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Stephen Johnston, Executive Director, Community Impact Real Estate Division, says universities and governments must prioritize local knowledge as a solution to complicated and interconnected community problems.
Prior to COVID-19, Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside street market provided for residents to meet their basic needs. However, this economy was decimated and left municipal, provincial and federal governments scrambling to address economic inequalities and loss of income-generating opportunities for residents.
In a pre-COVID-19 world, university and government partners would apply solutions rather than work in collaboration. But due to the urgency of the pandemic, leaders were forced to trust and support community partners to determine what would work on the ground to serve residents, sustain the economy and support individuals through the crisis.
By working in partnership, they can demonstrate that they have the knowledge, resources and ability to make things better, Johnston says.
Stephen Johnston, Executive Director, Community Impact Real Estate Division, was a panelist at the launch of UBC’s global engagement strategy, “In Service,” in April 2021 (Video: UBC)