Regret missing this lecture co-presented by SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement, SFU Urban Studies, and SFU City Program.  Fortunately there’s a video.

Historically, Surrey has been talked about derisively and condescendingly as a suburb on the margins with questionable urban planning decisions. Visionary SFU honorary doctorate recipient Bob Williams weighs in on why the growth and maturity of Surrey represents a game-changing disruption to how we view the Metro Vancouver region in the future. He will argue that the centre of gravity in the region is already shifting to the south of the Fraser.


  1. Had the title included the wider phenomena of EDGE CITIES overall in Metro Vancouver , then I would say that this gentleman had a grasp of the ever TRANSFORMATIVE VISIONING Landscape that we are inventing into the Future !!!
    All peripheral Cities surrounding the VANCOUVER that we’ve experienced for a large part of the 20th Century will infact Impact on the HUMAN SETTLEMENT look and feel of tomorrow…
    Clearly the Indigenous recent developments as with the varioius awakening of the Sattelite Cities of The Greater Vancouver Regional District will weigh in on the scale , look and feel of the overall Settlement patterns of one of the most coveted Areas of Canada . And once we reel in the International buying up of VANCOUVER itself… and with the help of surrounding Cities and Metro Vancouver’s Regional Governance … me thinks that the Richard Florida early warnings of CITY COMMUNITIES and IDENTITIES perse will awaken the CULTURAL AWAKENING of CITIES themselves in a WHO’S MY CITY approach to the sense of place , belonging and identity itself , creating the very SPIRIT that is essential for any COMMUNITY to reach for what can only be a dream : if one tries to bypass the pull and push of the largest city of them all…
    A lesson could be better understood by going into the Experience that changed forever the under Current and Collective will and inertia that helped give to the World movements such as Greenpeace and so many other efforts of size , scope and scale such as the HERITAGE FORUM that was built at Jericho Park … hence , only then when factoring in also what is going on to the south of us … with all of the turbulence that the American Transformational Visioning itself ,brought to our shores…., as with our very own decision as a People to come to terms with a past Prime Minister of Canada by electing a Champion of reason, of intellectual strength and Moral fibre especially… who dared to counter the incoming STORMS of DISSENT …. indeed , bringing unto the SHORES OF TOMORROW the sense of decency not only in Canada but around the World…
    And so coming back to our very own backyard ( The Lower Fraser Valley ) and giving some thought on the tens of thousands of Years of Settlements that preceeded our past few hundreds years… and until we fully know how previous HUMAN SETTLEMENTS and SETTLEMENT PATTERNS themselves impacted on the LAND itself.. and factoring what ingredients provided for these earliest of Settlers… in their search of the very basics of Survival… LIFE ITSELF… tells us that NATURE will ever determine all of our collective lives. .. and in that context we owe it to ourselves to listen carefully what the Elders of these lands have to say..
    Giving the Land a Voice … and factoring in HUMAN SETTLEMENT Patterns over the Millenia will help guide us into the Land of tomorrow… and with the EDGE CITIES awakening to their peripheral role… from that International Centre of Gravity
    ( VANCOUVER ) , No longer the Village of old but a Global Village City State in it’s own right…

  2. While one can appreciate Bob Williams’ vast experience in government and private practice and research on Surrey, land value isn’t everything. Central Surrey’s practice in mixed use zoning is an incomplete project even in Central City as he was keen to point out. Commissioning Bing Thom was a major positive start, though. Dealing with the supremacy of the car will probably be more painful there than in most other growing communities. In terms of employment and population density it has a very long way to go to catch up to the Broadway corridor and downtown. Central Broadway has almost as much office floor space as downtown and is the most congested bus corridor on the continent. These are the elements that figure large when determining the form of transit service required at a professional level of analysis. On that topic Williams was egregiously amateurish.
    Having said that, I can relate to Williams’ sincere hope for Surrey to become the second planet in the regional economic solar system. Remaining a bedroom community — even with a high-density condo core — will not permit the moon it is to become a planet with its own gravitational pull.

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