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MAKE CITIES AND HUMAN SETTLEMENTS INCLUSIVE, SAFE, RESILIENT AND SUSTAINABLE

The world’s population is constantly increasing. To accommodate everyone, we need to build modern, sustainable cities. For all of us to survive and prosper, we need new, intelligent urban planning that creates safe, affordable and resilient cities with green and culturally inspiring living conditions.

Public Access

Territorial Acknowledgments

The Office of Aboriginal Peoples provides information on the territories that SFU occupies, and the Bill Reid Centre provides the Coast Salish places names for areas around Burnaby Mountain, which in Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) is known as Lhuḵw’lkuḵw’áyten, meaning "where the bark gets pe[e]led in the spring." This name is derived from the word for the arbutus tree, lhulhuḵw’ay or "always peeling tree." The Bill Reid Centre provides an audio recording of Lhuḵw’lkuḵw’áyten, providing learners an opportunity to hear, and practice, the pronunciation of the mountain's name. 

It is important to note that SFU resides on the unceded and traditional territories of many Indigenous Nations. Public access to SFU's facilities is granted with full respect for the true owners of the land upon which the university has campuses.

BURNABY CAMPUS

Simon Fraser University acknowledges the unceded Traditional Coast Salish Lands including the Tsleil-Waututh (səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ), Kwikwetlem (kʷikʷəƛ̓əm), Squamish (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw) and Musqueam (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm) Nations.

SURREY CAMPUS

Simon Fraser University acknowledges the unceded traditional territories including Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem (kʷikʷəƛ̓əm), Kwantlen, Qayqayt and Tsawwassen First Nations.

VANCOUVER CAMPUS

Simon Fraser University acknowledges the unceded Traditional Coast Salish Lands including the Squamish (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw), Tsleil-Waututh (səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ) and Musqueam (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm) Nations.

Accessibility

All three SFU Library locations (Burnaby, Surrey and Vancouver) provide free access to the community and all visitors. Those wishing to use a public workstation can simply request a guest log-in at one of the main desks. Those that wish to externally borrow from the general collection can request a borrower card through the front desk at any of the three library locations.

SFU provides free public access to all of its significant buildings across all three main campuses. Many of SFU’s building—across all three campuses—provide general access for 14+ hours of the day with some buildings being accessible 24/7. The free SFU Snap application allows anyone to easily find where they need to go at our three campuses (Burnaby, Surrey and Vancouver).

For a guided tour of Indigenous art located all around the Burnaby campus, the ‘ímesh’ application can be downloaded. This private, guided walking tour shows and educates the user on publicly accessible Indigenous artwork on campus which includes—but is not limited to—canoes, totem poles, paints, sculptures and much more.

The SFU Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology puts a focus on British Columbia, but exhibits artifacts from all over the world. Exhibits are rotated through and everything that has been shown is digitally captured so that it can be viewed later. These digital collections, along with physically visiting the museum are of no charge.

Green Spaces

SFU provides ample access to many green spaces on campus which includes—but is not limited to—2.7 acres of space at Richard Bolton Park, 26 multi-use trails spanning across 576 hectares within the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area, open use in the Academic Quadrangle, fire pits for conversation and marshmallow roasting and more.

Contribution to and Preservation of Arts & Heritage

The Special Collections and Rare Books department of the SFU Library recently announced the The Anfield Collection—a prestigious collection of 79 antiquarian books on colonial narratives in the Pacific Ocean and the Arctic. Primarily from the 18th and 19th centuries, the collection includes books by Pacific and Arctic explorers such as James Cook, George Vancouver, Alexander Mackenzie and Roald Amundsen.

CONTRIBUTION TO THE LOCAL ARTS

The School of Contemporary Arts at SFU hosts frequent events that include theatre, screenings, symposiums and more. During the 2021 calendar year they contributed to over 100 performances. The School of Contemporary Arts also has a number of active projects and activities which range from an Indigenous Film Festival to Sound Seminars to discussions about the carbon footprint of streaming.

SFU has an active Pipe Band which has won the World Pipe Band Championships six times, competes and performs at various other annual competitions like the B.C. Highland Games and Scottish Festival; Victoria Highland Games and Festival; and at each of our twelve convocation ceremonies annually.

There are also a number of clubs which regularly contribute to the arts at SFU, in the community and beyond. These include, but are not limited to: Jazz Band; Music Discussion; SFU Artists; Befikre Dance Team; Circus Club; Choir; and Slam Poetry.

LANGUAGE AND LEARNING

SFU has been working with First Nations communities and organizations for almost 20 years and has developed both undergraduate and graduate language programs which have covered 18 Indigenous languages both locally and regionally. During the Fall 2022 convocation, 21 graduands received a certificate in Indigenous Language Proficiency and the Masters of Arts program had one graduand.

ART AND BOOK COLLECTIONS

The Bill Reid Centre for Northwest Coast Studies at SFU supports reconciliation by creating a vibrant collaborative space founded on respect and admiration of differences, where Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars, artists, students, curators and cultural practitioners come together to share their diverse ways of knowing, being and doing. The McDonald Collection reflects the respect for the cultures of the Northwest Coast. This collection brings together images that can be found in museums and archives around the world into a centralized location for better access to some history of the Northwest Coast First Nations.

The SFU Library houses a Special Collections and Rare Book department which allows individuals to see collections both physically and digitally. These collections provide access to unique primary and published materials, including rare books, archival material and manuscripts.

Indigenous People’s Gathering Place  

Plans for a ceremonial space for the SFU community to celebrate Indigenous knowledge and culture are underway. SFU’s First Peoples’ Gathering House will open on SFU’s Burnaby campus in 2023.

"I'm very excited this project is moving forward; the Indigenous People's Gathering House will be ‘our home away from home’ and the heart and soul of Indigeneity at SFU,” says Ron Johnston, director of SFU’s Office for Aboriginal Peoples. Johnston is an SFU alumnus and a member of SFU’s Aboriginal Reconciliation Council (SFU-ARC).

“Longhouses are sacred places in our communities where teaching, learning, ceremony and protocols are upheld and practiced and are at the centre of our Indigenous cultures, now we will have such a place at SFU," says Johnston.

SFU’s 2017 Walk this Path with Us report outlines 34 calls-to-actions to create and support an improved environment for SFU’s Indigenous community members.

Designed in the Coast Salish traditions and iconic typologies, the Gathering House represents a step toward lasting reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and SFU’s continued reconciliation efforts.

Marcia Guno, director of the Indigenous Student Centre, says that the Gathering House will play a significant role in the university community. “As an important campus space that recognizes and honours Indigenous peoples, it will enrich our campus, it will enrich our community, and it will enrich awareness about Indigenous peoples and history in Canada."

Removal of colonial art and making room for Indigenous art and culture

In 2004, SFU acquired a 19-metre-long, $600,000 colonial artwork painted by Charles Comfort, receiving it from the Toronto Dominion (TD Canada Trust) bank’s Vancouver headquarters. The painting, called the British Columbia Pageant, immediately sparked protest among the SFU community and the public—the painting is not only a misrepresentation of British Columbian history, but it offensively portrays Indigenous Peoples as decorative and passive. The removal of the mural began on June 24, 2019.

This is the first piece of art being removed in response to SFU’s Aboriginal Reconciliation Committee’s (ARC) 2017 report and calls-to-action. SFU Indigenous Studies (INDG) professor, Eldon Yellowhorn is a member of this committee. The removal project was also overseen by the ARC Arts Cluster, a committee that was formed to address the report’s art-related calls-to-action. This committee also includes SFU INDG staff and faculty, Bryan Myles, June Scudeler and Deanna Reder. (Text retrieved from The Peak article 'Controversial Charles Comfort mural will no longer be displayed at SFU' written by INDG student, Alison Wick).

Susan Point, Written in The Earth (2000). On long-term loan to SFU Art Collection from Salish Weave
Jim Hart, Frog Constellation (1995). Bill Reid Foundation at SFU.
"L'Hen Awtwx" Nexw Niw Chet / The Teachings (2009) Squamish weavings commissioned for the atrium.

SFU is also actively collecting and presenting Indigenous artwork across its campuses. SFU is currently commissioning new artwork as well. Artworks will be installed in August, 2023. The artists and their new works will be celebrated together with local Indigenous Nations, the SFU and broader Surrey community, in mid-September 2023. The public and SFU community members can visit and learn about the art on SFU’s campuses using the ímesh Indigenous Art Walk mobile app.  

Affordable Housing

Student housing

SFU is currently in phase 2 of 5 of it’s Residence and Housing Master Plan—due to be completed in 2035. This ambitious plan will allow SFU to house approximately 10% of its student population directly on campus and will create a self-supporting and financially sustainable housing operation that is inclusive for all in the community.  

Currently, Burnaby is the third-most expensive Canadian city to rent in. Relative to the local market, SFU provided affordable housing to students with undergraduate housing having an average cost of $848/month for academic year 2021, while a bachelor suite rental unit in North Burnaby had an average cost of $1019/month in October 2021.  

SFU also provides 90 units of student family housing. This recently completed project consists of two low rise buildings in the adjacent UniverCity community. These closely connected 90 units were built with the idea of the build of getting to know your neighbour. These units are available to those SFU students that have a partner and/or have one or more dependent children under the age of 19.  

SFU students have access to many awards and bursaries which can be used for not only their tuition but their housing costs. 

Staff and faculty housing

Staff and faculty at SFU can take advantage of affordable housing in the Verdant complex which is exclusively for SFU staff and faculty at a valued price of 20% less than market value. 

SFU faculty members have access to a $50,000 subsidy which can be used for aiding in the down payment for their principal residence in the expensive lower mainland housing market.

Research, Teaching and Learning

The Centre for Sustainable Development

The research and publications of the Centre for Sustainable Development seek to support and enable the sustainable development of communities in B.C., Canada and internationally 

Learn more

Faculty of Environment: Sustainable Development Program

The Sustainable Development Program offers in-classroom and online courses, as well as a Certificate and a Minor in Sustainable Development that are open to all students at SFU.

This innovative program is newly redesigned to align with the UN Agenda 2030: Sustainable Development Goals and emphasizes the need for action in the Global North and Global South and for new governance models internationally and locally that allow for multi-actor collaboration for the Goals.

Sustainable development programs offered by the Faculty of Environment

Facts and Figures

  • 354 research publications relating to SDG 11, 2017-2021 (source: SciVal)
  • 109 active research projects related to SDG 11 funded from 2016 - 2020
  • 34 courses related to SDG 11, representing 624 students, offered between the 2018/19 and 2020/21 academic years 

Sustainable Campus Practices

Simon Fraser University professor Andréanne Doyon is laying the groundwork for building more sustainable cities and communities—work that is urgently needed to address climate change while creating more just and equitable societies.

Setting and measuring sustainable commuting targets

Setting commuting targets

SFU as a body measures and set targets for more sustainable commuting (walking, cycling or other non-motorized transport, vanpools, carpools, shuttlebus or public transportation, motorcycle, scooter or moped, or electric vehicles).

SFU's 2022-2025 Strategic Sustainability and Climate Action Plan targets include:

  • 25% reduction in scope 3 emissions including commuting emissions 
  • Continue work to ensure Gondola is being built on schedule, with an anticipated completion date in 2027 (scope 3 commuting strategy of particular importance to SFU)

Measuring commuting targets

SFU publishes an annual report each year on all its sustainability commitments with 2021 being the exception. Sustainable commuting is reported in these reports. SFU’s also conducts and publishes a greenhouse gas (GHG) Inventory report which measures and reports out on commuting emissions as part of a comprehensive GHG emissions calculation. The first GHG Inventory was completed during the pandemic and the second will be published in 2023. 

Examples of the creative ways that SFU measures its progress toward targets are provided below:

  • Commuting emissions living lab: A multidisciplinary team including a student, faculty and staff member collaborated through our university’s living lab program to launch a sustainable transportation study in summer/fall 2022. Currently we only have comprehensive commuting data from SFU's Burnaby campus dated 2019. We understand that SFU’s diverse communities may have shifted their transportation patterns since 2019, thus we need to update this data to better understand the sources of GHG emissions. The research project aimed to create a thorough understanding of where commuting emissions come from—particularly because the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have shifted transportation patterns. The study identified and filled current gaps in our transportation data for all three campuses by implementing a survey to students, staff and faculty regarding how they travel to and from campus. Survey data from this project directly informed the final GHG emissions reduction plan for the commuting category under the SFU 2020-2025 Sustainability Plan.
  • Our university’s Sustainable Transportation Working Group hired a graduate student with the skills and experience required to complete a best practice analysis of the most impactful projects to reduce our commuting GHG emissions. The purpose of this work was to make informed and data-driven decisions about which potential transportation actions need prioritization within our university’s context. The project analyzed the GHG reduction potential on campus for 18 sustainable commuting projects. This research directly contributed to the final GHG emissions reduction plan for the commuting category under the SFU 2020-2025 Sustainability Plan.  

Promoting Sustainable Commuting at SFU

SFU has a long history of promoting sustainable commuting and reducing barriers for community members wanting to select sustainable commuting options which makes promotions effective over the long run. SFU has programs for nearly every type of sustainable commuting option and all campuses are accessible by foot. SFU has participated in many regional and national sustainable commuting campaigns to encourage new adoption of sustainable commuting methods including hosting specific SFU "go by bike" events.

Campus Community Shuttle (Burnaby campus)

The Burnaby Campus Community Shuttle is free for anyone to use. Its route—which can be tracked in real-time—contains six stops across SFU's Burnaby campus, reducing the need for single occupancy car use and increasing safety and accessibility on campus. 

U-Pass for students (subsidized transit pass)  

The U-Pass BC program is a partnership between B.C. post-secondary institutions, their student societies, TransLink and the Province of British Columbia. Participation in SFU's U-Pass BC Program is mandatory for all members of the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) and all members of the Graduate Student Society (GSS). 

Electric vehicle charging plug stations

SFU's Burnaby campus currently has two different types of Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Stations on campus. There is no additional charge to use the stations, however the Permit or Daily Rate required in each lot remains in effect for the EV Reserved stalls.

Level 1 Charging Outlets
SFU has Level 1 charging outlets in the 6000 level of the West Parkade, and are available to any Indoor permit holder or daily parker. These Level 1 Charging Outlets are smart outlets which require a user provided cord, and will provide approximately 8km of range for each hour charged.  

Level 2 Charging Stations
SFU currently has four Chargepoint Electric Vehicle Charging Stations on campus. These level 2 charging stations require a credit card to activate, but there is no additional charge to use them.

 

Cycling infrastructure  

SFU has a small but vibrant cycling community. Some people ride up and down Burnaby mountain, some take the bus up and ride down, and some come specifically to SFU to enjoy the mountain biking trails. Various resources exist including:

Bike cage—Burnaby campus
SFU's new Bike Cage is operational. The Bike Cage is located on the northwest corner of the bus tunnel, adjacent to the southbound lanes. 

Mobi Bikes—Vancouver Campus
Mobi Bikes can be used to commute, run errands, visit friends or casually cruise around the city of Vancouver. It is ideal for one way trips and users never have to worry about bike theft.

Bike tool lending program
SFU is also working on a bike tool lending program which will provide resources for cyclists who are in need of repairs on their bikes while on campus.

Carsharing and carpooling
Car sharing services provide vehicles for a fee to individuals for short-term use. Two car sharing companies have partnered with SFU Parking and Sustainable Mobility to bring their vehicles to SFU's Burnaby campus: EVO, and Modo.

 

Pedestrian priority on campus

The intention and forethought by SFU in locating their campuses within Metro Vancouver municipalities places each of the campuses within walking distance of all amenities. The Burnaby campus is completely walkable once on site and can be reached by foot from the west side by trail from the City of Burnaby or the east side by trail from the City of Coquitlam. The Vancouver and Surrey campuses are rated as walker’s paradises and are easily navigable by foot or bike to and around these campuses.  

SFU developed a multi-use path up the west side of Burnaby mountain that creates a safe and reliable path for pedestrians all year round and particularly for cyclists coming up the mountain who now have a safe passageway separated from car traffic.  

On the Burnaby campus there are also specific accessibility and weather avoidance routes outlined in publicly available maps. All roads on the Burnaby campus have sidewalks, crosswalks, and pedestrian controlled crosswalks .

Remote working at SFU

SFU offers hybrid work arrangements which include remote working options.

SFU conducted a "test and learn" over fall 2021 and now offers a formal hybrid work arrangement (HWA) program. HR Strategic Business Partners support leaders and teams to examine potential for hybrid work in their units, pilot and implement where feasible and align arrangements with SFU’s HWA program. Program effectiveness is to be assessed along the way to ensure it enables operational excellence, a collaborative workplace and campus community experience while bringing flexibility to the way we work.

SFU's framework for hybrid work takes a principle-based approach to faculty and departmental decision-making. If hybrid work is determined to be an option for a department, team or role, employees can choose to opt in and work together with their manager and team to ensure arrangements align with operational needs and support our desired workplace culture.

Learn more

Collaboration for Sustainable Planning and Development

SFU is working with local authorities to address planning issues and development to ensure that local residents have access to vibrant, safe, sustainable and livable community infrastructure and among the top issues is affordable housing which is particularly relevant to the high costs of Metro Vancouver living.  

The intersection of social justice, sustainability, resilience, urban planning and livability are key focus areas for SFU. SFU has been engaged with the McConnell Foundation and others over the last 10 years to integrate social considerations into planning and infrastructure development and into current and future social infrastructure. This work is part of SFU’s commitment to being an engaged university which positions the university as an anchor institution within our communities, improving and elevating the prosperity and conditions for thriving for all residents.  

Burnaby Civic Innovation Lab

Through the Civic Innovation Lab—a partnership between SFU and the City of Burnaby—SFU will share its leading-edge research and strengths in innovation and sustainability to advance practical solutions for the city’s most pressing urban issues, from diversity and housing to sustainable growth and environmental challenges caused by climate change.

Over the long-term the initiative will provide the city with a permanent research base, where students and researchers apply their education and knowledge to develop real-world solutions, helping to solidify the city’s role as a leader in solving urban issues.

"From taking action against climate change to addressing reconciliation and equity, diversity and inclusion in a meaningful way, there are pressing challenges facing our cities today—challenges that SFU students and researchers are eager to tackle," says SFU President Joy Johnson.

"This partnership gives SFU an exciting opportunity to deepen our decades-long relationship with the City of Burnaby, while upholding our commitments to knowledge mobilization and community engagement."

The city approved the formal research partnership and has also created a non-profit society that will provide a path to seek federal and provincial grants.  

Social Infrastructure

B.C. Collaborative for Social Infrastructure

B.C. post-secondary institutions including SFU are collaborating in a groundbreaking initiative to strengthen communities through social infrastructure development.

Four of the province’s leading post-secondary institutions committed to establish the B.C. Collaborative for Social Infrastructure. Simon Fraser University (SFU), the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) and Vancouver Island University (VIU) are founding partners of this innovative partnership. The project, supported by the McConnell Family Foundation, will enable the institutions to use their collective energies and strengths to make real, sustainable impact in our communities.

"Canada’s public post-secondary institutions have a huge opportunity, and I believe responsibility, to increase the contributions we make to the communities we serve," says past/former SFU President Andrew Petter. "This project will enable SFU and our partners to share best practices and to test some of the many instruments we can leverage to build social infrastructure."

University Presidents Round table on Social Infrastructure

On May 3, 2017 SFU and the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation’s RECODE initiative co-hosted a round table on, "How can universities and colleges unlock and maximize their capacity to support the social infrastructure of Canadian communities?" A discussion paper was commissioned for the event. Learn more

 

Planning Development – new build standards for sustainability

SFU Campus Planning has a strong sustainable building program. All new buildings must achieve LEED Gold sustainability.  There are exceptions: Lot 21 (graduate student housing) is Passive House designed (not certified) and the Childcare (HCMA Architect) is Living Building Challenge. These were recently acquired by the university.  

SFU’s School of Sustainable Energy Engineering (SEE) building

SFU has been recognized as a sustainability leader for its new building in Surrey. Opened in 2019 as the first phase of its Surrey campus expansion, the new building has earned the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification—one of LEED’s highest ratings—in recognition of its sustainable design and operations.

The striking, five-storey building, located adjacent to the Surrey campus main building, was designed by Revery Architecture (formerly Bing Thom Architects, and conceived by the late Bing Thom) and built by Bird Construction. It houses SFU’s new School of Sustainable Energy Engineering (SEE), which is the first of its kind in Western Canada.

SFU's School of Sustainable Engineering Building was constructed in 2019 and earned the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification.

The building, touted as a ‘living lab’ for its sustainable spaces and operations, is the university’s first major step in expanding beyond its Central City campus, creating an integrated academic precinct within Surrey’s evolving City Centre downtown core.

"The LEED designation demonstrates SFU’s commitment to being a leading post-secondary institution in sustainability research, learning, innovation, outreach and practice," says Larry Waddell, SFU’s chief facilities officer.

"The new Surrey building is an example of how we can use campus infrastructure and operations to be living environments in which interdisciplinary learning, applied research and practical work can advance sustainability and resiliency on campus and beyond."

The building comprises teaching and research labs, study and lounge spaces, offices, an open atrium and a 400-seat lecture hall, serving the campus as well as the broader community.

Its award-winning façade is composed primarily of framed, high-performance, undulating precast concrete panels. Its distinctive design is derived from abstracted circuit board imagery, which symbolizes the technological subject matter being taught in the building.

More examples of sustainable building standards and examples can be found in SFU’s Climate Action Reports.

Building on brownfield sites

SFU does build on brownfield sites whenever there is an opportunity to do so. The Vancouver Campus and the Surrey Campus were built on brownfield sites. All newer buildings in the downtown campus including Harbour Centre, Woodwards and Charles Chang Innovation Centre were build on former shoreline/ industry/ railway tracks. On the SFU Burnaby campus, all new buildings since the first main construction have been built on brownfield sites such parking lots, old building sites, etc., Building is currently slated for development on the site of an old gas station that has been decommissioned.