Green Infrastructure and Adaptive Management – Learning by Doing at UniverCity in British Columbia


UC3 - abova all, a community by design

UniverCity – the Community at Simon Fraser is living up to expectations…the vision for a sustainable community has quickly come to fruition: UniverCity is walkable; provides families with a sense of community in a healthy environment; supports economic development and jobs; and offers a range of housing, commercial, and transportation options.

When UniverCity hosted the third event in Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation in Metro Vancouver: The 2007 Series, those who attended were primarily interested in learning about the precedent-setting plan for rainwater management and watercourse protection. Chris Hartman, Vice-President of the SFU Community Trust, delivered a presentation titled  Green Infrastructure and Adaptive Management: Learning by Doing 


Learning by Doing:

UniverCity is a pioneer application in North America of ‘adaptive management’ in a local government setting. The goal of adaptive management is to learn by doing and constantly improve. Chris Hartman provided a very interesting look at traditional City of Burnaby standards, contrasted with the solutions implemented at UniverCity, and described how lessons learned are being reflected in engineering designs for successive phases. His focus was on the rainwater/stormwater management system.
UC2 - performance monitoring findings
UC20 - chris hartman (120p)Chris Hartman provided on-the-ground specifics of how learning by doing is leading to changes in engineering design practices – for example, improving infiltration in sandstone by over-excavating on uphill sites.

The original UniverCity Adaptive Mangement Committee incorporated the understanding gained from research undertaken for King County in 1999; as well as from parallel work on performance monitoring that was completed as part of the development process  for Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia. To read a comprehensive story that elaborates on the technical and philosophical basis for the British Columbia approach to Adaptive Management, please click here.

UC16 - univercity crescent

UC18 - univercity crescent



About the SFU Community Trust:

Formerly known as the Burnaby Mountain Community Corporation, ithe SFU Community Trust  was incorporated in February 1999 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Simon Fraser University.

UC5 - goals of the sustainable community

The mandate of the SFU Community Trust is to manage the planning and development of a complete new community on approximately 65 hectares (160 acres) of land surrounding the SFU campus on Burnaby Mountain.


Posted November 2007