Vancouverism in a World of Cities

May 30, 2019

The Third Annual Larry Bell Urban Forum: “Vancouverism”

A joint presentation with the University of British Columbia’s Geography Department and The SFU City Program

Nearly 20 years ago, ‘Vancouverism’ began to circulate as an internationally recognized label for a distinctive set of practices of building, representing and marketing the virtues of urban life. From planning, development and architecture to cinema, transnational social movements and increasingly cosmopolitan currents of migration, the Vancouver city-region has become a reference point for new configurations of density, diversity and new relations between humans and the natural world.

At the same time, Vancouver has become the second- or third-most expensive housing market on the planet, and it’s all built on the unceded Indigenous lands and communities that long predate British North America and Canada. Vancouver provides a unique vantage point from which to view the transformations of space and time—of past, present and future—in an urban world.

Where have concepts of Vancouverism travelled? How have the images and narratives of Vancouverism evolved? How have these trends co-evolved with changes in the material lived realities of society and nature in the Vancouver region? In this Larry Bell Urban Forum, Vancouverites had an opportunity to explore the past, present and future of Vancouverism in a world of intensifying urban competition and change. The forum included a panel of distinguished authors who have explored varied facets of Vancouverism in a world of cities.

This year’s panelists included:

  • Juliet Carpenter, Senior Research Fellow, Oxford Brookes University, and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellow at the School of Community and Regional Planning, University of British Columbia
  • Meg Holden, Professor of Urban Studies and Geography, Director of Urban Studies, Simon Fraser University
  • Tom Hutton, Professor, Centre for Human Settlements and School of Community and Regional Planning, University of British Columbia
  • Sherry McKay, Professor of Architecture (Emeritus), School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, University of British Columbia
  • Katharyne Mitchell, Professor of Sociology, Dean of Social Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Geraldine Pratt, Canada Research Chair in Transnationalism and Precarious Labour, University of British Columbia
  • John Punter, Professor of Urban Design, Cardiff University
  • Andy Yan, Director, City Program, Simon Fraser University

Hosted by Elvin Wyly, Professor of Geography and Chair of Urban Studies Coordinating Committee, University of British Columbia.

The forum comes in the footsteps of previous Larry Bell Urban Forums: Technocity: Equity, Innovation, and the Rush of Smartness and Mapping the Hedge City—Vancouver and Global Capital.

About the Larry Bell Forum
The Larry Bell Urban Forum is made possible by a generous donation by Larry Bell to the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia. A graduate of the Department of Geography and the Urban Studies Program at UBC, Larry Bell has made extraordinary contributions to Vancouver and British Columbia through a long and distinguished career. He has served as chair and CEO of BC Hydro, deputy minister of the Government of British Columbia, chair of the UBC Board of Governors, and as board member or chair for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Vancouver Board of Trade, the Conference Board of Canada, the Vancouver Hospital Foundation, and the B.C. Transplant Society Board of Trustees. He received the Order of British Columbia in 2007.