Vancouver's Downtown Waterfront: Imagining a place for people (Special Edition)

About the Event

Waterfront Station is the centre of transportation for the entire Lower Mainland: three skytrain lines, Seabus, West Coast Express, freight rail, helicopters, float planes, regional and local buses, cruise ships, taxis, bikes, pedestrians. No other North American city enjoys such connectivity. 

Sadly, existing facilities are inadequate, and connections are often cumbersome. There are few attractive public spaces.

This September 12-18 is Placemaking Week in Vancouver, with a number of conferences and events happening involving placemaking designers and specialists from all over the world.

SFU City Conversations joins them with a tour and conversation to envision a new downtown waterfront.

You can attend both events, or either one. 

Join us for a waterfront tour beginning at Jack Poole Plaza (the Olympic torch) at 10:00 a.m.  You'll see what has been done right, and learn how it could have gone wrong. We'll finish the tour at 11:30 a.m at Waterfront Station, learning its history and opportunities.  

Our tour leaders will be Tom Phipps and Michael Alexander, Members of the Downtown Waterfront Working Group, Steve Brown, Transportation Engineer, City of Vancouver and Graham McGarva, Architect.

Then at 12:30 p.m. join us for our SFU City Conversationat SFU Vancouver (directly across from Waterfront Station).

To start the conversation, we have Rico Quirindongo, Seattle architect and planner; Darren Davis, Senior Transportation Planner for Auckland, New Zealand; and Urban Planner and author Lance Berelowitz

Then it's your turn to share your thoughts and ideas on how to imagine the most connected, most exciting, and most dramatic waterfront in North America.


Wed, 14 Sep 2016 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Meet at the Olympic Torch at Jack Poole Plaza (dress for the weather)


Wed, 14 Sep 2016 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

Room 1700, SFU Vancouver, 515 W. Hastings (note room change; look for direction signs in lobby)

Want to know more about Placemaking Week? 


Meet the Tour Leaders

Michael Alexander is Director of SFU City Conversations. He passionately believes in providing opportunities for often-quiet Canadians to respectfully and effectively express their views on public policies and socially important issues. He is an urbanist who supports long range planning in vibrant cities. He is president of ReConnect Vancouver, a citizens' organization supporting replacing the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts with new affordable and market housing; a large park with sports, arts, recreational and cultural facilities: new roads, pedestrian and bicycle paths; and an environmentally rich and clean shoreline of False Creek. He also works to bring economic, cultural, public space and enhanced transportation opportunities to Vancouver's downtown around Waterfront Station. 


Steve Brown is the Manager of Traffic and Data Management at the City of Vancouver.  He completed his degree in Civil Engineering at the University of British Columbia, has worked for the City of Vancouver for over 12 years and has worked in the private sector in various consulting roles for over 6 years.  During his time, with the City of Vancouver, Steve has led the transportation component of a number of city shaping initiatives such as the initial feasibility review of modifying the Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts and the Central Waterfront Hub Framework development. Steve also led the team responsible for creating Transportation 2040, the City of Vancouver’s award winning transportation plan.


Graham McGarva is a founding partner of VIA Architecture, an award winning firm dedicated to creating 'connective communities'. Raised in the UK, Graham graduated from Cambridge University with a Bachelor of Architecture and a Master of Arts before hitch-hiking across Canada to land in Vancouver's False Creek neighbourhood. With over 35 years of experience, Graham has become a leader in shaping walkable urban communities. His expertise includes "hands-on" planning for complex highly scrutinized projects, and taking a "Model Sustainable Community" approach towards his projects.


Tom Phipps’ focus and experience on ‘town centre’ development, institutional-commercial interfacing and high street viability has continued since retiring as Senior Planner managing Vancouver City Major Projects, including CIP national award winning East Fraser Lands, transit oriented Oakridge Town Centre (2008 PIBC award) and Arbutus Centre projects in Vancouver as well as his role as senior planner on Vancouver General and the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre.



Meet the Speakers

Rico Quirindongo works with organizations to positively influence communities through design. Through his work over the last two decades, he has developed a keen awareness of the special requirements needed to make complex public and community-based projects a success. Rico’s work focuses around developing community stakeholder communication strategies and connecting communities. Rico was a mayoral appointment to the Historic Seattle Council for six years, was President of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Seattle Chapter, and he is currently the chair of the Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority MarketFront Committee, overseeing a mixed use development that is an integral part of the City of Seattle’s investment in a new Seattle Waterfront. Rico was awarded the AIA Seattle Young Architect Award in 2014 and served on the AIA+2030 national steering committee, which developed and delivered curriculum to an international design community to meet the Architecture 2030 Challenge through high performance building design. 

Darren Davis is a proudly car-free transport planner from Auckland, New Zealand with 25 years' experience, including being a public transport lobbyist, planner, strategist, communicator and consultant. He has been involved in projects ranging from high level strategic policy advice; successfully influencing regional and Central government agencies; to on-the-ground involvement in major transport infrastructure projects; doing public transport service design; and carrying out high-level policy and strategy work as well as being a key team member on transit oriented development projects. Darren is currently the Transport Integration Manager for Auckland Transport’s Light Rail project and has recently rediscovered the joy of cycling thanks to Auckland's rapidly growing network of protected cycleways.

Lance Berelowitz is a professional planner, urban designer and writer on urban issues. As principal of URBAN FORUM ASSOCIATES, he provides planning, urban design and communications services to clients across Canada and internationally. He frequently presents at national and international conferences, contributes research and commentary to the media, and has lectured on urban planning and design at several Canadian and international universities. His acclaimed book on Vancouver’s emerging urban form, Dream City: Vancouver and the Global Imagination, won the City of Vancouver Book Award.



For more information about this event:


Event Date

September 14, 2016 -
12:30pm to 1:30pm


SFU Harbour Centre, Room 1700
515 W Hastings St
Vancouver, BC

Event Audience

Posted in