Nora Young is a Canadian broadcaster, writer and currently host of Spark on CBC Radio One.
If you live in a city, the way we used to get around--at least before March--has changed dramatically. Public transit use is way down. You can't buy a bicycle for demand. People who previously took the bus or ridesharing services have gone back to the safe isolation of their car. Of course, that's if they have a car, or live close enough to their work to ride a bike. For many, public transit is the only option. So how will urban transportation look after the pandemic? + David Cooper is one of Canada's most respected urban transportation consultants, and he offers some ideas. He's the principal of a consulting firm called Leading Mobility in Vancouver. + According to Matthew Crawford, we are both separate and together in our cars which makes it unlike any other shared space. In his new book Why We Drive: Toward a Philosophy of the Open Road he explores why driving is still a great way to exercise one's skill at being free.
It's been a long time since many of us have stepped inside an actual, physical retail store for anything other than essentials. Across Canada, we're in different stages of reopening in a staggered, uncertain way. Many businesses have shuttered permanently. Some have filed for bankruptcy protection. Others are open, but with restrictions. As e-commerce takes off amid the pandemic, how will smaller vendors compete against the online behemoths? What will the in-store experience look like down the road? Will it change forever? + Craig Patterson is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Retail Insider, Canada's leading online retail industry publication. He's also the Director of Applied Research at the School of Retailing at the University of Alberta + Darryl Julott is the senior manager of Digital Main Street, a volunteer-driven group that wants to help independent businesses and artists build online stores free of charge. It's partnered with The City of Toronto and several tech companies to launch the "DMS ShopHERE" initiative. + Melissa Gonzalez is the CEO and founder of retail strategist group The Lion'esque Group, and also a principal and shareholder of global architecture firm MG2.
These days, we're living with a lot of uncertainty. And that can be scary. So we turn to science, to mathematical models and policy makers, all to try to understand where things are going. But fiction can also offer us insights into not what's going to happen, but who we are. Novels can remind us that no matter how scary or uncertain things are, others have dealt with similar feelings. Over the years at Spark, we've spoken to many authors who have imagined the future, and where our strengths and weaknesses could lead us. And while none of them predicted what we're going through now, they still offer insights on being human in strange times. And for where we may be headed. + Gary Shteyngart is an American author, and we'll have part of a 2010 interview about his book Super Sad True Love Story. + David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas, from 2015 about his novel Slade House, which began as a story called "The Right Sort," which he released on Twitter. + William Gibson, author of Neuromancer, in a 2015 interview about how our sense of history is changing. + Ian McEwan, who won the Booker Prize for his book, Amsterdam, in a 2019 interview about his most recent novel, Machines Like Us, which explores a romantic relationship with a robot. + Margaret Atwood, Booker-Prize winning author of The Handmaid's Tale, The Testaments, and the MaddAddam trilogy, in a 2014 conversation about robots and our relationships with them.
In the midst of a global health crisis, how's the health...of the internet? Being online has clearly emerged as a necessity. But with online tools like video chat exploding in popularity, a look at whether they have the safety and security we need. And whether the current crisis will force a change in how tech giants operate. And in the midst of so much bad pandemic news, maybe there's a bright spot: a return to the positive, open values of the early internet. + Lawyer Njeri Damali Sojourner Campbell has a YouTube channel and a Facebook group where she focuses on Afrofuturist fiction. But when the pandemic hit and so many of us were suddenly alone in our homes, she decided to start Quarantined Pages: daily video conferences where you read -- silently -- with others. + Many hoped that the World Wide Web would lead to the betterment of human knowledge but it hasn't always lived up to that idealistic vision. Angela Misri is digital director at The Walrus. During this pandemic she's seeing evidence of a more supportive digital community that finally lives up to the web's promise. + The pandemic has underscored the importance of internet connectivity in an unprecedented way. Most of us are now using it as our primary means of communicating with friends, family, colleagues and even our healthcare providers. What has this meant for privacy and internet traffic generally? The Mozilla Foundation, which makes the Firefox browser, has been tracking this. Mark Surman, the foundation's executive director, talks to Nora.
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Creator Details

Toronto, ON, Canada
Episode Count
Podcast Count
Total Airtime
1 week, 3 hours