Nicola Dakers says it’s all good in the hood

Nicola Dakers wants to spill a secret about our communities with her new podcast. The intro says the podcast is about “all things inner city Edmonton, from Boyle Street to Delton, from Spruce Ave to Eastwood, and all the great little places in between.” Her well-researched, frank, and proactive approach aims to focus on changing negative perceptions by focusing on the way people talk about the communities. Dakers’ secret is the podcast title: It’s All Good in the Hood.

The inner city has many dots on the map on the Edmonton Police Service crime map site. From the statistics and from the rumour mill, those unfamiliar with the inner city might hesitate to buy property, do business, or enjoy our many festivals and activities. The crime statistics, as residents know, can be convincing; the rumours, pervasive.

Dakers does not try to sugarcoat realities. Crime exists in our neighbourhoods. The real story, however, is complex. She says, “It makes me so happy to be able to look at perspectives of people from outside the community and challenge those views.”

Dakers is a self-described nerd about researching statistics and history. She is digging deep to learn about how community leagues started in the city. She is intrigued to find that community origins have shaped the way an area views itself over time. Dakers wants to “highlight that all the things that happen in the community come from the community. The focus is not top down; it’s bottom up.” Her research has shown that the “history [of this community] is very much people taking a chance on the ‘wild’ lands to the north [of the river valley].”

Nicola has lived in the inner city for 12 years. | Supplied

Dakers is a 12-year resident of the inner city. After a year of personal challenges, she decided to take a leave of absence from teaching to heal and to reassess her direction. The podcast idea was born of a desire to engage her creativity. The recent CBC podcast, Slumtown, also inspired her. It examines the crisis of problem properties and low-income housing in Edmonton’s inner city. She says Slumtown reignited a conversation among residents. “This neighbourhood has been asking for help for a long time. In normal neighbourhood fashion, what do we do? We help ourselves. The noise people have made [about the podcast] has started things up again.”

Dakers quips that gathering guests will be simple because “I know lots of people because I talk a lot.” She has started to network with other community leagues, which helps enrich her perspective. 

The first two episodes have already been released. The first features a conversation with local real estate agent, Michelle Patterson-Nipp, about outside perspectives. The second episode features recent members of the community discussing their perceptions before they moved in, and how those views changed as they settled in. Future topics will include gentrification (is this truly gentrification?), historical development of community leagues, more on inside/outside perspectives, and even a true crime story. Currently, the podcast relies on word-of-mouth promotion, mainly by Facebook sharing. Dakers is developing a website (below), and is exploring other means of sharing. You can find It’s All Good in the Hood on iTunes and RSS.


Featured Image: Nicola Dakers is excited about her new podcast, It’s All Good in the Hood | Tekla Luchenski