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President’s Faculty Lecture highlights urgency for sustainable housing in B.C.

January 22, 2024

The SFU President’s Faculty Lectures continue in 2024, kicking off the year by buckling down on the relationship between cities and climate change, and British Columbia’s musts for creating a healthy future.  

Continuing the theme of Making a Difference for B.C., the lecture series resumes Tuesday, Jan. 23 at SFU’s Surrey campus with a presentation from Andréanne Doyon, professor and director in the Planning Program at SFU’s School of Resource and Environmental Management (REM).

Hosted by SFU president Joy Johnson and produced by SFU Public Square, the lecture series illuminates the university’s excellence in research, commending the innovative academics and researchers that engage with communities by applying their expertise to make real-world impacts. Each lecture is followed by a conversation with Johnson and audience Q&A period.

Doyon’s lecture will focus on the role sustainable housing must play in the creation of a more livable and resilient British Columbia, while exploring how sustainable urban developments, including homes, can soon be implemented in the province.

“After decades of fragmented and limited action, we are experiencing a climate emergency. Cities and the built environment, which includes housing, are a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, as well as wider environmental impacts and social inequities,” says Doyon.

According to Doyon, almost 60 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in Metro Vancouver are generated from urban buildings, which includes housing. With the prevalence of extreme weather events in recent years, Vancouverites are having to rely on heaters and air conditioning units more frequently, contributing further to emissions. 

While Doyon says there are already multiple examples of innovative sustainable housing and retrofits of existing homes in Vancouver, climate change tends to be overlooked in terms of planning new developments across the province. 

“What we need is a sustainable housing transition. We need policy makers, the construction industry, and individual households to demand more of our housing,” says Doyon. “We need to change the way we think of housing, not just in terms of a one-time price or maintenance costs, but the long-term sustainability and environmental impact.”

For more information on the President’s Faculty Lecture series and to register for Doyon’s lecture, visit the event page here

Following Doyon’s lecture, the 2023-24 series will host three more presentations featuring Victoria E. Thomas, Wenona Hall and Bohdan Nosyk. 

Thomas is next up on Feb. 13, with a lecture discussing transformative justice as a source of hope, healing, change, and revolution in the face of racism and transphobia. Registration for that event is now open.

Upcoming President’s Faculty Lectures

-       February 13: Victoria E. Thomas, assistant professor, School of Communication

-       March 12: Wenona Hall, associate professor, Department of Indigenous Studies

-       April 30: Bohdan Nosyk, professor and St. Paul’s Hospital CANFAR Chair in HIV/AIDS Research, Faculty of Health Sciences