Speaking of sustainability

By Sarah Morrill

Cities grow, and as they expand challenges which arise in maintaining a healthy society become more complex.

The University of Calgary is helping to facilitate the environmentally friendly study of sustainability for urban centres. The Faculty of Social Sciences along with the Institute for Advanced Policy Research is hosting the Sustainable Urban Futures Speaker Series this fall.

The Speakers Series will address issues involving urban centres all across North America, with a focus on social, environmental, and economical practices and policies as the daily lives of city-dwellers are affected by the policies being addressed by the speakers.

Dr. Timothy Beatley, the Teresa Heinz Chair of Sustainable Communities at the University of Virginia, spoke about his experiences and studies into the global issues of sustainability which he relates in his new book “Green Urbanism: Learning from European Cities” on Thu., Sept. 16. The next day, Beatley joined a panel discussion at the University of Calgary’s Rozsa Centre “Green Urbanism: Strategies for Creating Sustainable and Livable Places”. Other panelists included U of C Professors Beverley Sandalack from the Faculty of Environmental Design, Anthony Perl from the Department of Political Science, and Byron Miller from the Department of Geography and Urban Studies Program. Richard Parker, formally of the City of Calgary’s Planning and Transportation Policy and Noel Keough the co-founder of sustainable Calgary were also involved.

Former British Columbia Premier Mike Harcourt will speak on Sept. 28 at the Epcor Centre on Vancouver’s success with a project called Cities for Planning for Long-term Urban Sustainability. Harcourt is currently the Vice-Chair for the Cities PLUS project. Cities PLUS was a two-year project for Vancouver to compete in a Sustainable Urban Systems Design competition in Tokyo in June 2003. Canada won the competition and Cities Plus is continuing to organize activities and initiatives on urban sustainability issues.

Future speakers will address issues surrounding how current policies affect sustainability. Glen Murray, former mayor of Winnipeg, will speak on Nov 16 at the Rozsa Centre on “The State of the City State”. Dr. Robert Young, professor of political science at the University of Western Ontario and Co-director of the Political Economy Research Group will address how the levels of government affect sustainability; “Cities and Multilevel governance.”

All the speakers can be attended by anyone for no charge and additional speakers may be added to the series as it progresses.

Leave a comment