Lunch Time Lectures

Hosted by Mayor Lisa Helps and City Manager Jocelyn Jenkyns

This lunch time lecture series held in 2017 and 2018 explored city-making in the 21st century. What does Victoria look like in 30 to 40 years? How do we get there? Lunch Time Lectures examined how, together, City Hall, residents and businesses can seize the opportunities and challenges of being a leading-edge city in the 21st century.

See below for past lectures, as well as videos where available.

  • Monday, December 3, 2018 - Community Sustainability through Social Purpose Real Estate, with Jacqueline Gijssen and Jennifer Johnstone
    Challenging real estate markets affect not only housing, but every aspect of our community including non-profits, social enterprises, small business and our environmental, economic, social and cultural sustainability. Since 2009 the Social Purpose Real Estate Collaborative (SPRE) has worked to mitigate the impacts of a crazed real estate market on social, health, community organizations, arts, culture and environmental groups and other non-profits and social enterprises. SPRE seeks to build capacity in the sector, develop partnerships, undertake research, and advocate for strong policies that protect space for community. With real estate impacts rapidly spreading outside of Vancouver, including Victoria and parts of the island, there is growing alarm at the loss of community spaces. What is social purpose real estate and why is it important to the future of our urban centres and communities? Join SPRE in a conversation on preserving space for community in the 21st Century.
    Watch the video
  • Monday, November 5, 2018 - From NIMBY to YIMBY, with Dr Ann McAfee
    Improving sustainability in the context of limited land and funds and many demands places pressure on city councils to make difficult choices.  Policies to make more efficient use of existing infrastructure and provide housing choice in established neighbourhoods often pit existing residents against newcomers. In the mid-1990s Vancouver Council was faced with a NIMBY-YIMBY debate.  Over three years Vancouver involved 100,000 people in identifying and directing city choices.  This talk will describe the Vancouver engagement process, successes in finding shared values for change, and challenges in maintaining momentum in the context of changing political directions.  

    As Co-Director of Planning from 1994-2006, Dr. McAfee led Vancouver’s CityPlan process.  Since ‘retiring’ Ann has worked internationally advising on policy planning and public engagement.  As advisor to Auckland’s Unitary Plan, Ann advanced public engagement methods using social media.  Dr. McAfee is a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Planners, a member of Lambda Alpha International Honorary Land Economics Society, and co-recipient of the Kevin Lynch award for distinguished planning practice.  Ann is an Adjunct Professor of Planning at UBC. 
    Watch the video

  • Monday, October 1, 2018 - World Happiness, with John Helliwell
    What makes a city a happy place to live? This talk will draw on 20 years of happiness research and a recent paper ("How happy are your neighbours?”) reporting Statistics Canada data on life satisfaction in more than 1,200 Canadian neighbourhoods and communities.

    John Helliwell is based in the Vancouver School of Economics at UBC, and is a Distinguished Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Advanced Research, the supporter of this happiness research for the past fifteen years. He is an author and editor of all six World Happiness Reports, and author of the synthesis chapter in the more recent Global Happiness Policy Reports. For more details, see
    Watch the video
  • Monday, September 10, 2018 - Shaping a Big Future with Tiny Houses, with Marian McCoy
    Tiny house living isn’t a fad - it has the potential to meet a variety of housing needs without the huge financial burden.

    Come and learn how tiny houses can transform urban areas into strong communities while offering gentle densification. Tiny houses enable affordable home ownership, allowing seniors to age in place and millennials to stay local while getting a leg up on their journey.

    Join us as we talk tiny, exploring a creative solution for our housing crisis and helping people see how tiny living has its place in the 21st century.

    This talk, presented by Marian McCoy of THAVI (Tiny House Advocates of Vancouver Island), will give you an introduction into the tiny house movement and the ways that tiny houses can benefit a community.
    Watch the video

  • Monday, July 9, 2018  - Building Welcoming and Inclusive Communities for Refugees, with Nour-Eddine Maghnaoui
    Violent conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Somalia, South Sudan, and other regions have continued to disrupt the lives of millions of civilians around the world. This presentation will discuss refugees’ perceptions of their hosting countries, the rise of the anti-refugee sentiments in the west, as well as emphasize the sociopolitical backlashes of demonization and stigmatization of refugees.

    Nour-Eddine Maghnaoui is a prominent researcher and is currently writing his masters thesis about the ongoing conflict in Syria, exploring the paradigms of peace building processes in post-conflict societies, and the possibility of transforming Syria’s conflict.
    Watch the video
  • Monday, June 4, 2018 - Local Action Moves the World, with Beate Weber-Schuerholz
    The United Nations'  2016 New Urban Agenda requests States to prevent further damage to the world's ecology, economy, climate and social stability. Without cities taking the lead, nations will not be able to meet their sustainability goals. Cities have the potential to proactively live up to this challenge.

    The Heidelberg example demonstrates that involving all municipal departments and sectors such as planning, infrastructure, construction, utilities, economic development, mobility, education and public relations could move the World. This can only be achieved by including and mobilizing citizens, local enterprise, science and NGOs.

    Beate Weber-Schuerholz was a member of the European Parliament from 1979 to 1990 and Mayor of Heidelberg, Germany from 1990 to 2006. Heidelberg was winner of the European Sustainable City (EU) twice.
    Watch the video

  • Monday, May 7, 2018 - Transforming Youth Engagement to Tackle Urban Challenges, with Tesicca Truong and Veronika Bylicki
    Often, engagement is considered an afterthought or is treated as a checkbox, instead of being treated as an opportunity. CityHive is working on transforming the way that young people are engaged in shaping their cities: in decision making processes, city planning and urban sustainability issues. CityHive Co-Founders Tesicca Truong and Veronika Bylicki will share insight into meaningful youth engagement processes and examples from their own work, as to how youth engagement can result in more active citizens as well as more sustainable, resilient cities.
    Watch the video

  • Monday, April 9, 2018 James Hoggan – I’m Right and You’re an Idiot – The Toxic State of Public Discourse & How to Clean It Up
    Just as we pollute the natural environment we pollute the public square, not with chemical toxins but with our warlike approach to public conversations.

    Passionate public argument is healthy, but unyielding one-sidedness undermines the pluralistic, reasoned debate at the core of healthy democracy. The middle ground disappears, problems seem unsolvable and people turn away from public discourse.

    Best-selling author and communication expert James Hoggan interviewed thought leaders around the world to learn how to transform this social pathology and engage in higher-quality public conversations.
    Watch the video

  • Monday, March 5, 2018 Steve Woolrich – Creating Safe and Compelling Environments:  Is It Possible?
    Community safety and crime reduction continues to be a high priority in cities across North America and there has been a tendency to lean towards fortifying properties in many designs. Are these the kind of cities we want and are they compelling? As community stewards can we explore the possibility of creating stylish, exciting, safe, supportive and welcoming environments? 

    Over the past 25 years Steve Woolrich has established a reputation for excellence in policing, corrections and corporate security and is the principle of Rethink Urban Inc.
    Watch the video

  • Monday, February 5, 2018 Jack Meredith, P.Eng – Net Zero Energy Home – Retrofitting a 120 Year Old Home
    What can homeowners do to reduce their energy use and in turn lessen their climate change impact? Jack’s presentation will use a case study approach to show how an 1890’s era house in Vic West was retrofitted to reduce the home’s energy use enough that a 4.2 kWh Photo Voltaic (PV) system can produce sufficient energy to heat and power the 1400 square foot home. Jack Meredith is a LEED Fellow Emeritus.
    Watch the video

2017 Lectures

  • Monday, December 4, 2017 - Speaking our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation with Monique Gray Smith

    This will be an engaging and inspiring talk in which author Monique Gray Smith will share her own journey and her families continued journey of reconciliation. She will share how these journeys have influenced her writing, specifically the three books that come out in Fall 2017. Monique will provide a couple short readings from one of the new books. 

    Monique Gray Smith is an award winning author, international speaker and sought after consultant. She is well known for her storytelling, her spirit of generosity, and her ability to fill a room with love. Open your heart and mind and allow her words to transport you to another world.
    Watch the video

  • Monday, November 6, 2017 - Healthy and Inclusive City Building, with Todd Litman
    This presentation will explore why and how Victoria can become a more inclusive and healthy city by ensuring that everybody, including people with low incomes and disabilities, can find suitable housing in a walkable urban neighborhood. Todd will examine demographic and economic trends that are changing housing and travel demands, myths and barriers to affordable housing and transportation development, and ways to overcome those barriers. Join us to hear about successful examples of healthy and affordable policies in other cities.
    Todd Litman is founder and executive director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, an independent research organization dedicated to developing innovative solutions to transport problems. His work helps expand the range of impacts and options considered in transportation decision-making, improve evaluation methods, and make specialized technical concepts accessible to a larger audience. His research is used worldwide in transport planning and policy analysis.
    Watch the video

  • Monday, October 2, 2017 - How Design Thinking Can Help with Wicked Problems, with David Dunne
    Is a problem like crime the result of ineffective policing, poor education, immigration, broken windows, or a witch’s brew of all these? Such problems are called “wicked problems" and traditional approaches are ineffective with them. A different approach, “Design Thinking”, is being adopted in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Using vivid examples from around the world, Prof. Dunne will explain the approach and its value.

    David Dunne is Professor and Director of MBA Programs at UVic. He holds a Ph.D. in Management from the University of Toronto. For the past decade, his research and teaching have focused on innovation and design. His book on Design Thinking will be published in 2018. He is a frequent traveler to Kathmandu, Nepal, where he works on the wicked problem of access to healthcare.
    Watch the video

  • Monday, September 11, 2017 - Urban Revitalization Through Child-Centered Design, with Diana Studer
    Diana is a RAIC Syllabus Architecture Student and Technologist at HDR|CEI Architecture in Victoria.  Her final diploma project is focused on how we can better our communities by engaging children in the design and decision making process.  Traveling to Copenhagen, Portland and Vancouver, Diana's project is rooted in her research in pedagogy and the UN Convention on the Right of the Child.  She will present some of her work as well as lessons learned from facilitating a design charrette on Centennial Square with a group of local children.
    Watch the video

  • Monday, July 10, 2017 - World-Class Waterfronts: Victoria and Beyond, with Derek Lee
    Derek is a principal at PWL Partnership and a LEED® Accredited Landscape Architect and urban design with over twenty years of experience in the Middle East, United Kingdom, Asia, and across North America.  He leads design teams at PWL with a focus on sustainable urban planning and design.  Derek’s recent projects include Southeast False Creek Public Realm Development for the City of Vancouver, and Dockside Green for Windmill Developments, VanCity Savings, and the City of Victoria, among other large-scale master planning and urban waterfront development projects across Canada, the United States, and Asia.
    Watch the video

  • Monday, June 5, 2017 - Bikes Mean Business, with Elly Blue
    Elly Blue lives in Portland, Oregon where she publishes books about bicycling and other radical topics. She is the author of Bikenomics: How Bicycling Can Save the Economy.
    Watch the video

  • Monday, May 1, 2017 - The Death and Life of the Single Family House, with Nathanael Lauster
    Nathanael is author of The Death and Life of the Single-Family House: Lessons from Vancouver on Building a Livable City. He is an internationally recognized housing scholar and an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of British Columbia.
    Watch the video

  • Monday, April 3, 2017 - 21st Century Leadership, with Dan Pontefract

    Dan is an author, speaker, thinker and Chief Envisioner of TELUS. He is the author of FLAT ARMY: Creating a Connected and Engaged Organization and THE PURPOSE EFFECT: Building Meaning in Yourself, Your Role and Your Organization. Dan’s book OPEN TO THINK will be published May 2018. You can read his work on Forbes, Harvard Business ReviewPsychology Today or The Huffington Post and view any of his three TED Talks.
    *no video available for this presentation

  • Monday, March 6, 2017 - Inspired to Lead: Climate Action at the City and Beyond, with Fraser Work
    Fraser is the Director of Engineering and Public Works for the City of Victoria. Fraser is leading the Climate Action and Sustainability renewal programs at the City, and is part of an integrated and interdisciplinary team that is developing the strategy and implementing projects to significantly improve community and corporate greenhouse gas emissions and overall environmental performance.
    View the presentation [PDF - 7 MB]