The Vancouver Urban Forum took place on Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre and featured 23 leading urban thinkers. There were 300 people who attended the all day Forum coming from as far as Australia and Albania with good representation from municipal leaders across Canada. Many people from the nonprofit environmental and housing sectors attended as well as numerous graduate students who had a focus on urban issues.
Some of the presenters included Harvard Economics Professor and author of triumph of the City Edward Glaeser and Director of Cities 8-80 and former municipal leader of Bogota, Gil Penalosa. Toronto-based Alan Broadbent, author of Urban Nation; Prof. James Lightbody of the University of Alberta and author of City Politics Canada as well as Dan Zack, municipal planner from California all gave presentations. The Forum also included a conversation between Edward Glaeser and noted Vancouver architect James Cheng. Prof. Glaeser had featured James Cheng in his book and this was the first time they had met.
The Vancouver Urban Forum opened by a young first nations leader named Wade Grant who prompted reflection on ways that citizens can be more thoughtful about how they use the land. The Vancouver Region Sprawl Meter was set to zero at 9:00 AM and was shown regularly on the main screen. By the end of the day over 200,000 ft.² of green space in the region had been converted to urban areas. Throughout the day the Vancouver Urban Forum trended between second and fifth in twitter volume [see complete twitter records in accompanying column]. There were numerous articles and several radio interviews generated by the event which can also be viewed on this website.
The Vancouver Urban Forum was conceived of and directed by Global Civic Policy Society founder and former Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan as a way to promote new ideas of urban reform. It was organized and implemented by a hard-working team of volunteers and contracted staff. Presentations will be available when edited on this website as well as on YouTube. Comments by speakers and attendees made during intermissions can be viewed on this website and YouTube. A brief summary of the presentations was made by UBC Journalism Students Jennifer Giesbrecht and Michael Wallberg.