2021, The Future We Want The Change We Need, Cities
Closer to Home: The Case for Complete Neighbourhoods
About the Series
President, Heritage Vancouver Society
Javier Campos earned his Architecture Degree from the University of British Columbia after having completed an undergraduate degree in Art History. Previously he was at Acton Ostry Architects where, as lead designer, his projects were widely published and garnered numerous awards — including Canadian Architect and Lieutenant Governor Medals in Architecture. His work adopted a green agenda early and has included off the grid projects since 2001. He became LEED certified in 2004. Javier is also involved in Public Art and has won several competitions with Artist Elspeth Pratt in Vancouver. Javier served on the board of the Contemporary Art Gallery for six years and as well being the current president of the Heritage Vancouver Society, where he established an award winning outreach series on issues around Heritage.
Member, Order of British Columbia
Shirley Chan has been an activist in Vancouver for more than 60 years. In the 60s and 70s, Shirley spearheaded the organizing of the Strathcona Property Owners and Tenants Association (SPOTA) to stop demolition of Strathcona & Chinatown; and to stop the building of freeways in Vancouver.
Shirley worked for community non-profits and in the municipal and federal public service. She held leadership roles on many boards including UBC, BC Hydro, Vancity, the Chinese Garden and currently serves on the boards for Learning for a Sustainable Future and Pathways Serious Mental Illness Society.
She received an Honourary Doctorate of Laws (UBC); Outstanding Alumni Award (SFU); YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, Queens Jubilees Medal and in 2020 the Order of British Columbia; and earned a BA from SFU and a Master in Environmental Studies from York University.
Video Columnist, CBC
Uytae Lee produces videos that inform and engage the public on the complex issues surrounding our cities. His videos on his YouTube channel ‘About Here’ have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times, helping raise awareness on topics such as underground streams, SkyTrains, street-food, and much more. In addition to his YouTube channel, Uytae produces a column with CBC Vancouver under the same name where he challenges audiences to ‘rethink’ their city.
Master Weaver, Public Artist, xʷməθkʷəy̓əm
Acclaimed Musqueam weaver, artist and knowledge keeper Debra Sparrow is a leading figure in the revival of Musqueam Coast Salish weaving. She once said she wouldn’t stop until she saw the city of Vancouver swathed in Coast Salish patterns and she’s well on her way to achieving that goal.
Founder and Executive Director, LOCO BC
Amy has over 20 years’ experience working with businesses to embed sustainability into operations. She has worked with organizations ranging from small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to big industry, regional governments and the UN. However, she has a passion for small businesses, with their unique challenges and opportunities. In 2009, Amy founded the not-for-profit organization LOCO BC. LOCO’s work springs from her perception that BC undervalues the economic and social pillars of sustainability that strengthen communities, build resilience and foster innovation. At LOCO Amy has spearheaded important research on local business, covering the economic multiplier effect, the impact of online shopping on local businesses, the empty storefront phenomenon, strategies to protect legacy businesses, and the economic impact of permit and license wait times. She also led the development of a Community Impact Assessment tool to measure and improve the economic impact of local businesses. Amy is a recognized local economy leader, she was a 2013 fellow with the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (now Common Future), was nominated for a YWCA Women of Distinction Award in 2020, and has been a sessional instructor at SFU in Local Economics since 2019.
Executive Director, South Vancouver Neighbourhood House & Marpole Neighbourhood House
Zahra Esmail has been the Executive Director of the vibrant South Vancouver Neighbourhood House since 2016, and is the first Executive Director of the Marpole Neighbourhood House, which opened under her leadership in 2019. Zahra works with her diverse teams to build community connections and strengthen the neighbourhoods of Killarney, Victoria-Fraserview, Sunset and Marpole in Vancouver. She is deeply committed to equity, social justice, and anti-racism, and engages in change-making at grassroots and systems levels.
With a background in community development and microfinance, Zahra has worked with marginalized populations across the globe for many years. She has extensive experience with participatory development and community-led project design and implementation, and has lived and worked in Canada, Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean. Prior to her current role, Zahra was the General Manager of Eva’s Phoenix, a transitional shelter and training program in Toronto. She has also worked in international development with Street Kids International, Haven Haiti and BRAC.
Zahra has a Masters in Globalization and International Development from the University of Ottawa, a Bachelors in History from UBC, and an Associate Certificate in Fundraising Management from BCIT. She is an active member of the Poverty Reduction Advisory Committee, an independent committee that advises government on policy developments related to poverty reduction and prevention. Zahra recently joined the Honorary Governors Council at Vancouver Foundation, and was recognized as one of Business in Vancouver’s Forty Under 40 in 2019.
Professor and Director, SFU Urban Studies
Meg Holden is professor and director of the urban studies program and professor in the department of geography at SFU. Meg is an urban environmental pragmatist. Her engaged research program examines urban policy, planning and social aspects of sustainable development intentions and transitions in cities and communities, with foci in value-based measurement and indicators, community well-being and livability, neighbourhood housing, planning and experience, and local democracy and justice.