media release

Rethinking the Region seeks local perspective

February 21, 2014

Meg Holden, 778.782.7888;
Patrick Smith, 604.291.1544;
Marianne Meadahl, 778.782.9017;


A daylong workshop at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus on March 1 will bring together urban professionals, students and interested members of the public to engage in discussing regional issues.

Rethinking the Region, hosted by SFU’s Urban Studies program, will highlight regional relationships and the importance of the economic, health, political and transportation options that exist for the region.

“The past and recent successes of governing in the Vancouver city-region have largely been a product of locals thinking about how best to resolve the challenges facing the region—from sewerage and drainage to water to transportation,” says Patrick Smith. The SFU political science professor is one of the organizers of the event.

 “Bringing together key officials, regional thinkers and interested local publics allows for an all-day discussion of where we are in meeting the key regional challenges of BC’s south coast metropolitan region.

“Not resolving such issues means that others who are often less locally invested—such as the province—are more likely to decide Vancouver’s regional future.”

Smith says the idea of “locals deciding on local solutions” for their regions often leads to the most positive outcomes. SFU’s involvement in the annual event “is rooted in our commitment to encourage and facilitate engagement,” he adds.

The day of learning, interaction and brainstorming is a collaborative approach that will help build ideas and create action priorities for the region’s future.

A panel, moderated by Urban Studies adjunct professor Ken Cameron, will share thoughts in a discussion titled The Natural Logic of Regional Thinking.

Panellists and their topics include: Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade, on regional economic development; Anthony Perl, an SFU Urban Studies professor, on regional transportation; Tim Takaro, professor of Health Sciences at SFU, on regional health—including adapting to climate change—and Vicki Huntington, MLA for Delta South, on regional governance.

Keynote speaker George Abbott, former B.C. cabinet minister who has served many years in provincial and local politics, will talk on The Struggle for Regional Planning in B.C.

Urban Studies graduate students will facilitate group discussions. A panel from Metro Vancouver’s planning, policy and environment staff will respond to the discussion results.

What: Rethinking the Region workshop

Where: SFU’s Surrey campus, 250-13450 102nd Ave, Surrey, room 5240

When: March 1, 2014, 8:30 a.m–3 p.m.

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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