Archive for February, 2012

New Courses at SFU City Program

Integrating Social Dimensions into Sustainability (Core)
Friday–Saturday, March 9-10, 2012
9 am–5:30 pm, SFU Vancouver
When social issues such as race, ethnicity, class, culture, personal health, affordable housing, employment, individual identity, and social cohesion are not effectively addressed, projects with even the most laudable environmental intentions are derailed. In this course, we’ll talk about sustainability not as a product, but as a process where issues of social justice and equity are essential to successful outcomes. In this course, you’ll do the following:
  • Describe social justice and equity issues related to sustainable community development (e.g., climate justice, food security, complete communities, intercultural inclusions, etc.)
  • Learn strategies to integrate “soft” issues of social justice and equity when tackling “hard” environmental issues such as transportation choice, land use, air quality, and resource and energy conservation
  • Discover win‑win solutions that bridge social and environmental goals
  • Analyze case studies that demonstrate how to successfully address the social dimensions of sustainability

  • Kristi Mader, public policy consultant, Planned Lifetime Advocacy Networks (PLAN)
  • Brian Smith, social finance and affordable housing consultant
  • Jim Bailey, City of Vancouver
  • Tom Lancaster, District of North Vancouver
  • Shaugn Swartz, The Cleaning Solution
  • Andrew Pask, City of Vancouver and Vancouver Public Spaces Network
  • David Isaac, Raincity Strategies
  • Lisa Gibson, Living in Community Initiative
  • Kevin Milsip, director of sustainability, Vancouver School Board
Community Food Systems (Elective)
$600 / SUST908–VA1121
Friday-Saturday, April 20-21, 2012
9am-5:30 pm, SFU Vancouver
To register, call 778-782-5254 or 778-782-5079
Taught by leading food system practitioners and drawing from best practices from across North America, this practical course will explore a broad scope of community food system opportunities – from land use planning and urban design strategies, to bringing food into land and economic development efforts, to successful grassroots initiatives. An emphasis on implementation will explore topics such as how to get local decision-makers on board and using social media and other communication techniques effectively.
Presentations and panels involving a range of guest speakers will be combined with large and small group discussion and activities so course participants from diverse backgrounds can consider the role of food in their communities, organization or sustainability efforts. This is an essential course for mid-career professionals in the emerging field of community food systems – the next big ‘thing’ in sustainability.

  • Janine de la Salle, planner, food, and agriculture systems specialist, HB Lanarc.
  • Erik Karlsen, past executive director of the Agricultural Land Reserve
  • Mark Holland, vice-president, New Monaco Enterprise Corporation
  • Peter Ladner, Business in Vancouver; associate, SFU Centre for Dialogue
  • Tara McDonald, executive director, Vancouver Farmers Markets
  • Joaquin Karakas, urban designer, HB Lanarc
  • Brent Mansfield, co-chair, Vancouver Food Policy Council

February 28, 2012 at 12:35 pm Leave a comment

UPDATE: An Introduction to Crowdsourcing

Last year, the City Program hosted a session on crowdsourcing – how to use new technologies and social media to address design and engagement issues in clever new ways.

Here’s a summary and some commentary on that session by Siobhan Murphy that remains relevant, notably given the progress of PlaceSpeak, a home-grown platform just launched and already being used in the Lower Mainland.

Crowd Sourcing:  New approaches in Virtual Engagement

To most, the concept of crowdsourcing is still a bit fuzzy. SFU’s City Program provided an introduction to the concept and its implications for planning and city building at the lecture “Crowd Sourced City” on May 10, 2011. Three presenters at the forefront of virtual engagement spoke about three products challenging the current philosophy and technology of public engagement. 

Crowdsourcing is the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to an undefined, large group of people or community (a “crowd”), through an open call.

The first presentation, Vaughn Hester from Crowdflower helped to clear up the concept behind crowdsourcing and its emerging roles in the both the virtual and real economies. She showed how her company’s access to a crowdsourced micro-task workforce could be used to analyse packets of data, and deal with scientific queries, like a real-live SETI@Home[1], and use advanced algorithms to test accuracy and veracity. As a segue into the planning and public policy context of this tool, she featured Crowdflower’s cooperative efforts in Haiti after the earthquake, which used crowdsourcing to take emergency SMS messages, geolocate them, translate them and redirect them to the most appropriate and nearest emergency service provider.

The power of the crowd was brought into sharp relief through before and after images of the online mapping available for Port au Prince. Before the quake, digital information on the city was slim. Google Maps showed only the 20 or 30 major streets across this town of 700,000. It’s easy to forget how vital a map can be to seeking, finding and tackling the crisis of a city in ruins. There were audible gasps from the crowd after the results of a rush of volunteers built a digital map literally from the ground up. rallied the crowd and mapped thousands more streets and alleys in the two weeks following, providing the definitive digital maps to emergency service providers to help locate and reach the thousands trapped or injured. 


February 5, 2012 at 2:15 pm Leave a comment