Strathcona Co-op Housing - Research Summary - from Co-operatives in Context: Race, Ethnicity, Displacement and Exclusion

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Lee, Jo-Anne
Curry, Nora
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Measuring the Co-operative Difference Research Network
As part of the research project Co-operatives in Context: Race, Ethnicity, Displacement and Exclusion, Dr. Jo-Anne Lee at the University of Victoria partnered with community elder Nora Curry to document how, following two decades of systematic efforts by the City of Vancouver to destroy the Strathcona neighbourhood under the guise of "urban renewal", the Strathcona Property Owners and Tenants Association (SPOTA) worked through the 1970's to renew, rebuild and restore the residential character of their community, making use of the co-operative housing model. - This is a historical study of the low income, working-class men and women from non-English speaking, Chinese and other ethnic minority backgrounds who worked to reclaim and rebuild Strathcona, using culturally hybrid models, principles and practices to achieve their goals and to leverage power. The co-operative model directly helped SPOTA to: • Stabilize and restore the residential character of the neighbourhood by building new, affordable family houses on vacant land. • Ensure the city did not sell expropriated lots to commercial property developers and set off speculation. • Build affordable housing for former residents and tenants, in turn helping to ensure the survival of adjacent Chinatown. • Claim the right of non-mobility as citizens, the right to participate in decisions affecting their community, and the right to have their neighbourhood treated the same as any other residential neighbourhood in Vancouver. This document provides an overview of the research findings.