Exploring Victoria, B.C.: Urban Studies students examine urban development and social challenges in the provincial capital

February 22, 2024

A 95-minute ferry ride took SFU Urban Studies students, faculty, and staff from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay on February 16th. From there, everyone proceeded to downtown Victoria, to look at the city from a fresh perspective for the next two days.

Todd Litman, executive director of The Victoria Transport Policy Institute, guided everyone for much of the field trip. He pointed out many key areas to focus on in Victoria. For example, he noted the usage of pedestrian-only space allocation in the downtown core, automated bicycle counters along roadways, historic landmarks, and much more.

Also on Day One, everyone visited Our Place Society, a community centre and shelter. Community Centre Manager Adam Flegel explained the challenges facing people who sought help from Our Place. These included necessities, such as clothing, food, and shelter, but also a place to nurture social connections, get help for physical and mental illnesses, and even receive transportation to visit ailing loved ones. He also gave a tour of the facility.

February 17th began with a trip to Moss Street Market and a chance to speak with farmers and organizers. Then, it was off to the suburb of Langford, and a tour with Matthew Baldwin, the director of city planning. The amount of growth and development in the city was evident, as commercial, and residential buildings are in various stages of construction.

The trip was not all work, though, as students, faculty, staff, and even some guest speakers enjoyed meals at local restaurants. Many thanks to Professor Anthony Perl, who organized this field trip along with manager, Brian Chand.

Todd Litman
Professor Anthony Perl and cyclist counter
Government Street in Victoria, B.C.
Victoria Chinatown gate
Images from Moss Street Market
Last stop before Langford - with Prof. Karen Ferguson, Todd Litman, Prof. Anthony Perl, and Urban Studies students
Matthew Baldwin
Royal Roads development in Langford
Matthew Baldwin, Prof. Anthony Perl, & students in Langford
Langford housing development
Prof. Karen Ferguson, Prof. Anthony Perl, Matthew Baldwin, Todd Litman, and Urban Studies students at lunch in Langford