media release

Centre celebrates 25-year sustainability success

February 28, 2014

Mark Roseland (North Shore resident), 778.782.4161,
Joanna Ashworth (North Shore resident), 604.317.9202,
Carol Thorbes, PAMR, 778.782.3035,


In the last 25 years, the growth of Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Sustainable Community Development (CSCD) has mirrored the explosive growth of the socio-economic movement it’s named after.

The CSCD’s evolution as a bastion of academic programs and initiatives fostering sustainable communities globally is why the centre is throwing a 25th birthday bash, Step Right Up!, on Thursday, March 13.

“It’s a unique opportunity to take stock of our contributions to the study and practice of sustainable community development,” says Joanna Ashworth, a CSCD senior associate.

“We’re also celebrating a quarter century of successes in terms of alumni leadership, faculty research, collaboration with professional advisors and social enterprise innovation.”

Ashworth says during that time sustainable community development has moved from being an idea and practice on the margins of society to being recognized as one of the most important knowledge-and-skill sets of our time.

“Mirroring that change,” notes Ashworth, “has been a growing demand for more sustainable community-development academic programming and graduate support. The CSCD has responded with revised and updated on-line courses, two revitalized community-based professional certificate programs and more.”

The centre’s mission is to foster communities’ sustainable development through research, education and community mobilization. Its research, training and advisory services are provincial, national and global in scope.

“We were the first SFU unit to have the word sustainable in our name and one of the first units globally to use the phrase sustainable community development,” says Mark Roseland, the centre’s director.

Roseland, a professor in the Faculty of Environment’s School of Resource and Environmental Management, is an internationally recognized expert on sustainable community and regional planning.

“At birth, we were clearly on the cutting fringe of integrating environmental, social and economic objectives into community development plans. The centre is now one of only three Canadian groups globally to be approved as a member of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). The roughly 100-member global problem-solving network for sustainable development is helping the United Nations set post-2015 global sustainable development goals.”

In keeping with its bold approach to engaging the world in maintaining a fine balance between environmental protection and economic development, the CSCD is providing free carpooling to its birthday bash.

The celebration, starting at 6:30 p.m. under a big tent at the Wise Hall in Vancouver, will bring CSCD alumni, associates, students, advisors and faculty together to share stories about the centre’s growth. It will also feature a video of alumni and current students talking about the centre’s impact on their lives and work, an interactive showcase of sustainability initiatives, artists, music and local food.

Simon Fraser University is consistently ranked among Canada's top comprehensive universities and is one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 125,000 alumni in 130 countries.


Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

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