Archive for December, 2010

Mia Birk Lecture – January 26

You can now reserve a space for the Mia Birk lecture on January 26 at SFU Harbour Centre.

Mia Birk is author of  Joyride:Pedaling Toward a Healthier Planet

The book tells the dramatic and enlightening behind-the-scenes story of how a group of determined visionaries transformed Portland into a cycling mecca and inspired the nation. 

Through a panoply of hilarious and poignant stories, Birk takes readers on a 20-year rollercoaster journey of global and local discovery and education, while bringing into sharp focus some of the planet’s most pressing and hotly debated energy and transportation issues, policies, shortcomings, and solutions.

Mia will be speaking at an SFU City Program lecture, sponsored by Urban Systems.  It will be held January 26, 2011, at the Segal Centre (515 West Hastings Street), beginning at 7 pm.

This will be the first lecture in a series sponsored by Urban Systems Ltd.


December 30, 2010 at 12:53 pm Leave a comment

Guidelines versus standards

Philip Langdon, in New Urban Network News, wonders what the difference is between ‘strict guidelines’ and ‘standards’ when it comes to design.  And finds that “guidelines, by themselves, simply fail to deliver great places. They work best when paired with form-based codes.”

December 29, 2010 at 10:03 am Leave a comment

Featured Course: Making Change Happen

MAKING CHANGE HAPPEN – Building Commitment to Create Sustainability

In the next decade, we will rethink and rework our communities. We must transform systems such as energy, transportation, urban design and food in ways that are exciting, sustainable and fair to a diversity of people now and into the future.

To successfully navigate this complexity and create lasting change requires a new kind of leader. Sustainability ‘change agents’ must be able to envision the necessary changes, as well as engage and align the people responsible for taking action.

Whether a skilled sustainability champion or relative newcomer, this course will enhance your ability to influence and promote organizational and social change in support of sustainability goals. It moves from a broad theoretical overview to a detailed exploration of the skills and qualities of effective change agents, and their relations to other actors.

This course is an interactive peer learning experience. We draw on real-world cases as well as discuss strategies for taking action in your own area of interest. You will dialogue with the principal instructors and guest speakers, all of whom have lessons to share from their deep experiences with making change happen. We look forward to your active participation as we explore multiple perspectives and question, challenge and build upon readings, lectures and teaching exercises.

Other instructors: Dr. Ann McAfee, Bob Purdy, Vince Verlaan, and Nina Winham

This course is an elective in the Certificate in Sustainable Community Development. See for certificate details. Courses may also be taken individually.

Fee: $600 / SUST913

Friday–Saturday, January 21–22, 9 am–5:30 pm

Venue: SFU at Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

Information and Registration:

Presented by the SFU City Program and SFU Centre for Sustainable Community Development

December 23, 2010 at 1:58 pm Leave a comment

Urban Design For Dummies

Darryl Chen, in Urban Design journal, offers this cheeky version of ten easy steps to create an urban-design plan for, well, anywhere:

(1) Site Analysis – Take postcard photos of things that you can find on the site, the more domestic the better – flowers, water, old buildings. Place photos in a grid and label this page: ‘Character’. This eases people into the report and proves that you have been to the site.

Oh, you haven’t? Don’t worry – that’s what the internet is for!

(2) Then take a few photos of things that are not normally on postcards – graffiti, children not smiling, an empty dark street … this demonstrates why you are here – to regenerate the place. Make sure the pictures are really bad or you might find yourself out of a job.


December 16, 2010 at 12:03 pm Leave a comment