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Clive Doucet

Urban Meltdown: How Cities Malfunction

Date Recorded: Jan 14th, 2008
Recorded At: Vancovuer Public Library
Recorded By: Alex Smith,
Duration: 57:30

Topic Background
The Writers’ Trust of Canada, which nominated author and Ottawa city councillor Clive Doucet’s book, Urban Meltdown, for its 2008 prize for political writing, describes the book as “An insider’s perspective into how explosive urban growth is accelerating global warming and why political action seems paralyzed.”

On the author’s website, Doucet writes: “In 1950, only thirty percent of the world’s population lived in cities. By 2007, the planet’s population has now doubled and today, as many people live in cities as populated the entire planet in 1950. Eighty percent of the planet’s greenhouse gases are created by these energy-intensive urban centers. Thus, the key to creating climate change solutions resides with cities. ”

Doucet states his central theme: “It’s not about planning. It’s about politics.” Climate change is proceeding so quickly not for lack of knowledge, but because politicians who deviate from the car-based sprawl model cannot get elected.

Urban Meltdown describes how we got here, why we got here, and what can be done about it.

Clive Doucet spoke in Vancouver in January, 2008, as part of the Necessary Voices Lecture series.

The lecture orginally aired on The Brownbagger programme, on CFRO, Vancouver Co-op Radio.

Speaker Biography
An urban anthropologist by training, and of Acadian heritage, Clive Doucet is a graduate of the universities of Toronto and Montreal, and has worked for many years as a public servant at both the federal and provincial levels. He is currently the regional councillor for Capital Ward in Ottawa, Ontario.

Doucet began his career at the Federal Ministry of Urban Affairs (MSUA) where he was one of the authors of The Federal Urban Domain, a multi-volume evaluation of the federal government’s urban properties. Subsequently, he worked as policy advisor in the Ontario Municipal Affairs Ministry’s local government reform section.

Doucet’s literary credits include two novels (Disneyland Please, 1979, and John Coe’s War, 1983), and two memoirs (My Grandfather’s Cape Breton, 1980, and Notes form Exile, On Being Acadien, 2000 ), and three books of poetry. He has written several plays, one of which, Hatching Eggs, was produced at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. Clive Doucet has also worked with the CBC, covering the first world reunion of the Acadians in New Brunswick for CBC Radio. He likes to mention that he is the first poet ever elected to Ottawa City Council, and is married with two children .

For more information about Clive Doucet visit

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