HUMANLY 2017

The collection of student projects from the first Humanly event.

ZERO HUNGER

How might we engage the public in enabling policy changes to address food insecurity in Calgary?

Anye Juressen

Food insecurity, as defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization, is the “inability to acquire or consume adequate diet quality or sufficient quantities of food in socially acceptable ways, or the uncertainty that one will be able to do so”. Canada, though a wealthy first world country, has a large population that is unable to acquire healthy food.

Hunger affects a varied population in Calgary, with risk factors including various socio-demographic and socio-economic characteristics such as; low income, low-level education, higher number of children, being a lone parent, living in rental accommodation, being indigenous, changes in income levels, changes in household expenses, income shocks due to ill health, increasing housing and energy costs, and unexpected life events. Any population in Calgary is vulnerable to food insecurity.

How might we empower food security in the neighbourhood of Manchester, Calgary?

Orry Roth

Manchester, Calgary was a strategically established residence for the city’s abattoir, built along the railroad. Outfitted with only a few amenities – a church and school – the community dissolved over the century while the rest of Calgary developed.

Today, dense highrises are the only form of infrastructure being developed in the small, boxed-in community. Rapid housing development has pushed the community beyond its capacity for sustainable living, but is projected to host 300% more bodies in the decades to come.

Currently there are no services in the area: no grocery store, no school, no support services, no community centre. Most buildings exist to support the surrounding industrial park instead.

GOOD HEALTH AND WELL-BEING

How might we bring awareness to and normalize mental health issues for young adults?

Jing Dong

According to Mental Health Commission of Canada, “mental health problems are prevalent in youth, with 14-25% of youth experiencing significant mental health issues” (School-based Mental Health in Canada: A Final Report, 2013). Mental health difficulties can contribute to problems with achievement and relationships at school, and in severe cases, they prevent students from regularly attending class, and leading to further social and academic functioning concerns. Many youth who struggle with this will not receive intervention. Social stigma associated with mental health problems deters many young people from seeking help from professionals, and problems  with access and availability of resources can further limit mental health service.

How might we break down stigmas associated with substance abuse?

Ben French

I chose to look at the topic of health and wellbeing in regard to stigmas associated with substance abuse. Assumptions, stereotypes, and misinformation have led to the current prevalence of stigmas in North America regarding those who have substance abuse problems. With the current predominance of opioid painkillers and the fentanyl crisis, many Canadians are affected by these substances and the difficulties associated with substance abuse.

Removing stigmas may be possible through better communication and increased empathy for those struggling with substance abuse and their communities. By tackling misinformation and raising awareness more people will have a greater understanding of this medical issue and why stigmatization those suffering does not help anyone involved in this issue.

How might we create more inclusive environments/experiences for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing?

Travis Presbitero

Alongside the various obstacles that the deaf and hard of hearing (HoH) communities engage with on the daily basis, a relatively unknown social stigma and presence of social isolation is found to be very prominent within the community. The deaf community has it’s own community and culture, as does the HoH community in the same way that the hearing community does. Individuals who live with a hearing impairment often feel a sense of social isolation, which can be correlated to elevated levels of depression. Surprisingly, this sense of social isolation is not mutually exclusive between the hearing impaired community and the hearing community, rather, isolation can be found within hearing impaired cultures, and can also be found between the doctor and patient relationship.

How might we increase patient satisfaction through health information technology in a primary care setting?

Christopher Rice

In 1972, all provinces and territories had implemented a federally-assisted health care program for their citizens.

Since then, there have been a number of health care initiatives and acts implemented at a federal and provincial level. The focus of these programs have varied, however, they all have one clear objective: to increase the quality of care provided to Canadian citizens.

A prominent component of almost all initiatives is an increased involvement of health information technology. This technology can commonly be seen in your family physician’s office in the form of the electronic medical records system that your doctor enters information into.

A patient’s journey through health care involves a number of stakeholders, but there are also a number of barriers (patient and physician) that may prevent a patient from receiving the best care.

GENDER EQUALITY

How might we increase awareness of women being abused in society?

Samar Abdallah

Women abuse occurs when a person uses physical violence, threats, emotional abuse and sexual abuse against a woman to control her. Each situation is different. Yet, all abusers use similar ways to get what they want and keep power and control over the woman.

There are many agencies and initiatives trying to increase the awareness of women abuse. If the abuse has happened more than once or twice, it is extremely likely to happen again. The abuse gets worse over time, increasing in both frequency and severity. It’s common for the abuse to develop into a pattern or cycle of abuse.

Increasing awareness on women abuse will educate community members about the prevalence of abuse, encourage people to take action to end abuse and alert those women of the options and resources that are available to them.

How might we support vulnerable women in obtaining paid work opportunities in Calgary?

Piper Goodfellow

A lack of self-confidence, awareness of resources, social connections and relevant employable skills, mean that women who are new to Calgary are up against significant barriers when it comes to entering the workforce.

If a woman is aware of her support options and where to find community, that is a huge first step. Calgary has a wide variety of resources for women to use to increase the chance of finding a job– unfortunately, it’s only when a woman is fully aware of these available resources that she is able to take action. In many cases there are added difficulties of having to acquire child-minding services and develop an encouraging support network. Should more emphasis be placed on developing affordable childcare options and sustainable mentorship programs, more women might be seen entering the workforce.

CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION

How might we raise awareness about the realities of clean water access in indigenous communities across Alberta?

Dani Massee

Canada is looking towards the future and hoping for reconciliation with its Indigenous population, but can we even think of reconciling when the majority of Indigenous communities throughout Canada are still without a basic need as simple as clean water? In Alberta alone, there are 140 reserves with many facing water quality issues of their own.

Ever since the Government of Canada took control over Indigenous peoples throughthe use of treaties, the conditions and resources Indigenous peoples have dealt with have been less than satisfactory. 87% of water in Indigenous communities in Alberta are under a water advisory – either ‘boil water’ or ‘do not consume’. Perhaps, if more people were aware of the horrible reality our close neighbours suffer with water quality, Canada could take another step closer to change.

AFFORDABLE AND CLEAN ENERGY

How might we increase adoption of solar panels in residential communities in Calgary?

Conor Christie

Calgary has long been known as a oil and gas town. The fall of oil prices in 2014 has shown that the oil industry may not always be a reliable source of jobs and money, and greater focus should be paid to the next generation of energy production. The process of mining and refining fossil fuel products is also harmful to the planet as these processes release harmful toxins and heat into the atmosphere. Currently, a majority of the energy that is used in residential areas is delivered to homes and then wasted. A residential solar energy system is beneficial because residents would have the ability to produce their own energy and all excess could be delivered back into the system.

This project aims to increase adoption of solar energy products in residential areas in Calgary so that there is less reliance on other harmful industries.

INDUSTRY, INNOVATION, AND INFRASTRUCTURE

How might we support a sustainable creative class in Calgary?

Keyna Ceschini & Phoebe Davis

In 2016, the price of oil hit its lowest selling price since 2008. This loss in Calgary’s largest revenue generating industry resulted in a doubled rate of unemployment and a desperate call for a diversified economy. Calgary’s instability, in addition to the emergence of technology hubs and diverse industries in other cities, prompted skilled Calgarians to pursue new opportunities outside of our city.

This migration is referred to as brain drain, which limits the development of Calgary’s creative class – a socioeconomic group that values their quality of place and engages in complex problem solving. In Calgary, many locally-grown businesses and professionals are relocating, which limits the likelihood of future opportunities and innovation that attract the creative class. However, the city is ready to intervene through municipal programs, economic development, and business support.

How might we better support local engagement in innovative and creative outlets within Calgary's social framework?

Lauren Piwek

About half a century ago, urbanist researcher Jane Jacobs, emphasized the relationship between the place, as physical form, and the web of collective population. Though studying urban spaces from the perspective of the individual, Jacobs’ developed the concept of urban-diversity. And, by comparing biological diversity to urban diversity to urban diversity, Jacobs defined that it is, in fact, the people and the communities that make a city’s ecology thrive.

Urban diversity is evident in multiple levels of a city’s composition: individual perspective and experience, community engagement, and cultural association. A city’s local culture is dynamic, not static, and therefore, change and development require both protection and conservation. Calgary is currently in a unique opportunity for growth and development of its actual urban diversity through maximizing interaction and interchange in all levels of community relationships.

SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES

How might we increase customers' feelings of safety on the LRT in Calgary?

Gabrielle Dickson and Giustina Qualizza

In Calgary, many people rely on transit as their primary mode of transportation. Calgary’s sprawl requires its citizens to cover great distances to reach their place of employment and access services. Unfortunately, many people do not feel safe when using Calgary’s LRT system. This may prevent them from using the system and consequently create a barrier to the things they need. This can results in unequal access to the city for those who rely on transit compared to those with the ability to choose other modes of personal transportation.

A multitude of factors, from the individual to the systematic level, perpetuate this problem. This must be addressed to create equal access to the city for all Calgarians.

How might we facilitate the proper use of the City of Calgary compositing system?

James Ereiser

In order for the City to reach their 70% waste diversion target by the year 2025, Calgarians need to quickly adopt and start properly using the Green Cart Program.

This year, with the introduction of the Green Cart Program in the City of Calgary, homeowners are now tasked with separating their waste into organics. The City of Calgary estimates around 65% of all waste is compostable, 36% is food waste and 29% leaf and yard waste.

The average Calgarian does try to actively participate in the new system but is not educated in the topic or motivated enough to accurately separate their waste. An increase in both knowledge and motivation may lead to greater adoption of the system.

How might we help all Canadians understand and permeate the barriers to reconciliation in support of Indigenous societies?

Lisa Kozokowsky

This design challenge identifies the problem landscape — the barriers that continue to be in place that hinder reconciliation between Indigenous Peoples and other Canadians.

Reconciliation is not a clearly defined concept — constructed of many layers and different for everyone. One of the ways to understand reconciliation is to examine what it is not. A concise historical account of Indigenous colonization is required. Far from causing shame or resentment, the goal of this examination of a contextual history is key to awareness, then action — a path forward for all. From this awareness comes the “solutions landscape”.

My hope is to create a framework that immerses participants in this complex history through an anchored, authentic instruction technique. There are many ways to move from estrangement to reconciliation. The challenge will be to determine how motivated we really are to accomplish this momentous task.

How might we ensure that Calgarians have the appropriate education to support the City of Calgary's recycling program?

Robin Pashula

When the City of Calgary implemented a new city-wide recycling and composting plan, a common experience held by Calgarians is the moment of holding a waste item their hand and being unsure of which bin to place it in. This moment is the dawning of a psychological and physical system that influences how well-received and therefore, how fruitful the plan is. It is in this moment where the City’s plan for waste diversion meets with the human experience and the user response lands somewhere on the spectrum of ownership or rejection of the system.

The habitual nature of humans is juxtaposed by our ability to learn to adapt to systems. However, questions such as, “What is the value of recycling?” and “How do I properly separate my waste?” continue to knock on the door of the City to offer clarity and on the heart of human values and ethics to take responsibility for environmental sustainability.

How might we increase public engagement and consultation to improve unused public spaces in a way that's inclusive of all Calgarians?

Brett Robertshaw

There are many reasons a space may become vacant and unused – crime, litter, accessibility, traffic problems, poor lighting and many more factors can contribute to the lack of comfort that people feel when using a public space. Community residents are often the people who experience these spaces on a daily basis and therefore have the best insight into what strengths and weaknesses a space has. However, resident consultation may be ignored when municipal governments decide to improve a space using a top-down approach, or residents may simply not know they have a voice in the process.

To properly address the needs and values of a community and create a space that reflects these elements, it is important that transformative projects are led by residents at the ground level. But how do we get more residents involved in the placemaking process?

How might we clarify food quality labels such as best before dates to be more accurate and useful for consumers?

Kurtis Schaetzle

Food waste is a problem that affects the entire world. In Canada, $31 billion worth of food is wasted every year. Edible food is wasted at all stages of the food life cycle, from over-planting food, damage during transport, menu changes, and food expiry. Food waste can occur at any point of the food’s life cycle, from harvesting on the farm to storage at a consumer’s household. In fact, the largest percentage of food waste comes from consumers as they account for 47% of all perished food in Canada. This percentage is over double the next highest waste contributor which are production facilities who are accountable for 20% of all food waste. The primary reason for consumer’s high amount of waste is food expiry which can be attributed to the lack of usefulness and accuracy of food quality labels like the best-before date.

How might we improve transportation accessibility in the city for people with physical challenges?

Katie Yarn

I’m very reliant on my two feet to travel; I love walking, running, cycling and driving. Transportation is quite easy for me but that’s not the case for everyone.

I became very aware of the challenges that people with physical impairments may have when traveling when my sister had a baby. Trying to navigate the city with a stroller became her number one challenge. At times, she needed another set of hands to help her. Stairs, narrow doorways, steps are common obstacles people with physical impairments have to face.

So what is it like for people with physical impairments to navigate the city? People who don’t have an extra set of hands, people who might not have access to a car or a chauffeur, people who need a little extra assistance. Are they getting the assistance they need when traveling? How can we improve this experience?

How might we help Calgarians reduce landfill-bound waste?

Emma Yonge

In broad terms my problem statement asks how I might help people reduce their own landfill bound waste. Sustainability is an issue for present and future communities— more specifically the waste which communities produce. At the moment landfill bound waste is a large contributing factor keeping communities from reaching sustainability goals such as lowering waste heading to landfills.

Currently the City of Calgary is attempting to reach a goal of 70% landfill diversion by 2030. There are issues with attempting to reach a status of zero waste. This is because there are no perfect systems and so there is always some form of waste being produced. In addition, a goal of that stature has intangible micro-goals within it, so, helping people to reduce waste is more concrete to both study and offer solutions.

RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION

How might we reduce and repurpose household food waste?

Denise Boudreau

Canadians waste $31 billion of food annually. It is alarming to discover that 47% of that food waste takes place within the home. Not only does household food waste create financial losses, with the average household throwing away $1,456 worth of food annually, but it also releases methane into the environment directly contributing to climate change. Methane is a greenhouse gas that has 21 times the global warming potential than carbon dioxide.

While there are numerous organizations and non-profits that address food waste on a commercial level, household food waste is the single biggest contributor to food waste and is most often overlooked. Reducing household food waste is a tangible goal. With a little awareness and involvement, household food waste can be countered.

How might we help Calgarians be responsible consumers when it comes to purchasing groceries?

Carmen Bronsch

The responsible consumption of groceries refers to only purchasing goods that are sustainably, ethically, locally and seasonally sourced. It also includes choosing items based on responsible waste habits, such as items that are packaged sustainably or produce zero waste.

Where and why consumers purchase their goods relies on a variety of decision factors, including: price, habits (such as eating whatever they want, whenever they want), convenience, preferences, education about food production, environmental impact, seasonal choices and quality. These decision factors do not always align with the purchase of responsible groceries.

CLIMATE ACTION

How might we understand and break through the psychological barriers that prevent society from understanding the seriousness of climate change?

Anastacio Jido

How can you help solve climate change? Many people are not aware of the effect that they could have on preventing climate change. Though this is occasionally due to a disbelief that climate change is a real problem, it is more commonly rooted from a sense of denial that one’s individual impacts would make a difference.

Climate change experts have noted that there are several psychological barriers that come into effect that block climate change messaging. Previous methods of messaging such as posters, graphic images, facts about the future state of the world, and many others are unable to break through these barriers. New methods of messaging need to be used in order to break through these psychological barriers. As society evolves, the messaging for major problems like climate change need to as well. Denial is no longer an option.

LIFE ON LAND

How might we inform the public of the impact of improperly abandoned oil wells in Alberta's natural areas?

Rachel Ashauer and Brianna Jackson

Oil is an integral part of Alberta’s economy; yet hundreds of oil wells are abandoned or orphaned by oil companies every year. These wells pose environmental and economical impacts on Albertans. The problem arises when wells are not properly closed up, and are left untreated by companies once they are no longer useful, or are set as inactive for the foreseeable future.

Researching online articles and resources, alongside interviewing industry specialists, lead to the identification of impacts surrounding improperly abandoned oil wells on natural areas within Alberta. Thousands of wells sit inactive in the province, waiting to be used again or reclaimed. These wells don’t have as large of an environmental impact as previously thought; rather, it is more disruptive if oil wells are abandoned without proper guidance and adherence to procedures.

How might we implement a better system that eliminates the need for animals to be euthanized?

Kristel Pena

The latest trend of “Adopt, Don’t Shop” helped to increase the rate of animal adoptions and lessen the rate of euthanasia over the past years. Yet problems can arise due to different circumstances after pet owners adopt their pets, and that may lead to having to surrender their pet or put their pet down. Most of the common problems that pet owners face are the cost of medical issues, changes in lifestyle, landlord restrictions, and animal behavioural issues.

Along with animal rescue shelters, the City of Calgary provides different programs and services to help animals, pet owners and breeders to prolong the lives of animals in Calgary. There is an opportunity to resolve some of these issues with more awareness of the resources that are available to Calgarians.

PEACE, JUSTICE, AND STRONG INSTITUTIONS

How might we educate youth to be empathetic in order to reduce intolerance in society?

Payton Glageau

There are many issues regarding human rights and equality in today’s world; a possible solution to this is educating youth on these issues and ensuring they know to treat each other with respect despite differences.

Multiple studies have been conducted concluding that learning acceptance; youth are influenced by their peers; and environment is a factor in the development of youth.

How might we bridge the gap between passive and active political participation?

Lucy Randal and Adrienne Lwanga

Political environments exist online, however, this wider audience attraction correlates with a serious lack of actual citizen involvement. The way that Web-based platforms are used is evolving, and the conversation around politics and politically relevant issues have become a part of the online social experience.

This study explores how we might reach the politically unengaged and those who are a part of low voter demographics. Younger demographics comprise a larger number who engage online yet fail to vote on election days. Active participation is defined as actionable acts of political engagement such as voting. Passive participation includes the exchange of communication and participation in interpersonal engagements in politically charged environments. Translating these passive acts into active involvement would aid voter turnout.