Vancouver’s Mayor Gregor Robertson spoke at CreativeMornings/Vancouver yesterday morning, and I was there.
The Mayor didn’t step up to speak at CreativeMornings to talk politics, but let’s face it, he IS the Mayor and everything he says has to be seen through that angle. He spoke about the ways he has tried to be creative in solving city problems, such as ending homelessness and raising the bar on sustainability. One example was of a collaboration with Doug Coupland on extending the use of utility poles and giving them an esthetic purpose. He gave a shout out to the creative community and its importance to the future of the city. Mostly, he touched on aspects of his administration that address very specific problems. (He didn’t get into the high price of housing, though, a chronic sore point among residents.) I left feeling way more optimistic than when I went in. It’s a fine thing when a Mayor reaches out to the creative community of a growing city.
However, my initial reaction to the Mayor’s talk was interesting. He began speaking in that natural, low-key way of his, and after the first few minutes the question “Will this be a boring talk?” crossed my mind. I stopped that thought in its tracks. And I realized that I was expecting a US – style politician who, whenever he/she speaks, wants to get your adrenaline going. With this Mayor, there were no histrionics, grand standing, or drama. He actually came across as humble. Imagine that. Once I reset my viewpoint, I was able to see how regular this guy is. He reminded me of a school board member, before the US boards became politicized with “family values” proponents and creationists.
And for that, thank you Vancouver.