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Diving into the Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Community Development at CityStudio

June 15, 2018
By: 
Hilary Leighton
High Line, New York

Only three days into the Sustainable Community Development residency and it is already clear that the experience is both amazing and daunting. Our CityStudio project is on housing affordability. Some of us know a little something about the topic but others are delving into it for the first time. Definitions plague us. Does this mean homelessness? Are we in a position to contribute to this seemingly massive issue?

CityStudio, City of VictoriaWe settle on Rent to Empower, a scheme for low to moderate income people to rent and save in subsidized housing. We now have three days to prepare a proposal for a panel of experts. It's possible that based on their feedback, our concept and research project could completely change.

Our team feels confident that Rent to Empower embraces the three imperatives of social, economic and environment. But not knowing how the panel will react is slightly unsettling.

What we do know is that we appreciate the depth of dialogue between our instructors, students, guest speakers and city officials. The ideas are endless. We also love getting to meet each other after only online interactions. The diversity of perspectives that we bring and our devotion to working together and accepting each other, makes the residency a special experience. And eventually a productive one, when we present a final action plan framework to the City of Victoria in the fall.