Archive for October, 2012

Mark Kingwell this year’s Gill Lecturer

The annual Warren Gill Memorial Lecture is the highlight of the Simon Fraser University’s City Program.

Dr. Warren Gill was passionately engaged in the cities and neighbourhoods in which he lived and worked. As a member of the senior administration at SFU, he was instrumental in the development of its downtown campus; as an urban geography professor, he inspired many students. Never satisfied with the status quo, Warren worked constantly to make life in the city more interesting and more inclusive. The intent of this lecture series in his honour is to continue his questioning, raise new ideas and invoke new ways of thinking about life in the urban context.


Public space is routinely seen as the cure to every imaginable urban ill, from air quality to obesity. But how much of what we call public space is really public? In this lecture, Mark Kingwell will consider this problem, together with its implications for the notion of urban play and the so-called ‘right to the city’. He will conclude with some reflections on the relationship between the city and the university.

Author and critic MARK KINGWELL is an award-winning professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto and the author or co-author of seventeen books of political, cultural and aesthetic theory, including the national bestsellers Better Living (1998), The World We Want (2000), Concrete Reveries (2008), and Glenn Gould  (2009).


7 pm

Lecture, Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema @ Goldcorp Centre for the Arts (at Woodward’s)

149 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

ADMISSION IS FREE, reservations are required.

Reserve seats at


October 18, 2012 at 10:30 am Leave a comment

Profile: Sustainability certificate helps city councillor build a better community

Jonathan Cote by the Fraser River in New Westminster. Photo by Fabrice Grover Photo.


SFU Lifelong Learning’s Sustainable Community Development Certificate, which the City Program offers, is helping a city councillor in New Westminster make his community more environmentally and socially sustainable.

Jonathan Cote was elected to council seven years ago, at only 26 years old. He’d always been passionate about cities—how people work and live, and how they deal with urban issues.

He saw the potential of New Westminster, and wanted to revitalize the downtown area and restore it to its “former glory.”

“There was a real desire for someone to come forward and talk about cities differently,” Cote says.

Sustainability has always been part of Cote’s platform—but a few years ago, he felt compelled to dig deeper into the issues he was facing around the council table.

“When I found out about the City Program, and looked at the different courses that were offered, every single one of them was highly applicable to the work I was doing as a city councillor,” Cote says.

“Sustainability is a word that is often overused, but rarely truly understood. The program helps you dig down to what it really means and allows you to genuinely apply the principles of sustainability to urban issues.”

Sustainability studies deliver results in New Westminster

Cote’s work in the program has helped him achieve results. He used to chair New Westminster’s community and social issues committee, and he currently chairs the parks and recreation committee as well as the bicycle and pedestrian advisory committee.

In the last seven years, he’s watched his city transform. Thanks to a project called “Housing First,” homelessness has decreased by 45 percent in New Westminster. “You can’t deal with the complex issues that surround homelessness, like addiction, until you provide people with a home,” Cote says.

Pointing to a beautiful building in New Westminster’s downtown core, Cote notes that low-income people aren’t segregated from the rest of the city—most people likely don’t even know that the building houses low-income units.

Crime has also decreased, the city has become more walkable, a beautiful waterfront park and a new outdoor pool have opened, a civic centre is in progress, and plans are underway to change a parkade that will open up the waterfront view and breathe new life into small businesses along the water.

Over seven thousand new people have moved to New Westminster in the last seven years—even Cote has moved downtown with his wife and two young daughters.

“Seven years ago, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable moving into this neighbourhood…now, it’s much more family-friendly.”

Cote, who found the Sustainable Community Development Certificate so rewarding that he decided to enrol in SFU’s MA in Urban Studies, highly recommends the certificate program to other people engaged in municipal politics and community development.

“In my mind, Metro Vancouver would be a better region if more municipal city councillors took the lectures in the City Program.”

October 4, 2012 at 5:57 pm Leave a comment

Update: Courses and events at the City Program

New Course:
How Photography Can Enhance the Professional Practice of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design
Photography can enhance proposals, provide more accurate site and context evaluation, clarify and improve all kinds of communications, reduce time and construction costs, record progress, assist post-occupancy surveys, and help win awards. This course provides a basic understanding of how people visually perceive the environment around them and illustrates how photography can improve your skills and final product.
Fri, Oct 12, 9 am-4:30 pm
SFU Vancouver
Instructor: Richard Hulbert, architect, urban designer, photographer
AIBC Credits: 7.5 Non-core Learning Units

Upcoming Courses, Fall 2012
Urban Design
Visual Communication
Fri-Sat, Oct 26-27, 9 am-5:30 pm
SFU Vancouver
Drawing and visual communication skills are essential in urban design. In this hands-on course, you’ll learn and practice graphic techniques that will enhance your ability to communicate ideas visually.

We’ll explore how to effectively use graphics for different audiences in the urban design process. If you’re a novice, this course will increase your confidence by leaps and bounds as you learn the basics of line and form drawing, colour, and perspective techniques. If you’re more experienced, this course will be a good refresher that will also address more advanced drawing and presentation techniques.
Instructors: Frank Ducote, principal, Frank Ducote Urban Design; Michael von Hausen, president, MVH Urban Planning & Design, Inc.
Economic Fundamentals
Fri-Sat, Nov 16-17, 9 am-5:30 pm
SFU Vancouver
Traditionally, there has been a significant gap between financial analysts and urban designers. This course helps close this gap by introducing the important relationships between economics and urban design.

On the first day, we’ll introduce the tools and techniques of land economics analysis. On the second day, we’ll focus on applying these tools through a variety of current case studies that are relevant to urban design and planning practice.
Instructors: Michael von Hausen, president, MVH Urban Planning & Design, Inc.; Paul Rollo, president, G.P. Rollo & Associates Ltd.; Gerry Mulholland, G.P. Rollo & Associates Ltd.
Planning for Transportation and Accessibility
Fri-Sat, Nov 30-Dec 1, 9 am-5:30 pm
SFU Vancouver
Streets have a vital role in place making. Successful streets balance requirements to move people and goods, connect buildings and public spaces, and create settings for life. How can urban transportation policies and streetscape design help achieve good urban design and more liveable cities and communities?

In this course, we’ll answer this question by exploring planning and urban design issues for transit, cars, cycling, walkability, and parking. We’ll also learn about the relationship between transportation and built form, neighbourhood traffic calming, and the features of transit-oriented developments.

We’ll use case studies to help analyze the competing demands for road space, including access, linkages, and urban design and public realm issues.
Instructor: Tamim Raad, director, Strategic Policy and Planning, TransLink; and others.
Sustainable Community Development
Sustainable Economics for the Real World
Fri-Sat, Nov 2-3, 9 am-5:30 pm
SFU Vancouver
Green Economy Frontiers and Opportunities
Fri-Sat, Nov 23-24, 9 am-5:30 pm
SFU Vancouver
Professional Development Courses
Financing Urban Growth: The Use of Development Cost Charges and Community Amenity Contributions
Wed, Nov 28, 9 am-4:30 pm
SFU Vancouver
Instructor: Jay Wollenberg, president, Coriolis Consulting Corp.; Bill Buholzer, lawyer, Young Anderson

Events in Your Neighbourhood
Building Intelligent Communities in BC
October 4
BCNET and i-CANADA are holding an executive workshop to enable economic development officers, municipal planners and CIOs in selected B.C. communities to explore ways to accelerate their drive to Intelligent Community status. Program Details
Intensification of Industrial Lands
Metro Vancouver’s industrial lands are in limited supply, and using this land as efficiently as possibly is increasingly important. Join us for a social, presentation, and panel discussion addressing this issue. Gaëtan Royer, Manager of Metropolitan Planning, Environment and Parks for Metro Vancouver, will present recent research findings on the intensification of industrial lands, including best practices and potential next steps for the region. Panelists: Tracy Casavant, Light House Sustainable Building Centre; Jim Crandles, Port Metro Vancouver; Dave Gormley, Beedie Development Group; Chris MacCauley, CBRE Limited – Industrial Properties
October 23, 6-9 pm. Social from 6-6:30, with light refreshments provided.
Hastings Meeting Room, Oceanic Plaza building, 1035 West Pender Street (Pender St level)
Cost: PIBC & NAIOP Members $15; PIBC & NAIOP Student Members $10; Non-members $20
Registration Required
Space is limited to 80 participants
Registration Contact:
Ryan Noakes, PIBC
Tel: 604.696.5031
Presented by PIBC South Coast Chapter PlanTalk.

October 4, 2012 at 5:28 pm Leave a comment

The Now House – CMHC lecture

The Now House — Retrofitting for Zero Energy

October 24, 7 pm

SFU Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings Street

Vancouver Admission is free, but reservations are required. Reserve here.

A lot of focus has been placed on how to build homes that are increasingly more energy efficient and sustainable. But what about the existing stock of older homes across the country? In 50 years, two-thirds of our housing stock will still be here and housing is responsible for 15% of greenhouse gas emissions.

Join Lorraine Gauthier as she explores the approach behind the Now House® — the retrofit of a 60-year-old post-war house in an established neighbourhood in Toronto and its transformation into a net zero energy home.

Just like a typical city house, the Now House® is connected to, and uses energy from, the local utility. However, unlike typical homes, the Now House® produces energy to send to the utility company. On an annual basis, the home produces as much energy as it consumes, resulting in a net zero energy bill.

Based on this success, the The Now House™ project team teamed up with Windsor Essex Community Housing Corporation to bring sustainable thinking and design to five similar wartime houses in Windsor. Come and discover how the Now House® offers a vision and a practical, affordable approach that can be applied to homes across the country.

Sponsored by CMHC and SFU Continuing Studies (City Program).

October 4, 2012 at 5:24 pm Leave a comment