Several years ago, the CRC Research team created a series of HEAD Talks videos featuring interview clips with Ken Lyotier. As the founder of United We Can, a charitable organization creating “economic opportunities for people with multiple barriers living in the Downtown Eastside” in Vancouver, he led the creation of the United We Can Bottle Depot. First opened in January 1995, this social enterprise now serves thousands of inner-city residents every month and recycles millions of containers each year. In our series of interview clips, he discusses its establishment, ideas around leadership, barriers, and agency, as well as space, economy, and community (click on the hyperlinks to watch our interview clips). With a vision for creating “green-collar” jobs to help the local community, the bottle depot continues to thrive today despite set-backs caused by city planning and gentrification.
Check out our animated video below to learn more about the social expense of urban development projects. Based on a journal article published in 2009, it features three case studies in Canada: Dockside Green in Victoria, Kensington Market in Toronto, and also United We Can in Vancouver.