Wednesday May 20, Interurban Art Gallery, 1 E. Hastings
Event: 6:30 – 10:00 pm
Keynote and panel: 7:15 – 9:00 pm

Join us for an evening of art and dialogue, including a keynote talk, panel presentation, exhibition viewing and reception. “Just Public Housing?”, the keynote talk, will be delivered by Peter Marcuse, Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning, Columbia University, New York City. A panel of housing researchers and community organizations will respond. This evening is co-sponsored by the Housing Justice Project as part of Housing for All: a Series of Events on the Future of Public Housing. 



Public housing can serve multiple purposes, from social welfare to economic growth to public health to slum clearance to public order to filling market gaps to social justice. Its history in the United States illustrates many of these, some over-lapping, some conflicting. But if social justice is a key consideration, the term needs to be defined: meeting basic needs, reducing inequality, rewarding merit, and its scope needs to be agreed upon: providing shelter, fostering community, improving health, facilitating employment or education.

But its future will not only depend on deliberate choices among these policy options, but also on the political constellation in which it is supported. That can range from the hostile to the minimal reformist to the transformational bent, and is likely to be embedded in even larger and more controversial positions. Those concerned with the shape of public housing in the future face some challenging issues as to both policy and for political approaches. But whatever approaches are chosen, boldness and clarity in direction and goals is ever more vital today.



  • Ray Gerow: CEO, Aboriginal Housing and Management Association
  • Anaclaudia Rossbach: Regional Advisor for Latin America and the Carribbean, Cities Alliance
  • David Hulchanski: Professor Housing and Community Development, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto
  • Ethel Witty: Director of Carnegie Community Centre and Services for the Homeless, City of Vancouver



Peter Marcuse

Special Research Scholar in the Faculty of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
Columbia University, New York City

 Peter Marcuse, a planner and lawyer, is Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning at Columbia University in New York City. He has a J.D. from Yale Law School, and a Ph. D in planning from the University of California at Berkeley. He practiced law in Waterbury, CT, for twenty years, specializing in labor and civil rights law, and was majority leader of its Board of Aldermen, chaired its anti-poverty agency, and was a member of its City Planning commission. . He was thereafter Professor of Urban Planning at UCLA, and President of the Los Angeles Planning Commission and member of Community Board 9M in New York City. His fields of research include city planning, housing, the use of public space, the right to the city, social justice in the city, globalization, and urban history, with some focus New York City. He has taught in both West and East Germany, Australia, the Union of South Africa, Canada, Austria, Spain, Canada, and Brazil, and written extensively in both professional journals and the popular press.

His most recent publication is Peter Marcuse, ed., with Neil Brenner and Margit Mayer, Cities For People, Not For Profit: Critical Urban Theory And The Right To The City, London: Routledge, 2011. He also has a blog on critical planning at pmarcuse.wordpress.com.

His current projects include a historically-grounded political history of urban planning, the formulation of a theory of critical planning, including the attempt to make critical urban theory useful to the U.S. Right to the City Alliance, and an analysis and proposals to deal with the subprime mortgage foreclosure crisis in the United States.

David Hulchanski, PhD

Professor, Housing and Community Development
Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work
University of Toronto

David Hulchanski is a professor of housing and community development at the University of Toronto. His PhD is in urban planning. His research and teaching is focused on neighbourhoods, community development, social change, housing need, and social and economic rights. In the 1980’s he was a professor of community planning at the University of British Columbia and director of the UBC Centre for Human Settlements. He is currently the principle investigator of a 7-year $2.5 million research partnership focused on neighbourhood change and socio-spatial inequality in Canadian cities with international comparisons. See: www.NeighbourhoodChange.ca


Anacláudia Rossbach

Regional Advisor, Latin American countries
Cities Alliance

Anacláudia Rossbach from São Paulo is Master in Political Economics and despite starting her professional life as an external auditor, she has being working in the last 10 years in the housing field, as a public sector staff or as an external advisor for the government, the World Bank and non-profit organizations, working in Brazil and in other countries, such as China, Philippines and South Africa. She also worked for Cities Alliance as the Regional Advisor for Latin America and the Caribbean and holds the position of Director President for a NGO, Rede Interação, an affiliated in Brazil of Slum Dwellers International, supporting community organization in slums from São Paulo and Pernambuco.

She worked as consultant for World Bank on housing and metropolitan governance, working close to the Federal Government of Brazil/Ministry of Cities since 2005 and participated on the major reforms on the housing sector in the country, including the Growth Acceleration Program (slum upgrading), the subsidies program “My House, My Life” and the National Housing Plan. In Brazil, she also supported the State Government of Rio on establishing a new governance management for the metropolitan area of Rio de Janeiro on disaster risk, housing, transportation and economic development as part of the World Bank team. Additionally, as a consultant for the World Bank she was part of a technical assistance team on low income housing and slum upgrading for policy reforms in the Philippines in the last two years.

In 2014 she was appointed as Regional Advisor for LAC for Cities Alliance, where she is now responsible for designing the organization’s strategy for the region as well as to manage projects and partnership.


Ethel Whitty

Director –Homelessness Services
Carnegie Community Centre – City of Vancouver

Ethel Whitty’s work in social service has focused on youth, families and isolated adults whose lives have been defined by poverty and its attendant struggles. That work took her from Cape Breton to an inner city neighborhood in Halifax, Nova Scotia and eventually to Vancouver where she has worked in several different environments providing residential treatment, housing, and reunification support to youth and their families. Her counselling, training and management experience includes addictions counselling, support to women fleeing relationship violence and community development programs. Along the way she received a BA from Dalhousie University and a Masters in Social Work from UBC and took some time out to study at NSCAD and to work in the arts as a writer and actor, further expanding her understanding of what people need to survive.

During her ten years as Director of the Carnegie Community Centre she has been supported by a team of 75 front line staff, whose work is spread across the Downtown Eastside through facilities at Carnegie Centre, Oppenheimer Park, and a street outreach program. In 2007 the Carnegie Street Team began its evolution as a Homeless Outreach Team in partnership with BC Housing and the City of Vancouver. In the last several years the team has housed an average of 400 – 500 individuals per year in SRO and social housing. Recently that work transitioned to a city- wide mandate. Deep connections in the DTES community are supported by a partnership with members of the Carnegie Community Centre Association who have a mandate to provide advice to the Director of the Carnegie Centre on issues of importance to the community. Their well of wisdom, so graciously shared, continuously reflects the magnitude of the obstacles people face in their search for dry, warm, clean housing, nutritious food and a minimal income.


Ray Gerow

Chief Executive Officer
Aboriginal Housing Management Association

Ray Gerow has been active in Aboriginal Economic Development for over 20 years, and has been active in the small business world for double that time. He is currently the CEO of the Aboriginal Housing Management Association (AHMA), a provincially funded non-profit that supplies leadership, funding, organizational direction, and support services to 42 Aboriginal Off-Reserve Community-Based Organizations across British Columbia. He aims to create a collective impact within the Aboriginal housing sector through working with Aboriginal CBOs to create stronger organizations and working with communities to create an understanding of the communities’ roles in addressing the housing needs of Aboriginal people in BC.

Ray built an extensive background in economic and community development, both as an entrepreneur and as a business development service provider. He has ran and/or managed numerous small businesses during his career, including a roofing business, chimney sweep, towing company, first aid, arts and crafts store, and a specialty cake business, to name a few. In addition to having served the community as a Board Member on a number of Boards, he is also an avid writer and reader of industry literature, publishing many articles, reports, and research documents.

A small example of Ray’s past involvement in the community is as follows: Chair of Board of Governors for the College of New Caledonia, Nechako-Kitamaat Development Fund Society, Prince George Performing Arts Centre Society, 16/97 Economic Alliance, BC Rural Network, Centre for Not for Profit Sustainability, and the SD57 Aboriginal Education Board. He is a founding Board Member of the Northern Sports Centre at the University of Northern BC. He is the past Chair of the Economic Development Advisory Board for the Province of BC, past Chair of the BC Counsel for Aboriginal Economic Development, and is a founding Board Member and past Treasurer of the Log Building Industry Association of BC.

Ray is also a founding Board Member and past President of the B.C. Native Contractors Association. Ray has also served on the Aboriginal advisory boards for Simon Fraser University and Royal Roads University. He was also a long-time Board Member and past President of the United Native Nations and the British Columbia Association of Non-Status Indians.