Living the New Economy

When: Sun, Apr 21, 3:45 – 6:00 pm

Where: St. Ann's Academy, Victoria, BC

Presenters: click here for presenter list


Healing Cities Institute Society Creatively United for the Planet



On April 21, 2013 a New Economy Idea Jam was held in Victoria, BC to tap into the co-creative power of our community to envision a future that is resilient, prosperous and green.

The atmosphere and crowd were eclectic, electric and fabulous! Thank you to everyone for their generosity of ideas and spirit. And way to go Twisted String for your pitch-perfect performance.


Below is the transcription of awesome ideas collected over the afternoon. You can also download a PDF file. You'll also find some images and a very short video.

Thank you again to all our presenters.

The Jam was presented in partnership with the Living the New Economy events of the Healing Cities Institute. For more information or to submit your ideas, projects and enterprises for the Living the New Economy program, contact Nicole.


Idea Jam photos

New Economy Idea Jam, April 21, 2013

"List of Brainstormed Ideas"


  • Pension Orchard – planting a food forest that has an increasing harvest, so therefore has increasing economic value
  • teach our children how to be organic farmers and permaculture practitioners as early as pre-school, educating agricultural geniuses
  • self-generating food system integrated into each school, which provides for the basic needs of the communities surrounding them and encourages backyard urban farming and perennial food forests in every corner of our cities
  • future agriculture methodologies would sequester carbon rather then create it
  • local farmers growing food in your urban neighbourhood
  • help farmers by supporting CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) – shares or subscriptions paid for a future harvest
  • transforming lawns into sustainable/productive land
  • homeowner tax breaks for lawn conversion
  • communal property ownership through co-ops and land trusts
  • human powered delivery (cargo tricycles) from local growers to individuals and grocers
  • work with property managers to support growing food in the common green spaces
  • permaculture in forested areas – agro-forestry
  • wild food foraging in cities
  • composting all organic waste into fertilizer
  • gardening mentors on every block
  • a community food farm for every 20 blocks, compost for chickens
  • smelly compost? store organic waste in freezer – compost-cicles! that can be picked up with cargo tricycle services
  • mandate a percentage of Island for agricultural land
  • advocate for policy, process and by-law reform to enable sustainable practices that are currently not allowed
  • block GMO companies, boycott GMOs
  • link landowners and social services like the Open Door to facilitate growing food on underutilized land and employing marginalized populations
  • brokering partnerships i.e., UVic Food Services and local growers
  • Southern Vancouver Island Permablitz Network (online) (permablitz - The rapid transformation of under-utilized space into organic food production, usually in the form of perennial trees, shrubs & herbs. This is achieved through an informal gathering of permaculture designers, organic gardening enthusiasts, or other interested individuals on a scheduled day.)
  • subsidized housing, complementary currency and involving tenants in growing food
  • plant gardens on boulevards - to avoid exhaust pollution, make raised boulevards higher than street by building up with waste
  • clean glass bottles to re-use instead of recycling
  • local seed banks harvesting indigenous plants and foodstuffs - supported by City Councils to balance influence of seed companies
  • keep farms in the ALR


  • diverse stakeholders stewarding  land for creation of ecovillages - in the city and throughout the region
  • each ecovillage site has shared amenities and private homes - ranging in size from micro-suites to multi-bedrooms. Residents have mixed ages and incomes - with a common commitment to living sustainably
  • all building materials are local - cost and energy competitive - promoting a healthier home
  • eco renovations as a major driver of home remodelling over the next few years
  • solar hot water on roofs and solar electric panels powering cars and houses
  • increased awareness of healthy materials and toxins within homes and new hand held portable air quality monitoring gear becomes common
  • comprehensive technical information about alternative construction material would enable the creation of a rising tide of low carbon, high energy efficiency, high durability buildings
  • comprehensive and well facilitated clear processes and public policy, would integrate sustainability as a central lens through which building policy is evaluated and enforced
  • build smaller homes (make legal to live in smaller spaces)
  • legal secondary and tertiary suites
  • gathering/social space in housing co-ops
  • recycle/reuse building materials
  • mandatory mixed income tenants in new building
  • grey water obligatory (and face south)
  • limit foreign ownership of homes
  • cob housing
  • passive solar designs
  • build central composters in basements of new developments
  • home energy retrofits DIY
  • careful of all laws that could stifle innovation
  • meet unmet needs with under utilized resources
  • sacred architecture - front doors face east
  • assess the net benefit of eco renovations/retrofits and new construction – Ask: Does this project have a net environmental benefit?
  • economic models for the investment of cash reserves  (?)
  • reclamation and re-use of building materials; key issue is finding warehouse space to store the material; zone landfill projects for storage of recyclable materials
  • change policies to allow/encourage clothes lines


  • coworking spaces offer a creative working environment – open, bright, with walls of whiteboard, and tools to make ideas visual and tactile -- flexible, changeable, furniture can be moved, rooms transformed to serve different working styles and needs
  • coworking spaces provide a physical place and a community where idea jams can happen every day – catalyzing viable business models, new social purpose projects, innovative green products
  • build community economic development hubs to provide work space, co-creative space and shared services to support social impact businesses and organizations
  • arts collective / collaborative giving shared access to space, tools and materials ("Interarts")
  • worker "rotation wheels" - skill and role sharing to deepen worker and organizational capacity
  • no intellectual property
  • high schoolers, youth - could we open up co-working spaces to include students? great for school districts
  • more internships and apprenticeships
  • funding (through EI?) for small businesses that takes care of first couple of years of administrative paperwork and payroll
  • shorten mandatory work week to 35 hours
  • worker gets share of the product/service you create  (co-owning)
  • create "repair cafes" – skilled workers converge at a temporary location to repair a wide variety of items
  • interdisciplinary idea incubators
  • tool sharing libraries
  • Roundhouse on Songhees as a co-working space – sponsorship proposal to Bayview Properties
  • co-working spaces collaborating with local coffee shops which act as magnets
  • new definition of philanthropy (?)
  • gifting circles, time banking
  • universal living wage

Transportation and Energy

  • a fully integrated sustainable transportation system (hubs) for Victoria that allows you to move seamlessly from foot to bus to bike to a shared car (if you need it!)
  • the financial part would be seamless- swipe a card on the bus, and then use it in car share vehicle that's steps away; use same card when you sign out a bike share ride, too; one bill for it all; mobile app and clear signage to help coordinate
  • businesses would participate in transportation hubs to avoid underutilized fleet vehicles
  • bike share program - colour coded to specific bike routes and gps chipped for monitoring and maintenance; wheels lock if taken off designated paths; cost is $5-7 per month and car insurance discounted; James Bay route from Ogden Point could make bikes available to cruise ship tourists
  • car insurance incentive for driving less
  • ferries integrated with vehicles and bikes
  • hydrogen-powered trains
  • bike pick-up and drop-off – bike sharing
  • free advertising on old bikes for shared public use
  • carpooling apps
  • virtual ride share board
  • Jack Bell ride share website
  • alternate days for driving like alternate watering days
  • car share incentives for developers
  • raise awareness about the ease of transporting materials by bike (400 pounds)
  • micro-local incentives within city to reduce car use
  • cycling incentive and security - attractive roadway and bike-path planning
  • dedicated transit and carpool lane from Western Communities
  • GeaZone human-powered delivery service - customize with client logos to advertise - comparable pricing to regular couriers
  • designing energy policies to support priorities
  • tidal power on Vancouver Island - enormous capacity through west coast waves and east coast currents
  • encourage employers to have shower facilities for cyclists
  • access to shared bike trailers, owned by community, free access
  • inflatable/collapsible bike helmets

Keep sending us ideas and we'll keep adding them to this list which will inspire all sorts of great things this year!