UBC partners with the City of Surrey to bolster the future of urban design in Metro Vancouver and beyond

The School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA) at UBC is partnering with the City of Surrey to investigate innovative responses to urban design challenges facing the growing cities of the 21st century – issues  such as rapid population increase, sustainable development challenges and the environmental impact of growth.

Surrey has committed $240,000 over three years in funding towards SALA’s comprehensive Master of Urban Design Program (MUD), a new graduate degree program intended to equip urban design professionals with the skills to address the pressing issues facing growing cities around the world.

“Urban centres across Canada and abroad will continue to grow over the coming decades, and that growth will present cities with a wide range of urban design challenges,” says Professor Leslie van Duzer, Director of SALA. “SALA is excited to partner with one of those fast-growing centres, the City of Surrey, to use their design concerns as learning experiences for MUD students, and to translate the findings into innovative proposals.”

The MUD program features a distinctive, project-based curriculum that melds academic inquiry, public policy, professional practice and community engagement. The City of Surrey is specifically supporting MUD’s Funded Studios, a fundamental component of its curriculum that links the cutting-edge research foci of SALA to the concerns of its community partners.

“The City of Surrey is supporting three such studios at regional, district and local scales,” says SALA Professor Patrick Condon. “In those studios, our students will examine real-world issues such as transportation, land use and community development, partnering with Surrey to come up with innovative solutions, and sharing those solutions with the international design community.”

The City of Surrey, one of the most rapidly growing urban centres, is the first organization to partner with the UBC Master of Urban Design program. The City is glad to contribute to the education of a new generation of innovative urban design leaders that will make meaningful contributions to Surrey and to other developing urban centres, and to capitalize on the energy of accomplished practitioners and scholars from around the world.

“Partnerships are integral to addressing issues that face a growing city,” says City of Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts. “Surrey’s partnership with UBC on this program is certain to bring fresh, innovative ideas for tackling current and future urban development challenges.”

The Master of Urban Design program’s inaugural cohort of students will begin studying in the studios during the 2014 / 2015 academic year.

For more information, please visit http://apsc.ubc.ca/apsc/news/2014/04/ubc-partners-city-surrey-bolster-future-urban-design-metro-vancouver-and-beyond