Photo courtesy of Calkan via Wikimedia

Spur Vancouver
This City in Seven Years: My Greenest City

The City of Vancouver has set a bold goal for itself: to be the world’s greenest city by 2020. But while the metrics for what make a city livable—public transportation, access to quality education, cultural amenities—are easy to come by, what makes a city green is a little less clear. Sure, the number of green jobs and bike lanes are factors, but pollution travels, so what does that mean for “city limits”? Can clean tech truly balance resource extraction? What is the role of the city as producer versus the city as consumer?

In Spur Vancouver’s opening event speakers each make the case for their vision of what it means not just to be green, but the greenest city in the world.

Join SFU Public Square, in partnership with Spur and The Tyee, for a talk on what it’s going to take to make Vancouver the resilient city.


David Beers

David Beers is founding editor of The Tyee, a British Columbia-based online source for news views and solutions-oriented journalism, winner of numerous prizes including twice Canada’s Excellence in Journalism Award and twice North America’s Edward R. Murrow Award. The Tyee has been cited by Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab and others as a leading innovator among independent online publications in business practices as well as content.

Beers is also co-founder of The Tyee Solutions Society, a non-profit that produces journalism in under contract from foundations and other organizations and, through published reporting and other means, engages the public on issues of public interest.

Beers also teaches at the University of British Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

Before starting The Tyee in 2003 Beers worked as a senior editor at the San Francisco Examiner and Mother Jones magazine, and then at The Vancouver Sun where he edited a 72-page series on preserving the sustainability of the Strait of Georgia that received a National Newspaper Award for Special Projects. His writing has garnered National Magazine Awards in the U.S. and Canada.


Michael Ableman

Michael Ableman has been farming organically from since the 1970's and is considered among the pioneers of the international movement.
Renowned for his commercial scale organic farming techniques, Ableman has lectured audiences all over the world about the urban food revolution and agricultural conservation easement.
Michael Ableman is the winner of multiple awards for his work in sustainable agriculture such as the Environmental Leadership Award from the governor of the state of California, and the Real Estate Foundation of British Colombia Land Awards.
Ableman is the author of three trade published books: From the Good Earth: A celebration of growing food around the world; On Good Land: The autobiography of an urban farm; and Fields of Plenty: A farmer’s journey in search of real food and the people who grow it.
He is featured in the award-winning PBS national broadcast Beyond Organic.

Michael Ableman is the founder or the Centre for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens in Goleta County, California where he farmed for over 25 years; the founder and director of the Centre for Arts, Ecology and Agriculture at his family home on Salt Spring Island; the co-founder of the Sole Food Street Farms Project in Vancouver.

Geoff Dembicki

Geoff Dembicki is a staff reporter for on a quest to answer the big question of his millennial generation: Are we screwed? In dispatches from Vancouver to San Francisco to New York, he’s prospected for hope among philosophizing homesteaders, seafaring libertarians, globetrotting futurists, sustainability savants, world leaders, Wall Street executives, nature-mimicking designers – well, let’s just say the list is long. As an Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada media fellow, Geoff has also reported from Beijing on China’s green revolution. His work appears in Salon, Vice, Walrus Magazine, the Toronto Star and Alternet.

Charles Gauthier

Charles Gauthier is the President and CEO of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association.

Sadhu Johnson

Sadhu Johnston is Vancouver’s Deputy City Manager. He has extensive experience as a city administrator and leader. For six years he was the deputy chief of staff to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and served as the chief environmental officer for the mayor’s office, the first position of its kind in United States’ city government, where he pioneered environmental programs, strategies and regulations for the City of Chicago.

Mr. Johnston has a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Political Science from Oberlin College and Vassar College, and is a recipient of Crain’s Chicago Business 40 under 40 and Building Design and Construction 40 under 40.

Mitra Mansour

Mitra Mansour is a Vancouver based design consultant and project coordinator. She is the creator of Mobile Town Hall (MoTH) Facilitator and is on the Steering Committee of Vancouver Design Nerds. She’s also a curator at the Civic Renewal Lab.

Christine McLaren

Christine McLaren is a freelance journalist who investigates solutions to urban problems. Early on, she cut her teeth reporting on affordable housing and urban development issues for the award-winning online news magazine She has since worked internationally with publications and media outlets such as The Globe and Mail, Monocle, GOOD, Metropolis, Xinhua News Agency and MSN, among many others, and been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, CBC and Maclean’s magazine and more.

Christine was the lead researcher for Happy City (2013, Doubleday), which investigates the link between the emerging science of happiness and urban design, and conducted research for National Geographic Emerging Explorer Alexandra Cousteau. Most recently she travelled around the world as resident writer of the BMW Guggenheim Lab, a mobile urban think tank project of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and co-authored the project’s interactive online glossary and book series, Participatory City: 100 Urban Trends (2013, Specter Press).

Gordon Price

Gordon Price is the director of The City Program at Simon Fraser University.

In 2002, he finished his sixth term as a city councillor in Vancouver, B.C. He also served on the Board of the Greater Vancouver Regional District (Metro Vancouver) and was appointed to the first board of the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority (TransLink) in 1999.

Price is a regular lecturer on transportation and land use for the City of Portland, Oregon, and Portland State University. He writes a monthly column for Business in Vancouver on civic issues, and he conducts tours and seminars on the development of Vancouver. He also publishes an electronic magazine on urban issues (with a focus on Vancouver) called Price Tags, and he has been published in several journals, including Inroads, the Canadian journal of opinion. He blogs at

In 2003, he received the Plan Canada Award for Article of the Year for “Land Use and Transportation: The View from ’56″ from the Canadian Institute of Planners. In 2007, he was the winner of the “Smartie” People Award from Smart Growth B.C. In 2009, he was made an honourary member of the Planning Institute of B.C.

Price sits on the boards of the Sightline Institute and the International Centre for Sustainable Cities. He is also a member of local districts for the Urban Land Institute and Lambda Alpha International.

Christianne Wilhelmson 

Christianne Wilhelmson has been the Clean Air and Water Program Coordinator at Georgia Strait Alliance (GSA) for over 5 years. During that time, she had lead GSA’s efforts to help reduce pollution of the Georgia Strait region from land-based sources, in particular municipal sewage. Her work has focused on raising awareness of the impacts raw or undertreated sewage has on the environment and on innovative approaches to managing sewage. She has worked in both the Capital Region of Victoria and Metro Vancouver to improve treatment levels (and advance timelines for higher levels of treatment) and to bring integrated resource management to both communities.

Christianne sits on the CRD’s Technical and Community Advisory Committee, advising the region on its plans for sewage treatment. She also sits on the Core Advisory Group assisting the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) and Environment Canada in its efforts to develop a national strategy on sewage treatment and new regulations under the Fisheries Act. Christianne has recently been appointed to the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Liquid Waste Advisory Committee.

Christianne holds a B.Sc. in Biology and Environmental and Resource Sciences (Trent University) and a M.Sc in Zoology – Ecology (UBC).

Opening Party

Join us after for the opening party! Spur Vancouver kicks off the festival in style with big ideas, thrilling conversation and live music. Admission is free with a ticket to My Greenest City.


Thu, 22 May 2014 7:00 PM

Opening Party begins at 9:00 PM


My Greenest City
Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema
Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
149 W Hastings Street

Opening Party
World Arts Centre
SFU Woodward's
149 W Hastings Street


Event is free. Please click HERE to register.

In partnership with