The Indigenous population is growing at a faster rate than Canada’s population. Most communities live near or within environments that offer the materials to satisfy local housing needs and bolster local economies. Despite this, the resources tend to be sold as commodities rather than used within the community.
The Indigenous Housing and Home-Lands Solution Lab will use a systems approach to address the diverse needs of Indigenous communities. This approach will focus on their collectively held goals, resources and values to stimulate innovative thinking and problem-solving. Its goal is to develop sustainable housing strategies, identify economic opportunities and build support systems within Indigenous communities.
Key Findings / Key Goals
Explore community goals, resources and values to remove barriers and create pathways to sustainable housing development for Indigenous communities.
Stimulate innovative thinking and develop practical ideas on regional governance models for sustainable and culturally appropriate social housing.
Share the Lab solutions and its systems-based framework to drive innovation and action in Indigenous housing in other jurisdictions.
Project scope and expected outcomes
A tremendous economic opportunity
A growing Indigenous population with legally recognized territorial assets and a need for housing represents a tremendous economic opportunity. It also offers a practical focal point for reconnecting sustainable, locally controlled resource extraction activities with community values and needs. This would have a range of positive effects, from addressing housing issues to creating employment opportunities.
The first step is to generate ideas and build support systems within communities. This Lab will create a space for providing long-term support to Indigenous communities to re-imagine themselves as autonomous bodies. It will provide the approach to test ideas, evaluate their potential and share possibilities for innovation through community partnerships. This will enable the creation of new models of governance and the building of culturally appropriate housing.
Learning by doing
The Lab will actually conduct two separate but affiliated Solutions Labs in 2 different regions in B.C. Ecotrust Canada’s Indigenous Homelands Home-Lands initiative will coordinate the Labs. They will follow the Indigenous cultural norm of “learning by doing.”
The Lab will occur over 5 phases:
- The Definition Phase will include partnership discussions to decide roles, collaboration principles and decision-making processes. Participants will be identified, support staff will be hired and trained, and communications plans and protocols will be established.
- The Discovering Phase includes desk research and analysis, and training on solutions labs methods. A preliminary research report and framing document for lab participants will be created.
- The Development Phase involves an introductory workshop that explores alternative future scenarios in a reflective and imaginative space. Participants will then be asked what is necessary to create those alternatives and what existing structures need to be changed. Working groups will investigate the questions and assumptions in greater depth over the coming weeks.
- The Testing and Delivery Phase will hold a second workshop, where working groups will report back on areas of opportunity. Participants will learn about prototyping during a work-planning session, and groups will create an initial prototype and plan testing activities.
- The Roadmap Phase involves a summit event held in each community. Lessons will be shared, and audience members and Lab participants will discuss ways of advancing the ideas. Work on advancing the Lab prototypes will begin. The prototypes, themes, barriers and opportunities outlined in the conversations will be documented and included in the summary report. The process and outcomes from the two Solutions Labs contexts will be compared and contrasted.
Knowledge mobilization is a lab priority
The Lab will produce a number of products that will help share knowledge. A final report and other visual material on the Solutions Lab process will be created in the final phase. So will a strategic learnings and recommendations report. Other methods will be used for storytelling related to the Lab, including video, social media platforms and success celebration.
No 2 Indigenous communities are alike, but they do share common challenges in relation to housing and governance. Pathways and transformations to new housing models and structures should be highly replicable and shared across Canada. Governments and academia also might be interested in the Lab’s lessons and outcomes. Ecotrust Canada will share lessons through its large network, and knowledge mobilization will be a Lab priority from the beginning.
Project Team: Ecotrust Canada
Location: British Columbia
Project Collaborators / Partners:
- Huu-ay-aht First Nations
- Yunesit’in Government and Tsilhqot’in National Government
- BC Housing Asset Management Branch
- FP Innovations
- University of British Columbia (UBC)
- University of Victoria Indigenous Law Program
- Vancouver Island University
- First Nations Housing and Infrastructure Council (FNHIC)
- Huu-ay-aht Group of Businesses (HGB)
- Kiri Bird, RADIUS SFU
- Tamara Connell, RADIUS SFU
Get More Information:
Search our Housing Knowledge Centre for important updates on the progress of this lab.