Canada was awarded the grand prize at an international competition
for urban sustainability at the World Gas Conference in Tokyo
on June 5.
Cities Planning for Long-term Urban Sustainability, or citiesPLUS,
was the name coined for the Canadian entry in the sustainable
urban systems design competition, a showcase of the conference.
Canada’s submission focuses on the Greater Vancouver Regional
District (GVRD) — a metropolitan area that encompasses 21
distinct municipalities that work together, as a federation,
to plan urban systems.
Chaired by the Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Liu Institute), vice-chaired
by the Hon. Michael Harcourt (Liu Institute), the citiesPLUS
team represents a unique multi-sector partnership that includes:
a private partner – The Sheltair Group; a member of civil
society — the International Centre for Sustainable Cities;
a governmental body — the Greater Vancouver Regional District;
and an academic institute – the Liu Institute for Global Issues,
University of British Columbia. Post-Doctoral Research Associate,
Evan Fraser also contributed to the project on behalf of the
Liu Institute. citiesPLUS is a living example of the unique
relationship that the University can forge with a broad spectrum
citiesPLUS is the first step in a much larger undertaking
that will see the Liu Institute working with other citiesPLUS
partners, and Industry Canada, to share lessons learned and
build an international coalition of cities around the citiesPLUS
model. This will build momentum towards 2004 when the Liu
Institute will host a conference to kick off the international
network, and 2006 when Vancouver will host the World Urban
Mike Harcourt summarized the significance of the project.
"I thought I knew cities well before this project, but
through citiesPLUS my awareness and excitement have increased
immensely. I now believe that innovative long-term planning
can lead to a true renaissance in urban thought and action.
Cities are all about choices — choices that become reality
very quickly, with lasting consequences. Over the 21st century
— the urban century — much will depend upon getting the
choices right. By sharing our experiences, each of the teams
in the International Gas Union competition can contribute
to this renaissance. We can avoid horror stories of undrinkable
water, unbreathable air, unaffordable housing and corrupt
government, and instead see the vast majority of people on
our planet living lives rich in dignity and enjoyment."
Lloyd Axworthy said, "This win is a tribute to the involvement
of many Canadians who helped shape the long-term plan, and
it would not have been possible without the generous support
of our many sponsors."
The IGU is comprised of 70 member countries. Canada is represented
on the IGU through the Canadian Gas Association, which was
instrumental in advancing the Canadian entry into this international
The competition involved nine teams from around the world,
each preparing a staged 100-year plan for a major metropolitan
area. The competition organizers wished to build on the potential
of natural gas and its technologies to meet growing energy
needs, mitigate climate change and create alliances with other
industries and sectors to meet the challenges of sustainable
Some 4,800 delegates from the industrial, governmental and
academic sectors are in Tokyo for the conference, a flagship
event for the International Gas Union (IGU). In addition to
the Canadian grand prize, the seven member international jury
of eminent experts awarded three special jury awards to the
teams from India, U.S. and Japan.
Media are invited to contact the team spokespersons, Michael
Harcourt or Lloyd Axworthy through Brenda Argue, 604-822-9957,