let such a cornerstone project reshape the neighbourhood away from the interests of the low-income residents. We persisted and actually succeeded in bringing the funding forward from the provincial government to put a social housing component into the Woodward’s project. I am sure that if this possibility had been foreseen, the original preliminary permit would not have been granted without a requirement for social housing to be included in the picture.

The circumstances are so changed from those in which the Preliminary Development Permit was granted that I urge you to turn down this application. This Board and City Council have a social responsibility to ensure that there is social housing in the Woodwards development now that the financing, plans, and potential partners are in place. Furthermore it cannot serve the city’s interest to approve a development permit for a market development that shows no indication of viability at the present time. In another 2 1/2 years the empty Woodwards building could still be sitting unused and boarded-up, but simply more expensive to buy (p. 8, 10, emphasis in the original).

Green strategically discusses the history of the redevelopment process, advancing pragmatic, ethical, and normative claims. It was not that Fama’s application was desirable, but rather that the City approved the only proposal available because it wanted the building in use (and to preserve its heritage value). The assumed pragmatism of the City at the time (its “popular wisdom”) was countered with the vision of low-income community members. Refuting common-sense notions that market housing is more financially viable than social housing, in this case, the LIC advocates secured the funding for social housing. In the present Final Development Hearing, the social interests were funded while the private funds were speculative. When Fama did not include social housing, then, it was not because they were not able. If the City wanted the building developed, the surest way was to enforce the available funding and partnership for the social housing component, rather than chance the building’s continued emptiness.

Green spoke next to the City “social responsibility,” its moral obligation as a representative body to ensure social housing. This rests on the premise that the state’s function is to mediate the competing interests of the political community. Further advancing a normative argument, Green states,

Earlier this evening Larry Beasley said it is not “normal procedure” to send this decision back to Council. Well, this is not a normal situation and it requires you to go beyond your normal framework of response. The city has recognised the Downtown Eastside as a community in crisis. We need you to go further and to set strong social guidelines for any development permits that are grated in the Downtown Eastside — beginning with this one. All developments in our neighbourhood must be assessed as to how they impact the already appalling social and economic conditions that resident face every day (p. 10).

This argument hinged on all parties agreeing that this was a special circumstance, that the social ills of the all-market proposal were unacceptable. It rested on a vision of society as oriented toward social welfare of all members. Recognizing the social outcomes of the development required that this project — and ones to follow — was protected by policy. Here, the social dimension of the proposal trumped the private, financial dimension. It also emerged from a particular vision of community, of a form of identity that necessitated collective action. LIC advocates were hopeful in spite of the “daily disasters” they faced. As such, Green warned, “Our community is continuing to develop its strengths and its hope in the face of deepening poverty. All speakers here today are a testimony to that hope. We will not stand idly by and allow such a detrimental development go ahead. If the permit is granted, and if the developer manages to get the project off the ground, the community will fight it any way we can” (p. 10).

She ended her presentation by addressing the proponents of the proposal: “I cannot understand why anyone would move into a neighbourhood and, instead of joining in and listening to the experience of the resident groups that are already there, they form another group of exclusively home owners. That approach will never build community or find solutions to the solution problems we face. That doesn’t lead to a health mixed community. It only further divides it” (p. 10). Green marked the difference between the competing communities in the DTES, between values of property and values of collectivity. One vision of community has a history in the neighbourhood; the other was newly incoming to the area and hostile to the existing community. Though not described as such, this is a colonial relationship, particularly when one considers the inequality between the two groups. These then were the opposing fronts in the DTES that have increased in their confrontational stances with each other. In articulating the antagonism as such, Green attempted to make the Board recognize the choice it had before itself: Would it approve a proposal that was promoted by those that sought to divide the community, or would it act for the community as a whole?

Green’s address tied together the various claims circulating in the DTES — about gentrification, housing, hope — seeking to reposition Fama’s proposal as a path to destruction, not development, and certainly not revitalization. While these points spoke to the content and social consequences of the proposal, at the Permit Hearing there was an equally strong critique of the development application procedure itself, one that more directly addresses the City’s role in the process; that is, the hearing also had political consequences. Echoing Green, opponents stated, “The decision to approve this application should not be made by the Development Permit Board but should be referred to City Council” “because there is a policy vacuum” (DPBAP-O97, p. 7). Moreover, “There should be a public referendum on the issue,” (DPBAP-O97, p. 7) and, “The community has no confidence in the process” (DPBAP-O97, p. 8). Woodward’s, as a controversial development project, needed to be addressed by an elected body in Council and by the public, not by bureaucrats considering only technical aspects of the proposal (CN, 1997, November 1, p. 7). For the LIC advocates, development was fundamentally a political issue about who makes decisions and how they are made. Their claims attempted to politicize development in general, contesting an approach to which presented the issues as purely technical. Rather, the proposal heard at the public hearing involved competing ideas and visions of uses of space, and rights to places throughout the city. Development creates the city of the future and with it the possibilities for already-existing communities. The low-income community was demanding to be a part of the decision-making process, particularly in this instance, which would potentially alter the ground from which they spoke. In questioning the process, the opponents were challenging the Board’s authority to make the decision, particularly as an unelected body that was not accountable to the public. The speakers thus critiqued how authority worked in the City and questioned who had the right to make decisions that affect a whole community (and determining the community to come).[102]

Demonstrating the technical and non-responsive character attributed to the Board, the motion to accept Fama’s proposal received unanimous approval, even though six of the eight Board and Panel members wanted social housing to be included in the project. Four were particularly concerned about its absence. The Board reiterated that they could not make policy, and that they were bound to consider the application according to the mandate and procedures of the Board. The motion passed, with amendments[103] and recommendations to “consider providing space, at rates which could be afforded by social services and retail stores that would (a) serve low income residents, (b) employ local residents (e.g., local artists), (c) foster locally-based businesses; and consider hiring and training local low income residents in all aspects of the construction and management of the Woodward’s building” (DPBAP-O97, p. 11). As considerations, these were at the discretion of the developer and not binding.

It was not that the Board did not hear the LIC advocates, but that they could not meaningfully consider what it said. As the City engineer, Mr. Rudberg expressed, “While there were many eloquent speakers from the community who raised a number of valid points, those views need to be addressed to the policy making body, which is City Council. Therefore, regardless of personal opinions, Mr. Rudberg said the Board has no choice but to approve the complete application as outlined in the Staff Committee Report” (DPBAP-O97, p. 8). However, Board members did not believe that even the City Council could alter the outcome of the proposal at this stage in the process. Addressing this legal bind, Mr. Beasley, Director of Central Area Planning (and Hearing Chair), is recorded as stating,

he was not sure that the Board, in approving this application, was moving in the right direction relative to the Downtown Eastside and its housing. Nonetheless, he said he believed that both the intent of Council’s policy and the intent of Council’s instructions on the heritage aspect of the proposal are reflected in the application. And since there is no Council policy on some of the issues, the Board has no other choice but to approve the application. Not only does this Board’s mandate not extend to creating new policy, but when an application is in place and is being dealt with, even Council has limitations on being able to change the rules during the process. There is little doubt that the application as presented is legally acceptable (DPBAP-O97, p. 10).

Mr. Beasley further comments that “he feels grave disappointment that the social housing component has not been realized in this application. He agreed with his Board colleagues that the application cannot be refused, having already been approved in principle by the Board and supported by Council. He added that, while he supported the heritage aspects of the proposal and supported its approval, it is a less than ideal scheme for this neighbourhood” (DPBAP-O97, p. 11). If the Board members could consider no other arguments against the development proposal other than those relating to technical matters and those covered by the established heritage policy, the public dimension of the hearing was only a formality. Further, because the Board members had to vote against their conscience and better opinions, the public hearing was a non-responsive, and thus non-democratic in character. It lacked the ability of citizens to influence decisions that directly affect them, let alone the ability to determine what the issues should be that are addressed collectively. Thus, this characteristic of the public hearing is evidence of its lack of meaningful public action. It allows only for the airing, or the publicity of displeasure, but there is an impotency of political effect.

A later report in the Carnegie Newsletter summarized the meeting as such:

As city staff gave a summary of their work on the proposal, it became clear that staff & the board’s bureaucrats were under orders – “Don’t do anything! Just approve the damn thing.” But they hadn’t the slightest idea of the eloquence, the level of intelligence and the riveting passion poured out by the 60-plus speakers holding truths to be self-evident: “This market-proposal is wrong for our community. This is driven by greed and the self-interest of a few wealthy people. The impact of this proposal will be catastrophic to the lives of thousands of residents of our neighbourhood.” …

People like Chuck Brook, Aghtai’s PR guy, sat with hung head: several staff were shaken by the integrity and commitment of neighbourhood reps, a number of times even the board members voiced their disapproval of the narrow-minded plans of the developer.

At two different stages, the Board explicitly asked staff if there was any legal way or precedent that could be used to block approval, but (of course!?!) in the end the tired “there’s notion we can do” rang out (Taylor, CN, 1997, November 1, p. 7).

While the Board approved the all-market project, it was undecided if this was an all-out loss for the community. The LIC advocates were not able to affect the outcome of the Board, however, they did expand support for social housing at Woodward’s and succeeded in organizing the community. Irrespective of the Board’s decision, the LIC advocates would continue to press for social housing. As Taylor expressed, “One battle does not a war make… or something equally profound-sounding. Stay tuned!” (CN, 1997, November 1, p. 7, emphasis in the original). The ambivalence regarding the hearing’s outcome depends on whether one judges the means or ends of the opposition’s counter position as the measure of success. Judged from the position of determining the outcome of the proposal — the ends — it did not achieve its aim. However, if judged from the position of expanding the public interested in issues of social housing — the means — it was a success. This suggests that low-income community had advanced its demand for social housing within its constitutive practices of creating identification with this critical DTES issue, while the ability to relate this struggle within other publics was variable. They expanded their vision of social housing but had not yet found a way to make this into a reality.

Thus, the low-income community’s experience is one of being able to successfully publicize the issue of social housing, and to be able to affect public opinion on it, but not public action within the public hearing. In this sense, the Development Permit Board Public Hearing fulfilled its function as a liberal public sphere by providing an institutional forum for the formation of public opinion through the use of public reason, as Habermas (1962) conceptualizes it. However, this is a weak sense of democratic participation as it lacks the corresponding capacity to affect decisions (Fraser, 1990). The community is not free to act on its collectively conceived project. The hearing interpreted in this way lends to the argument that there was a not a public world that the low-income community could share with the developers or within the City because they were denied the promise of acting with others (Arendt, 1958, p. 244–245). There is a schism between deliberation (publicity) and decisions (public action). In the space of the city, policy is the ground in which decisions are made, but decisions can be made in the absence of policy, as suggested in this case.[104] The low-income community wanted social good policies in place before Woodward’s development was addressed. They argued this in 1995 and again in 1997. Additionally, decisions can be made in forums that do not even have the ability to make policy, where the public and the Board members have their hands tied. This bureaucratic compartmentalization of debate and decision-making depoliticizes the City forum, excluding meaningful political participation. The time of action, agonism, persuasion, or effect is contained in the moment of creating policy, and it is off the table either before or afterward. The precedence and proceduralist approach set by policy reduces the possible outcomes of civic engagement. What comes before will come after — as is seen in the movement of the Fama application through the development process. The final application could only be considered in relation to the preliminary application, regardless of the change in context or counterpoints of the proposal’s opponents. Authority was not only deferred to the Council by the Board, it is also made ephemeral.

5.3.3     “Daisies for Democracy” (2000)

Though Fama had a development permit in hand after its approval at the 1997 public hearing, little movement was made to begin construction. Similarly, there was little public organizing in the DTES in relation to Woodward’s in the following few years. However, gentrification — and resistance to it — continued throughout the late nineties. Fulfilling earlier promises for new social housing in the DTES, the Woodward’s Co-op Committee and the NDP continued talks, and the two hundred co-op units were transferred to the Lore Krill Co-op (CN, 2001, March 15, p. 3). Chronologies of the redevelopment of Woodward’s continued to circulate in the DTES (CN, 2001, March 15, p. 3) and updates announced in the Carnegie Newsletter with the availability of any new information (1998, February 15, p. 24; 1998, June 15, p. 14; 1999, April 1, p. 12; 1999, September 1, p. 6). The LIC advocates kept alive the memory of the contested history of Woodward’s.

The last major standoff between activists in the DTES community and Fama occurred in 2000, during speculation of a sale of Woodward’s for use as office space by high-tech companies.[105] LIC advocates again came out to celebrate and mark Woodward’s as its own (CN, 2000, July 15, p. 12). This time daisies were painted on the boarded-up windows of Woodward’s, as a symbol of hope for life and growth for the building, one that looks to the future. In describing the action, Taylor declared, “Woodward’s is for people and daisies, not modems and microchips” (CN, 2000, July 15, p.12). At this demonstration, the Aghtai firm filmed the participants and the LIC advocates criticizing the mainstream media for representing the action as criminal (CN, 2000, July 15, p. 12).[106] Jenny Kwan, MLA for the area, was even investigated for her involvement and support of the protest (CN, 2000, July 15, p. 12).[107] Rallying behind Kwan, daisies were painted again on the building, drawing a crowd of over a hundred (CN, 2000, July 15, p. 12; 2000, August 1, p. 20). These “daisies for democracy,” as they were fondly called, stood for the following:

the strong wish of residents of the Downtown Eastside for a renovated Woodward’s that includes social housing;

the human right of all peoples to decent, affordable housing;

the human right of citizens to their own neighbourhood;

a democratic society in which citizens listen to each other and respect each other (Cameron, CN, 2000, August 1, p. 20).

Picking up on the earlier strategizing for the public hearing on Fama’s final application proposal, this statement rearticulates the claim to Woodward’s as one placed firmly within a rights discourse. The statement moves the idea that Woodward’s “belongs” to the DTES from a critique of private interests and private property (Blomley, 2004) to a notion of belonging in sense of citizenship (Turner, 1997; Pell, 2008), where rights are linked to one’s place in a community. Further, these are not national citizenship rights claims, but basic human rights.

The appeal to basic “human rights” suggests that activists were increasingly unsure of the welfare state as a source of social rights, hence their appeal to greater governing bodies and international covenants.[108] It is also a form of a counter-hegemonic articulation that uses common-sense support for human rights as a means to unite people together for social housing for those in need. This is, again, a further move away from original, more local demands for inclusive community development, to a recognition of the deprivation being suffered in the DTES because of lack of housing. However, the actions were provoked by more than just rights — they were done out of necessity.

We painted daisies on the Woodward’s building because the suffering and homelessness in our neighbourhood demanded that we do it.

We painted daisies on the Woodward’s building in order to prevent a murder — the murder of the community of the Downtown Eastside, Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood, and now a neighbourhood of predominantly low income citizens.

We hope the good citizens in other parts of Vancouver will join us in our struggle for Justice in the Downtown Eastside (Cameron, CN, Aug 1, 2000, p. 20).

Necessity, like rights, is used to broaden the public sphere attentive to the issues of the DTES, identifying with their struggles. Invoking the term citizen also calls attention to the responsibility that everyone has to others in their community. But the community being spoken to here was not just the DTES — it was Vancouver at large. Such a move marks a transition of the struggle for Woodward’s from a local oppositional bloc to a movement for social housing, which will be developed in the following chapter.

The daisies manifested a notable frustration with the neglect of the Downtown Eastside by the City, signified in many respects by Woodward’s continued emptiness — an emptiness of both promises and affordable housing. This frustration, which stemmed from a lack of housing and venues to voice community concerns and affect this condition, was soon to escalate in direct action tactics to demand Woodward’s redevelopment for the community. At the same time as the daisies were painted on the Woodward’s building, the Decent Housing Brigade criticized capitalism, arguing that it produced poverty. The Brigade also called for harm reduction measures that had to include housing.[109] They claimed, “The poor must squat vacant buildings and resist gentrification and fight for basic human needs because it is necessary” (CN, 2000, August 15, p. 13). This call was taken up two years later. At that time, the DTES community would no longer ask for Woodward’s — they would demand it. The collective actions under the “Daisies for Democracy” banner in 2000 thus mark a shift in the political field in Vancouver and BC to one where rights of social citizenship could no longer be assumed and where a broad social movement would be needed to oppose neoliberal social policies.

While the most heated fight for Woodward’s was still to come, the DTES community did experience another success in their struggle for social housing in the building. On March 1st, 2001, the NDP provincial government announced its purchase of Woodward’s from Fama (for $21.9 million) and planned to build three hundred units of mixed housing (150 minimum, which would be eligible for subsidies), along with commercial and retail space (CN, 2001, March 15, p. 3).[110] While two thousand neighbourhood residents came out to celebrate this announcement, it is also described as “convoluted and awash in seeming disaster” (CN, 2001, March 15, p. 3). With veteran experience fighting for Woodward’s, Taylor writes that while “It’s too easy to be cynical and cite an upcoming election… this is a victory for the community in having a say in development plans.” Two-and-a-half months later, the NDP lost the provincial election to the Liberals, and another of Vancouver’s former realtors and mayors, Gordon Campbell, became premier, again changing fortunes for social housing in Woodward’s.

5.4     Conclusion

This chapter has explored the formation of an oppositional public in the Downtown Eastside. Advocates for the low-income community demanded that FAMA build social housing and that the City of Vancouver meet the needs of poor residents of the area. They argued that market-rate housing at Woodward’s would intensify gentrification rather than “revitalizing” the neighbourhood. These discourses were circulated mainly at the scale of the neighbourhood, though more so they also began to operate outside the DTES and City Hall, particularly targeting the corporate home of Fama in West Vancouver.

In contrast, supporters of market-rate condo development increasingly represented the low-income community as deviants. They argued that social housing would create a ghetto in the DTES and destroy the heritage value of the neighbourhood. At the same time, they saw market-housing as the legitimate community in the neighbourhood and the only force capable of revitalizing the DTES.

Throughout the 1990s, the actors within the City, particularly those acting within the Development Permit Board Hearings, positioned themselves as technical arbitrators, unaffected by the controversy. The Permit Board asserted a non-political role, claiming that these city spaces involve a technical process bound within a policy context that could not be deviated from based on personal, social or political reasons. By extension, the redevelopment process was framed outside of politics. So the LIC advocates experienced success as publicists of social housing issues, but were prevented from being able to act publicly to pursue this goal within civic spaces.

While there is no clear-cut division between the different phases in the Woodward’s redevelopment processes, there is a marked difference in the rhetorical style and discursive strategies in the next period of the LIC advocates’ campaign. The oppositional public of this middle period — local organizing in opposition to developers within the DTES and at municipal hearings — would give way to a hegemonic, municipal-scale struggle, fashioned much more as a social movement. While the term social movement emerged relatively late in the developmental process, the low-income community mobilization for Woodward’s was built from the practices that preceded it. It took from the first campaign the practice of articulating a vision for Woodward’s, and from the second campaign, made Woodward’s a social issue in the Downtown Eastside and in Vancouver more generally. While the demand shifted from inclusive community development to social housing and rights, the themes of self-determination and self-representation were constant. And this period illustrated the limits of public voice. Being heard was not enough; the advocates of the low-income community would also have to have a role in the decision-making.

To build this movement, activists started to speak about social rights, and also expanded the audiences to which their speech was addressed. This occurred through a prolonged collective action in public space, and even further, through the media. While not immediately evident, this was also the end of a more sympathetic relationship between the DTES community and the provincial government, though fortunes would change for the better with the municipal government. Both of these relationships with different levels of the state were represented in the media, which centred public discourse upon possibilities for political engagement and demonstrated its role as a social actor in this latter campaign.

Social housing advocates succeed in making social justice a municipal election issue, encouraging protest against growing social inequalities. But developing a movement required publicity that did not depend on the Liberal government or local mass media. In building on the use of public space during this second campaign, the DTES community staged its most visible and enduring demonstrations in support of social housing at Woodward’s: Woodsquat, a three-month occupation of the building. I address these developments in the next chapter.

6: Oppositional Public Formation in VAncouver, BC, 2002

6.1     Introduction

In this chapter, I discuss oppositional public formation within the Downtown Eastside and its expansion to the scale of Vancouver. Most notably, this period is defined by the squat at the Woodward’s site during the fall of 2002 that arose in reaction to the provincial Liberal government’s massive cuts to social spending and the rumoured sale of the Woodward’s building. In the absence of a municipal forum in which to focus their mobilization, much of the LIC advocates’ efforts were directed at influencing public opinion through an increased reliance on the media. Looking at slogans like “Rally to Resist the Cuts!” and “We Will Win!”, I argue that the LIC advocates’ claim for social housing can be understood as an example of a social movement engaged in a struggle for hegemony within an oppositional public that was centred on Woodward’s but oriented toward change within the city more generally.

The notion of a social movement public within an oppositional public formation emphasizes the expanded scope of this campaign for Woodward’s and situates it within broader political struggles. While “social movement publics” were outlined in chapter two as the analytic approach used throughout the case study,[111] here, following the definition provided in chapter three,[112] it specifies the critical interventions by LIC advocates in the social struggles to reinstate government funding and responsibility for social housing, and their work for the social welfare of citizens more broadly. Continuing to pay attention to intention, orientation, and scale, I look at how issues are publicized (i.e., ways of thinking about housing), the creation of new subject positions (i.e., squatter, supporter, adversaries), and practices of power (i.e., in Woodward’s and in the media). Building on past discourses, the issue of social housing was framed by LIC advocates as a human right and the squat (as a form of social housing and mode of publicity) was used to critique of the BC Liberal’s social policies that increased homelessness. This new meaning of the battle at Woodward’s allowed for extending contingent unity across social groups in Vancouver (and also Canada) who were concerned with social justice and critical of neoliberal social policies.

In mapping this oppositional public formation in Vancouver, I first describe the historical context, detailing the distinct turn toward neoliberalism with social policy reforms of the BC Liberals. At this level, the struggle for social housing at Woodward’s is tied with protests against the regression of social citizenship rights in Canada. Following this, I analyze constitutive and relational practices during the Woodward’s squat, examining processes of collectivization and hegemonic struggles in “Rally to Resist the Cuts” and “We Will Win!” In particular, the “demands” of the squatters and their supporters are considered both in their content and consequences. Next, I look at how local media outlets framed the issues leading up to and during the squat of Woodward’s, examining how they attempted to define the limits of legitimate protest and frame the response by the squatters in the alternative media. The chapter concludes with a brief discussion of the end of the squat and the City’s public consultation on the future of Woodward’s.

6.2     Historical Context

Space and places for poor people shrinking / and the ambiguities of advocacy the rumours / the well-founded paranoias / the political manipulation / exploitations confusions deliberate obfuscations / and seduction of the gentrification system / the backroom deals somewhere else / in office towers and government offices / meetings and more meetings / and yet / beneath the ostensible reason / for attending another goddamned meeting / is that which truly holds us together / love (Osborn, CN, 2002, August 15, p. 16).

As the previous mobilizations for social housing at Woodward’s suggest, there was no lack of commitment or skill in political engagement by the many advocates of the DTES’s low-income community. All of the past organizing for social housing in Woodward’s occurred within the context of a ruling social democratic provincial government, one that was somewhat sympathetic to the issues advanced by community organizations in the DTES and across the province. However, even within this state formation, there was a limit to the success of implementing a vision of social justice that could address the issues raised by LIC advocates (Fairbrother, 2003; Carroll & Ratner, 2005, 2007). Whatever access social justice organizations had to the ear of the government during the NDP’s time in office was more or less lost with the 2001 election of the newly formed neo-liberal BC Liberal Party. The Liberal’s win reflected a more general sympathy with sentiments of neoliberalism within social policy discourse and popular public opinion (Carroll & Little, 2001; Carroll & Shaw, 2001).

The election of the BC Liberals brought sweeping changes to social rights in the province. After forming government, they quickly initiated a neo-liberal agenda of fiscal restraint and massive cutbacks to social programs, which many already felt were inadequate, especially in low-income communities like the DTES. After the election, the Liberals cut income and corporate taxes by $2.1 billion and legislated a balanced budget by 2004. New policies were implemented that restricted access to welfare, minimum wage was undercut by a $6 training wage, women’s centres and legal aid programs across the province lost their funding, hundreds of public employees were laid off, and so on. A report on this “new era” in BC by the Caledon Institute for Social Policy described these changes to be “among the largest budget and public sector cuts in Canadian history” (Caledon, 2002, p. 1). Not surprisingly, during this overhaul to the social system, housing funds were cut, with a loss of a thousand expected units of affordable housing.[113]

Increasingly, the various campaigns for social housing at Woodward’s used the language of rights in their appeal for affordable housing. Assertions of the right to social housing are based on a conception of citizenship as a set of rights entitled to members within a political community (e.g., Marshall, 1992; Isin, 2000; Stasiulis, 2002). However, the fluctuating status of citizenship rights necessitates that citizens, from time to time, actively vocalize their experience of unjust exclusions and then work toward their recognition and resolution within the polity. The claim to a right of social housing, along with other forms of social welfare, during the campaigns for Woodward’s ties the advocacy and collective actions of low-income residents in the DTES to practices of citizenship within the changing Canadian state; and more specifically, to its image as a social welfare state.

To some extent, social democracy in Canada had provided the basis for universal social rights like healthcare, education, employment insurance, and so on. These entitlements served as a site of identification and solidarity within the Canadian nation-state (Angus, 1997, 2001b; Brodie, 2002).[114] Brodie suggests that the 1995 introduction of the Canadian Health and Social Transfer Payments to the provinces marks the official end of the Canadian welfare state (Brodie, 2002, p. 388). Within this scheme, the federal government provided the provinces with a lump sum of money that they could then decide how to direct it into the areas of health, education, and social welfare (with this indicating more or less the order of distribution). As such, appeals to the federal government for social welfare have been increasingly ineffective as they have withdrawn themselves from decision-making power in these areas of health, education, and social welfare.

That LIC advocates’ claims to social rights were met with resistance from within the state underscores the reconfiguration of citizenship rights that was underway. The provincial government stepped back from a redistributive and protective role within the administration of social services and programs. They made housing a private problem, offloading social responsibility to the municipality, neighbourhood, and individual. Such a restructuring of social rights not only points to shifting grounds of entitlement as members within the nation-state (or province-state in this instance), but also to a destabilization of sites of identification within the political community for national citizens. The campaign for social housing at Woodward’s was thus symptomatic of a disjunction between competing conceptions of citizenship.

The social welfare state has been weakened by domestic, international, and global pressures (Broadbent, 2001; Brenner, 2004). Economic crises undercut local and national budgets. Globalization strains the state’s ability to secure and contain its boundaries. As such, the political power of the state has been dispersed, moved “up to the transnational, out to the private sector and down to the local” (Brodie, 2000, p. 110; also see Jensen, 1997). Restructuring was reinforced by advanced neo-liberal modes of governance, which prioritize privatization and the shrinking of the welfare state in order to become “meaner and leaner” (Siltanen, 2002, p. 405; also see Brodie, 2002; Stasiulis, 2002). The normative and institutional basis of universal social welfare has been severely undermined. Within such an environment, the language of social rights has been disconnected from citizen membership within the nation-state.

However, an inherent problem of national citizenship is the primacy given to state sovereignty. National sovereignty, upon which modern citizenship has been premised, is grounded on the notion that the state can (and does) contain the political within its territorial and ideological boundaries (Magnusson, 1996, 1997). Political participation is fixed to the space and time of state institutions, where a majority of identities and issues are relegated outside of this realm to be characterized as social, cultural, or economic in nature, and subordinate as such (Magnusson, 1996, p. 62). In this understanding of political participation, citizenship practices are largely limited to approving or rejecting decisions made within state bureaucracies, where citizens, in effect, become clients of the state (Angus, 2001b). This approach to citizenship keeps the state as the centre of politics and obscures political practices, identities, and loyalties that occur above, below, and outside of the state (Young, 1989; Magnusson, 1996; Bosniak, 2000; Purcell, 2003). It naturalizes the rise and fall of citizenship rights as the prerogative of the state and uncouples them from the actions of citizens. In this way, social citizenship — such as that demanded at Woodward’s — is disconnected from the ongoing history of struggle not only to extend the privilege of rights, but also to recover prior losses of rights.

From the perspective of the bureaucratic state, citizenship practices emerging from within alternative political communities are rendered incoherent and judged as illegitimate, rather than seen as a dynamic force of democracy. To see the whole range of citizenship practices requires a move away from the limits of the nation-state and into the fluidity and plurality of social movements as they engage with the meaning and rights of belonging to multiple political communities (e.g., Magnusson, 1996; Holston, 1998). From such a view, the campaign for affordable housing at Woodward’s was an assertion of social citizenship.

For neoliberal supporters of fiscal austerity, the NDP provincial government’s purchase of Woodward’s in 2001 was seen as irresponsible (Beatty, 2002).[115] To remedy such government irresponsibility, the BC Liberals cut funding to social housing. Marg Green, President of Woodward’s Coop Committee, received a letter from Shayne Ramsay (CEO of BC Housing), informing her that Woodward’s was among the co-op projects dropped and there would be no guarantee of funding for any social housing in the future. Ramsay wrote, “The provincial government recognizes that the Woodward’s building plays a key role in the future social and economic health of the Downtown Eastside and is committed to finding a workable solution for the redevelopment of the site” (letter reprinted in CN, 2002, April 1, p. 7). Such a solution would require a viable public-private partnership, and only then would the government reconsider renewing their commitment to fund housing units (letter reprinted in CN, 2002, April 1, p. 7). Trying to soothe frustration and disappointment about this decision, Ramsay also wrote, “However, time often presents us with new and positive opportunities. We will therefore continue to explore alternative options that would allow for the building’s redevelopment in the future” (p. 7). Undoubtedly, the government did not have in mind the option taken by members of the DTES community: squatting the building.

6.3     Constitutive and Relational Practices

Several factors came together to produce this campaign as a social movement within a larger oppositional public: popular opposition against social cuts, more direct engagement in larger conflicts over social housing, clearer definitions of both antagonists and allies, and the symbolic use of Woodward’s as a means to unify multiple groups in the fight against neo-liberalism. This was crystallized in three major practices by the LIC advocates. First, through a series of demands, the LIC advocates appealed directly to individuals and organizations in the DTES and across Vancouver to unite with the squatters and their supporters as a social movement.[116] Second, they demanded that the municipal and provincial government build social housing at Woodward’s and address the crisis of homelessness in the neighbourhood. Lastly, and more broadly, they argued that neo-liberal social policies were the cause of homelessness and that housing was a right, which the government must act on in order to provide for the needs of its citizens. These discourses provided a counter-hegemonic articulation of social rights that were disseminated at the scale of the city, but also circulated more broadly.

Almost two years passed since the last collective action for social housing at Woodward’s, the “Daisies for Democracy” (2000). However, the low-income community was mobilized again in the summer of 2002. A sleep-in and vigil at Woodward’s on August 7th, 2002, can be seen as a transitional action between the previous campaign tactics and the squat that was to happen. As described in the Carnegie Newsletter, “The spirit is to keep the need for housing and the desire to see this venerable building/site used for the social housing critical to our survival!” (CN, 2002, August 15, p. 12). As such, the action was done in order to “raise public awareness about critical need for community housing” (p.12). This action was a response to the BC government’s cuts to affordable housing, including Woodward’s, but also in reaction to rumours that Woodward’s was to be sold to a private developer. Invoking the struggles the community members have endured in the larger campaign for social housing, the article exclaimed, “The Woodward’s Building is the heart and soul of the Downtown Eastside. It has been empty for far too long. Low-income residents deserve to have decent and affordable housing. Woodward’s has been for the community in the past and will be for the community in the future” (CN, 2002, August 15, p. 13, emphasis in original). Drawing on the familiar rhetoric of previous campaigns and invoking past sources of collective identity, LIC advocates claimed Woodward’s as the right of the community based on the shared history of the building and the low-income residents of the DTES.

What signals a transition in this campaign was that the action was not just a response to the housing crisis in the DTES; it was also held in solidarity with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty’s (OCAP)[117] Pope Squat, initiated around the same time. Of Aug 7th action it was stated, “Our shared aim is to have people focus on the lack of affordable housing and increasing homelessness. With OCAP, we urge politicians to express the political will to enact socially responsible laws that create and sustain community housing and put an end to homelessness” (CN, 2002, August 15, p. 12, emphasis in the original). This shared campaign for housing was framed in the context of universal human rights, referencing Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which declares “the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family [sic], including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions” (CN, 2002, August 15, p. 12, formatting in the original). This understanding of rights as a basic human entitlement was central in mobilizing a movement for a national housing strategy,[118] already on the radar in the DTES in April 1999 (CN, 1999, April 1, p. 4). A national movement was gaining momentum and the tactics to obtain it were multiplying.

In Vancouver, Woodward’s became the central front in the battle over social housing. It built upon the neighbourhood’s tradition of direct collective action and lobbying for social housing. However, direct actions at the Woodward’s squat were not just aimed at publicizing the need for housing; they also initiated a practice of community-based shelter in the form of the tent city.[119] Reflecting such a duality, the demands of the squatters and the supporters were both reactive (to state cuts) and creative (in providing local social housing). As such, the goals and tactics during this campaign for social housing at Woodward’s were always multiple and evolving. The squat was novel because it connected the demand for housing in the building to the right for decent and dignified housing across the country. Further, the squatters were not just asking the state for housing, but using squatting as a tactic that publicized the need for housing while providing temporary, collective shelter. The squat at Woodward’s was thus a more formalized tactic within a movement for housing. It was also a staging ground for alternative public discourses of social citizenship rights.

6.3.1     “Rally to Resist the Cuts!” (2002)

Join other community members at a rally to begin a week of actions against the Liberal/Corporate Agenda cuts. Many efforts have been made to get the provincial government’s attention, but all have failed. It’s time to try a new approach. COME PREPARED FOR DIRECT ACTION. This rally is key to the success of the week’s events. At the rally we will be addressing welfare cuts, treaty rights, homelessness, the sale of government services to the private sector, and the mean-spirited and illogical cuts to health care services. We need your participation (People’s Opposition, 2003-4, p. 29, formatting in the original).

The Woodward’s squat started on September 14th, 2002, the first day of a week of actions, entitled, “Rally to Resist the Cuts.” This series of actions was organized by the Ad Hoc Committee for Social Justice, composed of local activists and church and union members (CN, 2003, May 15, p. 4). Each day addressed different areas under attack by the provincial government: social housing, families and social programs, Aboriginal and Treaty Rights, education and youth, legal aid and welfare, and privatization (CN, 2002, September 15, p. 24). All issues demanded the use of direct action to gain the provincial government’s attention. While direct action had been part of the tactics used in the past to fight for social housing at Woodward’s (as with the occupation of Fama’s West Van offices), it had not been explicitly problematized. Drawing together the multiple issues that the week’s rallies were addressing, mobilizations during this period suggested a reconceptualization of the collective actions as a strategic form of protest targeting the state more directly.

On the first day of the Rally, Woodward’s was designated as “ground zero,” the heart of resistance to the BC Liberals. Emanating from Woodward’s, actions were intending to “draw attention to the Liberal/Corporate cuts and their inhumane agenda” (CN, 2002, September 15, p. 24). Placing Woodward’s at the centre of these issues marks the empty building at the intersection of multiple concerns for the low-income community. Housing and redevelopment in the DTES had always been set in the context of gentrification. Now opposition to Woodward’s became a stand-in for a whole set of social issues (privatization, Aboriginal rights, welfare, and so on).

The use of Woodward’s was not just symbolic, it was also strategic. In addition to resisting the cuts, there was the equal urgency to publicize rumours that the provincial government was in the process of selling the Woodward’s building. The intention was to use publicity of the rally as a means to draw out the government’s plan and demand again the participation of the community in these decisions. Both of these goals — resistance and publicity — required a broad range of participants. In a letter announcing the community action, organizer Jim Leyden writes, “If you believe as we do that action against the Campbell attacks must effectively increase then we welcome your support and acts of solidarity” (Leyden, 2003–4, p. 30). The rallies were thus seeking to “move the resistance to the Liberal Corporate agenda into a new level of activism” (Leyden, 2003–4, p. 30) — what others would redefine as a social movement (Drury, W#46, p. 2).[120]

While the first of the rallies to “Resist the Cuts” was being held a block west on Hastings Street at Victory Square, three DTES activists entered through the second floor of Woodward’s, opening the building to the community and hanging banners decrying “Campbell’s Olympic Shame” (Millar, 2002, October 1, p. 2). Like Woodward’s, the Vancouver bid for the 2010 Winter Olympics was a rallying point in the resistance against the provincial Liberal party, as it demonstrated what advocates for social issues in the DTES believed to be the mistaken government priorities in BC.[121] Marking the highly antagonistic relationships between social justice advocates in the DTES, Vancouver, and the provincial government, the rally, leaving Victory square, marched to Woodward’s chanting, “Campbell’s cuts are class war!!” (Shawn M, CN, 2002, October 1, p. 2).[122] Shawn Millar, one of the three activists (and soon to be squatters), addressed the crowd saying, “The provincial government is planning to sell off this building that has for a decade been slated for social housing to private developers. This is a theft from our community and so we are opening Woodward’s today and inviting anyone who wants to come up and visit our new social housing” (p. 2). This rhetoric signals both the responsive character of the action, but also the emergent form of organizing in this campaign. It invoked the history of Woodward’s redevelopment and the returned threat of private ownership, sources meant to recall past actions of social solidarity. Moreover, the rhetoric suggests that the community, from whom the building was being stolen and by extension to whom it must belong, would provide the needed social housing for the neighbourhood’s residents.

The occupation of the building was originally planned to last only a few days. However, the demand (and desperate need) for social housing resonated strongly, and the tactic quickly escalated the action into a full-fledged squat. It was no longer just a form of publicity; it became a practice of grassroots social support. Reflecting on the squat two weeks after it started, Millar explained:

Since the “government” began this current swindle of Woodwards from the Downtown Eastside community and B.C. society, what began as a modest political statement has taken on a life of its own. It has grown into a huge squat of homeless people, complete with despicable police brutality, media contortions, huge public support and visceral commitment from people holding the politicians to their responsibilities. The current slogan the folks are chanting the loudest is “we shall win!” (Shawn M, CN, 2002, October 1, p. 2).

The “life of its own” that spiralled out of the original action at Woodward’s was multifaceted. Many creative practices by participants and supporters of the squat contributed to its dynamism. It straddled two dominant strains of squatting — as rent-free housing and a political tactic.[123] However, extensive constitutive practices were required to remain a united voice for social housing at Woodward’s and for social housing policy in British Columbia. This was partially because of the squat’s success, as Millar explained, in publicizing issues of social housing and homelessness that drew the support of a diversity of partnerships. But it was also a consequence of attention from the state and the media. The actions of the state (both in its provincial and municipal forms) and representations of the media encouraged division within the squat and seeded conflict within the social housing movement.

Woodward’s — as a symbol of both social need and government cuts —changed the scale of the relevant public from that of the DTES to that of Vancouver at large, if not (at least temporally) to the level of the province and country more generally. The publicity provided by the squat pushed homelessness and social housing from collective actions in public space into the contested public sphere as social issues that were relevant more broadly. They were no longer confined to the private concerns of those in the DTES. They reached audiences at a city, provincial, national and even international level.[124]

However, this larger scale threatened to undermine the claim that Woodward’s was the exclusive property of the poor residents of the DTES. As the public extended, so did the number of competing interests and visions. The claims to Woodward’s based on history, place, and rights of the low-income community espoused during the previous campaigns were reconfigured. Not only part of the shared history of the low-income residents of the DTES, the fight for Woodward’s was now placed in a lineage of squatting in Vancouver and anti-poverty struggles for social rights more generally.[125] This new historical context added new dimensions to the struggle. It became the initiative of a social movement directly addressing the state and at the same time engaged in autonomous practices of community housing. The proliferation of discourses brought with it a change in identification and audiences, both signalling and necessitating renewed constitutive and relational discursive practices.

At this point, the campaign honed its ability to make demands. While attracting controversy within the mass media (e.g., Zacharias, 2002, October 28), demands functioned to constitute the social movement public composed of squatters and supporters, as well as an audience that was attentive to their issues as a direct participant, ally or adversary. Further, the squatters issued the demands with a social movement framework in mind, as a process of defining the antagonists and framing the issues from the movement’s perspective. Mike Krebs, for example, argued that making demands was a tactic in the movement for decent housing (Krebs, 2003–4, p. 44). These demands also positioned the squatters and their supporters in relation to other publics. In particular, in claiming social rights, they addressed the state. They also contributed to their interpretation and intervention of mass media representations. However, the demands had the equal effect of eliciting a particular form of representation by the media; that is, in creating spaces of identification within the squat, the demands also contributed to spaces of “disidentification” (Patton, 1995) advanced in the mass media.[126]

6.3.2     Woodsquat, “We Will Win!” (2002)

The number of squatters rose from ten people on the first day to one hundred by the sixth day of the squat. Numerous meetings were held each day and the squatters established committees to deal with aspects of communal life, like running a kitchen and ensuring security. But the committees also addressed political matters; for example, by creating outreach committees that delegated liaising roles with the media and the police, along with communication with unions and other community groups (Bundock, W#47, p. 2). Drafting the demands of the squatters and ensuring a democratic process to handle issues in the squat were particularly important in constituting the group. As Bundock puts it,

Despite any difference, everyone present understood the need to immediately make decisions on how to proceed and work together. The initial 12 squatters called the first squat meeting and after three hours worked out the basic guidelines on how the squat would be run. A strong sense of democracy and justice prevailed and a process was adopted. Decisions would be made by all those staying at Woodwards: each squatter’s vote counting equally, the squatters would not accept restrictions on access or residency and finally, no talking to cops (W#47, p.1).

The democratic process established at this time built on a tradition of inclusivity valued by LIC advocates in the DTES community, where participation was key to collective action and visions of democracy, as seen in the previous campaign. This collectivization process also provided discursive space for an emerging identity at the squat. “People who woke up ‘homeless’ fell asleep as ‘squatters’” (#46, p. 1).[127] They noted that “those who lived in Woodwards built the community now referred to as ‘The Woodward’s Squat’” (W#47, p. 1). The squat came to signify a certain type of organizational and political question.

Collectivization: Demands and Identities

A week after the squat started, the original five demands were publicized and circulated within the unofficial daily newsletter — W.O.O.D.S.Q.U.A.T. (#2). The demands were as follows:

  1. Develop Woodward’s into social housing immediately.
  2. Reverse the cuts to social housing and all social services.
  3. Draft a civic anti-vacancy by-law to seize and convert empty buildings into social housing.
  4. Full disclosure of all information regarding the proposed sale and development of Woodward’s.
  5. Decent and dignified immediate shelter for all homeless squatters asked to leave the building (W#2, p. 4).

These demands reflect the two initial reasons ascribed to the action: to press for social housing in the wake of cuts and to publicize the sale of Woodward’s. Acknowledging the constitutive function of these demands, Bundock stated, “Maintaining cohesion within the group around these demands meant constant discussion and important revisions” (W#47, p. 2). It also speaks to the expanded conception of the relevant audience of the demands, both internally and externally. These demands were redrafted to include the needs of Aboriginal residents in the squat and the DTES and addressed the role of the federal government in the social issues in the area.[128] The revised demands were circulated and endorsed within and outside the squat on October 2nd, the 19th day of the squat. They were as follows:

1. Develop Woodwards as social housing immediately with allotment of aboriginal housing in building equal or greater then percentage of aboriginal people in the Downtown Eastside,

2. Reverse cuts to social housing and social services,

3. Draft civic anti-vacancy by-law,

4. Full disclosure of information on building’s sale and development,

5. Federal funding and supporting development of aboriginal businesses in storefronts, including urban native self-government office and liaison workers from community,

6. Decent and dignified immediate shelter for all homeless squatters forced from Woodwards.

The Coalition strives to further these demands however possible always in a non-violent way (W#28, p. 2).[129]

The demands are oriented toward the state, the principle actor possessing the resources and capacity to effect the changes that were needed. However, based on a social welfare vision of the state, they also served the purpose of creating conditions whereby groups with diverse interests could be brought together. These demands created spaces for people and organizations to align with the squatters’ campaigns by connecting with others’ issues in their actions.[130]Jim Leyden, speaking at a rally at Victory Square on September 23, 2002, thus acknowledged the broad support, exclaiming, “We were supported by the community. We were supported by churches. We were supported by union movements. We were supported by women’s movements. We were supported by individuals. A farmer came here and brought us food to support the fact that we were taking care of the homeless” (W#4, p. 2).

Through these demands, the Coalition of Woodwards Squatters and Supporters (CWSS) formed.[131] As a reflexive form of constitutive rhetoric, these demands served as a focal point, uniting groups and individuals and positioning themselves in relation to the government. Squatters were aware of this constitutive function, noting that the construction and issuance of these demands provided a “focus to the action” (Krebs, 2003–4, p. 41). Krebs, a squatter, explained,

If we are to build our movement and expand we need demands that will move people. If the demands are not appealing enough, people will not waste their time… We need to get people inspired. We need other poor people to realize that they deserve much, much more than what they have right now. People will get involved if they see that it is worth their while, that lives will be improved in a meaningful way if they fight for it. It is with this approach that many of the Woodwards Squat demands were designed (2003–4, p. 42).

Following such guidelines, “Points of Unity and Strategy of the Coalition,” circulated October 5th, 2002, proclaimed:

The Coalition of Woodwards Squatters and Supporters formed to fight for social housing as a solution to the housing crisis in Vancouver and all across British Columbia. … The Coalition opened the long empty Woodwards Building on Saturday September 14th to challenge and expose the government’s negligence in addressing the needs of the poor and to directly meet the housing needs of the homeless in the city’s core. The Coalition drafted a list of demands to define the movement for housing unfolding against the Campbell Government. The Coalition of Woodwards Squatters and Supporters strives to further these demands however possible always in a non-violent way. … We seek to fight alongside the diverse groups of people who have stepped forward to support the Woodwards Squat. The Coalition believes that the only way to change this desperate situation for the better is to stand together and fight alongside each other. The Coalition is open to anyone who agrees with these basic points (2003–4, p. 95, emphasized added).[132]

These Points of Unity outlined who was included in the movement and defined the antagonists. The Points of Unity also repositioned the issue as a crisis of housing caused by government negligence, and additionally, outlined their tactics. So it was not that the movement was an automatic consequence of the need for social housing. Rather, the movement was a creative achievement by numerous Vancouver-area groups. This new form of identification united disparate groups in support of the squatters at Woodward’s.

This new counter-hegemonic identity and discourse offered by the Woodsquat activists refigured and expanded the notion of rights and the scale of political community. Previous campaigns for Woodward’s were mobilized through a discourse of community based on a history of belonging in the neighbourhood. The issue was a local housing crisis. As such, the rights to Woodward’s were based on a more local notion of citizenship (Pell, 2008). The Woodward’s squat, on the other hand, situated the fight for Woodward’s within the broader public of Vancouver and in the face of regressive social policies enacted at a provincial level. This was an appeal to the entitlements of citizenship at a level of municipal and provincial political community, based on universal rights of housing.[133] While these rights sought to address social problems in the DTES, they were not only of concern to the DTES community; rather, these local issues had become broader social issues, the concern of a social movement issue that could generate greater appeal, and with it greater political force. Social housing became a central issue in the civic election that brought a progressive Council to power.[134]

At this point, the Woodward’s squat was a movementfor social justice and no longer just a local dispute over development. This suggests a further transformation of the relationship between issues and identities. The movement constructed an identity around which a “community” was formed, or what I have been terming a relevant public. There is a difference between an issue emerging out of the needs of a community rooted in place and one articulated by a social movement.[135] In previous campaigns, the identity of advocates for social housing at Woodward’s emerged out of local DTES issues, particularly displacement and gentrification. In this latest campaign, social housing was contested by “squatters”in opposition to the provincial government. Within this larger movement, the task of the creating and maintaining unity became a challenge.

By issuing demands, the squatters thus created a source of identification and cohesion for those directly involved, as well with wider publics. These demands contributed to the endurance of the squat as a collective action. Contemplating on this contingent unity at the squat, Bundock wrote,

The solid foundation that was developed at the squat was based on a unifying political vision and was maintained by creating a community around that vision. A form of politics was at play that is not often seen in Canadian social movements. This was not politics as a side-note to life, not something that could be left in the streets with the other debris after a large weekend rally. For the squatters the cause came home with them, the cause was their home. Maintaining the squat was a way of life” (W#47, p. 2, emphasis in the original).[136]

While it was a movement, the squat was also constituted a “home” for its residents.[137] But it was not a retreat from the public world. It existed in public and created a political culture whose mode of engagement was democratic and active. It provided a forum for the strangers to come together as a community. It was also a means for building coalitions amongst those who supported and maintained the squat through donations, participation in rallies, and other actions pressing for social housing. The demands transformed the need for social housing from a local concern to the focus of a social movement. Demonstrating the rhetoric practices of such a transformation, Ivan Drury, a squatter, explains, “The housing issue did not begin on September 14, but the social housing movement did, and that movement is the voice that echoes throughout the city” (Drury, W#46, p. 2). However, while this issue emanated from the DTES, it was not necessarily particular to it. As suggested during the August 7th vigil at Woodward’s, this was an issue and squatting was a tactic that was being used across Canada.[138]

Demonstrating the diversity and energy of this social movement, various creative and reactive campaigns occurred throughout the squat. The squatters and their supporters participated in the national “Give it or Guard it” campaign, spearheaded by the OCAP. Squatters coordinated with community groups and service providers to maintain the squat as a mutual-aid community, supporting people with physical and mental health issues. They provided greater safety for people who were homeless through coordinating security patrols and witness shifts. While these seem more like social services, they are also movement actions. They used celebrations as part of their resistance, having community picnics, concerts, poetry readings, and so on. The reactive campaigns responded largely to police violence during the eviction of the squatters from inside the Woodward’s building, and again the next day from the tent-city that was set up on the sidewalk around the building. Legal defence was also organized for those squatters arrested during the evictions (the “W54”) and against the City’s court injunction against the squat. These campaigns existed simultaneously and reflected demands pressed by various organizations active in the squat and seeking publicity.[139] These different forms of campaigning demonstrated the squatters’ contingent unity.

By the time the squat ended, the unity tying together these many interests weakened. The autonomous community housing dissipated with the squat, though the practice of autonomous direct action and mutual aid has since reappeared in different forms, including subsequent tent cities, such as the Victory Tent City (2003) and the Olympic Tent City (2010). Temporary shelter was found for some of the squatters and some social housing was provided in the Woodward’s building, along with market housing. The City of Vancouver bought Woodward’s and conducted an extensive community consultation prior to planning the building’s use and redevelopment. However, squatters and their supporters’ vary on their opinion of the success of these outcomes.

To understand how significant it was for the Woodward’s squat to maintain their solidarity and unity across such differences, one needs only consider the representation within the local mass media. Contrary to the analysis presented by the social movement’s advocates, local media tended to take the squat out of its proper political context, seeing the squat as distinct from homelessness and from the social housing question writ large. There was a disconnect between the publicity afforded to the LIC advocates and their ability to affect public actions on it. Again, the advocates of the low-income community were able to publicize the issue to some extent, but they were unable to control the outcome of public actions.

6.3.3     Mass Media Public and Woodsquat (2002)

Mainstream media told many different stories about the squat. But my analysis of representations of political agency, or what I have termed “public action,” shows that the public sphere can function to depoliticize social movements by delegitimating their discourses. In this case, media framing of the squat tended to sharply differentiate between homelessness and social housing. Homelessness was the principal frame, while protest for social housing was marginalized. This was predominantly achieved through distinguishing between the political action (publicity for social housing and critique of provincial government) and social action at the squat (services for the poor and homeless).[140] Reinforcing this distinction was an emphasis on division and conflict between the “activists” within the squat, particularly between political radicals and more social moderate groups.[141] Framing Woodsquat in this way had the effect of delegitimating social activism, along with the fight for social housing. Homeless people were validated but only within a limited capacity as recipients of social services; that is, as dependent on the state and incapable of being autonomous political agents. The depoliticization of squat constrained the possible modes of political participation and limited the effectiveness of protest as a means of publicity. The message was that social movements can be “visible” within the media, but not too vocal, and they may not use their own voice. The media, like the Development Permit Board Hearings before them, were thus a space of publicity for the social movement but not a realm of autonomous public action.

Settling of Frames: Political vs. Social Action

During the first week of the squat, there was no fixed narrative in the local mass media. This changed after the two back-to-back police evictions and arrest of fifty-four squatters on September 21 and 22. These events drew attention to antagonism between the squatters and the police, and it was then that media accounts began to distinguish between squatter-homeless vs. squatter-activist. At first, this differentiation happened subtly, through descriptors of those quoted in media stories. For example, in “Protesters camp at Woodward’s door,” reporter Zacharias, describing those arrested at Woodward’s, stated:

Ivan Drury, 24, was among them. He had been part of the protest since it began Sept. 14. Even though he has an apartment in the city, he said he felt compelled to show his support for the homeless and to protest Liberal government policies which he says have led to “terrible rates for terrible housing” in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (2002, September 23, p. B2).

This quote is representative of a growing tendency in The Sun’s coverage to distinguish between the protester’s critique of the BC Liberals and the support of homeless people, presented as seemingly separate issues. Further, the differentiation between homeless person and protester both questioned and undermined practices of community and social solidarity but also implicitly denied political agency for homeless persons. Thus, the message of the squat was reframed in The Sun as “a rallying ground for the city’s homeless and those that support them” (p. B1). The squat is not described as a demand for social housing, which directly addressed the social policies of the provincial government and was being practiced as autonomous community housing.

While there is frequent mention of Woodward’s in The Sun during the squat, there are two major stories in the middle of October that helped to solidify the distinction between political and social action. The first was a human interest piece written by Andrew Struthers and the second a “hard news” special report by Doug Ward.[142] These two stories distinguish between activists and homeless people, presenting them in mutually exclusive terms. This was achieved through differentiating between the squat as a political tactic versus a form of social service, with the former portrayal delegitimized after publicizing the problem of homelessness. These stories further encouraged the reader to dis-identify with the both variety of squatters: the homeless because of their destitution and the activists because of their preposterousness.

The first articles to appear in The Sun was Struthers’ “On the street where they live: The people who sleep under the big red W don’t share much, except a sense that they don’t belong anywhere else” (2002, p. D3). The caption accompanying the photo reads: “Cordova and Abbott: A silent majority hangs in the background like a tarp. Some lie curled and dormant for days.” Struthers placed himself amongst the squatters, describing the everyday practices at the squat, which as the caption implies, is characterized by political inactivity. Using visceral language, Struthers described the squatters as a “retreating army that has been overtaken by disease.” He continued: “Perhaps 40 people are tangled among the flotsam. Blankets twist along legs, heads poke from plastic, a foot sticks out like a tree root, the thick yellow skin of its sole peeling away like wax from a round of cheese” (p. D3). These three initial images of the squatters’ position portray them as passive, defeated, pathetic, and grotesque. Rather than identifying with the squatters, one is invited to dis-identify with them.[143] The encoded message in this story is that one does not want to be among the squatters.

However, at the same time, the story implies that the condition of homelessness must be addressed. The homeless are read as unable and unwilling to look after themselves. In the only mention of housing in the article, Struthers describes violence at the squat and lack of relationships and friends that these people have, asking, “How will social housing fix that?” In describing a meeting of the squatters where half the speakers ended in tears, the largest applause was said to go to the person who warned the squatters that they are their own worst enemies: “We got to stop harassing pedestrians, and stop shitting in business doorways!” (p. D4). The well-organized character of the meeting is attributed to the Anti-Poverty Committee, which is separated from the homeless by their ability to organize (e.g., “Someone there knows how to handle group politics”).

At first glance, Struthers’ article seems sympathetic to the squatters because it is written as a first-hand account of their everyday practices. However, the article was framed in such a way as to delegitimize social action in at least three ways. First, it trivializes the political actions of the squatters. Second, it marginalizes the sense of solidarity that existed at the squat, replacing it with an atomistic impression. Lastly, it objectifies homeless people and positions them as outsiders — the “anathema” of community (p. D4).[144] It thus insinuates a distinction between the political action (negated) and social services (needed) at the squat, and rhetorically divides activists and the homeless.

The division between the squat as a political action and a social action was accentuated by news reporter Doug Ward’s front-page story on the squat. While Struthers focused on the homeless, Ward’s focused on the activists. The report was descriptively entitled, “The Lesson of ‘Woodsquat’: Founded by people wanted to score political points — or just find a place to sleep — the Woodward’s tent city has become a symbol of defiance for the city’s homeless” (2002, October 15, p. A1). The story was accompanied by a colour photo of a banner with the caption, “A mix of political activists and the homeless populates the tent community outside the Downtown Eastside’s Woodward’s building,” and a bolded quote above the photo stating, “Our intention was just to make a statement.”[145] The distinction between the squatters as either political activists or homeless people was reiterated in the article’s text and photos. Ward retells the story of Woodward’s, but the focus remains on the activist/homeless division. “The Woodward’s tent city is providing some solace and hot soup to the homeless and political success for the loosely allied group of activists who want social housing in any future Woodward’s redevelopment” (p. A1). Ward continued: “Politically, Woodsquat is a shaky symbiotic structure cobbled together by activists — some moderates hoping for social housing units, more radical types out to attack Premier Gordon Campbell and capitalism — and the homeless” (p. A1). While Ward, unlike Struthers, does not deny the agency of the homeless — instead associating them with “defiance” — he also does not attribute to them any positive goals. In contrast to the squatters’ demands, the distinction between moderates’ hopes for social housing and radicals’ attack on Campbell and capitalism falsely delinked the protest from the cuts to social housing made by Premier Campbell. It also attempted to separate the hopes of those who just want a few units of social housing (a reasonable demand) and those who attack capitalism (i.e., the APC[146]). While social housing was a longstanding part of the social democratic tradition in Canada, criticism of capitalism is apparently outside the realm of reasonable debate.[147] The article then not only repeats the distinction between homeless people and activists, it also offers a distinction between moderates and radicals.

Even as Ward reproduces these distinctions, the social services at the squat are presented as a legitimate form of community intervention in the DTES.[148] Dan Lindsay, an unemployed alcohol and drug counsellor at the squat, described how the “sidewalk operation is now providing social services.”[149] Yet, he is quoted describing a schism between social services and politics of the squat: “… Lindsay said the camp is in desperate need of help but that some activists are more concerned with politics than meeting the daily needs of the homeless,” emphasizing, “This is about people-tics, not poli-tics” (cited in Ward, 2002, October 12, p. A5).[150] While the squat was transformed into a contact point for social services of the homeless, the fact that this was until recently considered a government responsibility was ignored. Further, the homeless people are portrayed less as members of the squat than as recipients of care, a move that depoliticizes their involvement in the squat. In fact, the squat itself was erased and emptied as a political act. Activists are not regarded as squatters, homeless people are passively present, and the moderates had just meant to make a statement, which has been effectively done and thus the squat should be over.

An Oct 29th, 2002, Vancouver Sun editorial, “Time to cry ‘Enough!’ on the anarchist squatters,” summarizes the controversy for the media. “Ever since the Woodward’s squat began, controversy has raged over whether the squatters are homeless activists in search of low-cost housing or more anarchists looking for a little rabble-rousing” (p. A18).[151] It concluded:

So the squats must end. Now. That said, there’s no question that Vancouver needs creative and well-meaning people to solve its social housing problems. Despite the fact that Vancouver has one of the highest rates of social housing in Canada, the Woodward’s protest has made that abundantly clear that not all needs are being met. But it has also highlighted the fact that those creative and well- meaning people are not among the protesters (p. A18).

So, while the need for social housing was publicized in this editorial, the protesters do not have solutions to the problem. This, it is implied, was the work of experts.[152] The squat was thus simultaneously validated for drawing attention to the social issue of homelessness and for providing a contact point for social services for the homeless, and delegitimated as an ongoing stage for political protest for social housing. The editorial ignored the squatters’ critique of the BC Liberal government’s social policies. The message was that communities can identify social issues, but they are not capable of contributing their knowledge to providing solutions or determining policy. In representing the activities (and roles) of the homeless squatters as distinct from the social activist squatters, this editorial, like the general tone of the media stories on the squat, defined and circumscribed the meaning of democratic participation for their (assumed) audience.

The media’s framing of Woodsquat centred on the distinction between activists and homeless people. They also framed the issues coming out of the squat as having more to do with homelessness (requiring a social service response) than social housing (requiring political response). Both of these frames encouraged the general public to disidentify with the squatters, either as homeless or radicals. This media frame structured the relationships between relevant social actors like community activists, police, developers, city government, and provincial government. In effect, it set up a hierarchy of publics that established a correspondence between the issues, the actors, and the audiences, bolstering the authority of some speakers and undermining the authority of others; that is to say, the media naturalized who speaks to whom, about what issues, with what effect, and which forms of address and appeal are reasonable. For example, during the squat, narratives within the media most often placed squatters in direct relationship to the police and a legally mediated relationship with the City Council (because of issues of enforceable injunctions), and rarely to the provincial government, from who they were demanding social housing. While this can be accounted for in some ways by the degree of responsiveness of the various parties to each other’s discursive practices, it was reinforced by the media frame. The result was an active policing of the limits of protest by delegitimating social activism while legitimating a politically passive and dependent form of homelessness. The public sphere of the mass media was a space of publicity for the social movement, but it was not a space where the movement exercised agency.

Social Movement Publics and Media Publics

While the local mass media framed Woodsquat for the news-consuming public, its representations did not resonate within the squat. Building on previous practices within the low-income community of the DTES,[153] some of the activities of squatters were intended as a critique of mass media representations. To this end, they generated their own analysis both of the situation in which they were struggling but also the media’s role in that struggle. This they circulated within their own publications, particularly the almost daily W.O.O.D.S.Q.U.A.T. newsletter.[154] Activists also distributed the publications of sympathetic local community organizations.[155] The squatters’ alternative media told stories about the squat that countered mass media discourses.[156]

Countering Media Discourses

The main stream media is a parasitic entity, and the negative reports seen in nightly broadcasts or daily print is an unfortunate side effect to promoting awareness about homelessness and the fight for dignity in affordable housing. … Main stream media should be denied access to interviews, photo-ops and on-camera interviews at every possible opportunity (Michelle McHugh, W#23, p. 2).[157]

Participants at the Woodward’s squat were fairly media-savvy and quickly understood that the mass media would have to be managed. Among the initial meetings in which the principles of the squatters were negotiated, media liaisons were delegated, along with those who would communicate with the police and community groups (Bundock, W#47, p. 2). A press kit was also prepared by the Friends of the Woodward’s Squat that contained various statements presented by various squatters at press conferences and at City Council, press releases from the squat, and the various demands of organizations within the squat, as well as media contact information.[158]

Even though they were wary of the mainstream media, the squatters did use them for information. For example, letters were written and published in W.O.O.D.S.Q.U.A.T. holding COPE politicians to account for their election promises and for disparaging comments appearing in mainstream media outlets (W#42), and a record was kept of all media representations of the campaign (W#43). However, the dominant way of addressing the media was by criticizing of their representations and avoiding mainstream reporters while mitigating the personally damaging and politically divisive effects within the squat.

The major focus of the critique of the mass media was on the attempts to represent divisions within the squat, and further to press for unity. Providing an analysis of this media tactic in “Stick Together, Watch Out for Media, City Engineers, and Social Workers!” (W#15), the Friends of the Woodward’s Squat wrote,

This weekend Global Communications, the parent company of the Vancouver Sun and Province, is trying to run stories on how the squat has been ‘taken over’ by outside groups.

It’s all part of a political strategy to divide & conquer. Don’t let them do it. They may ask residents to badmouth each other in order to sensationalize the supposed ‘internal divisions’ that they hope will make the squat dissolve itself.

Jim & Ivan have been targeted in particular because they are “high profile.” They’re trying to nail Jim because he works for the city. They’re trying to nail Ivan because they think he’s a “squat leader.” They’re even trying to play Jim & Ivan off of one another!

They don’t seem to understand that everyone is a leader and no-one will be moved by force (p. 2).

Responding to The Sun editorial described above (“Time to cry ‘Enough!’ on the anarchist squatters”), the pejorative use of “anarchist” is also argued to be an attempt to divide the squat, particularly the mutual exclusion of those who were homeless and those holding a political ideology. Insurgent-S writes, “Apparently their editorial board cannot find the brain-capacity to entertain the idea that a person could be homeless and an anarchist at the same time. But the main intention of the editorial has more to do with lying about the identities of the homeless squatters, and denying that they are even homeless at all” (2003–4, p. 135). They continue, “By the way people are exaggerating the squatter and anarchist threat in Vancouver, you’d think the revolution was right around the corner. … The authorities will continue to divide the movement through media lies and brutal repression but it becomes clearer each day that they are getting scared. They’re afraid for a reason” (2003–4, p. 136). In all these quotes there are two rhetorical moves: first, refuting dominant media representation, and second, using that misrepresentation as proof of the movement’s effectiveness and means to further unify the squatters.

Attempts to sustain and advance cohesion through discourse also provoked criticism of specific media representations. The response to Andrew Struthers’ article (“On the streets”) was particularly acute. Squatters decried Struthers’ representation of homeless squatters as passive and isolated, the “silent majority” and “anathema of community.” In particular, Struthers’ inaccurately described Lacey, one of the squatters, as a “crack smoker since the age of 11” (Struthers, 2002, p. D3). In an interview in W.O.O.D.S.Q.U.A.T. #19, Lacey explained, “…he took my picture and said ‘hey, if I get this in the paper, what do you want me to say?’ I said ‘tell them we fought for a good cause.’ He’s like ‘Yeah, right on!’ Then this bullshit comes out. It was fuckin bullshit. … It pisses me off because this is fuckin harsh disrespect. My mother’s going to read this. My grandmother’s going to read this. It’s just like FUCK YOU MAN! I hope he has a fuckin conscience” (p. 3). The response to Struthers’ attack on Lacey and the squatters was not restricted to print media. In an act of solidarity and mutual identification, spray paint appeared on the Woodward’s building denouncing Struthers, providing both a warning to squatters of who he was and a suggestion not to talk to him, as well as characterizing him as a liar (2003–4, p. 104).

As a result of these experiences, the general sentiment was to avoid the mainstream media both due to their complicity with opponents of the squatters and their distortion of the squatters’ messages. Two versions of the same day’s front-page portrayal of the squat are suggestive of the media’s erasure of the squatters. On September 20th, 2002, The Sun’s morning edition had the heading “A Buyer for Woodward’s?” with the accompanying photo displaying Woodward’s’ famous ‘W’ dressed with banners hung by squatters. The description read, “Activists fight wind gusts during an attempt to repair their banners on the old Woodward’s building.” The afternoon edition edited the banners and squatters out of the original photo, with the description reading, “The big red W atop the old Woodward’s building has been a Vancouver landmark for decades.” This extraordinarily banal restatement about the controversial development site literally erased the squatters. Within the text, the voices of squatters do not enter until the end of the article suggesting that while present in this public sphere, they are peripheral. The title of the W.O.O.D.S.Q.U.A.T. issue provided a strong statement regarding the squatter’s attitude toward the mainstream media. It juxtaposes the original image with the edited version, proclaiming, “The Media Cannot be Reformed” (W#43).

Analyses of mass media representations suggested only limited sympathy for the squatters. Focus group research of media coverage of the Woodsquats (“Shallow Stories to Ill-Informed Public”) argued there was “compassion fatigue” in the representation of the social problem of homelessness (Leung, 2003–4, p. 223). Through the under-representation of context, use of sensationalism, omission of solutions, and dominance of “bad news,”’ the report explained that the public tended to perceive homeless people as powerless and distant from the lives of ‘average’ people. Leung concluded, “The implications of this transmission from portrayal to reception are ominous” (2003–4, p. 228). In countering these media effects, which were of course by no means total, it was necessary for the squatters to get the public directly involved in the squat. The social movement had to demonstrate that the homeless were activists and activists were (sometimes) homeless. They sought to express this message both through their construction and circulation of their own representations, and via encouraging participation in media-making in order to “breakdown a lot of the claims that the Government and the media make up” (W#48, p. 2). It thus required discursive practices that could facilitate the continued constitution of their public and unmediated engagement within broader publics.

6.4     Conclusion

As a people’s action the Woodsquat goes down in history on its own. It was not the electoral politics, the PR, but the people who were living it. …Whatever happens, the struggle goes on. The struggle is about our land. It is not about a particular building or a particular way to live. It is about the changing nature of capitalism and poverty, so that people have a happy life and that everybody is well fed. We’ve got to make life more fun and be creative enough to not only survive but prosper and not get taken down in their power games (Gongola, 2003–4, p. 207).

Woodsquat does not mark a radically new form of activism in Vancouver or in the Downtown Eastside. Squatting has a long history, both as a tactic in housing campaigns and as a mode of rent-free accommodation.[159] But the Woodward’s squat was an intensification of a strategy that was already in place, converging around many different issues, consolidating principles into demands, on a larger scale. These were citizenship claims to housing, and more radicalized demands for the neighbourhood’s self-determination. This shift is evidence for the success of community mobilizing in the DTES, as social justice issues of the neighbourhood became municipal election issues (Krangle & Bula, 2002, p. B1). Supporters — and some opponents — understood the squat as the front line of opposition to the BC Liberals (W#4, p. 3; CN, 2003, May 15, p. 4). As a social movement public, it carried the history of previous discursive practices while generating its own. However, like all social movement discourses, Woodward’s campaign needed advocates to promote it and space to circulate.

After the concerted efforts by the squatters to fight a City injunction to remove the tent city from the sidewalk of the Woodward’s building, the squat ended quietly on December 14th, 2002, as some of the squatters were relocated to the Dominion Hotel and the squat was dismantled by the Portland Hotel Society.[160] An agreement had been struck between organizers in the squat, newly elected COPE Councilor Jim Green, and various social service providers in the DTES in order that the squat would end peacefully and without assistance by the police or City cleaning crews. While some homeless people did receive shelter, what was lost was the home for this community and the space the squat provided for collective public action. While the squatters succeeded in maintaining a contingent and precarious form of unity, when the public space of the squat ended, much of the social movement public dispersed. Gongola, an ex-squatter reflected, “After Woodsquat some of us went into the Dominion Hotel and all of a sudden everything was behind closed doors. That was a drag. It broke people up even more. There were no kitchen facilities. For a while I talked about taking all the doors off. But I’ll save that for another occasion” (Gongola, 2003–4, p. 207). The identification that the squat provided was tied to the physical presence of the tent city, and without that material link, collective identity was undermined.

With the squatters removed from the building and its perimeter, the Coalition of the Woodward’s Squatters and their Supporters finally gained a meeting with George Abbott, Minister of Community, Aboriginal, and Women’s Affairs in January 2003. While the demands were being heard by the minister, the City of Vancouver and the provincial government were engaged in their own negotiations. In January 2003, Premier Gordon Campbell and newly elected City of Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell made the joint announcement that the City was to buy the Woodward’s building for $5.5 million from the provincial government. In a news release, “Agreement Begins New Future for Woodward’s Building,”[161] Premier Campbell stated, “The city is best suited to fast-track the development of Woodward’s, since they determine heritage requirements, zoning and other land-use considerations. The province is also committing to provide funding for 100 units of subsidized housing.” Mayor Campbell continued, “Today’s announcement opens the door to the revitalization of the Downtown Eastside, with all that means for the entire province. This project, with its commitment of social housing, should underline our city’s commitment to achieve real social sustainability in this community. We are now in a position to turn the Woodward’s site into a focus for development.” With a Steering Committee set to oversee the building’s redevelopment, the City initiated a community consultation of the “Future of Woodward’s.” It involved workshops of targeted communities and a city-wide Idea’s Fair that were to set the principles and priorities of Woodward’s redevelopment.[162]

Even though the City saw the consultation process as inclusive, the LIC advocates remained sceptical. The LIC advocates and the City still saw the situation very differently. The City continued to use the language of “revitalization.” For example, the City stated, “A critical objective of the consultation process is to restore confidence that revitalization of the Downtown Eastside is underway and that this will take place in a way that will meet the needs of existing residents, while also creating opportunities for investment.”[163] The City was attempting to meet the needs of both the low-income community in the DTES and those who would seek to further develop it. For the LIC advocates’, it was the same process of gentrification that they had been fighting since 1995.[164] Pressing for inclusion of the LIC residents in Woodward’s redevelopment, the Woodward’s Social Housing Coalition (WSHC) conducted a comprehensive needs survey of DTES residents, another example of the common practices of collective action in the DTES. Even with this information in hand, however, their voice was not heard. Critiquing the consultation process, it was claimed that only the “most aggressive” were able to hold the floor and that these people intimidated residents who then did not get their ideas heard or included (CN, Sept 4, 2004, p. 2). Further, Aboriginal input was ignored and priority was given to profit-making components (p. 2). The report submitted to Council on the consultation process was also faulty.[165] The WSHC identified “serious flaws” with the report, including an inflated number of participants, the favoured designs, and “more importantly, the tacit exclusion of the expressed desire of the DTES residents for at least 250 social housing units” (CN, 2004, September 4, p. 2).[166] In the consultation, in the report, and in the redeveloped Woodward’s site, the vision of the low-income community advocates was absent. Coming full circle in the decade and half campaign for the building, the low-income community still saw itself as excluded from the redevelopment plans for the Woodward’s building.

This chapter has argued that Woodsquat, the last major collective action for social housing at Woodward’s, manifested itself within a social movement public, situated within an oppositional public formation. This concept was used to emphasize practices and strategies of articulation used to gain control of popular discourse, opinion, and action. I argued that the squatters and their supporters’ demands were central both to processes of collectivization (i.e., building and sustaining identification as a social movement and solidarity through collective actions) and to hegemonic struggle (i.e., circulating counter-hegemonic articulations, constructing contingent unities with allies, and contesting dominant hegemonies). LIC advocates used the squat to bring visibility to the sale of Woodward’s and to press for government and collectiveaction on social housing. Woodward’s became symbolically important in the struggle to define the crisis of social housing and homelessness as evidence of the state’s harsh neoliberal social policies and its neglect of social issues in the DTES. While the fight for Woodward’s was a fight against gentrification, it was also a fight for the right to housing. As such, the battle for social housing at Woodward’s can be counted among the many protests against the shift to neoliberalism and the reorganization of the welfare state within Canada. The LIC advocates’ sought the restoration and even extension of social rights to housing, welfare, and social services. However, their conception of social citizenship was not a state-based claim, nor could it be satisfied by inclusion within the state. Approaching the LIC advocates’ activities as a social movement public moves the understanding of citizenship away from the bureaucratic state and toward practices and struggles of defining and defending particular expressions of political authority in the spaces where people live and interact. In this case, insurgent citizenship in the Downtown Eastside was both a fight over rights within broader political communities, and more importantly, a commitment to belonging within a community founded in tolerance, respect, inclusivity, caring, and mutual aid. Perhaps there is an element of violence in denying that.


7: conclusion – Institutionalization of Woodward’s Public?

The Ripple Effects of Woodwards


Land values increase

More real estate speculation

Hotel rents increase

Hotels close for renovations or sale

More evictions & homelessness

Stores serving low income residents are forced out

Yuppies stores move in

More security guards & police harassment

City subsidy for Woodwards chain stores

Community assets will be lost (CN, 2010, February 15)[167]


Produced by the Carnegie Community Action Project (CCAP), this list of Woodward’s “ripple effects” appeared in a Carnegie Newsletter in February 2010, but could easily have been drafted in 1995.[168] Displayed at the Poverty Olympic,[169] the list speaks to the continued connection between Woodward’s redevelopment, the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, and the gentrification of the Downtown Eastside. The concerns of residents that brought Woodward’s to the fore nearly fifteen years ago still resonate today. The physical appearance of the building may have changed as it has undergone redevelopment, but the context of social dislocation and need within the neighbourhood has remained stable.

While there were many significant moments in the redevelopment of the Woodward’s site, the LIC advocates’ primary concerns remained constant throughout the evolutions of the building’s ownership and development plans. The LIC advocates opposed gentrification; the displacement of the low-income community; the marginalization of local, low-income citizens within decision-making processes; and fought to avoid outcomes that disadvantaged long-time residents of the neighbourhood. At the same time, they strongly believed that current and historically present residents of the neighbourhood should have a say over the uses of the spaces in which they live. More broadly, LIC advocates stood against what they saw as the state’s complicity in the criminalization of poverty and demanded that living wages, affordable housing, and supportive services that address the needs of the low-income community be priorities in the neighbourhood.[170]

Being on the receiving end of an assortment of neoliberal social policies guided by the maxims of fiscal restraint and individualized responsibility, the LIC advocates are also on the forefront of the struggle for social democracy in Canada. Bev Meslo, speaking at a rally during Woodsquat in 2002, exclaimed, “the most disenfranchised, the most devastated, the most insecure population in the whole province, [are leading] the battle against the Liberal cuts. Here they are the weakest in our society standing up for the rest of us. When are we going to start acting in defense of them?” (2003–4, p. 78–79). Meslo’s is a question that remains relevant today. My hope is that this study of public formation at Woodward’s might contribute in some way to thinking about collective action, social solidarity, and insurgent citizenship. It is also my hope that in investigating public formations, like the one that emerged at Woodward’s, we might better answer the question of how we make and share this world we hold in common.

7.1     Summary of Research Contributions

This dissertation makes a series of theoretical and substantive claims. Here I summarize the dissertation’s major theses as contributions to existing research on the public, social movements, and histories of collective action.

Drawing together an interdisciplinary field to read “publics” as a discursive-spatial cluster concept, I argue that active practices of public formation can be studied in sites, actors, and activities of publicity, plurality, and power. A notion of publicity is drawn from the work of Habermas (1962) and Fraser (1990) to describe sites of deliberation and contestation. Arendt’s (1958) work on intersubjective public action and Warner’s (2002) articulation of text-audience relationships highlight plurality emerging in the performance of actors. Lefebvre’s (1974) attention to the social production of space and Bourdieu’s (1977) understanding of embodied class dispositions emphasize space and discourse as relations and activities of power. With these works serving as a framework in which to analyze publics — which I located in City of Vancouver documents, local mass media, and LIC advocates’ archival material — I turned to the concept of “public formations” in order to describe practices within and between multiple publics. I define public formations as 1) collections of discursive processes that create and sustain a community oriented toward matters of collective concern and 2) consist of constitutive and relational practices. Constitutive practices involve creating collective identities and social solidarities, while relational practices consist of engaging, influencing, contesting, and transforming other publics. I understand public formations as multiple and dynamic, particular and relational.

Informed by the theoretical literature on counterpublics (Fraser, 1990; Asen, 2000; Warner, 2002) but seeking to go beyond it, I instead use the term social movement publics to outline my approach to the case study of Woodward’s. Currently an underdeveloped concept, I suggest social movement publics describe collective efforts toward social change located in critical interventions by members with marginalized issues, identities, or practices within the discursive and spatial practices of their political communities. I claim linking these fields of study together encourages a focus on the active formation of publics. An important element of my conceptual contribution is to focus specifically on social movements’ practices of identification, solidarity, and collective actions as they engage in matters of common concern and seek to transform relations of power. This moves the notion of public away from an assumed connection to the nation-state and allows social movements’ practices of collectivizing and public-making to be analyzed rhetorically in the creation, circulation, and material effects of discourse. Agreeing with Warner’s (2002) critique that Fraser’s notion of subaltern counterpublic (1990) appears to assume an oppositional character of subordinated groups’ publics, I go further to suggest the very use of “counter” lends to this mistaken interpretation. Preferring to approach the question empirically rather than normatively, I argue ascribing an orientation to a public should be grounded in the study of the constitutive and relational practices of a particular public formation.

In approaching the LIC advocates’ claims for Woodward’s with the concept of social movement public, I explore how their discursive and spatial practices lend to the formation of a collective identity and collective actions. While examining the constitutive practices of the social movement public, I also investigate the ways in which the LIC advocates engage and perform in relation to other publics. This draws from Fraser’s approach to the internal and external discursive processes of public spheres and resonates with recent work on public formations as “convened” and “assembled” (Newman, 2007; Barnett, 2008; Mahony, et al., 2010). However, I describe my approach as an investigation of a public within a public formation, arguing for the need to equally consider both processes of collectivization (i.e., building shared identities and common understandings) and public-making (i.e., constructing and circulating discourses). Mine is an approach that enables these processes to be viewed as mutually reinforcing, overlapping, and, at times, contradicting.

My methodological approach to the study of public formations brings together rhetorical and hegemonic forms of analysis. Together they make possible an examination of particular social movement claims, practices of hegemonic articulation, and processes of collectivization, while situating these within broader discursive fields. Hegemonic analysis highlights practices of articulation that construct subject positions, build contingent unities across social groups, and define fields of antagonism, all with the intent of intervening and altering common-sense understandings (Laclau & Mouffe, 2001; Carroll, 1997; Deluca, 1999). Rhetorical analysis emphasizes practices of identification (Burke, 1966; McGee, 1975; Charland, 1987) that point to the audiences, forms, content, and context addressed in a discursive claim. In concert with one another, hegemonic and rhetorical analysis draw attention to the variable and multiple orientations, intentions, and scales of discursive practices within public formations.

Based on a reading of the various orientations, intentions, and scales of the dominant discursive practices within and between publics at Woodward’s, I identify three types of public formation. These are 1) emergent publics — which focus on the initial construction of issues, actors, and relationships within an unsettled discursive field, 2) oppositional publics — which result in the settling of issues and actors within a polarized relationship, with practices oriented toward dominance within a contestable discursive field, and 3) institutionalized publics —meaning a sedimentation of the issues, actors, and relationships, with little movement possible within a highly determined discursive field.[171] Corresponding to different moments during Woodward’s redevelopment, the public formations describe various collectivizing and public-making processes inherent in the struggle for social housing.

During the period of emergent public formation (1995–6), LIC advocates made an appeal to the low-income community to unite around the issue of Woodward’s redevelopment; they addressed the City of Vancouver concerning the need for inclusive community development; and they argued that the built environment’s historical significance lay in its social heritage and use by the community. These discourses circulated at the scale of the neighbourhood. During the period of oppositional public formation within the DTES (1997–2001), LIC advocates asserted that Woodward’s belonged to the low-income community; demanded of the private developer Fama that they build social housing; appealed to the City of Vancouver that the historic and currently present community’s needs must be met in any Woodward’s redevelopment; and argued that a market-rate-only housing project would intensify gentrification and not “revitalize” the DTES. These discourses circulated primarily at the scale of the neighbourhood, though some collective direct actions took place outside of the DTES. As an oppositional public formation within Vancouver (2002), LIC advocates appealed to individuals and organizations across the city to unite with the squatters at Woodward’s in their demands for social housing, and housing rights more generally. LIC advocates argued that neoliberal social policies undertaken by the municipal and provincial governments contributed to homelessness and that these policies needed to be opposed. These discourses were disseminated at the scale of the city, and more broadly, became a counter-hegemonic articulation of social rights.

Each of these dominant constitutive phases had a different articulation of the symbolic importance of Woodward’s. The shuttered department store on Hastings Street was popularly described as the historical heart and social centre of the low-income community in the DTES (1995–6) and as sharing the fate of the LIC residents in the neighbourhood (1997–2001). For LIC advocates, its padlocked doors and boarded up windows stood as visible evidence of the crisis of social housing and the neglect of the state (2002).

I argue that the various campaigns for the inclusion of social housing in Woodward’s by LIC advocates succeeded in making its redevelopment a public issue. However, in the publics of the City and local mass media, there was a disconnection between publicity and public action. LIC advocates were able to publicize the issue of social housing, however, within the spaces of (municipal) decisions and (regional) representations, their claims were unable to affect the actions of these publics. For the social movement public, the City and media’s hegemonic publics were spaces of publicity, but not public action. I argue that this is an indication of a weak democratic process surrounding the redevelopment of the Woodward’s building within these dominant public institutions. This claim is based on a normative argument. The democratic potential of a public formation can be judged according to the relationship between publicity and public action: where one not only has the ability to voice one’s position publicly, but also possesses the possibility of persuading an audience and affecting the outcome of the public action under consideration. That is to say, democracy is present where decisions arise from public dialogue, not determined beforehand. Using a social movement perspective to challenge a state-centric notion of political participation, it becomes evident that not all forms of democracy were weak. The LIC advocates’ persistent efforts to engage in Woodward’s redevelopment through collective action and their various attempts to define and affect the meaning of belonging within their political communities suggests the tradition of active citizenship is strong among many in the DTES.

My research aligns with previous studies of Woodward’s as significant in the low-income community’s fight against gentrification of the DTES neighbourhood. Others have approached the discursive and spatial practices surrounding Woodward’s through an analysis of relations of property (Blomley, 2004), the concept of “the commons” (Blomley, 2008), and analysis of representations of place and nostalgic memory (Sommers, 2001). My study confirms their readings of protests at Woodward’s as a struggle against gentrification, as I also identify discourses of heritage, rights, displacement, memory, property, social mix, revitalization, and balance circulating within the claims and counter-claims of LIC advocates. My research adds to the literature on Woodward’s contested redevelopment by investigating how collective identity and action emerged within the low-income community and offers the concept of public formations as the means by which to understand these processes. This dissertation also represents the first comprehensive reading of documents contained in the Friends of the Woodward’s Squat Archive. This important archival material richly contributes to an analysis of the Woodward’s campaign while situating it within the history of struggle for social housing in the DTES.

7.2     Future Research: Applying Social Movement Perspective to Institutionalized Public Formations

Though I describe in-depth emergent public and oppositional public formations, this study does not go into the same detail with institutionalized public formation. While I outline how this formation might be conceptualized and how it might operate, I have not here thoroughly explored this conceptual category. This is a task for further research.

Having described this formation as the sedimentation of issues, actors, and relationships within a highly determined discursive field, future research could explore this hypothesis, asking how institutionalization affects movement practices. While institutionalization can mean the sedimentation of a social movement, approaching institutional forms as multiple and plural, one could examine their abilities to limit and fix, but also to protect and secure. Applying a social movement perspective to the analysis of institutionalized public formations avoids the assumption that institutionalization is an end point or a closure of public engagement. Rather, institutions are often the product of social activities within communities (Armour, 1981), with social movements practices being capable of ensuring their responsiveness (Angus, 2001). Further, a social movement’s establishment of an institution, with less mobile and more consistent discursive practices, might even provide protection and stability and enable the opening of other possibilities. The question then becomes: can institutionalized public formations enable and sustain radical politics?

A study of institutionalized public formation during Woodward’s redevelopment could examine the LIC advocates practices inside and outside the space of the City’s public consultation (as I suggest in chapter three). This approach would take the City as the institutional space under question. However, following the line of thought above, one could also explore the LIC advocates’ efforts to create and shape their own cultural and political institutions, including that of collective memory and local customs (Halbwachs, 1992). To explore the relationship between institutions, collective memory, and social action, one could start by considering the publication of the squatters and supporters’ documents in the special edition of the West Coast Line, “Woodsquat” or the practice of collecting an archive of social movement materials. One could ask what effects these documents have on understanding the community mobilizations around Woodward’s redevelopment, and also if (and in what ways) they have affected LIC advocates’ practices following the squat. These questions apply equally to the Carnegie Newsletter, both in access to its online archive and its ongoing biweekly publication. How has it affected social and political practices in the DTES, and beyond? What would the memories of Woodward’s and the DTES be without it? What practices and discourses are possible because of it? Moreover, how do these documentation practices serve as resources for social movements?[172] To that end, I must consider how this dissertation, itself, contributes to the institutionalized public formation of Woodward’s. It too provides evidence, resources, and suggestions in ways to critically approach the Woodward’s redevelopment, as it unfolded historically and as it currently operates.

What I am suggesting, then, is that a nuanced study of institutionalized public formations would consider institutional processes and practices that are enabling and restricting, that are maintained in the state and that emerge in movements and other publics. Perhaps one would go even further and ask if public formations are even better conceived of as a cluster of constitutive, relational, and institutional practices. These are the sorts of questions one might begin to ask in further studies on public formations.


Appendix A – Chronology of Woodward’s Redevelopment

This chronology is based on materials in the following three appendices, particularly The Vancouver Sun, the Carnegie Newsletter, and W.O.O.D.S.Q.U.A.T.

1903 November 4th – Woodward’s flagship opens
1985 Jim Green attempts to have Woodward’s purchased by federal government
1988 Jim Green lobbies to have Woodward’s multi-use facility
1989 Woodward’s family looses ownership of Woodward’s, with Cambridge Shopping Centres and Hambil Watsa Investment Ltd becoming the major stock holder
1991 Provincial Election – NDP and Harcourt win
1992 November 1st – Jim Green resigns as organizer for DERA13th – Woodard’s IGA closes
1993 Federal Government stops funding housing
January 31st – Woodward’s closes
February City could possibly buy building13th – building tentatively sold to Wall Financial Group, for $24 million
April The Hudson’s Bay Co. takes-over the Woodward’s company
October 25th – Federal Election – Liberals and Chrétien win
November 20th – Municipal Election – NPA and Owen win
1994 February Jim Green and VLC Properties working together with all three levels of governmentSFU proposes to have a campus at Woodward’s
1995 Fama buys Woodward’s for $16 million, with City buying the parkade for 12 million making it more like $5 million
February 27th – Planning drawings of Woodwards at Carnegie Centre viewed by Premier HarcourtGastown Resident Association forms, President Michael McCoy
April 20th – DERA meeting with representative of Fama present to speak with community
May 6th – Cleaning Bee at Woodward’s6th – Hands Around Woodward’s Action18th – DERA meeting to brainstorm vision and strategies for Woodward’s
June City Plan for the DTES (more community services, policing, faster development, etc)First edition of Gastown Business Improvement Society newsletter10th – Neighbourhood Gathering and Celebration to bring Woodward’s back to Life action, as part of Hands Around Woodwards action

14th – “Lost Windows of Woodward’s” photo-show at Carnegie

19th – Development Permit Board Hearing, where Fama is approved for 200,000sq/ft of community space and over 300,000sq/ft of condo space in exchange for heritage conservation

22nd – enactment of Bill C-76 – Canada Health and Social Transfer

July 18th – City Council Heritage Designation MeetingEnd of July Fama’s purchase of Woodward’s is delayed until March 1996 as they seek financing
November NDP to fund a 3rd of units at Woodward’s at a welfare level
December City buys Woodward’s parkade from Fama for $10.75 million, making the building essentially only $5 million for Fama15th – meeting between Harcourt, Owen, and Aghtai to discuss housing mix possibilities
1996 January January 24-Feb. 3 – Pitt Gallery community art show, including photos from Woodwards Window Project
February Woodwards Co-op Committee forms1st – Woodwards Forum, where community appoints Jim Green as representative on Woodwards negotiations with province, city, and developerAround the 16th – Province to fund at least 210 units of single and family housing, and Fama to build 160 condos, announced by Premier Harcourt

22nd – Premier Harcourt steps down as Premier of BC

April Around the 1st – DTES Housing Forum, with David Ley and Bud Osborn as speakersAround the 10th – Woodwards Committee becomes a non-profit society
May 7th – Public meeting (with briefings and displays) on Woodward’s organized at Carnegie28th – Provincial Election, NDP and Glen Clark win
October Provincial government to give $25 million to fund 197 units (100 at welfare rates), with another 200 units of condos to be built by Fama
November 16th – Municipal Election, NPA and Owen winDevelopment Permit Board approves amendment to include 197 co-op units
1997 April Fama walks away from social housing and partnership with Province (and City and community), which was 200 of 400 units being co-op/social housing; City blamed for now requiring co-op units during initial rezoning application1st – deadline to sign agreement between Fama and BCHMC4th – Fama backs out of partnership and plans to develop only condos

5th – spray-painting of boards around Woodward’s

6th – 30 DTES community groups gather to strategize about Fama’s withdrawal of social housing from Woodward’s project

11th – Mayor Owen’s letter to Premier Clark urges talks to resume with Fama

Around the 12th – Fama submits plan to development hearing that will eliminate co-op housing from their proposal; public hearing delayed as Fama has new drawings done without the co-op units

15th – DTESers (including Bud Osborn, on board of DERA) occupy the Fama’s office and leaflet in support of co-op housing unit in Woodward’s

16th – sit-in at Fama’s office in West Vancouver

17th – DERA meeting

18th – DERA Community Issues, strategy session

18th – All Night Vigil at Woodwards

19th – Woodwards Belongs to Us … Not to Kassem Aghtai demonstration

21st – Development Permit Hearing for revised plan without co-ops cancelled

23rd – first mention in the media of idea to not keep all the buildings intact

May Signs appear on Woodward’s warning of dog-patrolled securityFama has demolition permit and starts gutting inside
June 2nd – Federal Election, Liberals and Chrétien win20th – public meeting strategizes actions concerning Woodward’s25th – protest by DERA, CCPA, PRG, EYA at Fama’s West Vancouver Office

30th – 24 hour vigil at Woodward’s

July Province’s funding for 200 co-op units transferred to Lori Krill housing co-op, completed in 20021st – planned day vigil and fast
September 3rd – Development Permit Application Hearing, postponed due to City strike
October 19th-20th – 24 hour vigil outside City Hall and cardboard village set up prior to meeting20th – People’s Permit Hearing held outside meeting20th – Development Permit Board, chaired by Larry Beasley, approves Fama’s Woodward’s project for 419 market-priced housing units (and no social housing); Over 75 speak at the meeting.
1998 Rumoured negotiations between Fama, province, and City for the province to buy building and build co-op housingCity completes Draft Housing Plan for DTES and holds consultations (initiated in 1995, finalized in Oct 2005)
January 16th – Woodwards Committee decides to pursue NDP funded coop units outside Woodwards building
1999 April Around the 1st – Dewar Pacific Projects sues Fama for $224,731 for non-payment of demolition services
August Fama gets extensions of building permits, while their plans for renovations and additions are suspendedRumors of Jim Green working on a proposal that see a project with 400 units, with 50% for familiesSubsidized housing being protested (in media) by Gastown Residents Association and Chinatown Merchant Association
September Province rumored/expecting to transfer funding intended for Woodward’s co-op housing to another project3rd – update meeting about Woodwards at Carnegie
November 20th – Municipal Election, NPA and Owen win
2000 Community Alliance forms to increase enforcement and oppose enabling drugs in DTES
February Rumors of Province wanting to buy Woodward’s from Fama to build co-op housing, with Fama wanting to build condos and high tech offices
March 9th – Vancouver Agreement signed by federal, provincial, and municipal government (and renewed in 2005)
May-June High tech option floated for Woodward’s by Markley Stearns, but bubble burstsOccupation of law offices of Canadian firms representing US high-tech giant
May 27th – protest at Woodward’s with flowers painted on building, with MLA Jenny Kwan as a participantDaisy painting, with 100s protesting Jenny Kwan’s charges the next day with one arrest (Jean-Marie Boileau) and a march to police station to demand his freedom
July 2nd – daisy painted on Woodward’s as message from DTES advocates to buildings owner that they won’t be intimidated by his complaints to police12th – community demonstration and celebration, with further painting of Woodward’s walls in protest of charges against MLA Jenny KwanAround the15th – Aghtai files criminal complaint MLA Jenny Kwan for painting daisies on Woodward’s
August 7th – Anti-Poverty Action Committee rally at Woodward’s calling for social housing, anti-demolition/conversion bylaws, and restored federal funding and on arrest at demo for spray painting
November 27th – Federal Election, Liberals and Martin win
2001 February Around the15th, Province in works to buy Woodward’s and convert it to co-op housing and commercial and retail space
March 1st – Provincial government announcement that they bought Woodward’s from Fama for $21.9 million and plan to build 300 co-op housing units, plus retail and commercial space; 275 families to be housed and about 2000 neighbourhood residents present at the handover, where hamburgers, hot dogs and coffee were served
April SFU proposing to take up 1/3 of the Woodward’s project for their School of Contemporary Arts
May 16th – Provincial Election, Liberals and Campbell win
August List of demands written on Woodwards
October BC Liberals announce halt to all new social housing projects and a review of 1100 units, including Woodward’s
2002 January Anti-Poverty Committee forms as a response to BC Liberals
April BC Liberals cancel 1000 units of social housing, including Woodward’sAround the 1st – Woodwards Coop Committee receive letter from CEO of BC Housing informing them that social housing project is cancelledAd Hoc Committee for Social Justice formed and held weekend camp-in to publicize Woodward’s removal for social housing bank
July Mid month developer Geoff Hughes makes proposal for 1997 development permit with 417 condos27th – start of OCAP’s Pope Squat
August Minister George Abbott acknowledges in press that Woodward’s for saleHughes meets with DTES poverty activist Tom LavioletteWoodwards Housing Co-op Committee informed about potential buyer (Hughes) but refuses to sign confidentiality agreement

Around the 7th – Woodward’s vigil (and in solidarity with OCAP action on homelessness-Pope visit)

September Around the 5th – City buys Woodward’s parkade with plan to renovate it and putting in commercial businessesRumors that the Woodward’s building is being sold by the BC Liberal provincial government because of its expense14th – Rally to Resist the Cuts at Victory Square starts off a week of actions, with a few hundred people marching down to Woodward’s. It was entered and squatted by 25 people

16th – court injunction served to 20-25 squatters “John Doe” by police and BC Housing, by Sergeant Scott Thompson and Dave Dixon; squatter meeting with unanimous decision to stay at Woodward’s; 50 squatters at Woodward’s

17th – 8am enforcement order obtained and served to squatters

19th – Rally to Defend the Squat with over 400 people attend rally and over 100 sleep at squat

20th – first issue of W.O.O.D.S.Q.U.A.T.; rumours of eviction at dawn

21st – 6am (on Sunday) the riot squad evict and arrest 55 people who had been occupying the building, as well as arresting 3 people who were outside the building and charging them with contempt of a court order; (first draft of) 5 Demands of the Woodward’s Squatters appears in W.O.O.D.S.Q.U.A.T. #2; 100 homeless squatters and supporters said to be at squat

22nd – squatters appear before the court; squatters return to set up camp (tents and mattresses) on sidewalks of Woodward’s building; squatters evicted from the streets and possessions (mattresses, etc.) thrown in garbage by City and 10 arrested

23rd – squatters hold demonstration, release of 10 arrested squatters (10am) and Victory Square Rally

24th – Rally to Defend the Squat has over 600 in attendance

27th – 15 squatters and supporters occupy BC Housing Office (Burnaby) demanding meeting with CEO

October 2nd – revised Demands of squatters passed unanimously by CWSS7th – (province-wide) Day of Defiance with rally in Victoria and march in Vancouver from BC Hydro to Squat12th – 100 squatters

Around the15th – a $7000 donation given to the squat

16th – Police Board Meeting at VPL attended by squatters

17th – City reveals plan to sell Woodward’s to Geoffrey Hughes

21st – neighbourhood meeting with Hughes to develop the Woodward’s building

22nd – City Council meeting where a proposal to give $11 million in heritage density bonuses and property tax exemptions for the redevelopment of Woodward’s is approved; squatters and DTES activists (Bundock, Jones, Vidaver) speak at the meeting

25th – deadline of ultimatum issued by FWS for the Council to answer the demands of the squatters or more will become involved in more militant actions of the “Give it or Guard it” campaign

26th – launch of the national housing campaign “Give It or Guard It!” by OCAP

27th – Cameron Ward (squatters’ lawyer) letter to George Abbott on his non-response to squatters

Around the 28th – APC holds press conference threatening to take over six more publicly owned buildings if social housing is not provided by governments immediately, performed as part of national campaign to convert vacant buildings to social housing (“Give it or Guard it”)

28th – squatters receive warning letter from City’s engineering department to clear out by noon Oct 30th

30th – noon deadline for squatters (approximately 200 at this point) to leave Woodward’s by City; injunction filed by City to remove squatters; letter hand delivered to Dave Rudberg by CWSS addressing ultimatum to leave squat; squatters hold block party on Abbott Street

31st – Writ of Summons delivered to squat and ask to appear as Defendants at an injunction hearing; 100 or so at squat

November Madison Bellevue’s (Hughes) option on Woodward’s runs out7th – squatters awarded $100 for dropped charges and BC Housing to appeal the award16th – Municipal Election, COPE and Campbell win

19th – Injunction Hearing, City presents case for injunction

21st – Mayor-elect Campbell says he would support injunction; court hearing on civil injunction, where lawyers, municipal councillors, and squatters speak

Around the 22nd – deal between Hughes and provincial government dead, as developer drops bid from $18 to $8 million

22nd – court issues an injunction and squatters ask for a delay until Dec 2 (when new council to be sworn in); 60 squatters

23rd – under 100 squatters

25th – City’s injunction goes into effect; appeal against injunction filed; first meeting between Jim Leyden, Nabahat (C&N Backpackers / Dominion), and City people; rally at the squat, organized by FWS and attended by over 200 people; witness shifts begin at squat (due to injunction)

26th – City Council meeting

Around the 26th – provincial government to fund 51 temporary shelters

27th – City to pursue enforcement order for the injunction against the squatters

29th – hearing on enforcement order for the city injunction against the squatters

30th – 60 squatters

December 2nd – new City Council sworn in4th – COPE asks city staff and police for delay of a week for any action against the 100 squatters, when money might be made available for relocation to Dominion5th – MP Libby Davis discusses squat and need for affordable housing in the House of Commons

13th – deal signed between Leyden, Nabahat, and City people to provide shelter to some squatters

14th – 100 squatters, 60 sheltered at Dominion

2003 January 23rd – squatters meet Abbott to discuss redevelopment of building24th – consultations start between City and Province in regards to the sale of Woodward’s29th – Provincial Liberal government sells Woodward’s to City of Vancouver for $5.5 million, with 100 units to be subsidized by province

30th – Mayor Campbell suggests Woodward’s could be site of main police station

February 20th – Green seeking funding to relight W21st – City council sets up steering committee to oversee Woodward’s redevelopment22nd – City sponsored referendum vote on Olympic bid
March City of Vancouver buys Woodward’sAround the 22nd – Lawyer John Richardson launches legal suit against VPD’s Police Jamie Graham and Constables Aitkens and Harris for wrongful conduct and arrest during Sept 22 eviction
April Around the 16th – BC Housing appeals $100 award given to squatters who showed up in court but the case had been droppedAround the18th – Woodward’s no longer considered for the VPD headquarter22nd – Woodward’s Steering Committee report presented at City Council outlining redevelopment and consultation process
May City starts a community consultation process on the Future of Woodward’sAround the 15th – Woodward’s Social Housing Coalition conducts needs survey and community hall meeting concerning Woodward’s with residents in the DTES20th – Community Workshop held by City at Carnegie Centre and SUCCESS

21st – Community Workshop held by City at Strathcona Community Centre

22nd – Community Workshop held by City at Portland Hotel and Library Square

24th – Ideas Fair held by the City at the Chinese Cultural Centre

June Around the 4th – community visioning workshops conducted by City and Do-Design Group, with hundreds of participants coming out
July 26th – IOC announces Vancouver to host 2010 Winter Olympics26th – Victory Square Squat starts
August 11th – Expression of Interest within the bid process for Woodward’s redevelopment begins and to last until November
September Open house and proposal for designs for Woodward’s
October 21st – report on initial proposals for redevelopment of Woodward’s goes to Council
November Two public meetings between developers and public on their development proposals
2004 January Woodward’s Steering Committee to short list developers, institutions, and agencies
February Four short-listed proposals announced (Concert, Holborn, Millennium, and Westbank)
June Squatters lawyers, Noah Quastel and Cameron Ward file an appeal against the granting of injunction to BC Housing28th – Federal Election, Liberals and Martin win
July 10-19th – open houses with developer reps and models, with model on display at City Hall until Sept 15th20th – announcement of successful developer for Woodward’s – Ian Gillespie and Ben Peterson of Westbank Projects and Peterson Investment Group21st – open public meeting where City’s urban design, planning and heritage staff make recommendations
September City approves Westbank Projects/Peterson Investment Group (Henriquez Partners, architects) to be developers, along with PHS Community Services Society sponsoring 125 units of low-income single housing and Affordable Housing Society sponsoring 75 units for low to modest income families28th – APC demonstration at City Hall demanding Woodward’s for the people
2005 January BC Court of Appeal rule in favour of squatters against BC Housing’s injunction
March Community Advisory Committee formed
May 17th – Provincial Election, Liberals and Campbell win
September 9th – open house for proposed projects13th – final approval for Woodward’s redevelopment project at Council, with one of the market residential towers approved at 40 floors14th – Council to discuss staff report

15th – Council to hear from public delegations

29th – SFU’s Board of Governors approves proposal to be included in Woodward’s redevelopment project

November 14th – advertising campaign for Woodward’s starts this week19th – Municipal Election, NPA and Sullivan win
December Final approval of Henriquez’s design for Woodward’s project
2006 January 23rd – Federal Election, Conservatives and Harper win
February Final contract to be signed between City and Westbank for the redevelopment of Woodward’s
March Woodward’s receives new zoning (from DD to CD-1) and City approves Heritage Revitalization Agreement
April Week of 24th opens sale for Woodward’s condos
September 30th – demolition of Woodward’s
2007 January 25th – Development Permit for site
2008 November 15th – Municipal Election, Vision and Robertson win
2009 Summer Part of market housing opens
2010 January City initiates Historic Area Height Review
February Woodward’s “W” relight and Vancouverism display at Woodward’s7th – Poverty Olympics, with poster of the “Ripple Effects of Woodward’s” appearingWinter Olympics and Paralympics in Vancouver
September Goldcorp donates $10 million to the SFU School for the Contemporary Arts, with School renamed “Goldcorp Centre for the Arts,” with $5 million going to support community engagement in the DTESSFU Against Goldcorp forms
November 5th-6th – “Rights to the City: Cops, Condos, Gentrification, and Alternatives” Conference, with panel on Woodward’s24th – “Framing Cultural Capital” panel discussion on corporatization, gentrification, and ethics hosted by Visual Arts Student Union




Appendix B – DTES Low-income Community Advocacy Documents

My primary sources for the campaigns for Woodward’s by the low-income community advocates in the DTES come predominantly two community-based publications; specifically the Carnegie Newsletter and the W.O.O.D.S.Q.U.A.T. newsletter.[173] The Carnegie Newsletter, published by the Carnegie Community Centre on the 1st and 15th of every month since 1986, describes itself as “one of the most read and respected publications in the Downtown Eastside”[174] with a print-run of 1200 copies (CN, 2006, August 15, p. 2).For my purposes, it provides a long view of the campaign over Woodward’s by the low-income community advocates in the DTES. This campaign started in earnest in 1995 and continues more or less until today (at least as a critique of the Woodward’s project, if no longer as an active intervention by the low-income community).

W.O.O.D.S.Q.U.A.T. was an unofficial newsletter of the squat at the Woodward’s building in the fall of 2002. It was self-published by the Friends of the Woodwards Squat and put out almost daily throughout the duration of the three month action and sporadically afterward with the last edition coming out June 22, 2003. The first edition states its purpose as to “provide support from the outside and circulate writing from people on the inside & around the squat, on the street…” (W#1, p. 4); however, not wanting to be mistaken as “representing the squat,” it later identifies its role as that of being a “material support group” (W#29, p. 4).[175] W.O.O.D.S.Q.U.A.T. offers a day-by-day account of the issues, actors, and tactics. It emphasizes the relationships between the squatters and various other public actors (like the police, the City of Vancouver (staff and council), media and the provincial government), as well as publicize upcoming events and reports on various tactics (like rallies, presentations at municipal board meetings, and so on). The personal, individual, and internal dynamics of the squat is better captured in the “Woodsquat” (WCL), as well as other documents, like leaflets, posters, and pamphlets, collected in the Friends of the Woodwards Squat Archive.[176]

Carnegie Newsletter (in chronological order):

Carnegie Newsletter (1992, Nov 1).

Carnegie Newsletter (1992, Dec 1).

Sommers, J. (1995, April 15). The monster that ate Woodwards (cover).

Shayler, J. (1995, April 15). Woodwards: Give up and buy in?

MacRae, I. (1995, May 1). The Woodwards whitewash.

Hands around Woodwards. (1995, May 1).

Pranzo, M. (1995, May 15). See you at Woodward’s (cover).

Bringing Woodward’s back to life… and back to the community. Woodwards Window Project. (1995, May 15).

Odnell, T. (1995, May 15). Affordable windows for [???].

Sarti, B. (1995, May 15). Reprint of Sun article – ‘Downtown Eastside Residents Square Off Against Woodward’s building developer.’

Gust, G. (1995, May 15).

Neighbourhood news. (1995, May 15).

Sanders, D. (1995, June 1). A dream shelter.

Early days at Woodwards. (1995, June 1).

Cameron, S. (1995, June 1). Woodward’s – A Place that was shared.

Aird, E. (1995, June 1). ’Mr. Condo’ excluded only from neighbours’ poverty [reprinted].

Downtown Eastsiders just want to have fun. (1995, June 1).

Neighbourhood gathering and celebration. Bringing Woodwards back to life… and back to the community. (1995, June 1).

Clear as a bell. (1995, June 15).

See you at Woodward’s. Keeping the spirit alive and well. (1995, June 15).

Neighbourhood News. (1995, June 15).

Sommers, J. (1995, June 15). Friends in high places: The NPA and development in the Downtown Eastside.

Gettin’ away from ya?! (1995, July 1).

Shayler, J. (1995, July 1). See you at Woodward’s. The vision is still alive.

Yuppies in the “Hood.” (1995, July 1).

Neighbourhood news. (1995, July 1).

Gurlewshi, R. (1995, July 15). Yup, yup, yup, … whine, whine, whine.

Cameron, A. (1995, July 15).

East, J. (1995, July 15).

Neighbourhood news. (1995, July 15).

Liar, liar, pants of fire. (1995, August 1).

Taylor, P.R. (1995, August 1). Woodward’s and the axe.

Watson, N. (1995, August 1). Liar, liar, pants on fire.

Osborn, B. (1995, August 1). An address for the Vancouver City Council and the developers of the Woodward’s building.

Carnegie Community Centre Association. (1995, November 15). Declaration Committee to Save Woodwards.

Premier urges housing mix as priority at Woodward’s (reprinted). (1995, December 1).

So nice to come home to. (1996, January 15).

Hennessey, J. (1996, January 15). Close, but no cigar yet.

Owen, P. (1996, January 15). Letter to Muggs.

Leprine, G. (1996, February 1). Talking about Woodward’s.

Woodwards update. (1996, February 1).

Flash! Woodward’s deal announced. (1996, February 15).

Prevost, M. (1996, March 1).

Gombe, H. (1996, March 1). See you at Woodward’s.

Osborn, B. (1996, March 1). Reflections on the Woodward’s deal…

McCallum, W.G. (1996, April 1).

Beal, E. (1996, April 1). Communities of the urban poor should be strengthened and not scattered (reprinted).

Taylor, P.R. (1996, April 1). Woodward’s.

News update from the Woodwards Committee Ap 10/96. (1996, April 15).

Armato, J. (1996, April 15). Ten years and counting.

The developers’ real agenda. (1996, April 15).

Taylor, P.R. (1996, May 15). Woodward’s.

Sigurgeirson, M. (1996, June 1).

Ko, D. (1996, June 1). Woodwards-Victory Square.

Taylor, P.R. (1996, June 15). Woodward’s.

Donahue, L. (1996, November 1). Woodward’s co-op update or we’re here again and we’re staying!

Let’s keep the vision alive. Woodward’s belongs to us… Not to Kassem Aghtai. (1997, April 15).

Sommers, J. & T. Laviolette. (1997, April 15). Development permit hearing for the Woodward’s building.

For immediate release: Community groups claim betrayal over Woodward’s cancellation. (1997, April 15).

McBinner, Mr. (1997, April 15).

Community Action Project [special edition on Woodwards!… Unfortunately]. (1997, April 15).

What has been said (reprint). (1997, April 15).

Use of old co-op plans at Woodward’s hearing protested. (1997, April 15).

Upcoming schedule. (1997, April 15).

Taylor, P.R. (1997, April 15). Aghtai’s reason collapse under close scrutiny. The Alternative Media (that’s us) reveals the truth.

Woodward’s belongs to us… (1997, April 15).

Kassem Aghtai: By the Evil you have wrought; A Curse on your house for five generations. (1997, May 1).

The battle for Woodwards is a battle for the Downtown Eastside. (1997, May 1).

Osborn, B. (1997, May 1). Poem-speech spoken at Woodwards 19 April 1997 the day of the community block party.

‘Woodward’s Stores Ltd.’ A long time resident. (1997, May 15).

Woodward’s update. (1997, May 15).

Gastown Business Improvement Association. (1997, May 15). Reprint “The New Downtown.”

This building patrolled by Canine Security. (1997, June 15).

A vision for Woodward’s. (1997, June 15).

Woodward’s and us. (1997, June 15).

Diether, R. (1997, June 15). FAMA Holdings: Attention: Kassem Aghtai.

Osborn, B. (1997, June 15).

Quick notes. (1997, July 1).

An omen or prophecy for confrontation. (1997, July 15).

Reprint. (1997, July 15).

Carnegie Newsletter. (1997, September 1)

Taylor, P.R. (1997, November 1). When you’re told you can’t win…

Green, M. (1997, November 1). Woodwards development permit hearing.

Grantham, B. (1997, November 1).

Sommers, J. (1997, November 1). Dear Miss Sigurgierson, Michael Boulton.

Woodwards housing outside Woodwards. (1998, February 15).

Carnegie Newsletter. (1998, March 15).

Woodwards update. (1998, June 15).

Carnegie Newsletter. (1999, April 1)

Wondering what’s happening with Woodwards? (1999, September 1).

Carnegie Newsletter. (2000, July 15).

Millar, S. (2000, July 15). Letter to the editor (Province).

Taylor, P.R. (2000, July 15). Daisies!?!

Cameron, S. (2000, August 1). Daisies for democracy.

Taylor, P.R. (2000, August 15). Democracy in action.

The Decent Housing Brigade. (2000, August 15). Housing, housing, housing.

Protestors demand social housing for Woodwards. (2000, August 15).

We Won! (2001, March 15).

Taylor, P.R. (2001, March 15). Woodward’s.

Ramsay, S. (2002, April 1). Dear Margaret Green.

Social Housing at Woodward’s **CRITICAL** (2002, August 15).

Osborn, B. (2002, August 15). Raise shit – a downtown eastside poem of resistance.

Rally to resist the cuts. (2002, September 15).

Raise shit and resist. (2002, October 1).

Shawn M. (2002, October 1). Bustin’ into Woodwards.

Woodward’s Squatters denounce Police Threats. (2002, October 1).

Foley, Patrick. (2002, October 1). Woodwards.

Cameron, S. (2002, October 1). Ellen Woodsworth – A Fighter for the Downtown Eastside.

Dutka, H. (2002, October 1). Speak Up.

Friends of the Woodwards Squat. (2002, October 15).

Foley, P. (2002, October 15). Woodward’s for the People.

Taylor, P.R. (2002, October 15). Neighbourhood News.

Carnegie Newsletter. (2002, November 1).

Krangle, K. & F. Bula. (2002, November 15). Reprint ‘Eastside, NPA in-fighting dog Clarke’s Campaign’

Letter of Support for the Woodwards Squatters. (2002, December 1).

Taylor, P.R. (2002, December 1).

A Recent History and Building Community. (2003, May 15).

Woodward’s Open House. (2003, June 1).

City of Vancouver. (2003, August 15). Expression of Interest: Woodward’s Redevelopment Project.

MacRae, I. (2004, January 15). Woodward’s Miracle: ???

Tapp, C. (2004, February 1). Woodward’s Window Display.

Cameron, S. and J. Swanson. (2004, June 1). Woodsquat – Review.

Carnegie Newsletter. (2004, June 15).

Woodward’s! or is the Fix in at The Core… (2004, September 1). Cover.

Is the fix in? (2004, September 1).

Leyden, J. (2004, September 1). Dear Council Members.

The People’s Truth. (2004, September 15). Cover.

Woodwards Social Housing Coalition. (2004, September 15). The ‘Pick Six’ from the WSHC survey results.

Gallery Gachet At Woodwards. (2004, October 1).

Bohnert, M. (2004, October 1). A poem on Woodwards.

Kravitz, S. (2004, October 1).

Dear Mr. Burman. (2005, June 1)

Swanson, J. (2005, June 15). Why I don’t think Woodwards will save the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood.

Taylor, P.R. (2005, July 15). Neighbourhood news.

Carnegie Newsletter. (2005, October 1).

Information Meeting for Non-Profit Organizations. (2005, October 1).

Can you keep a secret? (2005, November 1)

Gentrification and the myth of a mixed income community. (2009, August 1).

Stopping by Woodwards on a summer evening. (2009, September 15).

They call it social mix. We call it gentrification. (2009, December 15).

Ripple Effects of Woodwards. (2010, February 15).

W.O.O.D.S.Q.U.A.T. Newsletters, written and edited by the Friends of the Woodwards Squat

FWS. (2002, September 20). Open house, #1.

Ascaso, C., Woodwards 58 & FWS. (2002, September 21). Writing from the squat & courthouse report with W58 conditions for release, #2.

APC & FWS. (2002, September 23). We will win, #3.

Leyden, J., B. Meslo, I. Drury, & C. Livingstone. (2002, September 24). Featuring the Victory Square speeches, #4.

Brody, Rabbit, Chris, Angel, Lacey, Traum. (2002, September 25). New writing from the Woodwards Squat, #5.

Casper. (2002, September 27). Punk issue, #6.

Ballantyne, C., & FWS. (2002, October 1). Roughing it in the city: An interview with Craig Ballantyne, #7.

FWS. (2002, October 1). Protect your stuff, #8.

Coalition of Woodward’s Squatters and Supporters. (2002, October 3). #9.

Drury, I., & FWS. (2002, October 5). #10.

Toecutter, Skyy, & Rick. (2002, October 7). Victory Square speeches – Saturday Oct 5, 2002, #11.

Drury, I., & FWS. (2002, October 8). Legal update on Britannia arrestees, #12.

FWS. (2002, October 9). Photographs from Monday’s march. Free webpages for squatters, #13.

Durocher, C., & FWS. (2002, October 10). “I haven’t met more beautiful people in my entire life.” An interview Chrystal Durocher, #14.

FWS. (2002, October 11). Stick together, watch out for media, city engineers, and social workers!, #15.

FWS. (2002, October 12). Danger: Violent repeat offender seen in neighhourhood, #16.

FWS. (2002, October 14). Preliminary inventory of items destroyed or stolen by the police, #17.

Clarke, J., & OCAP. (2002, October 15). News from Toronto, #18.

Lacey, & FWS. (2002, October 16). “I’m still here. I’m still breathing. Can’t get rid of me that easy.” Interview with Lacey, #19.

Shane, Homes Not Jails, APC, & FWS. (2002, October 17). Reports from the Police Board Meeting at the Vancouver “Public” Library, #20.

The Pandora Squat. (2002, October 17). News from Victoria, #21. Comite Logement des La Convergence des luttes anti-capitalistes (CLAC). (2002, October 19). News from Montreal, #22.

McHugh, M., Kym, & R. Wong. (2002, October 20). Three support letters, #23. Danberger, T. (2002, October 21). As Writtled: Four poems by Taum, #24.

Angel. (2002, October 21). – Four Poems by Angel, #25.

Bundock, S., B. Jones, & A. Vidaver. (2002, October 23). Three presentations to City Council, #26.

APC. (2002, October 23). Give It or Guard It, #27.

FWS, WSHC, & APC. (2002, October 25). Housing demands, #28.

Alinsky, S. (2002, Octobe 26). Tactics: From an essay by Saul Alinsky, #29.

Adam S., Pachungo, & J. Elmer. (2002, October 27). News from Halifax, #30.

FWS. (2002, October 28). Five questions for our mayoral candidates, #31. Vidaver, A. (2002, October 31). Two polite letters to City Hall, #32.

Leyden, J. (2002, November 1). Press statements by Jim Leyden, #33.

CWSS. (2002, November 2). Letter from The Coalition delivered by hand to City Hall, #34.

Ward, C., & Co. (2002, November 3). Three Cameron Ward letters and minutes for the finance committee, #35.

FWS. (2002, November 4). How to defend the squat in court, #36.

Woodwards Legal Defense Committee (WLDC). (2002, November 7). The W58 in BC Supreme Court, #37.

WLDC, & Pivot Legal Society. (2002, November 8). Victory! We won and we will again, #38.

CWSS, APC, & FWS. (2002, November 9). Six ways to help the Woodwards Squat, #39.

CWSS. (2002, November 15). Squat meeting: Emergency response team & injunction hearing court procedures, #40.

Toecutter, Dayl, Autumn, Frank, Linda, Rose, Mike, Sky, Sunder, Susan, Gregory, Ken, Kaspar, Wayne, Adam, Austin, Betty, Brody, Shane, Andrea, & Brian. (2002, November 17). 26 affidavits in defense of the squat, legal outline against the injunction, court proceedings, #41.

Offley, W. (2002, November 21). The COPE betrayal: Jails are not appropriate social housing, #42.

FWS. (2002, November 21). The media cannot be reformed, #43.

FWS. (2002, November 25). Hold together one more week, #44.

APC & FWS. (2002, November 25). A history of the Woodwards Squat, #45.

Drury, I. (2002, November 26). A history of the Woodwards Squat part 1: Opening day, #46.

Bundock, S. (2002, November 28). A history of the Woodwards Squat part 2: The week inside: 14-21 September, #47.

FWS. (2002, November 29). Stick together! Power in unity! We will win!, #48. Vidaver, A., & S. Bundock. (2002, December 3). Letter to Mayor and Council. Election analysis, #49.

Danberger, T. (2002, December 5). I’m completely distracted within the first seven seconds, #50.

FWS, T. Louis, & E. Woodsworth. (2002, December 5). Diagram of the squat structure and two letters from City Councilors on a Negotiated Settlement, #51.

ABCNative, & M. Krebs. (2002, December 7). Canada is all native land. Demands. News From Argentina, #52.

Keeping Time. (2002, December 8). Squatting in Vancouver, #53.

Davies, L., C. Bradshaw, & A. Vidaver. (2002, December 12). Federal government promises Woodwards, #54.

FWS. (2003, January 1). #55.

Scheltgen, D., & BC Civil Liberties Association. (2003, January 19). #56.

FWS & M. Sider. (2003, June 9). The Vancouver Squatters’ Alliance Announces: The George Abbott award for excellence in bad behaviour, #57.

Barnholden, M. (2003, June 22). Mansions for the rich or housing for all?, #58.


Woodsquat (West Coast Line, Number 41/42, 37/2-3 Fall/Winter 2003/04).Guest edited by A. Vidaver.

Intro & Acknowledgements. Pp. 7-8.

Marginalized Workers Action League. Photograph of the Détournement of the “W” Tower. Pp. 9.

Gray, T.D. Canada is all native land: Non-natives are all squatters. Pp. 10.

Gadd, M. THIS IS NOT A POEM. Pp. 11-17.

Wulwick, L. Squatting as an organizing tool. Pp. 18-19.

Sommers, J. Beyond the collar of blight. Pp. 20-28.

People’s Opposition. Rally to resist the cuts flyer. Pp. 29.

Leyden, J. Community actions letter. Pp. 30.

Millar, S. Bustin’ into Woodwards. Pp. 31.

Anti-Poverty Committee. Call for support demonstration. Pp. 33.

Nathan. We will not submit to corporate domination. Pp. 34.

Azad & Marwan. Four updates. Pp. 35-36.

Coalition of Woodwards Squatters and Supporters. Call for second support demo. Pp. 37.

Learn, K. In the courts or in the streets. Pp. 38.

Marwan. Two photographs of the second support demonstration. Pp. 39-40.

Krebs, M. Demands. Pp. 41-44.

Skyy. Squat the world. Pp. 45-49.

Vancouver Police Department. Megan Oleson & James Toews Arrest Video Stills. Pp. 50-51.

Drury, I. The first two evictions of the Woodwards Squat. Pp. 52-57.

Friends of the Woodwards Squat. The Woodwards 54: Summary report. Pp. 58.

Woodwards Legal Defense Committee. Second eviction witness statements. Pp. 59-70.

Woodwards Legal Defense Committee. Preliminary list of objects destroyed. Pp. 71-74.

City of Vancouver. Nighttime Woodwards sidewalk cleanup. Pp. 75-78.

Leyden, J., B. Meslo, C. Livingstone, & I. Drury. Victory square addresses. Pp. 79-80.

Sunsurn, I.V. Photographs of Ivan Drury, Betty Williams & Mavis Brass. Pp. 81-82.

Anti-Poverty Committee. Call for third support demonstration. Pp. 83.

Vancouver Independent Media Centre. Photograph of Ricky Lavallie speaking & singing at third demo. Pp. 84.

Vancouver Police Department. Crime surveillance observations. Pp. 85.

Krull, D. The step by step process of meetings and common terms. Pp. 86-87.

Ballantyne, C. Roughing it in the city. Pp. 88-89.

Wilden, A. I arrived completely by accident. Pp. 90.

Bush, M. The Queen visits Woodwards. Pp. 91.

Duocher, C. I haven’t met more beautiful people in my entire life. Pp. 92-94.

Coalition of Woodwards Squatters and Supporters. Points of unity and strategy of the Coalition. Pp. 95.

Toecutter & Zeus. Two speeches at Victory Square. Pp. 96-97.

Peter Z. The Woodwards squat December 1st. Pp. 98.

Forth, C. From the Woodwards squat to widespread social overhaul. Pp. 99-103.

Anonymous. Graffiti featuring journalist Andrew Struthers. Pp. 104.

Rainer, L. I’m still here. I’m still breathing. Can’t get rid of me that easy. Pp. 105-106.

Trevor M. Woodsquat. Pp. 107-117.

A Native Man. They think we’re disposible but we’re not: We’re recyclable. Pp. 118-121.

Friends of the Woodwards Squat. Photos of Chris Barton/Angel Williams & Nick Olsen/Matthew Bonnetrouge. Pp. 122-123.

Hidden in Dark Well. Until we win. Pp. 124-125.

Davis, S. Report from the Police Board meeting. Pp. 126.

Coalition of Woodwards Squatters and Supporters. Letter to preempt third police eviction. Pp. 127.

Maurice, C. Campbell is the WTO virus. Pp. 128-129.

Woodwards Squat Native Caucus. Photograph of Ångel. Pp. 130.

Ångel. Here is home. Pp. 131-132.

Determined Housing Affinity Group. Call for emergency mobilization and action. Pp. 133.

Sievewright, K. Defend the tent city. Pp. 134.

Insurgent-S. Squatter threat: The black scare. Pp. 135-136.

Coalition of Woodwards Squatters and Supporter. Letter to the city engineer delivered by hand to City Hall. Pp. 137-138.

Bush, M. Monster Liberal hallowe’en ball. Pp. 139.

Archie, R.G. This is it. Pp. 140-142.

Forsythe, T. On the politics, on addiction, on prisons and pigs, on class war. Pp. 143-145.

Bundock, S. Movement tactics and electoral politics. Pp. 146-147.

Murray, A. Absolute chaos. Pp. 148-149.

Tooley, L. We need to be left alone. Pp. 150-151.

Friends of the Woodwards Squat. City announces Homeless Action Plan. Pp. 152.

Jason X. Photograph of November 25 rally. Pp. 153.

Anti-Poverty Committee. Woodwards squat under imminent attack. Pp. 154.

Woodwards Squat Emergency Response Team. Stick together! Power in unity! We will win! Pp. 155-156.

Danberger, T. I’m completely distracted within the first seven seconds. Pp. 157-164.

Rattlesnake, K.M.L. We belong here. Pp. 165-168.

Vancouver City Manager. Third Woodsquat memorandum excerpt. Pp. 169-172.

Woodwards Legal Defense Committee. Letter to mayor and council. Pp. 173-174.

Ouimet, Rev. D., & C. Gray. Transcript of negotiations discussion. Pp. 175-176.

Vancouver Police Department. Tactical situation at Woodwards. Pp. 177-180.

Scheltgen, D. Invitation to Premier Gordon Campbell. Pp. 181.

Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society. Eternal Turtle Island. Pp. 182.

Snakeskin, T. Chain reaction. Pp. 183-185.

Vidaver, A. Squatter portraits. Pp. 186-199.

Nelson, E.A. A thousand songs to choose from. Pp. 200-201.

Hoyle, H. Lily of the valley. Pp. 202-205.

Gongola, B. Frances to Woody. Pp. 206-207.

Quastel, N. Legal strategies at the Woodwards squat. Pp. 208-221.

The Vancouver Sun. Two versions of the September 20 edition of The Sun. Pp. 222.

Leung, D. Shallow stories to ill-informed public. Pp. 223-228.

Friend of the Woodwards Squat. Photograph of Doris Louis. Pp. 229.

Cunningham, D. A ghetto is no community. Pp. 230-235.

Jewel C. Twelve days of squatting. Pp. 236-237.

Notes on Contributors. Pp. 238.


Friends of the Woodwards Squat Archive, Catalogued on the Community Health Online Database Archive Research Resource (CHODARR)

Friends of the Woodwards Squat Press Kit

Friends of the Woodwards Squat’s Presentation to City Hall and Regular Council Meeting – October 22, 2002 Agenda

Support Demonstration for Woodward’s Squat

Woodwards Social Housing Coalition documents

Rising Up Angry

Woodwards: The Community’s Vision

Woodwards Social Housing vs. the 2010 Olympics Games

Woodwards Housing vs. the 2010 Olympics

Coalition of Woodward’s Homeless and Supporters Society

Meeting with George Abbott

Rally to Resist the Cuts

Initial thoughts – Woodwards Vision

Woodward’s Vision 2005 Questionnaire Preliminary Results

What I would like to see at Woodwards

Critique of Report Presented by the Woodwards Steering Committee to Vancouver City Council on July 8













Appendix c – City of Vancouver Documents

(Documents listed in chronological order)


Development Permit Board and Advisory Panel. (1995, June 19). Development permit board and advisory panel meeting minutes – June 19, 1995.

Manager of the Housing Centre and Associate Director of Planning Central Area in consultation with Director of Social Planning. (1995, July 11). East downtown housing plan, policy report, urban structure.

City Council. (1995, July 20). Special Council meeting on Woodward’s heritage designation.

Development Permit Board and Advisory Board. (1997, October 20). Development permit board and advisory panel minutes – October 20, 1997.

General Manager of Engineering Services. (2002, August 21). Woodward’s building redevelopment – Encroachment agreement for existing canopies, administrative report.

City Council. (2002, October 8). Regular Council meeting minutes – October 8, 2002.

Vancouver Police Board. (2002, October 16). Minutes of regular meeting held on October 16, 2002.

The Director of Current Planning and the Director of the Housing Centre, in consultation with the Directors of Real Estate Services and Financial Services. (2002, October 17). Woodward’s proposal: Heritage incentives and housing agreement – 101 West Hastings Street, policy report, development and building.

Gray, C. (2002, October 18). Woodward’s report, memorandum.

City Council. (2002, October 22). Regular Council meeting – October 22, 2002 agenda.

Vancouver Police Board. (2002, November 20). Minutes of regular meeting held on November 20, 2002.

Supreme Court of BC. (2002, November 22). Injunction.

Co-Design Group. (2003). The Woodward’s co-design program, community consultation report.

City of Vancouver. (2003). Mayor Larry Campbell confirms City is in negotiations with Province of B.C. on future of Woodward’s building, Vancouver City Council Members.

City of Vancouver and Province of British Columbia. (2003, January 29). Agreement begins new future for Woodward’s building, news release.

City Manager. (2003, February 18). Woodward’s steering committee, administrative report.

The Woodward’s Steering Committee. (2003, April 7). Woodward’s redevelopment update – 101 West Hastings Street, policy report.

City of Vancouver. (2003, May 13). City begins process to redevelop Woodward’s, news release. City of Vancouver. (2003, May 22). City relights the Woodward’s “W” sign, news release.

The Woodward’s Steering Committee. (2003, June 24). Woodward’s redevelopment update – 101 West Hastings Street: Request for expressions of interest, policy report.

The Woodward’s Steering Committee. (2003, October 21). Woodward’s redevelopment update – 101 West Hastings Street: Request for expressions of interest, administrative report.

City of Vancouver. (2003, November 24). Series of TV specials looks at Woodward’s then and now, news release.

The Woodward’s Steering Committee. (2004, February 10). Woodward’s redevelopment update – 101 West Hastings Street: Request for proposals for redevelopment, administrative report.

The Woodward’s Steering Committee. (2004, February 24). Woodward’s redevelopment update – 101 West Hastings Street: Request for proposals for redevelopment, appendix “A” – RFP framework, administrative report.

City Council. (2004, February 24). Regular Council minutes – February 24, 2004.

Director of Cultural Affairs and Director of Social Planning in consultation with the Director of Facility Design and Management. (2004, March 4). Woodward’s – 101 West Hastings Street: Non-profit category, administrative report.

Director of Current Planning, in consultation with the Director of Real Estate Services. (2004, March 23). Woodward’s – 101 West Hastings Street: Urban design guidelines, administrative report.

City of Vancouver. (2004, March 23). Woodward’s urban design guidelines, appendix A.

Woodward’s Steering Committee. (2004, March 4). Administrative report – Non-profit category.

City of Vancouver. (2004, June 4). Request for proposals for the redevelopment of the Woodward’s Site – 101 West Hastings Street Vancouver.

City of Vancouver. (2004, July 9). City unveils three Woodward’s proposals, news release.

City of Vancouver. (2004, July 20). Woodward’s update – Developer submission update, July 20, 2004, presentation.

The Woodward’s Steering Committee. (2004, September 20). Woodward’s – 101 West Hastings Street: Request for proposals – Developer selection, administrative report.

City of Vancouver. (2004, September 28). Woodward’s developer recommendation, Council presentation.

Director of the Housing Centre in consultation with the Woodward’s Steering Committee. (2005, January 6). Selection of sponsors for Woodward’s non-market housing, administrative report.

City of Vancouver. (2005, March 2). SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts joins Woodward’s development, news release.

City of Vancouver. (2005, July 25). Developer begins site preparation for Woodward’s, news release.

The Woodward’s Steering Committee. (2005, September 6). Woodward’s – 101 West Hastings Street: Design development update, administrative report.

The Woodward’s Redevelopment Group. (2005, September 13). Westbank project development report, project development report.

City of Vancouver, Real Estate Services. (2005, September 22). The story of Woodward’s, website.

City of Vancouver, Community Services Group. (2006, February 15). 100 West Cordova Street/101 West Hastings Street (complete application) DE409942 – Zone DD, development permit staff committee report.

Director of Current Planning, in consultation with the Managing Director of Cultural Services. (2006, February 17). CD-1 rezoning and amenity bonus: Woodward’s Site (101 and 149 West Hastings Street and 150 West Cordova Street), policy report.

The Director of Current Planning in consultation with the Director of Real Estate Services. (2006, March 8). Woodward’s heritage revitalization agreement – 101 West Hastings Street (100 West Cordova Street) DE 409942, administrative report.

City of Vancouver, Community Services Group, Planning and Rezoning Centre. (2006, March 21). Woodward’s CD-1 rezoning, memorandum.

The Direct of Facilities Design and Management in consultation with the Director of Real Estate Services and the General Manager of Committee Services. (2006, September 11). Award of design consultation contract for the Woodward’s child care, administrative report.

City of Vancouver, Real Estate Services. (2008, November 28). The story of Woodward’s, website.

City of Vancouver, Real Estate Services. (2008, November 28). Project timeline, website.

City of Vancouver, Real Estate Services. (2009, April 3). The future of Woodward’s, website. Deputy General Manager of Community Services and Acting Managing Director of Cultural Services in Consultation with the Directors of Planning, Real Estate and Budget Services. (2009, May 28). Woodward’s purpose-built non-profit tenants, support item no. 2 CS&B committee agenda, June 11, 2009, administrative report.

City of Vancouver, Real Estate Services. (2009, June). Frequently asked questions regarding Woodward’s non-profit social enterprise space and the non-profit purpose-built space.

City of Vancouver, Real Estate Services. (2009, June 23). Guiding principles for the Woodward’s project, website.

City of Vancouver, Real Estate Services. (2009, June 23). Community consultation, website.

City of Vancouver, Real Estate Services. (2009, June 23). Development proposal, website.

City of Vancouver, Real Estate Services. (2009, August). Woodward’s non-profit Q & A.

City of Vancouver, Real Estate Services. (2009, August). Woodward’s generic RFP Q & A.

City of Vancouver, Real Estate Services. (2009, August). Request for proposals for non-profit generic office and assembly space proposal requirements.

City Council. (2009, September 26). Regular Council meeting minutes – September 26, 2009.

Title Author/Source Date
October 30, 1992. A1 1992-10-30
October 23, 1992. D6. Business 1992-10-23
Woodward’s welsh leaves ex-workers in credit line Casselton, Valerie.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jan 06, 1993.  Section D,  p. 1 1993-01-06
Greening of Downtown Eastside banks on credit union idea:[1* Edition] Elizabeth Aird.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jan 16, 1993.  p. B1 1993-01-16
Attention shoppers (this means you, Jim): the sale won’t last .:[1* Edition] Elizabeth Aird.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jan 19, 1993.  p. B1 1993-01-19
Green up against a Wall over future of old Woodward’s store .:[1* Edition] Elizabeth Aird.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Feb 11, 1993.  p. B1 1993-02-11
Woodward’s downtown store sold to city financier’s firm:[1* Edition] The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Feb 13, 1993.  p. A1 1993-02-13
Downtown Eastside residents know social housing at premium:[1* Edition] The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Feb 22, 1993.  p. A11 1993-02-22
Deal-hungry vultures flock to flagship store’s funeral:[1* Edition] DAVID HOGBEN.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Mar 12, 1993.  p. D1 1993-03-12
New life at Woodwynn chain:[1* Edition] The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Apr 16, 1993.  p. D2 1993-04-16
Woodward’s closure turns downtown area into a ghost town:[1* Edition] Elizabeth Aird.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:May 25, 1993.  p. B1 1993-05-25
Downtown gives glimpses of Vancouver’s past and future life Series: URBAN TRAILS:[1* Edition] ROBERT SARTI.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jul 9, 1993.  p. C9 1993-07-09
Sears keen to cash in on suburban shell left empty by Woodward’s bankruptcy:[FINAL Edition] BRUCE CONSTANTINEAU.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Aug 26, 1993.  p. D1 1993-08-23
Store staff became orphans of `storm’:[FINAL Edition] MARY McGREER.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jan 15, 1994.  p. A3 1994-01-15
Can a man called Poole bring off a near-miracle on East Hastings?:[FINAL Edition] ELIZABETH AIRD.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Feb 3, 1994.  p. B1 1994-02-03
New SFU campus proposed downtown:[FINAL Edition] JEFF LEE.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Feb 16, 1994.  p. A3 1994-02-16
hastings street Series: VANCOUVER STREET LIFE:[FINAL Edition] FRANCES BULA.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jul 21, 1994.  p. C22 1994-07-21
Lowest-income area caught in condo vise:[FINAL Edition] ROBERT SARTI.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Feb 14, 1995.  p. B.12 1995-02-14
Stab in heart or new heart for Skid Road? Hastings?:[FINAL Edition] Robert Sarti.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Apr 7, 1995.  p. B.3 1995-04-07
Developer promises residents a say in Woodward’s project:[FINAL Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:May 3, 1995.  p. B.4 1995-05-03
Developer’s plan for Woodward’s building angers downtrodden community:[FINAL Edition] ELIZABETH AIRD.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:May 4, 1995.  p. B.1 1995-05-04
To have haves and have-nots ideal outcome of Woodward’s site dispute:[FINAL Edition] ELIZABETH AIRD.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:May 9, 1995.  p. B.1 1995-05-09
Evictions recall Expo 86, groups say:[FINAL Edition] ROBERT SARTI.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:May 19, 1995.  p. B.4 1995-05-19
Old Woodward’s store focus of new city plan:[FINAL Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jun 10, 1995.  p. A.5 1995-06-10
Developer wins Woodward’s project:[FINAL Edition] FRANCES BULA.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jun 20, 1995.  p. B.6 1995-06-20
Woodward’s decision a plus for Vancouver:[FINAL Edition] The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jun 21, 1995.  p. A.10 1995-06-21
YUPPIES IN THE ‘HOOD: Proposed gentrification of poorer areas of city sparks clash of values and cultures: CONDOS: Gentrification’s pros, cons:[FINAL Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jun 24, 1995.  p. A.1 1995-06-24
1930s memories of tramps and 5-cent cones:[FINAL Edition] Eva Derpak.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jun 29, 1995.  p. A.3 1995-06-29
Critics of Woodward’s developer vow to continue fight:[FINAL Edition] FRANCES BULA.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jul 20, 1995.  p. A.3 1995-07-20
Premier urges housing mix as priority at Woodward’s:[FINAL Edition] ROBERT SARTI,  FRANCES BULA.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 28, 1995.  p. B.1 1995-11-28
Social housing for Woodward’s hinges on talks:[FINAL Edition] FRANCES BULA.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Dec 21, 1995.  p. B.3 1995-12-21
Mixed-income housing slated for Woodward’s:[FINAL C Edition 1] ROBERT SARTI.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Feb 16, 1996.  p. B.1 1996-02-16
Mixed-income housing slated for Woodward’s:[FINAL Edition] ROBERT SARTI.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Feb 16, 1996.  p. B.1 1996-02-16
Harcourt comes full circle: The premier makes one of his last public announcements in the Downtown Eastside, the same place his political career started in the 1960s.:[FINAL Edition] TOM BARRETT.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Feb 17, 1996.  p. A.21 1996-02-17
`Egg crate’ suites plan gets roasting: A developer’s proposal to build tiny, low-rent apartments in the Downtown Eastside fails to reap much support in the area.: Mockup erected:[FINAL Edition] Robert Sarti.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Apr 26, 1996.  p. B.1 1996-04-26
Woodward’s site gets social housing:[FINAL Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 19, 1996.  p. B.8 1996-10-19
Urban evolution eventually will drop its blanket over downtown’s decay:[FINAL Edition] Dennis Bolen, Vancouver Sun Community Editorial Board.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Dec 4, 1996.  p. A.17 1996-12-04
The return of the red W – a property is reborn:[FINAL Edition] Dennis Bolen, Community Editorial Board.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Dec 24, 1996.  p. A.23 1996-12-24
The UN’s `homeless’ are losing their last Vancouver homes:[FINAL Edition] The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Dec 27, 1996.  p. A.19 1996-12-27
Dominion Hotel going upscale: Once seedy establishment will become a first-class tourist facility.:[FINAL Edition] Wyng Chow, Sun Asia-Pacific Reporter.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Feb 7, 1997.  p. D.1 1997-02-07
Real estate boom looms for Hastings Street: The gutting of the old Woodward’s store has sparked a new interest in the area.:[FINAL Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Mar 05, 1997.  p. A.10 1997-03-05
Woodward’s co-op housing looks dead:[FINAL Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Apr 5, 1997.  p. A.1 1997-04-05
Eastside groups vow to ensure Woodward’s has social housing:[FINAL Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Apr 7, 1997.  p. B.3 1997-04-07
Mayor offers help to Woodwood’s project: If resurrected, the project would be the largest public-private housing partnership undertaken in B.C.:[FINAL Edition] Robert Sarti.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Apr 9, 1997.  p. B.1 1997-04-09
Salvage operation: Troubled neighborhood needs a savior for the Woodward’s housing project:[FINAL Edition] The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Apr 9, 1997.  p. A.14 1997-04-09
Woodward’s project director turns down mayor’s offer of help:[FINAL Edition] Frances Bula and Tom Barrett.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Apr 10, 1997.  p. B.1 1997-04-10
Homeless numbers will grow unless . . .: Mayor Owen tells Premier Clark what’s at stake in the collapse of the Woodward’s social-housing negotiations.:[FINAL Edition] The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Apr 11, 1997.  p. A.21 1997-04-11
Use of old co-op plans at Woodward’s hearing protested: Developer to seek approval of condo venture despite dropping of low-income part of project.:[FINAL Edition] Robert Sarti.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Apr 11, 1997.  p. B.4 1997-04-11
Woodward’s co-op housing still alive, group claims: Municipal Affairs Minister Mike Farnworth has been asked to keep a promise to finance a co-operative.:[FINAL Edition] Tom Barrett.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Apr 12, 1997.  p. A.16 1997-04-12
Developing hopes for former Woodward’s site dashed by builder Fama:[FINAL Edition] Robin Ward.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Apr 16, 1997.  p. F.10 1997-04-16
Woodward’s co-op housing supporters stage sit-in protest:[FINAL Edition] The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Apr 16, 1997.  p. B.3 1997-04-16
Vancouver Sun F10 1997-04-16
Woodward’s project – a fortress with a facade:[FINAL Edition] Robin Ward.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Apr 23, 1997.  p. C.7 1997-04-23
Condos approved for Woodward’s site:[Final C Edition] Petti Fong.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 21, 1997.  p. B1 FRONT 1997-10-21
East-siders try to save ‘heritage’:[Final Edition] Jason Proctor, Staff Reporter.  The Province.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 21, 1997.  p. A4 1997-10-21
Homeless Crisis Needs Common-Sense Solutions:[Final Edition] Blair Petrie.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 24, 1997.  p. A22 1997-10-24
Vision for Victory Square desperately needed:[Final Edition] The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jan 3, 1998.  p. A18 1998-01-03
Downtown Woodward’s store still stirs up emotions: Lack of action at the site has neighbours concerned about rumours it will be turned into a public housing complex.:[Final Edition] Ian Mulgrew.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jun 26, 1999.  p. B5 / FRONT 1999-06-26
Take a Stroll Through Victory Square: There’s a merchants’ revival movement afoot in one of the city’s worst areas:[Final Edition] Tony Wanless, Staff Reporter.  The Province.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jul 4, 1999.  p. A36 1999-07-04
Hopes alive for Woodward site: The owner of the heritage building says his company and the B.C. government are close to an agreement.:[Final Edition] Karenn Krangle.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Aug 17, 1999.  p. B1 / FRONT 1999-08-17
New plans to renovate Woodwards store in works: The owner of the heritage building says his company and the B.C. government are close to an agreement.:[South Of The Fraser: Surrey/White Rock/North Delta/Langley Edition] Karenn Krangle.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Aug 17, 1999.  p. B5 1999-08-17
New rumours about Woodward’s site reopen old issue : The debate is over how many units for the hard-to-house and urban singles are really needed in the area.:[Northshore Edition] Ian Mulgrew.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Aug 19, 1999.  p. B1 / FRONT 1999-08-19
Woodward’s co-op pitched as Gastown bright light: Jim Green says legitimate small businesses will come back and the drug dealers will no longer be running that part of town.:[South Of The Fraser Edition] Ian Mulgrew.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Aug 24, 1999.  p. B1 / FRONT 1999-08-24
Gastown carpark’s fate uncertain: Rising repair costs for the old Woodward’s parkade force city to rethink preservation plans.:[Final Edition] John MacKie.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Feb 19, 2000.  p. B5 / FRONT 2000-02-19
Woodward’s rumoured to become high-tech haven: Vancouver city planner confirms a high-tech firm is interested in buying the vacant east-side landmark.:[Final Edition] John MacKie and Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:May 25, 2000.  p. B1 / FRONT 2000-05-25
Daisy painters target old Woodwards building: Demonstrators were protesting the police investigation of an earlier flower-painting protest involving NDP MLA Jenny Kwan.:[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jul 13, 2000.  p. B6 2000-07-13
Woodward’s building should be blown up: Despite MLA Jenny Kwan’s daisy painting, social housing is exactly what the Downtown Eastside doesn’t need.:[Final Edition] Pete McMartin.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jul 20, 2000.  p. A3 2000-07-20
Art Philips. Vancouver Sun. Nov. 1, 2000. A21. 2000-11-01
Vancouver mayor defends diversification goals for neighbourhood housing:[Final Edition] Philip Owen.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 17, 2000.  p. A19 2000-11-17
Gentriville or Poorhaven?: In the Downtown Eastside, controlling the drug culture is one thing everyone can agree upon. After that, the fight is on. Series: Fix: Searching for solutions on the Downtown Eastside:[Final Edition] David Beers.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 23, 2000.  p. A18 2000-11-23
Sale of landmark Woodward’s building pending: Building would be divided between co-op housing and commercial/retail space:[Final Edition] John MacKie and Wyng Chow.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Feb 15, 2001.  p. B1 / FRONT 2001-02-15
Activists laud plan to convert Woodward’s building into housing: B.C. premier was among politicians on hand to mark purchase of building for co-op housing:[Final Edition] Jeremy Sandler.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Mar 2, 2001.  p. B1 / FRONT 2001-03-02
City Limits:[Final Edition] Kevin Griffin.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Mar 29, 2001.  p. B2 2001-03-29
SFU to study Woodward’s investment: Department stores make great campuses, VP reports:[Final Edition] John MacKie.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Apr 18, 2001.  p. B1 / FRONT 2001-04-18
The people behind the statistics: An anti-poverty activist says blaming the poor cushions the privileged:[Final Edition] Jean Swanson.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Aug 13, 2001.  p. A11 2001-08-13
‘Prepare for the worst,’ minister of housing warns: B.C. puts all new social-housing projects ‘under review,’ including Woodward’s:[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 15, 2001.  p. B1 / FRONT 2001-10-15
700 social housing units given belated go-ahead:[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Mar 15, 2002.  p. B5 2002-03-15
Woodwards parkade to be redeveloped: City to build new garage with street-level commercial space:[Final Edition] John Mackie.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Sep 5, 2002.  p. B1 / FRONT 2002-09-05
Injunction sought to evict activists: B.C. Housing wants to unload Woodward’s:[Final Edition] Janet Steffenhagen.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Sep 16, 2002.  p. B1 / FRONT 2002-09-16
Journey Into Fear illuminates 100-block West Hastings: For renowned artist Stan Douglas, Vancouver’s most famous block of crumbling history offers a photogenic opportunity to examine civic fears:[Final Edition] John Mackie.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Sep 16, 2002.  p. B4 2002-09-16
Police deliver injunction, but let defiant squatters stay:[Final C Edition] David Hogben and Neal Hall.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Sep 17, 2002.  p. B7 2002-09-17
Police respect ‘community,’ let defiant squatters stay:[Final Edition] David Hogben and Neal Hall.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Sep 17, 2002.  p. B7 2002-09-17
Woodward’s selling below cost: Liberals are working on a deal to sell the former store for less than NDP paid for it:[Final Edition] Jim Beatty.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Sep 18, 2002.  p. B3 2002-09-18
Developer eyes Woodward’s as squatters’ dispute escalates:[Final C Edition 1] Doug Ward.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Sep 20, 2002.  p. A1 / FRONT 2002-09-20
Developer eyes Woodward’s as squatters’ dispute escalates:[Final Edition] Doug Ward.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Sep 20, 2002.  p. A1 / FRONT 2002-09-20
Life and times of Woodward’s:[Final Edition] John Mackie.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Sep 20, 2002.  p. A5 2002-09-20
Old lady of Hastings a rich part of city’s lore What will be her fate?: Woodward’s building is now the epicentre of social problems of Downtown Eastside:[Final Edition] John Mackie.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Sep 20, 2002.  p. A4 2002-09-20
Livable downtown? I chose to drive away: Let’s be real. The glowing results of False Creek development are due to luck, timing, market forces and visionaries in power:[Final Edition] Paula Brook.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Sep 21, 2002.  p. E2 2002-09-21
Squatter ‘has nothing to lose’ if arrested: Patient police still aiming to resolve the standoff at Woodward’s peacefully:[Final Edition] Kevin Griffin.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Sep 21, 2002.  p. B1 / FRONT 2002-09-21
Woodward’s squatters vow to continue protest: Protesters determined to prolong fight for social housing in former store:[Final C Edition] Kevin Griffin.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Sep 21, 2002.  p. B4 2002-09-21
Protesters camp at Woodward’s door:[Final Edition] Yvonne Zacharias, with file from Lindsay Kines.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Sep 23, 2002.  p. B1 / FRONT 2002-09-23
Victoria can’t afford this white elephant:[Final Edition] Bob Friedland.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Sep 23, 2002.  p. A11 2002-09-23
Building a touchstone for a troubled area:[Final Edition] The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Sep 24, 2002.  p. A14 2002-09-24
Protesters abuse police: Woodward’s squatters confront officers after possessions thrown in garbage:[Final Edition] David Hogben and Neal Hall.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Sep 24, 2002.  p. B4 2002-09-24
Squatters’ rights: How much does the community owe to the people who took over the vacant Woodward’s building? It’s open to debate.:[Final Edition 1] Bertha Hanschke.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Sep 24, 2002.  p. A15 2002-09-24
Squatters’ rights: How much does the community owe to the people who took over the vacant Woodward’s building? It’s open to debate.:[Final Edition 2] Jim Moorhead.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Sep 24, 2002.  p. A15 2002-09-24
Squatters’ rights: How much does the community owe to the people who took over the vacant Woodward’s building? It’s open to debate.:[Final Edition] T.L. Grafton.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Sep 24, 2002.  p. A15 2002-09-24
Eastside decay cited as owner closes cafe:[Final C Edition] Kevin Griffin.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Sep 28, 2002.  p. B1 / FRONT 2002-09-28
Owner to close cafe, cites Eastside decay: The owner of a restaurant at Hastings and Cambie blames city, activists for problems:[Final Edition] Kevin Griffin.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Sep 28, 2002.  p. B1 / FRONT 2002-09-28
What should we do with Woodwards?: A blend of mixed housing with a commercial component, and even moving city hall, is the order of the day from these movers and shakers:[Final Edition] The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Sep 28, 2002.  p. B4 2002-09-28
Throne Speech to Tackle Drugs, Homelessness’ Vancouver Sun, Monday, Sept 30, 2002, A1 2002-09-30
COPE platform includes business plan for Downtown Eastside:[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 1, 2002.  p. A1 / FRONT 2002-10-01
COPE platform includes business plan for Downtown Eastside:[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 1, 2002.  p. A1 / FRONT 2002-10-01
COPE platform seeks guarantee of jobs for Downtown Eastside:[Final C Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 1, 2002.  p. A1 / FRONT 2002-10-01
Going downtown:[Final Edition 1] Patti Milson.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 1, 2002.  p. A15 2002-10-01
Going downtown:[Final Edition 2] Emma and Joe Murphy.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 1, 2002.  p. A15 2002-10-01
Going downtown:[Final Edition 3] Doug and Julie Kerr.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 1, 2002.  p. A15 2002-10-01
Going downtown:[Final Edition] Gillian Watson-Donald.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 1, 2002.  p. A15 2002-10-01
Rotting building leaves tenants looking for homes: Mary Gomez Place faced with structural damage:[Final Edition] David Hogben.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 2, 2002.  p. B7 2002-10-02
On the street where they live: The people who sleep under the big red W don’t share much, except a sense that they don’t belong anywhere else:[Final Edition] Andrew Struthers.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 12, 2002.  p. D3 2002-10-12
Carson moves on up from east side: Long-shot candidate doesn’t pull any punches:[Final Edition] Pete McMartin.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 14, 2002.  p. B3 2002-10-14
Downtown Eastside an Artifical Slum: Comment: Canada’s poorest postal code didn’t get that way by accident. Its troubles are largely the result of policies that warehouse the city’s most disadvantaged Trevor Boddy. The Vancouver Sun, Oct 15, 2002, B8 2002-10-15
The lesson of ‘Woodsquat’: Founded by people wanting to score political points — or just find a place to sleep — the Woodward’s tent city has become a symbol of defiance for the city’s homeless:[Final Edition] Doug Ward.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 15, 2002.  p. A1 / FRONT 2002-10-15
Every neighbourhood has a whine:[Final Edition] Pete McMartin.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 16, 2002.  p. B7 2002-10-16
Every neighbourhood has a whine:[Final Edition] Pete McMartin.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 16, 2002.  p. B7 2002-10-16
Just moving the people around doesn’t work:[Final Edition] Paul Willcocks.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 16, 2002.  p. A18 2002-10-16
Police ready to raze tent city outside Woodward’s: Police seek injunction to move those who have shelter but refuse to leave storefront:[Final Edition] Lori Culbert.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 16, 2002.  p. B1 / FRONT 2002-10-16
Top 10 reasons why it’s crucial to vote: It’s been decades since there’s been as much at stake municipally and we’ll pay for our indifference after Nov. 16 Series: Civic Election 2002:[Final Edition] Charles Campbell.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 17, 2002.  p. B9 2002-10-17
Dealing with the issues – now: The Sun’s editorial board is meeting with the three leading candidates for mayor of Vancouver. Here are edited excerpts from a transcript of the first, a conversation with Larry Campbell:[Final Edition] The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 18, 2002.  p. A16 2002-10-18
Correction:[Final Edition] The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 19, 2002.  p. D23 2002-10-19
Downhill since APEC:[Final Edition] Sean Karl.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 19, 2002.  p. B6 2002-10-19
The human face:[Final Edition] Susan Lindenberger.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 19, 2002.  p. D23 2002-10-19
Developer warns against delaying Woodward’s project: Geoff Hughes speaks out on eve of council vote on tax relief; Social housing activists reject ‘marginal project’:[Final C Edition 1] Wyng Chow.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 22, 2002.  p. A1 / FRONT 2002-10-22
Developer warns against delaying Woodward’s project: Geoff Hughes speaks out on eve of council vote on tax relief; Social housing activists reject ‘marginal project’:[Final Edition] Wyng Chow.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 22, 2002.  p. A1 / FRONT 2002-10-22
Not enough subsidized units, critics say:[Final C Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 22, 2002.  p. A1 / FRONT 2002-10-22
Not enough subsidized units, critics say:[Final Edition 1] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 22, 2002.  p. A1 / FRONT 2002-10-22
Woodward’s is a bad fit for social housing:[Final Edition] K.G. Terriss.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 22, 2002.  p. A21 2002-10-22
Council backs developer’s plan for Woodward’s: Vote is unanimous despite initial concerns of two councillors:[Final C Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 23, 2002.  p. A1 / FRONT 2002-10-23
Council backs developer’s plan for Woodward’s: Vote is unanimous despite initial concerns of two councillors:[Final Edition 1] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 23, 2002.  p. A1 / FRONT 2002-10-23
An undeveloped Woodward’s is a symbol only of our failure:[Final Edition] The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 24, 2002.  p. A22 2002-10-24
The richest neighbourhood in town: The Downtown Eastside is booming. Civic policy and the illegal drug industry have made it that way:[Final Edition] Richard Patton.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 26, 2002.  p. A23 2002-10-26
Backers of Woodward’s protest seek promise of social housing: ‘People are ready to do direct action’:[Final Edition] Yvonne Zacharias.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 28, 2002.  p. A1 / FRONT 2002-10-28
Developer says threats won’t cloud his vision:[Final C Edition] Wyng Chow.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 28, 2002.  p. A1 / FRONT 2002-10-28
Hughes says threats won’t deter him from his vision:[Final Edition] Wyng Chow.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 28, 2002.  p. A1 / FRONT 2002-10-28
Squatters target six more buildings for occupation Vancouver Sun Staff, The Vancouver Sun (Monday 28 October 2002); A1 2002-10-28
Woodward’s should be more than a warehouse for renters:[Final Edition] Ian MacRae.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 28, 2002.  p. A15 2002-10-28
Candidates against illegal squatting:[Final C Edition] Karenn Krangle.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 29, 2002.  p. A2 2002-10-29
NPA councillor voted for social housing just to ‘calm things down’:[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 29, 2002.  p. A1 / FRONT 2002-10-29
Tent-city residents receive eviction notices from city:[Final Edition] Neal Hall and David Hogben.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 29, 2002.  p. A1 / FRONT 2002-10-29
Time to cry ‘Enough!’ on the anarchist squatters:[Final C Edition] The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 29, 2002.  p. A18 2002-10-29
City eviction notice Harrop, The Vancouver Sun, Wednesday 30 October 2002 2002-10-30
Squatters face noon deadline: Without court order, Woodward’s campers will stay put, rep says:[Final Edition] David Hogben.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 30, 2002.  p. B1 / FRONT 2002-10-30
The Sun’s in the spell of anarcho-hackers:[Final Edition] Reynolds. Vancouver Sun, Oct 30, 2002, A23 2002-10-30
The Sun’s in the spell of anarcho-hackers:[Final Edition] Tom Sandborn.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 30, 2002.  p. A23 2002-10-30
As tent city grows, so do the services: Woodward’s squatters have better access to food, clothing, health care:[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 31, 2002.  p. A1 / FRONT 2002-10-31
City seeks injunction on squatters: Some say they’ll stay until a court makes order:[Final Edition] Neal Hall and Doug Ward.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 31, 2002.  p. A5 2002-10-31
Injunction sought on squatters:[Final Cc Edition] Neal Hall and Doug Ward.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 31, 2002.  p. A5 2002-10-31
Woodward’s squatters warn of ‘other avenues’: Some say they will occupy more vacant buildings if forced out by police:[Final Edition] Doug Ward.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 1, 2002.  p. B1 / FRONT 2002-11-01
Downtown Eastside a regional problem:[Final Edition] Angus Reid.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 2, 2002.  p. A21 2002-11-02
Missing teen found at Woodward’s: Girl says home is ‘unbearable’ and she’s not going back:[Final C Edition] The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 6, 2002.  p. B4 2002-11-06
Word from the squat is … Series: Civic Election 2002:[Final Edition] The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 6, 2002.  p. B10 2002-11-06
‘Not in My Back Yard’ the universal cry: NIMBYism, in all its guises, is the incurable disease of civic politics. Just about every issue in this set of municipal elections is about what we’ll put where. Series: Civic Election 2002:[Final Edition] The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 7, 2002.  p. A21 2002-11-07
Woodward’s won’t solve all the housing problems:[Final Edition] George Abbott.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 12, 2002.  p. A15 2002-11-12
Candidates for council tell who they are, how they’d serve city Series: Civic Election 2002:[Final Edition] Karenn Krangle and Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 14, 2002.  p. B4 2002-11-14
Homeless have few incentives to choose a better way:[Final Edition] Michelle Demers.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 14, 2002.  p. A19 2002-11-14
Squatters perform a public service: Those of us who have homes take them for granted; the protesters draw our attention to governments’ failure to provide a decent, private place to live for everyone:[Final Edition] Gwen Brodsky and Shelagh Day.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 16, 2002.  p. A25 2002-11-16
COPE caucus expected to be cohesive, disciplined: The party’s council majority will enable it to move on its major election promises Series: Civic Election 2002:[Final Edition] Doug Ward.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 17, 2002.  p. A3 2002-11-17
Majority will help COPE get things done: But it’s unclear whether the new council will take an aggressive stance against Victoria Series: Civic Election 2002:[Final C Edition] Doug Ward.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 17, 2002.  p. A3 2002-11-17
Promises, promises: It is easy to make promises on the campaign trail; it is much harder to deliver Series: Civic Election 2002:[Final Edition 1] Doug Ward.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 17, 2002.  p. A11 2002-11-17
Three who were factors – Starting on Monday, Green wants to get at Woodward’s: He wants to make arrangements for people living outside the store Series: Civic Election 2002:[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 17, 2002.  p. A7 2002-11-17
Landslide trigger: west-side swing vote: District of both the premier and mayor-elect mirrors outcome Series: Civic Election 2002:[Final Edition] Jeff Lee.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 19, 2002.  p. B1 / FRONT 2002-11-19
COPE split over squatters: Few support mayor-elect on injunction:[Final Edition] Amy O’Brian, with files from Kim Pemberton.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 21, 2002.  p. A1 / FRONT 2002-11-21
Squatters’ lawyers ask for injunction delay: COPE councillor Tim Louis wants to delay action against the homeless at Woodward’s:[Final Edition] Kim Pemberton and Karenn Krangle, with Andrew Petrozzi.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 21, 2002.  p. A2 2002-11-21
COPE coming apart already:[Final Edition] Pete McMartin.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 22, 2002.  p. B5 2002-11-22
Scramble’s on to find places for squatters: Varied cast works in anticipation of injunction to clear Woodward’s site:[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 22, 2002.  p. B3 2002-11-22
Split over squatters more imagined than real:[Final Edition] Susan Lindenberger.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 22, 2002.  p. A23 2002-11-22
Woodward’s deal dead after new bid rejected: Developer says risks associated with project forced him to reduce offer to $8 million:[Final Edition] Wyng Chow.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 22, 2002.  p. A1 / FRONT 2002-11-22
Court grants injunction at Woodward’s: Judge dismisses argument that sidewalk takeover is protected by Charter:[Final Edition] David Reevely.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 23, 2002.  p. B1 / FRONT 2002-11-23
Crystal Ball gazers ante up $500,000 for kids:[Final Edition] Malcolm Parry.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 23, 2002.  p. B3 2002-11-23
Use Woodward’s building to solve two major problems:[Final Edition] Nancy Upton.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 23, 2002.  p. A27 2002-11-23
An act of re-invention: Green brings wealth of experience to his spot on council:[Final C Edition] Doug Ward.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 25, 2002.  p. B1 / FRONT 2002-11-25
An act of re-invention: Green brings wealth of experience to his spot on council:[Final Edition 1] Doug Ward.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 25, 2002.  p. B1 / FRONT 2002-11-25
An act of re-invention: Green brings wealth of experience to his spot on council:[Final Edition 1] Doug Ward.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 25, 2002.  p. B1 / FRONT 2002-11-25
Shelter for squatters on offer as Woodward’s deadline arrives: A few sidewalk dwellers say they’re happy where they are:[Final Edition] David Reevely.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 25, 2002.  p. A1 / FRONT 2002-11-25
A caring society should be taking care of its homeless:[Final Edition 1] Wellington.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 26, 2002.  p. A23 2002-11-26
A caring society should be taking care of its homeless:[Final Edition 1] Ian MacRae.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 26, 2002.  p. A23 2002-11-26
Squatters trickle away to new digs: But most determined to make point for affordable social housing:[Final Edition] David Reevely.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 26, 2002.  p. B1 / FRONT 2002-11-26
20 squatters leave as city seeks clearout: City to seek enforcement order Friday to clear Woodward’s squat:[Final Edition] David Reevely.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 27, 2002.  p. B3 2002-11-27
20 squatters leave as city seeks clearout: Outgoing mayor, councillor ask Victoria to demolish landmark:[Final C Edition] David Reevely.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 27, 2002.  p. B3 2002-11-27
Making it through the night: Increasing demand on city shelters is forcing them to turn away more and more needy people:[Final Edition] Dan Rowe.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 28, 2002.  p. B7 2002-11-28
Shelters tell the desperate to head to Woodward’s for safety and company: What else can you do for people with nowhere to go and no money?, asks Karen O’Shaughnessy of Lookout Emergency Services:[Final Edition] Dan Rowe.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 28, 2002.  p. B6 2002-11-28
They’re still squatting at Woodward’s: Court order allows city to dismantle camp but campers say they’ll do it Wednesday:[Final Edition] Neal Hall and Amy O’Brian.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 30, 2002.  p. B1 / FRONT 2002-11-30
Woodward’s squatters stay put:[Final C Edition] Neal Hall and Amy O’Brian.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 30, 2002.  p. B1 / FRONT 2002-11-30
Green to ask feds for housing funds::[Final Edition] David Reevely.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Dec 2, 2002.  p. B2 2002-12-02
Green to ask Ottawa for housing funds:[Final C Edition] David Reevely.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Dec 2, 2002.  p. B2 2002-12-02
Being a socialist in a capitalist society ‘a huge political disability’ for councillor::[Final Edition] Yvonne Zacharias.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Dec 4, 2002.  p. B5 2002-12-04
Council faces tough choice on homeless::[Final C Edition 1] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Dec 4, 2002.  p. B1 / FRONT 2002-12-04
Council faces tough choice on homeless::[Final Edition 2] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Dec 4, 2002.  p. B1 / FRONT 2002-12-04
COPE faces a tough test in its first week in office::[Final Edition] The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Dec 5, 2002.  p. A22 2002-12-05
Woodward’s squatters say they’ll move to Dominion::[Final Edition] John Mackie.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Dec 14, 2002.  p. B1 / Front 2002-12-14
Woodward’s squatters revel in new hotel digs:[Final Edition] David Reevely.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Dec 16, 2002.  p. B1 / Front 2002-12-16
Squatter deal touted as model: 53 ex-squatters will move into Dominion Hotel:[Final Edition] David Reevely.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Dec 17, 2002.  p. B1 / Front 2002-12-17
Eastside’s Davies is federal NDP powerhouse:[FINAL C Edition] Barbara Yaffe.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Dec 19, 2002.  p. A22 2002-12-19
Woodward’s::[Final Edition] Trevor Boddy.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Dec 24, 2002.  p. B13 2002-12-24
Verbatim: the quotes of 2002:[Final Edition] Janet Steffenhagen.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Dec 31, 2002.  p. B5 2002-12-31
Home is where the work is::[Final Edition] Maurice Bridge.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jan 4, 2003.  p. E4 2003-01-04
Councillor wants Wal-Mart downtown: Current plan at odds with neighbourhood:[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jan 18, 2003.  p. B1 / Front 2003-01-18
Project could revitalize seedy city core::[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jan 24, 2003.  p. B1 / Front 2003-01-24
Vancouver negotiating to buy Woodward’s building::[FINAL C Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jan 24, 2003.  p. B1 / Front 2003-01-24
Demolition brings history to light::[Final Edition] John Mackie.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jan 27, 2003.  p. B1 / Front 2003-01-27
Building could be new main police station, mayor says Karenn Krangle. The Vancouver Sun, Thurs. Jan 30, 2003, A4 2003-01-30
City buys Woodward’s site::[Final Edition] Craig McInnes.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jan 30, 2003.  p. A4 2003-01-30
Green likely to back the Olympics: Social housing remains his major concern:[FINAL CC Edition 1] Jeff Lee.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jan 30, 2003.  p. B1 / Front 2003-01-30
Green likely to back the Olympics: Social housing remains his major concern:[Final Edition] Jeff Lee.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jan 30, 2003.  p. B1 / Front 2003-01-30
Landmark ‘W’ may glow again if price is right::[Final Edition] Karenn Krangle.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jan 31, 2003.  p. B3 2003-01-31
Woodward’s deal will renew important heritage site:[Final Edition] Victor Wong.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jan 31, 2003.  p. A15 2003-01-31
Woodward’s: A good first step:[Final Edition] The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jan 31, 2003.  p. A14 2003-01-31
Green sees Woodward’s as a ‘flagship for this neighbourhood’::[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Feb 1, 2003.  p. B1 / Front 2003-02-01
Urban redevelopment::[Final Edition 1] Toni Cavelti.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Feb 3, 2003.  p. A9 2003-02-03
Urban redevelopment::[Final Edition 2] Paul Doroshenko.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Feb 3, 2003.  p. A9 2003-02-03
Green backs Games, not government::[Final Edition] Jeff Lee.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Feb 6, 2003.  p. A2 2003-02-06
Ghetto or necessary dark zone?::[Final Edition] George Fetherling.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Feb 8, 2003.  p. H20 2003-02-08
‘The best Olympics ever’::[FINAL C Edition] Jim Green.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Feb 8, 2003.  p. A23 2003-02-08
Saving Woodward’s like embalming a corpse:[Final Edition] George Douglas Miller.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Feb 10, 2003.  p. A11 2003-02-10
COPE faces a tough test in its first week in office::[Final Edition] The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Feb 12, 2003.  p. A22 2003-02-12
Downtown Eastside neglected by Ottawa::[Final Edition] Karenn Krangle.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Feb 12, 2003.  p. A6 2003-02-12
Green to ask feds for housing funds::[Final Edition] David Reevely.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Feb 12, 2003.  p. B2 2003-02-12
Green to ask Ottawa for housing funds:[Final C Edition] David Reevely.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Feb 12, 2003.  p. B2 2003-02-12
Phase 2: We’re here and now it gets complicated (Dec. 2 – Dec. 15):[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Feb 15, 2003.  p. B4 2003-02-15
Phase 4: The best of times, the worst of times (Jan. 13 – Feb. 15):[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Feb 15, 2003.  p. B6 2003-02-15
Donors sought to relight red W atop Woodward’s::[Final Edition] Karenn Krangle.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Feb 20, 2003.  p. B12 2003-02-20
Council group sought to oversee Woodward’s:[Final Edition] The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Feb 21, 2003.  p. A2 2003-02-21
Vancouver::[Final Edition] Trevor Boddy.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Feb 27, 2003.  p. B5 2003-02-27
Ottawa brings millions to Vancouver: Chretien, Rock have money for transit, homeless:[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Mar 1, 2003.  p. A1 / Front 2003-03-01
Lawyer sues police for wrongful arrest::[Final Edition] Neal Hall.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Mar 22, 2003.  p. B12 2003-03-22
Sorry, but the Downtown Eastside is a ghetto, and here’s the reason why:[Final Edition] Bob Ransford.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Mar 22, 2003.  p. H1 / Front 2003-03-22
Jacqui Cohen snuggles up to city for Woodward’s space:[Final Edition] Malcolm Parry.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Mar 28, 2003.  p. D3 2003-03-28
Woodward’s squatters wanted their day in court:[Final Edition] Jim Leyden.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Apr 15, 2003.  p. A13 2003-04-15
Money being wasted on a pointless appeal:[Final Edition] Paul Willcocks.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Apr 16, 2003.  p. A16 2003-04-16
Appealing squatters’ award will be money well spent:[Final Edition] George Abbott.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Apr 17, 2003.  p. A.15 2003-04-17
Lore Krill housing co-op earns highest marks::[Final Edition] Trevor Boddy.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Apr 17, 2003.  p. B.6 2003-04-17
Former Woodward’s site won’t house police::[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Apr 18, 2003.  p. B3 2003-04-18
Something to shout about::[Final Edition] Amy O’Brian.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Apr 28, 2003.  p. B3 2003-04-28
Time for anti-war protesters to move on:[Final Edition] Garth Pinton.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:May 2, 2003.  p. A19 2003-05-02
Options for Woodward’s run development gamut:[Final Edition] Matthew Ramsey.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:May 20, 2003.  p. B7 2003-05-20
Mayor to relight W as a ‘beacon of hope’:[Final Edition] Doug Ward.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:May 22, 2003.  p. B1 / Front 2003-05-22
Open minds wanted on Woodward’s site::[Final Edition] The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:May 22, 2003.  p. A10 2003-05-22
Woodward’s building is just a $100-million white elephant:[Final Edition] Paul Davey.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:May 23, 2003.  p. A19 2003-05-23
Non-storefronts to be allowed on Hastings::[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:May 28, 2003.  p. B6 2003-05-28
Woodward’s: The people’s vision:[Final Edition] Petti Fong.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jun 4, 2003.  p. B1 / Front 2003-06-04
Pivot head nipping at VPD heels::[Final Edition] Ian Mulgrew.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jun 7, 2003.  p. B4 2003-06-07
Greenway revived to link seawalls: Tree-lined Carrall strip to span Downtown Eastside:[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jun 10, 2003.  p. A1 / Front 2003-06-10
City can’t afford dreamy plans for decrepit Woodward’s:[Final Edition] Rick Angus.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jun 11, 2003.  p. A19 2003-06-11
‘Connector’ is a path to urban revitalization::[Final Edition] The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jun 11, 2003.  p. A18 2003-06-11
City revives greenway plan to link seawalls: Tree-lined strip would span Downtown Eastside:[FINAL C Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jun 10, 2003.  p. A1 / Front 2003-06-20
City seeks ideas for developing old Woodward’s store::[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jun 27, 2003.  p. A3 2003-06-27
Protesters camp out for welfare rights, social housing:[FINAL C Edition] Matthew Ramsey.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jul 3, 2003.  p. A15 2003-07-03
City wavers on ownership of Woodward’s:[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jul 9, 2003.  p. B.1.Fro 2003-07-09
City policy baffles private bidders: Developers worry city may retain Woodward’s building:[FINAL C Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jul 10, 2003.  p. B.1.Fro 2003-07-10
City policy baffles private bidders: Developers worry city may retain Woodward’s building:[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jul 10, 2003.  p. B.1.Fro 2003-07-10
Impasse at tent city: Park Board chief sympathetic but wants camp to go:[Final Edition] Doug Ward.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jul 11, 2003.  p. B.4 2003-07-11
Public Inquiry… Vancouver Sun, June 14, 2003, C8 2003-06-14
Tent city raises emotional and ethical issues:[Final Edition] Pete McMartin.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jul 17, 2003.  p. B.1.Fro 2003-07-17
Tent city solution bears an underlying message:[Final Edition] The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jul 19, 2003.  p. C.6 2003-07-19
Split flares up between factions at tent city squat::[FINAL C Edition] John Mackie.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jul 22, 2003.  p. A.1.Fro 2003-07-22
Split flares up between factions at tent city squat::[Final Edition] John Mackie.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jul 22, 2003.  p. A.1.Fro 2003-07-22
Great Depression protesters wanted work:[Final Edition] Pete McMartin.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jul 23, 2003.  p. B.1.Fro 2003-07-23
Squatters slow to leave as reno set to go:[Final Edition] Wendy McLellan.  The Province.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jul 23, 2003.  p. A.4 2003-07-23
City’s objectives seem beyond planning::[Final Edition] Bob Ransford.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jul 26, 2003.  p. G.1.Fro 2003-07-26
Army-like tent cities proposed::[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 9, 2003.  p. A1 Front 2003-10-09
NPA demands action against squatters::[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 20, 2003.  p. B2 2003-10-20
City council looks over proposals for Woodward’s:[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 31, 2003.  p. B1 Front 2003-10-31
Woodward’s plan all words, no pictures::[FINAL C Edition] Trevor Boddy.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Dec 15, 2003.  p. B1 Front 2003-12-15
Here’s to what’s good (and bad) at Woodward’s::[Final Edition] Trevor Boddy.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Dec 22, 2003.  p. B1 Front 2003-12-22
City will sell Woodwards — but keep control of landmark::[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Feb 19, 2004.  p. B8 2004-02-19
Award to squatters appealed::[FINAL C Edition] Neal Hall.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jun 8, 2004.  p. A3 2004-06-08
Payment to squatters challenged::[Final Edition] Neal Hall.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jun 8, 2004.  p. A3 2004-06-08
SFU most likely anchor at Woodward’s site::[Final Edition] Trevor Boddy.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jul 10, 2004.  p. B5 2004-07-10
Woodward’s may have tenants by late 2006: Council to choose from three plans, all of which keep big ‘W’ [Final Edition] William Boei. The Vancouver Sun, Jul 10, 2004, B1 2004-07-10
Woodward’s timetable:[Final Edition] The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jul 10, 2004.  p. B5 2004-07-10
Woodward’s plan fills ‘social needs’::[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Sep 24, 2004.  p. B1 Front 2004-09-24
Didn’t read all of Pivot report, police chief admits:[Final Edition] David Hogben.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Dec 8, 2004.  p. B5 2004-12-08
Woodward’s developer pays $5,000 to charity for gingerbread model:[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Dec 11, 2004.  p. B7 2004-12-11
Appeal granted against injunction that stopped anti-poverty protest: Woodwards Occupation: Judge says injunctions are not for stifling social protests Gerry Bellett. The Vancouver Sun, Jan 27, 2005 2005-01-27
Bigger, redesigned Woodward’s plan goes to council:[Final Edition] Francis Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Sep 12, 2005.  p. A1 Front 2005-09-12
Sullivan wants to scale down Woodward’s project::[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Sep 17, 2005.  p. B5 2005-09-17
Two views of the spending on the Woodward’s project:[Final Edition 1] Larry Campbell.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Sep 20, 2005.  p. A10 2005-09-20
Can Woodward’s be all things to all people?::[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Nov 14, 2005.  p. B2 2005-11-14
Media arts centre planned for Downtown Eastside::[Final Edition] Marke Andrews.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Dec 1, 2005.  p. C3 2005-12-01
Design panel OKs Woodward’s project:[FINAL C Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Dec 8, 2005.  p. B1 Front 2005-12-08
Record number sign up for condo in Woodward’s redevelopment::[Final Edition] John Bermingham.  The Province.  Vancouver, B.C.:Dec 19, 2005.  p. A17 2005-12-19
New vision, new pride — no fear::[Final Edition] John Mackie.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Dec 30, 2005.  p. B2 2005-12-30
Woodward’s project attracts 3,000 prospective buyers::[Final Edition] Bruce Constantineau.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Mar 18, 2006.  p. H3 2006-03-18
Woodward’s opens door to cutting-edge condo living:[Final Edition] Pete McMartin.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Apr 8, 2006.  p. B1 Front 2006-04-08
Best $1.49 Day ever?::[Final Edition] The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Apr 22, 2006.  p. K1 Front 2006-04-22
Jane Jacobs championed healthy city communities:[Final Edition] The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Apr 27, 2006.  p. A22 2006-04-27
The young and the poor need a city hall assist::[Final Edition] Bob Rennie.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:May 27, 2006.  p. K8 2006-05-27
Toward building an affordable Vancouver:[Final Edition] Jim Green.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Mar 17, 2007.  p. L2 2007-03-17
Voices for the poor or malcontents?; The Anti-Poverty Committee is a loose group of about 20 people, most of them under 30:[Final Edition] Darah Hansen and Doug Ward.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jun 2, 2007.  p. A4 2007-06-02
Toward a better city; Jim Green is creating a legacy worthy of a man dedicated to serving the city:[Final Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Jul 28, 2007.  p. C1 2007-07-28
London Drugs to build two-storey outlet in Woodward’s development; Major food store and bank also committed, chain’s president reveals:[Final Edition] Marke Andrews.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Sep 8, 2007.  p. G3 2007-09-08
Social agencies to run rooming hotels; Province picks non-profits for role in Downtown Eastside:[Final C Edition] Frances Bula.  The Vancouver Sun.  Vancouver, B.C.:Oct 29, 2007.  p. A1 2007-10-29

Appendix D – Local Mass Media Documents

Through a search of “Woodward,” “Woodsquat,” “squat*,” “social housing,” “protest,” “redevelopment,” and “Vancouver” in a database of Canadian Newspapers (Canadian Newsstand Pacific – Proquest), I gathered an exhaustive sample of approximately 450 stories on Woodward’s redevelopment from its closure in 1993 to the finalization of its conversion in 2006. I focused on the coverage of The Vancouver Sun, because as the local broadsheet format newspaper, it tends to be regarded as the agenda setting print media in Vancouver (note, however, that CanWest owns both The Vancouver Sun and the Province, the daily tabloid format newspaper in Vancouver. See Canadian Newspaper Association). I closely read its 248 articles, with which I developed keywords and themes. I read the 138 articles of The Province to see if it continued the pattern of The Vancouver Sun. I made note of instances where The Province diverted in attention and perspective, however, the patterns remained fairly consistent. Weeklies, radio coverage, and national newspapers were excluded from this analysis because the focus was on local print media coverage from the most mainstream of media sources. The analysis here in therefore not generalizable of all media representations, but is a portrait of a particular media actor.

















Ideal Publics Hegemonic Publics Autonomous Publics
Summary There is a tendency to reconcile competing interests through rational deliberative processes within a tradition of ‘enlightened’ and ‘responsible’ parliamentary government. Foundation rests on necessary contestation, where competing interests vie to control perceptions of reality and hence hold cultural and political power. Founded often on particular and contingent claims and activities of grass-roots collectivities, which are not necessarily oriented towards either formal institutions or other publics more broadly.
Discursive Style Normative;Consensual Contestation;Constructed Transformative;Particular
Site of analysis Municipality;Deliberation Media;Representation Movements;Participation
Assumption Universalistic;Reconciliation of difference;One overaching sphere Contingent Universal; Imposition of Common-sense; Opposing spheres Particularity; multiple and irreconcilable differences; multiple and plural spheres
Guarantor of Sphere Civil Society-Law; separate spheres; the public sphere State-Grass roots; separate spheres; (competing) public spheres Participants-Community; inseparable spheres; (networked) public spheres
Actors in the Field Private Individuals, competing interest groups Media; Social Movements Activists; Incommensurable communities; affinity groups
Intellectual Heritage Enlightenment Hegemony Anarchy
Mode of Activity Rational, civil Strategic, hegemony and counter-hegemonic Autonomous, direct action
Rights Emphasized Liberal rights Right to representation Right to participate
Account of the good Democratic Public; democracy of the procedure-space Agonistic Publics;Democratic representation within social and political institutions Democratic Communities; democracy within practices
References Habermas 1962Armour 1981Goodnight 1987

Mitchell 1995

Dorland and Charland 2002

Gramsci 1971Fraser 1990Gamson and Wolfsfeld 1993

Carroll 1997

Angus 2001

Carroll and Hackett 2006

Magnusson 1996Holston 1998Warner 2002

Day 2005

Zaslove 2001

Appendix E: Cartography of Publics


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[1]The City awarded the redevelopment of Woodward’s to Ian Gillespie and Ben Peterson of Westbank Projects and Peterson Investment Group, who worked with Henriquez Partners architects. Sponsorship of the social housing component was awarded to PHS Community Services Society and Affordable Housing Society.

For a history of the City’s conversion of Woodward’s, including its “official” story, see the City of Vancouver’s website, “Future of Woodward’s,” on the building and its redevelopment.

[2] The language of “constitutive” and “relational” practices was developed in collaboration with Shaunna Moore, see: Moore & Pell, 2010.

[3] In terms of “public space,” used by urban planners, social geographers, and urban theorists, see for example: Sennett, 1977; Young, 1995 (on communities); Mitchell, 1995, 2003 (on parks); Davis, 1992; Sorkin, 1992 (on architecture and the built environment); Harvey, 1989, 2009; Weintraub, 1995; Walzer, 1995; Holston, 1998 (on uses of city space); Smith, 1996 (on gentrification and the political economy of space); and Blomley, 2004 (on property and law).

[4] For work on media in relation to “the public” or “public sphere,” see for example: Herman and Chomsky, 1988; Keane, 1991 (on media institutions); Downing, et al., 2001; Atton, 2002 (on alternative media); Carroll & Hackett, 2006 (on media activism); Goodnight, 1987; Downey & Fenton, 2003 (on public discourse more generally); and Crossley & Roberts, 2004; Bratich, 2005 (on audiences).

[5] In terms of ethico-normative accounts of “the public” (as a realm, sphere, etc.), see for example: Dewey, 1927; Arendt, 1958; Habermas, 1962, 1974, 1990; Fraser, 1990; Alejandro, 1993; Calhoun, 1997; Angus, 2001; and Mouffe, 2005.

[6] Others working on the concept of “the public” from a cultural studies approach articulate it as a spatial-discursive concept; see for example: Patton, 1995; Lees, 1997; Warner, 2002; Soja, 2003; and Watson, 2002, who draw on the works of Lefebvre, 1974; Bourdieu, 1977, 1979; and Foucault, 1978.

[7] Kohn’s work is best situated amongst others working at the intersection of urban geography and political science. See for example: Howell, 1993; Mitchell, 1995, 2003; Smith, 1996; Holston, 1998; Sassen, 1998; Harvey, 2001; and Soja, 2003.

[8]While Kohn’sframework is close to mine in focusing on intersubjectivity and accessibility, her emphasis is on the privatization of public space (as physical places — malls, parks, etc.) and employs a legal analysis, whereas I hope to understand the public in terms of communication practices, employing discursive and rhetorical analysis of social movements.

[9] Fraser references Landes, 1988; Davidoff & Hall, 1987; Ryan, 1990; and Eley, 1992, which critique Habermas’ historical sketch of the bourgeois public sphere.

[10] Publicity is discussed primarily by communications and media scholars, who discuss it in terms of public sphere (for example see: Habermas, 1962; Goodnight, 1987; Keane, 1991; Angus, 2001; Downing, et al., 2001; Atton, 2002; Warner, 2002; Downey & Fenton, 2003; and Carroll and Hackett, 2006) and social geographers, urban and political theorists, who discuss public space as a forum for discursive practices and political speech and action (for example, see, Howell, 1993; Mitchell, 1995, 2003; Patton, 1995; and Kohn, 2004).

[11] Many theorists interested in Arendt’s work on the political aspects of the public have nonetheless critiqued and challenged her public-private and social-political (public) dichotomies. See for example: Honig, 1995; Pitkin, 1998.

[12] For similar re-interpretations of Arendt’s spatial dichotomies (i.e., public vs. private, public vs. social) as attitudinal, or an “ethos,” see: Vo-Quang, 1999; Honig, 1995; Pitkin, 1994.

[13]Public space, here, can be conceived as both physical and virtual, where the Internet as much as the park can function as a meeting place. What is often stressed though is a stranger-sociability. In terms of the latter, see: Sennett, 1977; Walzer, 1995; Weintraub, 1995; Young, 1995; and Warner, 2002.

[14]Because the public is crucial for the construction of collective realities and truths, many have argued that communication is a fundamental right. See for example: Keane, 1991; Murdoch, 1992; Traber, 1993; and White, 1995.

[15]The notion of power as “relations of power” is taken from Foucault (1978) who uses it to show power as productive and relational, not only as negative in the form of “power over.”

[16]There is a whole interdisciplinary (and transdisciplinary) literature and debate surrounding the relationship between political and cultural participation and ideology (see Althusser, 1971; Williams, 1977; Hall, 1980; Eagleton, 1994); rhetoric (McGee, 1975, 1980, 1980b; Charland, 1987; Patton, 1995; Deluca, 1999); and hegemony (Gramsci, 1971; Laclau & Mouffe, 2001; Angus, 1992, 2000; Day, 2005). While aspects of rhetoric and hegemony are addressed in the following chapter (3), the particularities of these debates are beyond the scope of this dissertation.

[17] The term “telos of normatization” is adapted from Scott (1990, p. 10). While not a resource mobilization theorist, Scott shares a similar notion of social movements as aberration within the political, social system. He suggests they are “manifestations of ‘dysfunctions’ in political decision-making processes,” and, “‘Success’ takes the form of integrating previously excluded issues and groups into the ‘normal’ political process. If there is a telos of social movement activity then it is the normalization of previously exotic issues and groups. Success is thus quite compatible with, and indeed overlaps, the disappearance of the movement as a movement” (p. 10–11).

[18]Note: Warner defines one of the key differences between a counterpublic and a bound community or group as a form of “address to indefinite strangers” (Warner, 2002, p. 86). However, for counterpublics that form as social movements one of the key practices is creating spaces of identification that discursive constructs itself as a community, bound by social solidarity.

[19] Holston (1998) is writing to an audience of planners and architects, urging that they approach the city like an ethnographer (p. 54), not detached or with unrealistic ideals about the uses and possibilities of space. He thus urges that “To reengage the social after the debacles of modernism’s utopian attempts, however, requires expanding the idea of planning and architecture beyond this preoccupation with execution and design. It requires looking into, caring for, and teaching about lived experience as lived. To plan the possible is, in this sense, to begin from an ethnographic conception of the social and its spaces of insurgence” (1998, p. 55). I would suggest that a similar approach needs to be taken by social scientists and other academics in the search for liveable future of peace and justice.

[20] Asen (2000) questions what is “counter” about counterpublics, arguing the preface is used with conceptual vagueness that at its worst is reductive through bifurcating of public spheres and continuing to place the (bourgeois) public sphere as undifferentiated and mainstream (p. 426). Hutton (2010) suggests in order to disrupt the binary between publics and counterpublics, one should move from an analytic framework of struggles between dominant and dissident publics to one that starts with the assumption of “paradoxes that ensue from the dynamic coexistence of heterogeneous positions and engagements” (p. 150). I concur with Hutton, and hope to supersede binaries of publics by focusing on their place within a networked field.

[21] Some theorists of alternative media have used the concept “alternative public spheres” in distinction to “counterpublics” to describe the publics that emerge out of alternative media practices. They focus in particular on the transformative effects of producing media and grassroots communication practices (Downing, et al., 2001; Atton, 2002). While this is a useful concept, my thesis is not focused on production-consumption of media per se, but the constitutive and relational processes that occur within and between public formations in the creation and perpetuation of a social issue. In this sense, my definition works parallel to this one in a shared focus on activities and processes; however, the location of the analysis differs.

[22] Dana Cloud (2009) makes an argument similar to my own in her graduate course syllabus on the rhetoric of social movements. She states, “It is fair to say that counterpublics studies is the present intellectual home for social movement concerns in rhetoric” (Cloud, “Rhetoric and the public sphere”).

“Protest rhetoric” refers to drawing together a heterogeneous collection of approaches to the study of social movement rhetoric. The label is used for convenience sake and borrows from Morris and Browne’s Readings in the Rhetoric of Social Protest, 2nd edition(2006), which collects both key analytical and empirical studies in the field.

[23]They further argue: “The practice of articulation, therefore, consists in the construction of nodal points which partially fix meaning; and the partial character of this fixation proceeds from the openness of the social, a result, in its turn, of the constant overflowing of every discourse by the infinitude of the field of discursivity” (Laclau & Mouffe, 2001, p. 113, emphasis in the original).

[24] Richard Day (2005), for example, critiques the “hegemony of hegemony” within both Liberal and Marxist paradigms that are concerned with social change, arguing these to be trapped within a politics of demand, recognition, and integration with the state (and corporations) (p. 14). In contrast to this, he sees examples of social movement activities that pursue social change through affinity, which creates and builds institutions alongside existing ones that function to make the dominant ones redundant (p. 45). An affinity orientation thus describes a “non-universalizing, non-hierarchical, non-coercive relationships based and mutual aid and shared ethical commitments” (p. 9). It is a form of social change that spreads through alternative practices in the present and puts energy into autonomous communities and networks (p. 186, 215).

[25] Mass media are often seen as serving this publicizing role. However, just as often the public spheres of the mass media make social movement communication difficult (Angus, 2001, p. 74; also see Gamson & Wolfsfeld, 1993; Downing, et al., 2001; Hackett & Carroll, 2006). This suggests the relationship between publics (those created in movements and the media) are marked with antagonism that must either be resolved or circumvented if social movements are to disseminate and circulate their counter-hegemonic articulations. For this reason, theorists of social movement communication have increasingly turned to the problem of the relationship between media and movements; however, this is beyond the scope of this dissertation.

[26]Note that while social movements and counter-hegemonic articulations tend to be assumed to emanate from the left, they equally manifest from the right (Magnusson, 1996). It is not about a perspective but a form of practice that seeks to transform the dominant ideas.

[27]The definition of social movements draws of McGee’s (1980b, 1983) reconceptualization of social movements are a set of meanings, with the rhetoric of social movements being a distinct theoretical domain and theory of human consciousness. McGee distinguishes between the approaches to social movements as existing directly as a phenomenon that is independent of actors and located in behaviour and organizations) or inferentially as an interpretation and a form of consciousness that is dependent on actors, and located within policies and ideologies. Arguing for the latter, he states, “A theory of movement, therefore, must determine the identity and meaning of the consciousness which inspires us, as citizens and as scholars, to seek and see ‘movement’ when we look at historical and social facts” (1980b, p. 131). This approach alters the figure-ground relationship between movement and communication, where instead of making a passive assumption of movement (i.e., movement as ground and communication as figure (see e.g., Simons, 1970), the movement is a made active as the figure within the ground of communication. Studies of movements are then concerned with the problem of consciousness and ideology. Movements are seen to exist when there is a change in discourse, when new meaning is given to old words. This must be proven, not presumed. Social movement is then a conclusion not a premise, where questions of consciousness come first, “focusing on the fact collectivity” not “the accident of an allegedly pre-existing phenomenon” (p. 133).

[28] The notion of ideograph is taken for McGee’s “The ‘Ideograph’: A Link Between Rhetoric and Ideology” (1980). In this essay, McGee argues ideology is a political language present in rhetorical documents that has the ability to dictate and control public belief and behaviour. Further, ideology manifests in slogans, a “vocabulary of ‘ideographs’” (p. 5). An ideograph is an ordinary language term found in political discourse; it represents collective commitment to equivocal normative goal, and it warrants the use of power. Ideographs are culture-bound and members are socialized to a vocabulary of ideographs as a prerequisite of belonging. Ideographs are structured in two ways in rhetorical discourse: 1. diachronic — the historical parameters of meaning, and 2. synchronic — relationships with to each other. The method to describe an ideology would be to isolate a society’s ideographs, analyze the diachronic structure, and synchronic relationships within a particular context.

[29] Barnett (2008) describes public discourse as a “call-and-response dynamic” (p. 410), much like Warner’s relationship between audiences and discourses. He suggested this process be described as “convening” in order to “emphasize the active sense of calling on others to gather together, which in turn requires an active response to heed any such call” (p. 411). Extending Barnett’s concept, Mahony, et al. (2010) suggest convening publics are both “summoned” (through a process of address) and “assembled” (through “uneasy and impermanent alignments of discourses, spaces, institutions, ideas, technologies and objects” [p. 3]). They similarly use their definition and distinction in order to empirically study publics, not as pre-exiting (in and by the state or as an idealized form of rational deliberation), through a focus “on the actors whose ongoing practices shape and sustain the spaces and sites of publicness” (p. 3). While I reconceptualized publics prior to discovering this research, there are obvious parallels between my account of publics (convened) and public formations (assembled).

[30] It should be noted that while I am interested in understanding the process of bringing a public into being, I will not focus on the internal heterogeneity of the low-income community or the contestation amongst the various service, advocacy, and activists organizations that struggle and compete to represent the diverse interests of the DTES community — unless it directly pertains to shifting the rhetorical context (that is, the discourse, audience, and modes of address). Although understanding the relations of power that are necessary to maintain social cohesion within protest movements (and community mobilizations more generally) are important, my interest is with understanding the public face of campaigns for social housing in Woodward’s and self-determination of residents in their neighbourhood.

[31]Catherine Squires (2002) similarly differentiates between three types of counterpublics as a means to analytically clarify the concept and to make it more reflective of practices within “black public sphere”. Categorized according to the “types of responses a marginalized public sphere might produce given existing political, economic, social, and cultural conditions”, she defines these as: “enclave” “hiding counterhegemonic ideas and strategies in order to survive or avoid sanctions, while internally producing lively debate and planning”; “counterpublic” that “engage in debates with wider publics to test ideas and perhaps utilize traditional social movement tactics (boycotts, civil disobedience)”; and “satellite” that “seeks separation from other publics for reasons other than oppressive relations but is involved in wider public discourses from time to time.” These responses can be in reaction to the dominant public spheres, but also internal politics of a particular public (p. 448). I work in a line with Squires but focus more on discursive practices and responses.

[32] The squatters were evicted from inside Woodward’s by riot police on September 21, 2002, and again cleared off the sidewalk the next day. During these events, 58 squatters were arrested, though charges were later dropped by the prosecutor, BC Housing. The City of Vancouver successfully pursued an injunction against the squat under the Street and Traffic By-Law No. 2849 Section 71 (1), which pertains to unobstructed uses of sidewalks and streets (see W.O.O.D.S.Q.U.A.T. Newsletter #2, #3, #32, in particular).

[33] See, for example: Baker, 2009; Harris, 2009; Hutchinson, 2010.

[34] For commentary of Douglas’s mural, see: Kamping-Carder, 2009; Bula, 2010; Dacey, 2010..

[35] For discussions of global cities, see for example: Isin, 2000; Sassen, 2000. Specific to Vancouver’s new global status in the 2000s, it is hosting the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. This has been a major refocusing for social justice organizations in the neighbourhood and city in general. For local critiques of the games see: Schmidt, 2007; Shaw, 2008.

[36] For discussions on the “rights to the city,” see for example: Harvey, 2003; Mitchell, 2003. For “right to not be excluded” in the DTES, see: Blomley, 2008; and for a similar notion of the “right to stay put” see: Hartman, 1984.

[37]With the business struggling for some time, the Woodward’s family sold the company to Cambridge Shopping Centres in 1989 (McInnes, 2003).

[38]Note: “CN” is used to refer to the Carnegie Newsletter, with these citations found in Appendix B.

[39]The impacts in these policies were drastic. For example, 12,675 social housing units had been created per year from 1989 to 1993 by the federal government. From 1994 to 1998, only 4,450 were completed, a decline of 65 percent (DeJong, 2000; also see: Seidle, 2002).

[40] While not directly related to housing, though significant for social policies, in 1995 the federal Liberal Party shifted to block transfer of funding for health, social assistance, and education to the provinces (see: Department of Finances, Canada; also see: Prince, 1998).

[41] For accounts of urban neoliberalism, see for example: Smith, 1996, 2002; Brenner and Theodore, 2002. For discussions of neoliberalism in Canadian cities see for example: Isin, 1998; Keil, 2002; Blomley, 2004; Brodie, 2007.

[42] See the City of Vancouver website, “Our City,” on being (and becoming) a diverse, inclusive, liveable, and sustainable city, their “Creative City Initiative,” and “Sustainability: Economic Development,” for strategies for economic sustainability. Also see Timmer &Seymoar, 2006.

For various positions within debates about the ideology and consequences of “global cities” see for example: Sassen, 1998; Isin, 2000; Florida, 2005.

[43]Note: “W#” is used to refer to W.O.O.D.S.Q.U.A.T., the newsletter of the Friends of the Woodward’s Squat published in 2002–2003. These citations can be found in Appendix B.

[44]“Land values increased after the announcement and between 1000 and 2000 lodging-house units were demolished or closed down. This loss occurred between 1978 and 1984 (Expo ’86 was announced in 1980), with another 600 units permanently lost between 1984 and 1986” (Olds, 1991). The number for loss of SROs is taken from CN, 1995, April 15, p. 2. Also see: Dacey, 2010.

[45]While I do not want to take away from Green’s major contributions to the conversion of Woodward’s into mixed housing, my focus is not individual actors but collective actions that culminated in its redevelopment plan by the City of Vancouver. Such an approach stems from my belief that centering agency and power on individuals constructed as “leaders” blinds one to the larger collective practices of generating, framing, and advocating public issues. In the case of a contentious redevelopment like Woodward’s, it was the publicity and controversy generated by many individuals and organizations in the DTES that brought broader public investment and support for social housing at the site, not the acts of a few individuals.

[46] The shift in the assumption of social rights can even be seen in a change for a call of an “inclusive model of social housing” (first appearing in CN, 1995, May 15, p. 2) at Woodward’s in 1995 (when there was still the possibility of provincial funded co-op housing being built in BC) to the demand for decent and dignified social housing in 2002 (first appearing in demands of the squatters, W#2, p. 4). This witnesses the effect of various campaigns in the DTES by private developers to shrink the size of affordable income units. For discussion on the contentious issue of “micro suites” in the DTES, see: CN, 1998, May 1, though discussion of it can be founded as early as 1996, CN, 1996, July 15.

[47] Authors in the Carnegie Newsletter spell Woodward’s without the apostrophe. I follow their spelling within quotes.

[48]The use of “balance” here contrasts with discourses in the local mass media, which argues more market housing is needed in the DTES to balance out the high concentration of social housing, a debate which intensifies in the late 1990s (see for example, Aird, 1993, January 19; Aird, 1995; “The UN’s ‘homeless’,” 1996; Mulgrew, 1999). Sommers (1993) argues against this view in the media, with an editorial published in the Vancouver Sun.

[49] DERA, on their website, describes how the change in name for Skid Road to Downtown Eastside was critical for transforming the local community. In their history, they state, “DERA was formed as a reaction against the general attitude of indifference and neglect which many felt to the area, then known, as ‘Skid Road.’ Skid Road was a powerful and destructive characterization that promoted a feeling of hopelessness. By renaming their community, ‘The Downtown Eastside’ DERA gave it a new identity. DERA’s political style has been confrontational but very effective. It has empowered residents to take control over their own lives by fighting for their rights.”

[50] “Buying in” refers to the possibility that Fama might offer 80 units of non-market housing to be built in the adjacent parking lot, while the 350 market-units would be sold for “entry-level” prices of $160000–$190000. Shayler explains, “What the developer is doing is taking land that has been in the Downtown Eastside for decades and offering to sell it back to us at market value. Fama is asking you and me to give up a building that has been a central part of the neighbourhood since the beginning of the centre and buy in for housing that we would have to pay for ourselves through the provincial government, if it ever gets built at all” (CN, 1995, April 15, p. 4). Elsewhere, these proposed off-site non-market housing are called “servant quarters” (CN, 1995, May 15, p.12) implying that the residents of DTES will become the hired help of the incoming condo owners.

[51] The CCAP’s website states: “The Carnegie Community Action Project (CCAP) is a project of the board of the Carnegie Community Centre Association.  CCAP works mostly on housing, income, and land use issues in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) of Vancouver so the DTES can remain a low income friendly community.” In 2010, they have a decided organizer, coordinator, and researcher, along with volunteers.

DERA, on their website, describes itself and its history as: “The Downtown Eastside Residents’ Association (DERA) is a community-directed, charitable society formed in 1973 by residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Located in the poorest urban neighbourhood in the nation, DERA has fought for 36 years to focus the attention of government, industry, and the public on the key components of poverty and homelessness. We work hard for decent, secure, affordable housing, jobs, liveable incomes, community and recreational facilities, park space, safer streets, and community-based neighbourhood planning.” Recall that Jim Green was a long-time organizer for DERA up until 1993.

[52] It is later reported that 100 people showed up for this meeting (MacRae, CN, 1995, May 1, p. 5).

[53] As a testament to the continued symbolic importance (and the community’s discursive frame) of Woodward’s redevelopment, after the building reopened in 2010, CCAP put out a poster at the Poverty Olympics denouncing the “Ripple Effects of Woodwards” gentrification. It lists “Land values increase; More real estate speculation; Hotel rents increase; Hotels close for renovations or sale; More evictions & homelessness; Stores serving low income residents are forced out; Yuppies stores move in; More security guards & police harassment; City subsidy for Woodwards chain stores; Community assets will be lost” (also appearing in Carnegie Newsletter, 2010, February 15, p. 7).

[54] The Non-Partisan Association (NPA) is the right-wing municipal party in Vancouver that has served as the governing party for much of the City’s history, and during all of the nineties (for more, see their website).

[55] The Board is composed of the Direct of Development Services, the Deputy City Manager, the General Manager of Engineering Services, and the Director of Planning, while the Advisory Panel consists of nine members who are appointed by City Council, with two representing the development industry, the chair of the Urban Design Panel, a representative of the design profession, the chair of the Vancouver Heritage Commission, and four representatives of the general public. The mandate of the board is to “receive and approve, approve subject to conditions, or refuse such development permit applications as may be by-law be prescribed to be brought before the Board” (Bylaw N. 5869, 5a), as such it follows the bylaws created by Council, and works within that policy context. See the City of Vancouver’s website, “Development Permit Board and Advisory Panel By-Law No. 5869, passed February 5, 1985.”

Hereafter these minutes are designated as “DPBAP-J95.”

[56] While the Minutes record 12 speakers in opposition to the proposal, “Developer Wins Woodwards,” reported that 30 people spoke against it (Bula, 1995, June 20, p. B6).

[57] A “C” designation indicates heritage is based on character or context, “Represent[ing] those buildings that contribute to the historic character of an area or streetscape, usually found in groupings of more than one building but may also be of individual importance” (see the City of Vancouver’s “The Vancouver heritage register”). Also see the City’s “zoning map,” where Woodward’s was coded, at the time, as DD for being a part of the Downtown District.

[58] International Village is a retail-housing development a few blocks to the south of Gastown neighbourhood, past Woodward’s. International Village has also been criticized by the residents of the DTES, particularly because the developer Concord Pacific was able to pay City Council money in lieu of providing social housing, a trend they identify in Vancouver municipal politics (CN, 1996, February 1, p.14).

[59]As an aside, the Victory Square Policy Plan was itself contentious, for among other reasons, because it used an official name (Victory Square), rather than the local vernacular (Downtown Eastside) to address a highly contested the area. The use of Victory Square and the ambiguity of Woodward’s inclusion within this zone (and thus guidelines) is suggestive of larger issues of naming, recognition of uses of space, and local meanings in Downtown area more generally. For more on the spatial politics of mapping the DTES see: Blomley, 2004.

More generally, the Victory Square Policy Plan set the priorities for the “Victory Square” area, and included a series of public consultations during 1993–1998 (see the City’s “Victory Square policy plan”). While the zoning pertaining to Woodward’s is a bit ambiguous (and difficult to confirm prior to its current zoning), according to a 2005–6 DTES Community Monitoring Report, it appeared to be part of Victory Square, which is one of seven zoning and subplanning areas in the DTES (see: “Downtown Eastside community monitoring report,” p.4). As such, its development is governed by principles of “retention of the area’s heritage buildings, scale and character; improvement of existing low-income housing;revitalization without displacing low-income residents; and partnership with the community” (see: “The Victory Square Policy Plan,” p. 2-3).

However, in 2006, as part of Westbank’s development needs, the Woodward’s site received its own special zoning, CD (450) that outlines uses, building height, acoustics, density, parking and so on (see the City’s “Zoning and development bylaw”).

[60] In an editorial written to The Vancouver Sun in 1993, Jeff Sommers, pointing out there were 1174 market housing versus 560 social and coop housing in DTES, stated, “If there is an imbalance in the housing mix, it is clearly in favor of market housing” (p. A11).

See footnote 47 for more on the concentration of social housing debate.

[61]For an account of the pathologization of the local low-income residents in the DTES, see: Sommers, 2001; Sommers & Blomley, 2002.

[62] This argument is returned to in the 1997 Development Permit Hearings, see: Proctor, 1997.

[63]It was not until 1995 that a housing plan for the DTES was initiated, with a Draft plan established in 1998. See the City’s “Housing Plan for the Downtown Eastside” (2005). It is interesting to note that the report makes initiation of the housing strategy to come from the City itself, while it appears in the Public Hearings to be something for which the residents of the DTES were fighting.

[64]A Panel member also stated the project would provide affordable housing for younger people, who would be able to buy the condos (Waisman, DPBAP-J95, p. 7). This meaning of “affordable” is beyond the reaches of many of the low-income local residents. This definition of affordable housing, in terms of first-time buyers, cycles back when the condos were put on sale in 2006. All the condos sold in 24 hours (see: “Best $1.49 Day ever?”, 2006). These buyers are also described (positively) as urban pioneers by marketer Bob Rennie (cited in McMartin, 2000), an unfortunately telling neo-colonialist term.

[65] These remarks seem to ignore existing discourses, both in the public hearing and in local news coverage that stated the building was key to the future of the neighbourhood and that a battle was already occurring between revitalization and gentrification. For example, Bula in “Old Woodward’s store focus of new city plan” states, “The Woodward’s building has become the focus of political action for Downtown Eastside groups who see all of their area – of which Victory Square is just a part – being overrun by developers, condos and gentrification” (1995, June 10, p. A5). Also note in 1993 there was already discussion of Woodward’s being the “anchor” of the area, the “historical heartbeat of Vancouver,” and local heart of the neighbourhood. Aird writes, “Surely there’s got to be a way to make Woodward’s work as mixed housing, whatever kind of partnership it takes. Or is the historical heartbeat of Vancouver down for the count?” (1993, February 11, p. B1). Note there is also already a notion of a divided community in the DTES: “Thing is, this is a lot more than just another downtown real estate deal. We’re talking about two different futures for downtown east of Cambie” (Aird, 1993, February 11, p. B1).

[66]It is unclear whether the Board could have referred the proposal to a public hearing, and though they were allowed to set conditions on the permit, the range of possible conditions were not stated.

[67] For a full description of public hearings in Vancouver, see the City’s “Public hearings”.

[68]Page numbers refer to minutes from the July 18, 1995, special meeting of Council that was held for the purpose of holding a public hearing to consider proposed amendments to the Heritage By-law – Clause 2: 101 West Hastings Street (Lots 1-3, east 1/2 of Lot 13, Block 4, Old Granville Townsite, Plan 5420 and Lots 17-20, Block 4, Old Granville Townsite, Plan 19435).Vol./Page 5085,5093. This meeting will be referred to as “SMC-H.”

[69]The “C” designation “Represents those buildings that contribute to the historic character of an area or streetscape, usually found in groupings of more than one building but may also be of individual importance” (see: “Vancouver Heritage Register” (2009, p. 4). As of September 2009, Woodward’s was also an M (legal heritage designation by City of Vancouver) and H (subject to a Heritage Revitalization Agreement) heritage property (p. 21).

[70] For explanations of the Development Permits and Zoning in Vancouver, see the City’s “Brief explanation of zoning and development permits.”

[71] The notion of the DTES as a ghetto within discourses of Woodward’s was first mentioned in “Attention shoppers (this means you, Jim): the sale won’t last” in a battle over Woodward’s between Jim Green (working with the NPD) and Steven Funk (of Concord Pacific) in relation to a proposed private-public partnership to develop the building (Aird, 1993, January 19, p. B1). It is discussed again in the Vancouver Sun reporting of the June 1995 Development Permit Public Hearing, where Neil Ross, one of the advocates for Fama’s proposal, is reported to say, “More social housing here is just going to make a ghetto out of the area” (cited in Bula, 1995, June 20, p. B6).

[72] Jenny Kwan was the only COPE councillor in the 1993–1996 elector period (see her website), with the rest being the members of the NPA under the NPA mayor Philip Owens. In 1996, NPA won all seats on Council, and Mayor Owen was also re-elected. For information on election results, see the City’s “Previous elections and votes.”

[73] See footnote 55.

[74] From the public record, including mass and alternative media, and city records, it is unclear exactly how this partnership amongst the NDP, Fama, the City of Vancouver, and the DTES community came together, or who motivated it; however, it would appear as if it was initiated from the provincial government (Sarti & Bula, 1995). It had been discussed in early 1995 that Premier Harcourt visited the DTES and viewed drawing from the community on visions for the neighbourhood (Sarti, 1995, February 14). However, Chuck Brook says in the Vancouver Sun, at the time of the NDP’s announcement to fund social housing at Woodward’s that he had not heard from the premier. It was reported: “[Chuck Brook, Fama rep] was puzzled why the premier has been talking to everyone else but Fama. ‘It’s interesting to be on the sidelines of this,’ he said. ‘It makes me think that [Harcourt] is trying to build support for it before coming to us” (Sarti & Bula, 1995, p. B1). In the Carnegie Newsletter, it was suggested that the “soft condo market” would make Fama’s project difficult and lead to a reconsideration of a fully private development (1995, June 15, p. 2), but this was before any of the public hearings. This idea of a “soft condo market” was also discussed in the Vancouver Sun (Sarti & Bula, 1995) as a reason why Fama had not purchased the building.

[75]In the Carnegie Newsletter, Mike Harcourt and Jenny Kwan are credited in the success of this deal, as well as Kassem Aghtai (developer); however, the “Gastown business establishment and yuppies” and City Housing department are blamed for trying to block the project (CN, 1995, March 1, p. 7).

[76] This is taken from the cover title of the Carnegie Newsletter (1996, January 15) after the announcement of a partnership between Fama and the NDP. The full title reads “So nice to come home to” superimposed on an image of the Woodward’s building with people housing hands around building — a reference to the “Hands Around Woodward’s” action in the summer of 1995.

[77] Spanning this period, histories of the redevelopment were provided in the following issues of the Carnegie Newsletter, 1996, April 1, p. 25–6, 1997, April 15, p. 25–27, 1997, September 1, p. 15, 2001, March 15, p. 3.

[78] Ironically, the City of Vancouver would replicate the Woodward’s Window Painting in February 2004, when they announced a three-month project to display artwork focusing on “themes of hope, sustainability, and diversity” inspired by Woodward’s Christmas Window displays. Further, “The project will celebrate the symbolism and history of the Woodward’s building, and showcase the talents of the community and its aspirations for the future” (CN, 2004, February 1, p. 16). Note that it is not the history of the community or neighbourhood, but an isolated focus on the building’s commercial history. Also significant is the impetus and conceptualization of the project from the City — not the community, matching the concurrent consultation over the future of Woodward’s, where the community is invited to participate.

[79] It states that all that was needed to finalize the deal between Fama and BC Housing was a “bonding” agreement, which would demonstrate Fama’s financial ability to complete the project, a standard requirement for all public-private partnerships (CN, 1997, April 15, p. 3).

[80] These slogans were reported in the Carnegie Newsletter (1997, May 15). It is not known if these were the sprayed messages described in the press statement.

[81] Bud Osborn, a primary organiser of the PRG, is a local poet and activist in the DTES, having affiliations with both the Downtown Eastside Residents Association and Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users.

[82] A cover of the first edition of this publication is critiqued in the Carnegie Newsletter (1997, May 15, p. 32) and said to be the anonymous publication of the Gastown Business Improvement Society, the Gastown Merchants Association, the Gastown Historic Area Planning Community, the Gastown Residents Association, and the most of the Gastown Land Use Task Force (p. 32).

[83] This is the reversal from 1995, when Bryce Rossitch, member of the newly formed Gastown Residents’ Association claimed that the Carnegie Centre and DERA did not speak for all residents of the DTES, particularly incoming condo owners. Evident of feeling of persecution in the neighbourhood, Michael McCoy, president of GRA, was unwilling to speak to Sun reporter, Aird, because of assumed bias. She explains, “Mr. McCoy is steamed because I wrote last week that the Woodward’s building should be a mix of market condos and affordable rental housing. Who’d have thought that writing about the need for affordable housing could be considered ‘vitriolic’ — but that’s how tense things are in the Downtown Eastside” (1995, p. B1).

For analysis of the pathologization of the DTES, see: Jeff Sommers, 2001, 2003–4; Sommers & Blomley, 2002.

[84] The discourse of concentration of social housing is discussed in the following chapter on hegemonic public formation of the social movement and media.

[85] Specially, the final proposal to be submitted by Fama was for 367 condos and three floors of commercial and retail space.

[86]The editorial being referred to is, “Salvage operation: Troubled neighborhood needs a savior for the Woodward’s housing project” (1997, p. A14). It states, “When Woodward’s opens its doors again, it should be to welcome poor and affluent alike to their new homes.”

[87] Philips Owen was then the mayor of Vancouver. While the article does not state it, I assume “Campbell” to be Gordon Campbell, who at the time was the leader of the Opposition in the BC provincial government, former mayor of Vancouver (1986–1993) and real estate developer (with Marathon, 1976-1981, and then his own Citycore Development Corporation 1981-n.d.), and future Premier of BC, 2001-present (see his parliamentary website). He was responsible for the biggest cuts and restructuring in Canadian history.

[88] Some cited the community protests as reasons for Fama’s pulling out the process (W#1, p. 2; CN, 1997, September 1, p. 15) and others Fama’s inability to pass the process using the co-op design and their need to redraw the plan (CN, 1997, May 1, p. 2). Rescheduled for September 3rd, it was again postponed due to a city strike (CN, 1997, September 1, p. 13).

[89] Note Shaughnessy is a wealth neighbourhood in Vancouver, which is often seen as controlling electoral politics (and development) in the city. For more information on the neighbourhood, see the City’s “Community webpages. Shaughnessy.” For a critical reading of Shaughnessy’s hegemonic position in Vancouver public spheres, see: Mitchell, 1997.

[90]“Micro suites” was a contentious issue in the DTES at this time (see CN, 1998, May 1), though discussion of them can be founded as early as 1996 (CN, 1996, July 15). Witnessing the cumulative effect of various redevelopment campaigns in the DTES by private developers to shrink the size of affordable income units, one can see a change in assumptions of entitlement in the neighbourhood, with a shift in a call for an “inclusive model of social housing” at Woodward’s in 1995 (first appearing in CN, 1995, May 15, p. 2) (when there was still the possibility of provincial funded co-op housing being built in BC) to the demand for decent and dignified social housing 2002 (first appearing in demands of the squatters, W#2, p. 4).

For representation of the debate in the Sun, see: “Microsuites idea sparks debate on social housing: What’s an acceptable size becomes an issue as housing activists argue over liveability and responsibility in eastside accommodation” (Bula, 1998, p. B1).

[91] For the complete minutes, see the City of Vancouver’s “Development Permit Board and Advisory Panel Minutes, October 20, 1997.”

Hereafter, these minutes will be designated as “DPBAP-O97.”

[92] While zoning policy must be adhered to by the Development Permit Board, MLA Jenny Kwan criticized the City Council for failing to ensure co-op housing in Woodward’s during the zoning regulation, when it received heritage designation. Responding to the loss of the social housing project, it is reported, “‘The city of Vancouver had an opportunity when the matter was before city council — when I was on council — when we went through the rezoning process,’ said Kwan, whose riding contains the site” (Bula & Barrett, 1997, p. B1).

[93] Of course, Partington does not mention that Fama withdrew three days after the final agreement was anticipated to be signed.

[94] Four of the ten speakers were affiliated with the Gastown Homeowners Association, one with the Gastown Business Improvement Society, one the chair of the Vancouver Heritage Commission, two identified as Gastown residents, one a local resident, and two without affiliations (DPBAP-O97, p. 4).

[95]Note the parallel of the pro-development with neoliberal urbanism.

[96] Sommers’ had refuted notions of a bias in favour of social housing in the DTES, pointing out there were 1174 units of market housing compared to 560 social/co-op housing. He states in an editorial, “If there is an imbalance in the housing mix, it is clearly in favor of market housing” (1993, p. A11). While there was no net loss to low-income housing between 1991 and 1996, between June 1996 and February 1998, 639 units were lost, dropping the number of non-market housing units in 1998 to 1988 levels (CN, 1998, March 15, p. 10–11).

[97] Jean Swanson makes the case in 2005 that Woodward’s will not save the DTES (even though it is being redeveloped as a mix of social and market housing). Drawing on her experience working with DERA and Carnegie, Swanson argues the problem is the lack of purchasing power of DTES residents, due to welfare cuts, that has deepened the poverty of the neighbourhood. She writes, “I say if the city wants to get purchasing power into the area, they need to restore the purchasing power of the existing residents” (CN, 2005, June 15). This argument of course hinges on a concept of social welfare, which was severely weakened during this time. See: Janet Siltanen, 2002.

[98] Compare this with the twelve speakers against the 1995 proposal; while for the initial Permit Board Hearing there were twenty-one speakers for the project and this dropped to ten for this second hearing (DPBAP-O97). The Carnegie reports over sixty speakers in opposition to the Fama proposal (CN, 1997, November 1, p. 7), while the minutes only report fifty and the Vancouver Sun states there to be over seventy-five.

[99] Such a claim to closer alliance between the DTES’s struggle for social housing and social democratic politics is supported by local campaigns in the DTES to get voters out to the polls, particularly for home-grown politicians, such as Libby Davies (see CN, 1997, May 15). For more on Libby Davies’ role in the DTES, see her parliamentary website.

[100] Marg Green is recorded as from the Woodwards Cooperative (DPBAP-O97, p.5), which I presume to be the Woodward’s Co-op Committee, for which she was the president.

[101] As an aside, for projects that study civic public hearings and consultations, if an accurate account of the social discourse is to be understood — and with it a more complete picture of social history — it is imperative to supplement civic records with community documents. The example here of the full presentation is matched by an instance in 2002 where the municipal records inaccurately recorded the names of community residents who addressed Council, as well as failed to record their points or reasons for doing so (see the City’s “Minutes for the Regular Council Meeting, October 22, 2002,” p. 13.)

[102] Note that this critique of the planning process, and public consultation, built on long-term frustrations in the DTES with the city. For example, in June 1996, Muggs Sigurgeirson (at the time president of the Carnegie Community Centre Association) withdrew from consultation with city planners (including DPB member Larry Beasley). She argued, “We had been used and abused again and again; every time we’d agree to talk with planners, something directly opposite to what had been discussed was already in the chute, going before some permit board or council, just weeks or days from approval” (CN, 1996, June 1, p.2). An example of this pattern was the Victory Square Neighbourhood (ibid; also in the same CN issue, p. 25–26). Sigurgeirson is also responding to comments made by Beasley (i.e., “The voters of Vancouver could live with 20 to 25,000 homeless people and not even notice it” [CN, 1996, June 1, p.1]) that were interpreted in the DTES community viewing homelessness as inevitable and slandering the DTES. Taylor, editor of the Carnegie Newsletter, summarized this opinion of Development Permit Board procedures as “bullshit consultations where you are just presented with blueprints and given 5 minutes to say what lines you don’t like, or public meetings where there is no venue to air community concerns in a meaningful way” (CN, 1996, June 1, p. 26).

[103] Amendments included improved “liveability” of the smaller suits, provision of an equipped outdoor play area, better integration of old and new portions of the building (DPBAP-O97, p. 11).

[104] Shortly after the approval of the redevelopment proposal for Woodward’s, new policy came into place to address housing in the DTES — the strategy that had been called for in the June 1995 hearing. See the City’s “Policy Report – A Program of Strategic Actions for the Downtown Eastside and Downtown Eastside – Building a Common Future, July 17, 1998.”

[105] It is reported in the local mass media that Jim Green had been continuing the effort to bring mixed housing to Woodward’s. It states, “For some people, news of this possible high-tech haven is a staggering disappointment. ‘People are already feeling heartbroken,’ said Jim Green, a longtime housing activist who has been working with the provincial government in recent years on social development in the community. Green has been leading an effort in the past several months to form a partnership with the city to buy the building and use it for 300 units of mixed social housing along with two or three floors of community-serving retail businesses – something that has been a dream of Downtown Eastside groups since the Woodward’s department store closed in January 1993” (MacKie & Bula, 2000, p. B1).

[106] For example, Sun columnist, Pete McMartin, writes: “The Jennies of this world claim there is a storage [of affordable housing], when, in fact, their best intentions have created — not a neighbourhood, as they insist — but an ambitious, government-funded ghetto unable to shake the lethargy of its own malaise. The continued malignant presence of the looming, empty Woodward’s building — which enjoys heritage status but should be blown up, instead — is a big part of that malaise. Social housing is exactly what the Downtown Eastside doesn’t need. It could use a new representative in Victoria, though” (McMartin, 2000, p. A3). The growing tendency to label the DTES a ghetto because of social housing will be addressed in greater detail in the following chapter.

[107] On the relationship between the NDP and the DTES, see footnote 114. Also, Carroll & Ratner, 2007.

[108] See the UN’s “Universal declaration of human rights.”

[109] While there is a marked radicalization of rhetoric appearing more often in 2000, there was already analysis of the impact of globalization on the DTES, with gentrification being one of its manifestations, but also the Free Trade Agreement, Bill C-76 (Canada Health and Social Transfer), and generally the war on the poor throughout the world (Osborn, CN, 1996, March 1, p. 28–30).

[110] Marg Green of Woodward’s Housing Co-op states in the Sun that it would be a mix of 60 percent low-income paying 30 percent of their income on rent, 40 percent low end of market rate (MacKie & Chow, 2001, p. B1), whereas The Province had the numbers at 275 families (McCune, 2001, p. A8).

[111] Putting a social movement perspective on theories of publics, I described social movement publics as a collective formation of actors sharing a common identity and understanding of an issue (if only temporally and contingently), who are engaged in practices of critical intervention, social solidarity, and collective actions oriented toward social change (regressive, progressive, transformative, etc.).

[112] Preferring not to use the term counterpublic, I link social movement publics with hegemonic struggles and argue that the term is descriptive of the general practices of critical intervention and social change pursued by members with marginalized issues, identities, or practices within a political community.

[113] Creese and Strong-Boag, reporting on the inequality created by the BC Liberals, write “High rates of poverty among the ‘working poor’, insufficient support through social assistance and disability benefits, and policies that increasingly deny those in need any access to social assistance or disability benefits at all, collide with gentrification and a housing market entering the stratosphere to make accommodation increasingly unaffordable and unobtainable. A growing incidence of homelessness is the starkest outcome of this crisis. The most recent ‘homeless count’ in Greater Vancouver found 2,174 people on March 15 of 2005, almost double those counted in 2002. After three years of Liberal changes to income assistance and disability benefits, homeless people in shelters increased by one-third, while the ‘street homeless’ increased by 238 percent” (Creese & Strong-Boag, 2008, p. 3). Moreover, “Between 2003 and 2005, 99 new SRO units were created while 415 disappeared; between 2005 and 2006 the disparity was 82 and 400” (p. 11). Homes BC was also cut at this time (Condon & Newton, 2007, p. 3).

[114] Solidarity to the Canadian social welfare state is argued to be particularly relevant for those in English Canada (Angus, 1997; Brodie, 2002).

[115] The provincial Minister of Community, Aboriginal and Women’s Services stated in the Vancouver Sun at the time, “Markets change,” [George] Abbott said. “We clearly are going to try to recover the maximum number of taxpayer dollars out of this. But it’s clear that the former NDP government paid far too much for the building. It was an ill-advised purchase. The plan they had would have involved about $90 million in expenditure and we’re not about to do the fast ferries of affordable housing” (Beatty, 2002, p. B3). The “fast ferries fiasco” refers to a controversial purchase of ferries by NDP Premier Glen Clark in the late 1999s, which received much negative attention in the local mass media. See, for example: “Watch for man overboard in Clark’s ferry fiasco: It was the premier who gave the go-ahead for the Pacificat project, but don’t go looking for him in the limelight now” (Palmer, 1999, p. A6). Some LIC advocates have described the local mass media in Vancouver as “NDP bashers” (Taylor, CN, 1997, April 15, p. 25) and that might contribute to a less socially progressive policy context in BC.

[116]The Woodward’s squat was a heterogeneous group of individuals and organizations with many different perspectives, goals, and tactical approaches to some change. While not all at the squat would label it a social movement, I focus on the raise in discourse that does advance this self-identity in order to think through the implications for the various constitutive and relational practices.

[117] OCAP, on their website, describes itself as such: “OCAP is a direct-action anti-poverty organization based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. We mount campaigns against regressive government policies as they affect poor and working people. In addition, we provide direct-action advocacy for individuals against welfare and ODSP [Ontario Disability Support Program], public housing and others who deny poor people what they are entitled to. We believe in the power of people to organize themselves. We believe in the power of resistance.”

[118] Note that it is Libby Davies, the MP of East Vancouver, the riding in which the DTES resides, who has put forward a National Housing Strategy Bill. She states that this was one of her key issues when first elected in 1997, confirming to long history of housing activism in this neighbourhood. See Davies’ “Libby’s bill for a national housing strategy.”

[119] While shelters and tent cities are certainly not an adequate answer to the lack of affordable housing, in the absence of it, some anti-poverty and housing activists advocate for rights to camp in public parks (such as in the case of anti-camping bylaws in Victoria, BC, challenged in 2005), arguing that these tent cities provide greater security for those who are homeless (see for example” Kari, 2006; Adam, 2007).

[120] Note “W#” will be used to reference the W.O.O.D.S.Q.U.A.T. Newsletter, published by the Friends of the Woodward’s Squat that were contained as part of the Friends of the Woodward’s Squat Archive, and catalogued on CHODARR online database. See Appendix B.

[121] Vancouver’s bid to be among those shortlisted for the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympics Games was announced August 28th, 2002, mere weeks before the start of the squat at Woodward’s. See “Vancouver bid makes 2010.” Of the Olympics, and the banners hung the first day of the squat that read “Campbell’s Olympic Shame,” squatter Shawn Millar explains, “This refers to the evil one’s willingness to spend billions and billions of dollars on the chance of hosting a two-week long sporting event eight years down the road, while our own citizens suffer more and more from deprivation of the basic necessities of life” (Shawn M, CN, 2002, October 1, p. 2). This also speaks to the different temporal experiences between the residents of the DTES and the policies of the BC Liberals.

For more CBC coverage on the Vancouver Olympics, see: “Road to the games.” Also see: Makarenko, 2006.

[122] This essay was reprinted in the special edition of the West Coast Line (WCL), entitled, “Woodsquat” (see Appendix B), p. 31–32, noting its significance in the documentation of the Woodward’s squat. While his surname is designated as “M” in the Carnegie Newsletter, in WCL it is broadened to “Millar.”

[123] While there is a long and diverse history of squatting that emerges in different forms in different national and regional contexts, these can be reduced to major two types of squats: those that are movements unto themselves, such has been in case in the Netherlands, and those that are used as a tactic within social housing movements (Pruijt, 2003).

[124] Such support was evident in letters republished in W.O.O.D.S.Q.U.A.T. See for example: W#23.

[125]Note that the Anti-Poverty Coalition (APC), who was a central organizing body in the squat formed in January 2002 (see: “Time to cry ‘Enough!’”), though the “Anti-Poverty Action Committee” was first mentioned in response to a demand for social housing in Woodward’s in August 2000 (CN, 2000, August 15, p.14).

[126]By focusing on the “demands” of the squatters and their supporters, I am emphasizing the political and public action side of the squat. Because of limited space, this is at the expense of a simultaneous discourse that discussed the squat as a home, recognizing the mutually supporting private dimension of the squat.

[127]There were even identity cards produced for residents of the Woodward’s squatter — some with the names of the individual printed on them, stating “Woodwards Squat Resident. Vancouver, Coast Salish Territory.” Catalogued in CHODARR as “Woodwards Squat Resident.”

[128] Note that these events occurred after the signing of the Vancouver Agreement in 2000 that brought the three levels of government together to address urban issues in Vancouver’s inner city. Their website states, “The Vancouver Agreement (VA) is an agreement among three levels of government to support local community solutions to economic, social, health and safety issues. This urban development initiative focuses on Vancouver’s inner city and in particular the Downtown Eastside (DTES).” The August 7th, 2002, vigil at Woodward’s had referenced this agreement, calling attention to the three levels of government’s role in social housing (CN, 2002, August 15, p. 12).

[129] While the dominant perspective on tactics at Woodward’s was one of non-violence, there was not necessarily a consensus among all the squatters. For divergent opinion, see Forth’s “From the Woodwards Squat to Widespread Social Overhaul” (2003–4, p. 99–103). He also discusses the formation of affinity groups within squat and their use of autonomous direct action (p. 101). For analysis of the Woodward’s squat as a form of autonomous action, see Vidaver, 2003; Farr, 2007.

[130] The diversity of organizations and individuals participating and supporting the squat included those that emerged at the squat, such as Woodwards Social Housing Coalition, Friends of the Woodwards Squat, Woodwards Legal Defense Fund, and Woodwards Squat Native Caucus. The squat was also supported by affiliated organizations such as Western Aboriginal Representation Society, Collective Opposed to Police Brutality, Pivot Legal Society, Keeping Time, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, Ant-Poverty Committee, and Squ@t!net (W#28, p. 4). Mass mobilizations in support of the Woodsquat activists were attended by a number of progressive politicians, union representatives and poverty activists such as City Councillor Fred Bass (COPE), Marg Prevost (Carnegie), MP Libby Davies (NDP), Jack Layton (national leader of the NDP), MLA Jenny Kwan (NDP), Sheila Baxter (Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre), and Jim Sinclair (President of the BC Federation of Labour) (W#1, p. 4).

[131] This was a loose and temporary coalition of individuals and organizations participating in and supporting the Woodward’s squat. For the full text, see the CWSS’s “Points of Unity and Strategy of the Coalition” (2003–4, p.95).


[132]In terms of the audience they seek to address and tactics they use, they write: “The Coalition targets the government and business to pressure them to meet the needs of poor and working people in the province, as stated in the demands. The Coalition creates educational material and strives to use and generate statistics to expose the anti-poor, pro-business nature of the Liberal government’s policies and to create informed social pressure for positive legislative reforms. We defend ourselves from attacks by the government and business community through positive, constructive initiatives (like opening empty buildings and homes and sustaining tent-cities) as well as through direct actions and mass mobilizations of people to disrupt and agitate the existing situation that kills people” (2003–4, p.95).

[133] There was always some discussion of rights of the DTES low-income community to housing and participation in decisions over Woodward’s. However, these sorts of discourses were central in this later period’s mobilization for social housing. This can be seen in the appeals to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the August vigil (CN, 2002, August 15, p. 12), various speeches during the squat, that additionally discuss Charter rights (W#4, p. 2), use in individual squatter’s writings (see in particular, but not exclusively, W#25, W#33), and in the squatters’ legal campaigns, both emerging in the rhetoric of squatters and supporters in their affidavits (W#41) and as a central strategy in court cases against the various injunctions against the squat and arrests of the squatters (Quastel, 2003–4, p. 208–221).

[134] Commenting on the success of actions like Woodsquat pressing social justice issues during the municipal election, Krangle and Bula write: “Suddenly the focus was away from boosting Vancouver’s image on a tourism brochure or its place on a list of liveable cities and onto the city’s problems and eyesores: Boarded-up buildings in the Downtown Eastside; addicts shooting up in the alleys; homelessness; traffic jams and poor transit services” (2002, p. B1). Drawing an even stronger relationship between the squat and the city, Bula later comments that the squat provided the political motivation for the City to buy the building. She writes: “Artist Stan Douglas said he chose to do a photograph of the 1970s-era Gastown riots as the public art for the Woodward’s atrium because he wanted something that symbolized a moment of challenge and rupture. A perfect companion piece, a few people I’ve talked to have mentioned, would be a photograph of something very similar that happened more recently: the massive squat by homeless people that happened around Woodward’s in 2002, also well attended by police, which provided the political impetus to save the building” (2010).

For the squatters’ analysis of their relationship with the election and electoral politics, see W#49 and Bundock (2003–4, p. 146–147).

[135] While recognizing the difficulties of essentializing language, I do not wish to convey that communities are ever anything but heterogeneous and dynamic. However, my intention is to make the distinction between the types of identities that emerge out of social movements versus those arising out of “communities,” which here I conceive to be more place-related identities that often are not true of social movements.

Noting a constitutive relationship between social movements and communities, Angus writes, “Community involves seeing a common interest in sustaining a shared form of life with other beings, be they human or non-human, who are different. The public consists in creating a common identity that binds together despite differences. To be sure, community is not a simple concept. It is often a task to discover who is our relevant community. Also, communities overlap and influence each other. They are often communities in the process of formation, brought about by the shared process of diagnosing a problem and identification with a proposed solution that occurs within a social movement” (2001, p. 83).

[136] Note: This edition of W.O.O.D.S.Q.U.A.T. is part of a series on “the Current History of the Woodwards Squat” that began on November 25, 2002, the 73 day of the squat (that was to last 92 days). W# 46 provides a “schedule” of the series, with the first beginning in W#45 “Overview of the History of the Woodwards Squat” that provides a daily chronology of the major events of the squat, and was followed by W#46 “Part 1 – Opening Day: 14 September,” (this one) W#47 “Part 2 – The Week Inside: 14–21 September,” and W#48 “Part 3 – Inside and Outside Evictions: 21 & 22 September.” While there were ten parts conceived in the series, only these four were written. The direction of the newsletters changed with the City receiving an enforcement order for the injunction to shut down the squat, necessitating a less historical mobilization by FWS. For example, W#49 instead of describing the revision of the demands is entitled “Stick Together! Power in Unity! We Will Win!” that discusses the enforcement order and the implications for the squatters and the squat.

This practice of historicization of Woodward’s follows in the tradition of the previous campaigns, linking history, memory, identity, and claims.

[137] “Home” was a major discourse during the squat, described in terms of being a family and as a place of safety. While this language was pervasive, see in particular affidavits of the squatters (W#41), Victory Square speeches (W#11), and other key examples from individual writings on the family (Durocher, W#14) and safety (Ballantyne, W#7). Squatters describing the squat and Woodward’s as a “home” also appear in the mass media, particularly with the threat of an eviction from inside in the building. See: “Squatter ‘has nothing to lose’ if arrested: Patient police still aiming to resolve the standoff at Woodward’s peacefully” (Griffin, 2002, p. B1), which has the subheading “Occupation gives some a place to call home” (p. B2). In this story, squatter Mike Platt states he is willing to be arrested if the squatters are evicted from the building, making the point, “After all, as a homeless person, he doesn’t have anything to lose” (p. B1).

[138] For example, in W.O.O.D.S.Q.U.A.T., a connection with squatter movements is established, historically in Vancouver (W#5, #55), horizontally in solidarity with organizations across Canada in the national “Give it or Guard it” campaign initiated by OCAP in Oct 2002 (W#18, #21, #22, #30), and in relation to the colonial squatting of unceded Salish Territory, in which the DTES and Vancouver is located on (W#52).

[139] W#28 presents the three sets of overlapping demands from the Woodward’s Social Housing Coalition, the Anti-Poverty Committee, and the Friends of the Woodsquat to the Government of British Columbia, the City of Vancouver, and the Government of Canada. These include increasing social housing and other social services, legislating anti-vacancy bylaws, providing funding and support for Aboriginal peoples in the Downtown Eastside, ceasing police harassment, providing immediate and adequate shelter for the squatters, and disciplining the Vancouver Police Chief for unreasonable use of force at the Britannia Riots. These demands also demonstrate the multiple orientations and goals of the various groups affiliated at the Woodward’s squat.

[140] When social action is conceived of in a strictly (statists) social services frame, it excludes notions of mutual aid that circulate and are practiced in the DTES (CN, 1995, November 15, p. 11) and at Woodsquat, where it was stated “our independent community based on mutual aid and respect has been created and sustained” (W#45, p.4) (see also Vidaver, 2003–2004, p. 7). For an example of what might be termed a counter-conception of social action, consider this excerpt written in a letter to City Council by FWS, which while rhetorical, suggests a community approach to social service that is simultaneously a form of public action: “The Woodwards Squat is the safest place for the homeless in the Downtown Eastside; that is why so many people stay. A community has taken shape on the sidewalk around the building; a community that is based on respect and mutual aid, a community that shares everything it has, and for many if is all they have. You cannot break this community with your orders, your laws, your police force or their violence. If you move us we will not scatter and disappear, we will stay together. We will continue to resist the government that have created and maintained the poverty we live in. We will continue to fight for survival. If you want us to leave the sidewalk in front of the Woodwards building, open the doors and let us in” (W#34, p.3).

[141] Note that the label of “activist” tended to be the product of media representations, while those active at the squat just used the name of “squatter” or “supporter” or more often “resident.” For example, Jim Leyden, one of the squatters who broke into Woodward’s, dismisses the charge that the squatters arrested during the eviction were all activists, stating “There is a rumour being spread that they were a bunch of rent-by-the-hour activists. If you look at the list of who was arrested, out of 58, very few of them were actually activists. Many of them were local or recently local. And there were also a few who came in to the city, couldn’t find a place to stay, heard there was a squat and so stayed there” (Ward, 2002, October 15, p. A5). While this doesn’t refute the distinction between “activists” and “locals,” it does suggest that the difference is not so pronounced.

[142] These were the most comprehensive stories throughout the squat, with word counts of 4269 and 4052, respectively.

[143]There was a letter responding to the article praising it for humanizing the squatters and further states that the squat is there because the government’s broken promise of social housing and service cuts (Lindenburger, 2002, October 19). However, it should be noted that this is a letter from the President of the United Church Conference of BC who had also been working with the squatters and organizing donations and the porta-potties for the squat (Lindenberg, 2002). She makes the point, “Telling sick, ill-equipped people to ‘get a job’ is a thoughtless and callous response to the current economic crisis,” which points out another common response to the homeless/squatters. Lindenburger does replicate a view of the homeless as dependent, but she, unlike Struthers, does place it in the context of a political demand for social housing, which was the dominant message of the squatters.

[144] This is taken from the conclusion of the story, which reads: “This is what sets the Woodward’s gang apart: their heads have not been dovetailed, sanded and glued into that great compound joint we call community. For that they are anathema” (Struthers, 2002, p. D4). One wonders if such a description extends to the surrounding DTES community.

[145] Note that this quote suggests it is the squatters who only wanted publicity for their issues, not necessarily any action to address it; a move that limits the public action of the squatters.

[146] Later in the article, the police are quoted as calling the APC “CAVE people: Citizens Against Virtually Everything” (p. A6). This label is coupled with APC member Ivan Drury stating the “police function as tools of a repressive system” (A6), another indication of their outlandish political views. The APC are thus not to be taken seriously, and not legitimate participants of the squat, and are even charged with exploiting the squatters as “poster children” for their radical politics (stated by Dan Lindsay in Ward, 2002, November 1).

[147]Note in the weeks following this article, in The Province there is an article by a member of the Vancouver Police Department missing the protesters as “latte leftists” who just oppose (Tonner, 2002) and later a column by Jon Ferry (2002), “City protesters aren’t good little Marxists,” the APC’s solutions are patronizingly described as unrealistic as even poor are free-enterprisers, not Marxists.

[148] Providing critical analysis of this distinction between political and social action, and its consequence, squatter Krebs stated, “This is the standard approach: especially in an area like the DTES, the service-agency approach is the preferred ‘solution’ to address the issues of poor people. For the most part, however, these programs do little to actually deal with our situation. Aboriginal businesses can only help a few people at the most. They do not address the poverty of First Nations people as a whole. The same is true for service agencies: they might make it a little bit easier for people to get through the day but they don’t actually work to end poverty, and they certainly don’t empower people to gain more control over their lives” (2003–2004, p. 44). This is similarly a discourse of “poverty pimps,” those agencies who are said to benefit from maintaining and perpetuating the poverty of residents in the DTES, circulated by residents and the media. In relation to Woodsquat, see Forsythe, 2003–2004.

[149] An “infrastructure of services” Ward describes includes: “a makeshift kitchen of one barbecue and two propane stoves churning out hundreds of meals a day, a patchwork of committees, including volunteer security people to guard against theft and to call the ambulance for people who overdose or have seizures, a punk rock concert with DOA, two-porta-potties, a newsletter and internet web site produced by radicals drawn to the cause and at least two threadbare offices geared toward generating support for the whole affair” (Ward, 2002, October 15, p. A1).

The squatters are also described as performing a public service in publicizing the issue of homelessness for those with a home (Brodsky & Day, 2002) — but again this seems to be framed within a charity model, where the homeless need services.

[150] The article, following the day after the special report, has Chief of Police Jamie Graham further distinguishing the protesters from the “legitimate homeless.” He states, “Much of the agenda down there has been overtaken by people who have absolutely no interest in homelessness. There are people there right now, and we’re well aware of who they are, who are only there for one reason — and that is confrontation with police and other authorities.” Further, “ … Graham said moving the squatters is necessary to … stop political activists from continuing to ‘take advantage of’ the poor, homeless and mentally ill” (Culbert, 2002, p. B1). Such a statement by the police overshadows their violent evictions of the squatters and places their actions in the rights (rather than wrong in destroying the squatters’ possessions, having earlier called it garbage — Sept 24, 2002), as the protectors of the homeless from exploitation by activists.

[151] This editorial is particularly responding to the endorsement of some groups (APC, FWS) of the national “Give it or Guard it” campaign organized by OCAP, and further, to the APC stating they would squat another six buildings in an effort to increase social housing. See: Zacharias, 2002, October 28; Krangle, 2002.

[152] The predilection for experts is particularly evident in The Vancouver Sun’s full-page story, “What should we do with Woodward’s: A blend of mixed housing with a commercial component, and even moving city hall, is the order of the day from these movers and shakers” (Sep 28th, 2002), which ran during the first two weeks of the squatters’ occupation of the Woodward’s site (and leading up to the election). The opinions taken to be most relevant come from four architects (Peter Busby, Authur Erikson, Bryce Rositch, and Bing Thom), five politicians/political candidates (BC Liberal Minister George Abbott, Mike Harcourt (NDP), municipal candidates — Larry Campbell (COPE), George Chow (independent associated with Chinatown merchants, and Jennifer Clark [COPE]), a city former city planner (Ernie Fadell), development consultant (Michael Geller — who would later run for council), and poverty activist (Jim Green). Generally, some sort of combination of retail and mixed housing was advanced as a means to revitalize the neighbourhood, with varying emphasis on cultural facilitates or other services, with City Hall being a resident of the redeveloped space the outside opinion (Busby), and again where gentrification is re-termed revitalization (Geller) and reducing its iconic status is deemed desirable (Rositch, who founded of Community Alliance, a right-wing NPA supporting organization in Downtown of Vancouver [Bula, 2002, p. A1]). These opinions establish the parameters of debate and the range of reasonable claims for Woodward’s conversion. Excluded from the debate is the voice of the residents of the DTES, many of whom were embroiled in one of the most visible and supported struggles for social housing and the rights of the homeless in the history of the DTES and Vancouver.

[153] While not exclusive, key critiques of mass media representations in previous campaigns for Woodward’s by the low-income community can be found in the Carnegie Newsletters articles: “See you at Woodward’s. The Vision is Still Alive” (1995, July 1), “Yuppies in the ‘Hood’” (1995, July 1),” Aghtai’s Reason Collapse Under Close Scrutiny. The Alternative Media (that’s us) Reveals the Truth” (1997, April 15), and “Daisies!?!” (2000, July 15).

[154] W.O.O.D.S.Q.U.A.T. was an unofficial newsletter of the squat. Reflecting a DIY ethic prevalent in the squat, it was self-published by the Friends of the Woodwards Squat and put out almost daily throughout the duration of the three-month action and sporadically afterward with the last edition coming out June 22, 2003; fifty-eight issues in all. The first edition states its purpose as to “provide support from the outside and circulate writing from people on the inside & around the squat, on the street…” (W#1, p. 4); however, not wanting to be mistaken as “representing the squat,” it later identifies its role as that of being a “material support group” (W#29, p.4).

[155] Articles on the squat were published in the Long Haul (End Legislative Poverty), Rising Up Angry (by the Woodwards Social Housing Coalition, appearing only once in January 2003), the Anti-Poverty Committee Newsletter, Obstruction of In-Justice (Collective Opposed to Police Brutality – Vancouver), The Peak (Simon Fraser University Student Newspaper), and Carnegie Newsletter, as well in articles on Indymedia Vancouver and online by independent journalists (e.g., Nicole Lindsay and Illara’s Drop Page 4.2) and other organizations, such as Intermission Artist Society ( All of these have been catalogued on the CHODARR.

[156] On the relationship between social movements and media, see for example: Gamson, et al., 1992; Gamson & Wolfsfeld, 1993; Angus, 2000; Raphel, 2000; Downey & Fenton, 2003; Koopmans, 2004; Carroll & Hackett, 2006.

On the relationship between social movements and alternative media see, for example: Waltz, 1995; Downing, et al., 2001; Rodriguez, 2001; Atton, 2002; Couldry & Curran, 2003.

[157] This is from a letter to the residents of Woodward’s squat from Michelle McHugh, signed a “friend in the community, who had visited the squat and has been active in squats in the Lower Eastside of Manhattan and Toronto” (W#23).

[158] For a description, see the Friends of the Woodwards Squat Press Kit.

[159] See for example: Wulwick (2003–4, p. 18) and Barnholden (W#58).

[160] Friends of the Woodwards Squat provides a comprehensive chronology of the Woodward’s squat, detailing events (e.g., meetings, rallies, press conferences, etc.), documents from the squat and other organizations (publications, photos, statements, city notices, etc.), and number of residents at the squat between September 2002 and the end of January 2003. See “Woodwards Squat Chronology.”

[161] See the City’s “Agreement Begins Future.”

[162]See the City’s “Community Consultation.”

[163] See the City’s “Woodward’s Steering Committee.”

[164]Stopping gentrification continues to be a key campaign for LIC advocates in the DTES. For example, in a letter to the mayor and City Council in 2009, the CCAP, on their current actions website, write, “The city’s plan for the DTES is to encourage market housing and maintain low income housing. Woodward’s is a prime example.” Noting the contradictory consequences of these priorities, they continue, “Here’s an excerpt of the description of the amenity room for Woodward’s condo owners: ‘Owners will have full access to an amazing array of rooftop views and amenities including a glass-flanked gym, stacked media room and glamorous lounge. Live large in the soaring double-height space. Read. Flirt. Meditate. Invite your friends to a movie or barbeque. Dine outside on the deck. Get steamy or wet. There’s even a giant hot tub (yes-in the shape of a W).’ ‘Plus, Club W is rumoured to have the sexiest restrooms on the continent.’ Where do the social housing residents of Woodward’s go for their amenities?”. The unequal access to amenities had been one of the key disagreements during the negotiations between the NDP, Fama, and the Woodward’s Coop Committee in 1996 (Taylor, CN, 1997, April 15, p. 25-27). Also indicative of the astute analysis of the LIC advocates, a drawing of segregated elevators (one for social housing residents and other for condo owners) had been included in an update about the Fama-NDP negotiations (CN, 1996, February 1, p. 14), and proved a reality in the 2010 site.

[165] The report and other City documents on the consultation can be found at

[166] Note the demand for 250 units of social housing was premised on the belief that the project would contain only 420 housing units, as had been the case with all previous development permits for Woodward’s, a precedent set by Fama’s 1997 proposal. However, this was not the case and the desire for an equal proportion of market and non-market housing units was skewed toward the former, 536 to 200.

[167] This poster also appeared in Carnegie Newsletter, Feb 2010. Provides a link to “Learn about the City’s Gentrification Plan:,” which is the City’s “Historic area height review.”

[168]The term ripple effect was actually used previously in relation to Woodward’s, appearing in “Bringing Woodwards back to life… and back to the community. Woodwards Window Project” (CN, 1995, May 15, p.11). At this time, Hastings was described as a “ghost-town” because “developers and speculators” were sitting on their properties; nonetheless, LIC advocates feared residents’ displacement with the potential for condo development (p. 11–12). While it took over a decade for developers to begin to build condos in the DTES in earnest (the transformation of the DTES more than evident now in 2010), an alarming number of residents have already lost their homes, because among other reasons, the closure of low-cost residential hotels and the BC Liberals’ continued punitive social policies. In 2010, over 1700 people are homeless, and there’s been a twelve percent increase since 2008. However, more people are now living in shelters provided by the City than on the street (see Paulsen, 2010).

[169] For more on the Poverty Olympics see their website.

[170] For example, see the CCAP’s website for their current campaigns on housing, gentrification, and income, pursued in collaboration with organizations in and beyond Vancouver. See Swanson (2001) on “poor bashing,” as an example of analysis by a long-time anti-poverty activist in the DTES.

[171] My discussion of three periods in the formation of public at Woodward’s may appear to be similar to theories of an inevitable institutionalization of a social movement. As discussed in chapter two, theorists studying cycles of protest (e.g., Tarrow, 1991, 1995; Traugott, 1995) often using a resource mobilization (RMT) approach, argue there is a process toward institutionalization of movements. Similarly, Scott (1990) argues, “If there is a telos of social movement activity then it is the normalization of previously exotic issues and groups. Success is thus quite compatible with, and indeed overlaps, the disappearance of a movement as a movement” (p. 10–11). These approaches share an assumption that movement activity is a form of “dysfunction” in the social order. Starting at that point encourages a view of movements as necessarily positioned in relation (and often in opposition) to dominant institutions and cultures, with inclusion being the ultimate ends (with perhaps the goal of inclusion coming from both the movement and the institution). I have argued that a social movement perspective, which seeks to move away from a view of “social movements” as objects or phenomenon (see McGee, 1980b), challenges this approach by focusing on the many intentions, orientations, and scales of social movement publics as they are actually practiced and conceived by the movement itself. As such, my research does not assume a necessarily oriented toward the state or dominate culture, or inclusion within them as an end goal. Further, my research also suggests that relational activities are only part of movement practices, which also include constitutive practices.

[172] Because this dissertation focuses predominantly on discursive practices present in documents, my interest would be to further explore the relationship between documentation practices and public formations, particularly those of social movement publics. Of course, the question of the institutional capabilities and capacities are applicable to organizations in the DTES, particularly CCAP and DERA. Studying the organization resources of CCAP and DERA would be a much more conventional social movement approach to understanding the Woodward’s protest. For approaches to the study of social movement organizations, see for example: McCarthy & Zald, 1977; Lofland, 1996; Carroll, 1997; Davis, et al., 2005).

[173] These offer insights into the mobilizing and campaigning by members of the DTES community as they occurred at the time, including the response of the community to emerging issues and functioning as means to organize and publicize actions. Rather than looking at the events in a retrospective manner (with its predominate orientation toward historical interpretation), these documents provide insight into the active use of rhetoric within political and social struggles. It draws attention to discursive practices in their deployment, including the use of historical memory in political campaigns.

[174]The Carnegie Community Centre, located on the corner of Main Street and E Hastings Street, is the cultural and political hub of the DTES community, playing a central role in the history of the neighbourhood, and itself the success of a vigorous campaign in the late 70s. For information on the Carnegie Newsletter see their website and Taylor, 2003. Carnegie Newsletter is also regularly sent to City of Vancouver Councillors (CN, 1997, November 1, p. 10).

[175]The claim to “not represent” the squat is taken in part because of the many groups, with diverse interests, that were in operation during the squat, as well as the more anarchist-autonomous politics of the FWS. For example, as part of the contact information provided in issue #6, it states: “We can put you in touch with residents but please don’t ask us to direct you to a squat leader. There isn’t one” (W#6, p. 4).

[176]FWS also collected an archive of documents and ephemera from the Woodwards Squat. I catalogued a portion of this archive for the CHODARR community archival project (see: The archive also serves as the source for “Woodsquat” – the special edition of the West Coast Line (2003-4) edited by A. Vidaver.


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