Mar 1, 2018


Event Description: The 2018 Larry Bell Urban Forum provides a public platform to examine the opportunities and risks associated with urban technological solutions, in the context of Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge.

UBC Larry Bell Urban Forum
SFU City Program

Background: The Bell Urban Forum is made possible by a donation by Larry Bell to the UBC Department of Geography. The first Bell Urban Forum, Mapping the Hedge City — Vancouver and Global Capital, was also co-hosted with the SFU City Program.

VSIR Thinking Points:

  • The nascent “smart city” movement places a higher premium on data interoperability, open data governance, and interdisciplinary research approaches. Furthermore, rapid deployments of digital technologies enable business intelligence solutions and more effective decision-making. This raises considerable governance challenges in Canada. Cities occupy the bottom ladder of the federal hierarchy even though they remain more innovative than their provincial peers.
  • The sprint to be the next “smart city” often requires large-scale capital and IT investments that medium-sized population centres have difficulty sustaining. Additionally, rising public demand for innovative solutions to seemingly intractable social, political, and environmental problems have raised the premium on fast-track policy exchanges. There are, however, workforce-centric innovations that offer low-cost ways of accelerating knowledge sharing and developing managerial foresight.
  • In an era of ecommerce, smart city design approaches need to be holistic, scalable, and forward-looking (eg., reducing traffic, creating transit-priority space, and expanding safe cycling space). The public demand for walkable cities is competing with the commercial demand for agile delivery services, adding to sidewalk/curbside congestion. Resolving this dilemma will require a combination of design thinking and threat-based analysis.

Agenda and Speakers:

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