Created By: UBC Learning Exchange
Before you begin your walk through the neighborhood, we ask you to take a moment to reflect on why the Learning Exchange would refrain from classifying this educational experience as a “tour”. Because of the unique social positions of many of the neighborhood residents and its diverse and sometimes challenging history, the DTES has become a site that's drawn curious citizens and researchers. In the past, the involvement of external actors in the community has sometimes caused pathological consequences such as the rise in what is known as “poverty tourism” throughout the neighborhood. Poverty tourism is particularly problematic for the ways in which it exploits and dehumanizes the members of the community to be a spectacle. The word “tour” denotes an implicit separation between the visitors and the residents of the community thereby positioning those in the neighborhood as “others” compared to yourself. As you walk through the neighborhood we would like you to take this opportunity to reflect on what it means to be a community ally rather than an outsider and for more information on poverty tourism, click the links below.
Our walk focuses on asset based community development (ABCD) and specifically on social enterprises located in the DTES that train, educate, and employ members of the community. ABCD is a method of community development that focuses on strengths, resources, and/or initiatives that a community already has rather than on deficits within a community. This shifts the narrative away from seeing the community as in need of “saving” to a narrative that empowers and uplifts. ABCD is community driven and led, and aims to leverage existing individuals, networks, institutions, and organizations to drive positive change. Each of the stops on this walk focuses on a different aspect of ABCD. As you explore the neighborhood, we encourage you to think and reflect on how the organizations listed interact with and empower the community.
For more information on ABCD please look at the links below:
The streets of the Downtown Eastside are packed with a remarkable history, the more you seek the more you will find, but these streets are also part of the history of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-waututh first nations people.
As we walk these streets whether as residents, community organizers or as students, whether that is through an online platform, physically or with this app, there is a need for looking back at the history that has brought us here.
The history of this neighbourhood has created a visual of a dark past and present that is mediated through voices of media and brought into our day to day lives, however, to learn this history and see its past, is part of our responsibility. As we engage with the space we encourage you to take the time to unlearn and relearn what this community is and has to offer, and to open your mind to new forms of learning that may be provided from Indigenous knowledge, elders and Indigenous history and present. We encourage you to educate yourself and others and to truly engage in all forms of knowledge, verbal, oral and written and see all the assets that build and strengthen this community.