How it all started.
In October 2017, five Emily Carr University and University of British Columbia students studying industrial design, urban geography, and community planning came together around a shared passion: preparing Vancouver residents for earthquakes. Over the course of seven months, we dove into the Resilient CommUnity Design Challenge, hosted by Engineers for a Sustainable World.
Inspired by interviews with experts and community conversations, we envisioned the Neighbour Hub–a structure that builds community and sparks conversations around disaster preparedness. The first Neighbour Hub design provided off-grid electricity, a map and a bulletin board, and integrated with Acuva technology to capture and clean rainwater stored in an underground cistern for an emergency.
Our timeline of events from inception to expansion.
First resilience walk
Winning the Resilient CommUnity Design Challenge
Incorporating as a worker’s co-operative
Resilient Neighbourhood Walk Series with City of Vancouver
First Neighbour Hub
Ongoing projects across Vancouver and Victoria!
Winning first place at ESW’s design competition at Georgia Tech University (the only all-female and non-engineer team to participate!), we returned to Vancouver ready to bring the Neighbour Hub to life.
The invaluable feedback from many champions (including Vancouver’s Chief Resilience Officer and community groups such as the Thingery), enabled us to expand the concept of the Neighbour Hub to become a unique structure – co-created through dialogue with community members to build on the strengths of each neighbourhood. Throughout 2019, we secured partnerships and our first projects, which included the Resilient Neighbourhood Walk Series for the City of Vancouver and our first ever Neighbour Hub installation on Leonard Street in Victoria.
Along the way, we’ve met some of our local heroes, including our favourite seismologist Johanna Wagstaffe who interviewed us on the CBC. We have also learned the ins and outs of starting an organization, which we discussed on the Co-operatives First podcast.
Now, we’re as excited as ever to have Neighbour Hub installations across the region and to be working on new projects every season with an amazing team of members and volunteers.