Vancouver’s Urbanarium Launches Today!
In the 1980s, Vancouver’s then Director of Planning, Ray Spaxman, envisioned an inclusive space, complete with a 3-D model of the city, where all people could discuss city planning and help shape the evolution of the urban landscape. He launched an organization called the Urbanarium, which hosted several events and exhibits during Expo ’86.
Today, as Vancouver faces a host of crucial planning issues and challenges around affordability, Spaxman and a group of experienced Vancouver urbanites have revived the organization with the aim of making urban planning and design issues more accessible to the general public and creating avenues for a broader participation in city building. The Urbanarium team includes architects, planners, and citizens who are passionate about city making, including Richard Henriquez, the Founding Partner of Henriquez Partners Architects, as Chairman of the Board.
Vancouver’s Urbanarium provides straightforward information—free of political or ideological bias—about how our urban systems work, and is focused on helping people, of every age, learn how to effectively contribute to the changing face of our evolving city.
Currently a digital space, the Urbanarium is a one-stop place to find out about events and projects that promote urban education and urban excellence by organizations like the Vancouver Public Space Network, the City Program at SFU, the UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architect, various local municipalities, and others that are passionate about city building. The nonprofit organization’s long-term vision is a physical space for hosting exhibitions, debates, lectures, and education. In cities such as New York and Beijing, large 3-D models of the built environment offer a physical blueprint for understanding urban planning issues.
Vancouver is often hailed as a model of new urbanism. The Urbanarium aims to put the success and challenges of Vancouver’s built environment under the microscope, and to foster intelligent city building by an engaged and informed civic community.