Resilient Cities Conference in October 2009 will focus on ‘urban strategies for transition times’


Resilient cities - banner

The sixth in the series of Gaining Ground Summits will be held in Vancouver in October 2009. The theme is Resilient Cities: Urban Strategies for Transition Times.


Transformational Challenges

North American cities are facing transformational challenges in sustainability, economy, and urban management. Sustainability imperatives, the call for climate action, the prospect of a quickly shifting energy future, pressure for new approaches in almost every urban system, and the shock of the economic downturn have North American cities scrambling to comprehend and manage the shift toward ecological practices and greater resilience.

To provide solutions to these challenges, Resilient Cities has turned into a three-organization conference. The Center for Urban Innovation, host and organizer of the Gaining Ground conferences, is joined this year by Smart Growth BC, the leading non-governmental organization working towards creating more livable communities in British Columbia, and CANSEE, the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics.

Increasingly, and in response to the aforementioned challenges, practitioners from all sectors—technical professions, elected representatives, developers, non-profit agencies, post-secondary institutions, community leadership, etc.—are reawakening to the importance of sharing common values. 

British Columbia is a living laboratory for many of the conference themes. In particular, the capacity-building accomplishments in three regions of the province under the umbrella of Convening for Action will be showcased as part of the CANSEE program. Convening for Action is about implementing changes in practice on the ground which is why it is of interest to CANSEE.


Settlement in Balance with Ecology

An idea that will be explored at Resilient Cities is that of ecological citizenship, and especially the need to spread the application of this concept more thoroughly through all segments of society and all constituencies.

According to Gene Miller, the driving force behind the Gaining Ground series: “The program will emphasize integrated thinking and will place a large project of work in front of the conference community: to build a portrait of urban life in which sustainable urban practices, economy, and engaged communities are successfully aligned.”

“Both ecology and economy share the Greek word for home. We need to link sustainability to ideas of safety, security and opportunity, and we need fresh narratives and different metrics that will enable our urban societies to politically and socially support the shift to renewal and regeneration. We need to make choices that favour the long term and honour our sense of community. “

CANSEE describes ecological economics as employing a holistic vision for human progress in which the limits compelled by ecosystem carrying capacity as well as vital common societal values are taken into account.


A British Columbia Perspective

An approach to balancing settlement and ecology was first introduced by Tim Pringle of the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia at the Mini-Summit on Water for Tim pringle, qualicum beach conference, april 2007Life and Livelihoods, held in Whistler in May 2006: “How does a community weigh the benefits and liabilities of change driven by demand for land use? What will determine long-term wellbeing for a community or region? In a nutshell, ‘wellbeing’ is about sustainability of what communities allow or prevent happening on the land. Wellbeing is about balancing settlement activity and ecology”.

The Real Estate Foundation is a sponsor of the Gaining Ground conference series.

2007 qualicum beach conference - slide 4


Posted June 2009