An utopian/anti-utopian opposition persists today in virtually all domains of urban theory and practice with nuances and a variety of attempts to supersede it. On the occasion of this anniversary the Simon Fraser Urban Studies Program and the Institute for the Humanities are organizing a panel to initiate discussion on aspects of utopianism today with specific, but not exclusive, reference to its urban incarnations, including in the Lower mainland. Themes will depend upon those comprising the panel, but might, generically, address the questions of whether and how utopian thinking informs contemporary theories and practices and, to the extent that it does, whether this is a good thing.
Frank Cunningham is Emeritus Professor of philosophy and political science at the University of Toronto. He was a senior advisor at the University of Toronto's Cities Centre from 2007 until its dissolution in 2013. His principle mandate in that Centre was to involve scholars, and teachers of philosophy in particular, and the humanities in general, in the efforts of urbanists from other disciplines. He was also inducted as a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1995.
Meg Holden is Professor of urban studies and geography in the Urban Studies Program at SFU, specializing in urban sustainable development in policy, planning, theory, ethics, and popular expression. Her research takes place in the cities of North America, particularly the Cascadia region, and in cities internationally through her research engagement in a number of global networks of urban professionals and researchers.
Trevor Boddy is a critic, curator, historian of architecture/urbanism, teacher, and consulting urban designer. He curated the 2008 exhibition Vancouverism and related Trafalgar Square site-specific construction, named a marquee event for the 2008 London Festival of Architecture, and re-mounted in 2009 at Place d’Invalides, Paris. An expanded version was installed at Woodward’s for the 2010 Olympics. His career retrospective exhibition entitled Telling Details: The Architecture of Clifford Wiens toured nationally to five galleries.