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Planning Excellence Award

2011 Planning Excellence, awarded to Simon Fraser University Community Trust and the City of Burnaby for Neighbourhood Planning of UniverCity (Canadian Institute of Planners)


The Canadian Institute of Planners annual Awards for Planning Excellence honour planning projects, judged on their excellence, innovation, impact on the profession, implementation potential, and overall presentation. These projects are deserving of recognition for their excellence in planning work, their contribution to the profession, and for showing particular strength in the category under which they win their award.

According to the Canadian Institute of Planners, “Many planners believe that neighbourhoods are the foundation of community life. This is the level at which planning processes, policies and tools are experienced most directly. The Committee is interested in examples of neighbourhood-level land use plans, and specific neighbourhood-based planning processes that address issues of affordable housing, economic development, brown field redevelopment and heritage planning.”

 “We are extremely honoured to accept this award along with the City of Burnaby for our partnership in planning UniverCity, a truly sustainable community adjacent to Simon Fraser University,” said Gordon Harris, President and CEO of the SFU Community Trust. “Our partnership with the City dates back to the early stage of the community’s planning process, and it is wonderful to be recognized by CIP forour innovative solutions to sustainable community development.”

In giving the award, the CIP Awards Committee cited the collaborative and integrated planning process occurring at UniverCity as an example of Best Practices in sustainable community development.

“UniverCity exemplifies best practices in ecological urbanism and community building. The plan takes a triple-bottom-line approach to sustainability, which puts forward innovative green building and engineering practices, expansive environmental protection areas, multi-modal transportation opportunities, and necessary community facilities,” said the Committee. “The result is a multi-phased, mixed-use community for 10,000 residents in a unique partnership with Simon Fraser University.”

In order to meet its sustainability goals, the Trust has incorporated a number of innovative strategies into the third phase of development at UniverCity. These include a robust set of market-oriented green building requirements, the construction of Canada’s first Living Building, the creation of Canada’s only community transit pass program, the development of a Neighbourhood Utility Service, an award-winning stormwater management system, as well as a set of innovative initiatives to maintain housing affordability. UniverCity is designed to be a replicable model community that can be used as a teaching tool by various organizations who are also perusing sustainable community development locally, nationally and internationally.

Awards are given to winning projects in each of 11 categories: city planning, environmental planning, international development, neighbourhood planning, planning for and development of Aboriginal communities, planning publications, recreation planning, rural/small town planning, social planning, transportation and infrastructure, and urban design.

The awards were announced at a reception and awards ceremony during CIP’s annual conference, which took place from July 10 to 13, 2011, in St. John’s Newfoundland.

Quote from Gordon Harris

“We are extremely honoured to accept this award along with the City of Burnaby for our partnership in planning UniverCity, a truly sustainable community adjacent to Simon Fraser University.”