About Susanna Haas Lyons:

Profile: Susanna Haas Lyons is a citizen engagement practitioner and communications strategist. She has over six years experience with some of North America's largest and most complex public participation projects. Most recently, Susanna served as Communications Manager and Program Associate at AmericaSpeaks, a leader public participation methods that bring together citizens and decision makers to create better policy. Susanna also developed AmericaSpeaks’ online citizen engagement strategy. Earlier, Susanna worked as a Stakeholder Engagement Consultant for business, government and non-profit organizations. Notably, Susanna served as Project Coordinator with the British Columbia Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform. In fall 2009, Susanna began a masters degree at the University of British Columbia's Institute for Resources, the Environment and Sustainability.

Contact: susanna.haas.lyons@gmail.com

Posts by Susanna Haas Lyons:

Media-rich urban landscapes: Edmonton 2011 Conference

Peter Hirshberg and Marshall McLuhan

CC Flickr photo from maryhodder

“Space, Place, and the McLuhan Legacy” is the theme for a July 2011 conference at the University of Alberta, hosted by the Media Ecology Association. The Edmonton based conference aims to provoke academic dialogue and raise public awareness of media ecology and the relevance of Marshall McLuhan’s body of work to today’s media-rich urban landscapes.

McLuhan gave much attention to the changing environment of the city in the wake of technological change. As he stated in an article published in Canadian Architect in June 1961,”[t]oday the entire human community is being translated into ‘auditory space,’ or into that ‘field of simultaneous relations,’ by electric broadcasting. It behooves the architect and town planner, … Continue Reading

Gaining Ground Conference: The Power of Green Cities to Shape the Future | October 4-7 in Vancouver

Hundreds of urban sustainability practitioners, advocates, researchers and public servants will be meeting in just a few weeks at the 2010 Gaining Ground Conference: EcoLogical: The Power of Green Cities to Shape the Future. Day 1 will focus on Governance and Industry Collaboration; Day 2 is about the Green Economy; Day 3 is about Community Engagement and Social Innovation, with the tag line of “Healing Cities”. There is also a pre-conference day.

Last year’s conference was a provocative, well attended event (read some of last year’s posts from the conference). PlanningPool will cover the conference this year too! Let us know if there are any sessions or speakers that you particularly want to read about! Email us at info (at) planningpool (dot) com

The themes that Gaining Ground/EcoLogical will address this October 4-7 … Continue Reading

Building SustainAble Communities Conference: November 2010, Kelowna

More than 100 speakers from tSustainAble Communities Logohe public, private, non-profit and academic sectors will be rabble rousing about sustainable cities this November in Kelowna, BC. Monday, November 15 – Thursday, November 18, 2010. The Building SustainAble Communities Conference is hosted & facilitated by the Fresh Outlook Foundation.

(Disclosure: I’ll be presenting on November 18 on the Reinvigorating Democracy Panel with Carol Suhan, FortisBC PowerSense; Michelle Colussi, Canadian Centre for Community Renewal; and, Richard Walton, District of North Vancouver Mayor.)

Return speakers include Dr. Bill Rees, Dr. Hans Schreier, Mark Holland, Tom Osdoba, and Angus McAllister.

First-time big-namers include:

  • Terry Tamminen: Climate action advisor to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and BC Premier Gordon Campbell. Author of Lives Per Gallon: The True Cost of Our Energy … Continue Reading

Eco-Communities: Designing a Sustainable Future – Globe 2010

“Don’t build new residences, only rebuild the old”, argues Liesbeth van der Pol, Chief Government Architect of the Netherlands, who has helped revitalize the nation’s neighbourhoods. Buildings are significant consumers of energy and major contributors to global green-house gas emissions. A panel at Globe 2010 explored how “cities and communities can become more sustainable through better planning, integrated developments, and the design of resource-efficient, high performance buildings.”

Like almost all cities around the world, Amsterdam is struggling with urban sprawl; the city has the same number of residents as 1920s, but the city uses four times more space. van der Pol warns that if this trend continues, there won’t be much interconnected green spaces by 2050. The solution, van der Pol argues, is low rise, high density city buildings, saying that “Europe still has a chance to choose between … Continue Reading

After COP15 Disappointment, Business Needs to ‘Just Get On With It’ – Globe 2010

The business community needs to ‘just get on with it’, and not wait for carbon emissions reduction policy and government to catch up, says a panel of international business leaders. This is especially true coming out of the COP15 global climate dialogues in Copenhagen last year, which failed to produce a fair, ambitious and binding agreement. Implications of the uneven and uninspired global regulatory climate for the business community were discussed by a Globe 2010 international panel of business representatives who are demonstrating sustainability leadership.

Panelists agreed that business are the actors who will deliver carbon reductions. Daniel Hendrix, President & CEO of the sustainable carpet company Interface, called out industry as the “one got us into the problem so industry needs to get us out of it.” Hendrix also pointed to the worlds’ top 50 companies as … Continue Reading

Globe 2010 Opening Plenary Hopeful and Disappointing

It’s hopeful that 10,000 business people are gathered from around the globe to discuss and create opportunities for a greener economy at the Globe 2010 conference. Amazing actually, when you consider that the world wide economic slump could have caused the risk-averse business scene to shirk away from the imperative to consider the environment in their operations.

However, a number of messages in Globe 2010’s opening plenary were also supremely disappointing. First, sustainability is a feature – not a focus – of business. Granted, GE Energy is has just spent $5 billion and will invest another $10 billion more over five years in research and development of its eco-portfolio. The language used to describe this effort shows a segregated understanding of the role of sustainability. James Suciu, GE Energy’s President of Global Sales & Marketing, described the need to provide, … Continue Reading

LiveBlogging this week: Globe 2010 in Vancouver!

This week, Vancouver will be host to the world’s largest event dedicated to the business of the environment. Globe 2010 will bring together over 10,000 professionals from more than 70 countries, “for three days of thought-leading sessions presented by world-renowned sustainability experts; to survey leading-edge environmental innovations; and to participate in unparalleled global networking opportunities.”

Held March 24-26 at the Vancouver Convention Centre, Planning Pool will cover some key sessions at Globe 2010 including:

  • Opening plenary
  • Eco Communities: Designing a Sustainable Future
  • Ministerial Dialogue on Sustainability

Globe 2010 has four sub themes to its programming: clean technology, water, sustainable retail, and the future of the auto industry. Check out the full program schedule for more information.

For fans of CBC’s business competition television program, Dragon’s Den, auditions for the upcoming sixth season will happen as … Continue Reading

Open Gov West: March 26 & 27 in Seattle

North America is abuzz with “gov 2.0″, an effort to use technology to make government more transparent, participatory and collaborative. All this energy is great news – it leads to innovation, new levels of transparency and public engagement, and makes government more responsive to its customers: citizens. However, most governments are so busy trying to get up to speed that there is little time for learning about existing best practices, tackling challenges in a coordinated way, and working beyond the silos that gov 2.0 is partially trying to address.

Enter Open Gov West. A mix of industry workshop and unconference, Open Gov West the first major open government conference in the Pacific Northwest. Open Gov West will bring together local governments and committed citizens to “facilitate regional collaboration and … Continue Reading

Marine Futures Explored With New Choice Visualization Tool

Photo courtesy of Lenfest Ocean Futures Project

How much fishing is too much, and what decisions can we make to secure the health of our marine ecosystems? The answer to these and other questions about managing our marine ecosystem have confounded policy makers for decades. A new interactive scenario exploration program being developed at the University of British Columbia just might be the tool they’re looking for.

Ocean Summits is an interactive decision making system that supports stakeholders of a specific marine ecosystem to play out scenarios that can help create consensus on key management issues. The system creates realistic-looking simulated marine ecosystems in which users must make environmental, social and economic choices about their marine environment. They can then compare the results of their new scenario … Continue Reading

Participatory Budgeting in Toronto’s Public Housing – Canadian Conference on Dialogue and Deliberation

Millions of dollars are collaboratively allocated each year according to the priorities of residents in Toronto’s public housing units. This participatory budgeting process was invented 20 years ago in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and is now transforming budgeting processes in cities around the world.

The Canadian Conference on Dialogue and Deliberation presented a panel on Toronto Community Housing’s experience with participatory budgeting from academic, management and participant viewpoints.

How Participatory Budgeting Works
Dr. Daniel Schugurensky, University of Toronto professor, outlined five stages of participatory budgeting: (1) diagnosis to identify community needs, (2) deliberation to understand, (3) decision-making, (4) implementation of agreements, and, (5) follow up, including monitoring and evaluation.

Each year, Toronto Community Housing spends $9M on capital projects (infrastructure, improvements, etc). Twenty per cent of this budget, $1.8M, is allocated by residents according to their priorities. Once a … Continue Reading

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