Category Archives: Academia

China’s urban ambitions… at SFU Harbour Centre

Gordon Price of the SFU City Program has announced an upcoming free public lecture, as part of the SCARP Symposium on Sustainable Planning, on March 12 at SFU Harbour Centre:

China and the Urbanism of Ambition

China is in the throes of the greatest building boom the world has ever seen. Its population is urbanizing faster than any in history, and its cities are expanding like supernovae across the landscape. In this lecture, urbanist and author Thomas J. Campanella will explore multiple dimensions of this urban revolution; probe its extraordinary physical and societal impacts; and speculate on what 30 years of wholesale urbanization might mean for both China and the world.

Date: March 12, 7 pm
Venue: SFU Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver
Reservations: Admission is free; reservations are required.
Email: or call 778.782.5100


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Filed under Academia, Events, Urban Planning

Vancouver Province column: Resourceful dumpster divers are important part of our city’s fabric

October 29, 2008

Richard Florida, the high-profile University of Toronto professor, recently spoke to a receptive crowd at a Vancouver Board of Trade cities conference.

Florida, author of the best-selling book The Rise of Creative Class, postulates that cities with more diversity and culture also enjoy more economic growth. Not surprisingly, Vancouver rates high in Florida’s research, given its cosmopolitan make-up and the growth of industries like software and film.

But it’s not enough for a place to cater exclusively to hip professionals, according to Florida. Cities like

Vancouver must also tap into the creativity of their trades and service workers — from plumbers to cab drivers to coffee shop baristas.

Gordon Price, director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University, took

Florida’s point one step further — saying that Vancouver should also tap into the creativity of a quite different class of workers: binners. Continue reading


Filed under Academia, Crime, Entertainment, Environment, Industry, Law and Order, Vancouver, Vancouver Province Columns

Province column: Government must do more to speed travel between Vancouver and Seattle

The Province
Monday, March 31, 2008

Road trips to Seattle, Portland and other Pacific Northwest destinations have long been popular with British Columbians hankering for some
fun and recreation south of the 49th parallel. But given the dreadfully long lineups at border crossings in the Lower Mainland, perhaps they’d be better off flying to Toronto or Montreal instead for that out-of-town weekend adventure.

After all, getting there by air might at least be faster than joining the queue of Washington-bound cars at the Peace Arch crossing on a typical Saturday morning.
Continue reading


Filed under Academia, British Columbia, Cascadia, Commuting, Entertainment, Politics, Portland, Seattle, Tourism, Trade, Transportation, Vancouver Province Columns

Vancouver Province column: Let’s show the world that West Coast buildings do not have to be boring

Sunday, February 10, 2008
The frenzy of construction taking place across Metro Vancouver might lead some to believe this region is getting the urban equivalent of a personal makeover.

But as the highrise condos sprout up from the ground, locals are left grumbling about the vanilla results — including a downtown skyline that is less breathtaking than it is banal.

In a recent interview, renowned local architect Arthur Erickson simply referred to it as “blah.” At a Feb. 1 forum hosted by Simon Fraser University’s City Program, leading city designers and planners debated the need for “iconic” architecture in Vancouver — the kind of impressive structures that make a statement about the cities in which they stand. Continue reading

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Filed under Academia, Architecture, Nimbies, Urban Planning, Vancouver, Vancouver Province Columns

Price Tags Turns 100

Gordon Price, who heads up the Cities program at Simon Fraser University, commemorates the 100th issue of his Price Tags publication with a terrific resource — an index that spans the publication’s existence. This includes urban journalism and photography covering everything from Vancouver’s history of freeway resistance to architecture in Australia’s leading cities to the new challenges facing American metropolises such as Denver, Washington D.C. and Tampa Bay.

Price Tags 100

Those who don’t currently subscribe to this free publication, which is delivered via email, would be advised to do so — especially folks with an interest in how people interface with the streetscape, commuting. cycling, architecture and other urban topics.

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Filed under Academia, Architecture, Commuting, Cycling, Journalism, Neighbourhoods

$14 billion for public transit in British Columbia

This week’s announcement of major funding for rapid transit in British Columbia should put to rest the naysayers who argue that rail technologies such as SkyTrain are an unnecessary luxury. By extending the successful SkyTrain network to the University of British Columbia, and most likely to Metro Vancouver’s northeast and southeast, the province is wisely showing a commitment to a transport system that has proven durable and popular.

The news also underscores something new in Metro Vancouver — long-term thinking about population growth and transportation needs in the region.

Warren Gill, a transportation-studies professor at Simon Fraser University who has focused on transportation policy for more than 30 years, called the program “infrastructure for the ages.”

“It means Vancouver will be a functional city long into the future. People who come to Vancouver will be able to get around in the city just as they would in some of the world’s great cities – New York, London, Chicago,” Prof. Gill said.

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Filed under Academia, British Columbia, Transportation, Urban Planning

Trek Park?

It seems the college sit-ins and protests of 2007 just don’t resonate like they did in the 1960s — at least on Canada’s West Coast. Case in point: Trek Park at the University of British Columbia, designed as a gathering place for students taking aim at construction developments on the campus.

Trek Park UBC

The UBC student newspaper, The Ubyssey, tells it best:

Erected on the first day of school, September saw Trek Park as a place where University Square and underground bus loop protesters could congregate to challenge UBC’s development. But once the rainy season hit campus, the fun filled protests turned into washed-out sod sitting in a parking lot.

Trek Park hasn’t kept up the well-maintained face it needs to be taken seriously. If the goal of the park was to change the course of campus construction, then it should have kept up its message. If the intent was to create a meaningful public space, more activities could have been planned. But it appeared to fizzle out, giving UBC developers the ability to say that Trek Park activism and student opposition to certain types of development had withered.

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Filed under Academia, Parks, Protest, Vancouver