Urban Universities:
Who benefits? Who doesn’t?

Universities located in urban centres are defying the image of post-secondary institutions as ‘ivory towers’. Growing beyond the core mandate of education and research, they work to integrate and engage with their communities, playing a key role in local economic development, public discourse and social change.

At least, that’s the intention, but not always the result.

For this edition of City Conversations – coinciding with SFU Vancouver’ 30th Anniversary – we seek to understand the comprehensive impact of urban universities on their communities, as well as the impact the community has on the institution.

How can we balance universities’ social, economic and intellectual contribution to communities with dislocation and gentrification? What are universities learning from their communities, and how are they sharing in the direction and benefits of their research and programs? What part do urban universities play in the work towards reconciliation, inclusion and equity?

To begin to tackle these questions, we welcome Heather De Forest, lead librarian of the Community Scholars Program; Chief Leanne Joe (Sxwpilemaat Siyam), Transformative Storyteller for Economic Reconciliation at SFU; and Julia Aoki, executive director at Megaphone.

Then it’s over to you! As always, your participation is a core part of City Conversations, but it’s especially important this time. How can we measure our impact on communities without hearing from you?

Bring your questions and your comments! Lunch is on us this time, as part of the celebration of SFU Vancouver’s 30th Anniversary.

Meg Holden, Director of Urban Studies at SFU, will moderate the conversation.

This event is part of SFU Vancouver’s 30th Anniversary


Thursday, September 26, 2019

12:30 - 1:30PM


SFU Vancouver at Harbour Centre
515 West Hastings St.
Room 7000

We respectfully acknowledge that this event takes place on the Unceded, Traditional, Ancestral Territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ, and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm First Nations.


Watch our livestream of the event and join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #CityConv

This edition of City Conversations is a presentation of SFU Public Square,
sponsored by SFU Vancouver and SFU's City Program.

Registration Disclaimer

Please note that while City Conversations continues to be free, registration via Eventbrite is requested to help anticipate demand. As this event is free, and free events routinely have a high number of no-shows, it is our policy to overbook. Seating is limited, so please be mindful of those who may find it difficult to stand for long periods of time.

Venue Information

SFU Harbour Centre is located at 515 W. Hastings St, and is located a brief walk from Waterfront station and numerous bus stops. Bike stalls are available outside the main entrance. Nearby parking is available at 500 & 400 W. Cordova St


There are washrooms located on all floors of the building. Accessible, private bathrooms and gender-neutral washroom stalls are available on the first floor in the east corrido


All floors within the building are serviced by elevators.

If you have any questions, concerns, or comments regarding this event’s accessibility, feel free to connect with us at or 778-782-5959.

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