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This article was published originally on The Surrey Leader on October 30, 2015.

Want to be a city planner?

OCTOBER 30, 2015, surreyleader.com

On Nov. 7, 100 Surrey residents will play a role in helping to chart the future course of their city.

Thrive! Surrey in 2030, a day-long event hosted by Simon Fraser University’s Public Square and Centre for Dialogue, will create a “residents’ lab” that will mine the expertise, dreams and aspirations of 100 selected Surrey residents in planning the city’s future.

The session will run from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Surrey City Hall’s council chambers. Event organizers are currently accepting applications for potential grassroots city planners (link below).

“This event is designed for the residents of Surrey,” says moderator Shauna Sylvester, director of SFU’s Centre for Dialogue. “Delegates will be chosen on the basis of demographics such as gender, age, geographical location within Surrey and ethno-cultural diversity. We also hope to reflect other forms of diversity as well – income, education, sexual orientation and abilities.”

Professional facilitators will divide the chosen participants into groups, and akin to SimCity – a city-building simulation video game – the lab will assign residents key roles.

By profiling the increasing pressure facing municipalities due to surging urbanization and considering what attracts people to urban centres, Sylvester seeks to raise residents’ awareness of their power to help shape their city.

The Summit’s theme is particularly relevant to Surrey. One of the fastest growing cities in Canada, and the fastest growing city in Metro Vancouver, Surrey welcomes approximately 800 new residents monthly.

“Thrive! ‘residents’ will also hash out how to ensure clean air, clean water and clean sewage for the future of Surrey,” suggests Sylvester. “They’ll brainstorm how to create better community connections and conditions for everyone to thrive.”

For their commitment to city building, participants will receive certificates recognizing their leadership and work, their profiles will be shared on the Community Summit website and a published report will outline their visions.

Applicants can check the website (www.sfu.ca/publicsquare) or complete registration forms here:https://websurvey.sfu.ca/cgi-bin/WebObjects/WebSurvey.woa/wa/survey?220897291

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