Moving towards sustainability in the City of Surrey: “TownShift: Suburb into City”



City of surrey - context

Ensuring Liveability

The City of Surrey is the fastest-growing suburb in Canada, with a population of 466,000 that is increasing by 1,000 people every month.

“How Surrey accommodates an exploding population and ramps up development has enormous repercussions, not only for the young families and new immigrants living here, but also for many similarly amorphous suburbs in North America struggling to discover or create magnetic centres of their own,” writes Lisa Rochon in an article published in the Globe and Mail.

A tirgger for the article was the unveiling of two dozen finalist designs for Surrey’s international competition, Townshift: Suburb into City.


City's Natural Drainage Policy

“This interesting article on Surrey puts water resources and the City’s Natural Drainage policy in the context of the City’s liveability objectives,” observes Rémi Dubé, the City's Acting Development Services Manager, and a founding member of the inter-governmental steering group that is responsible for the Remi dube - january 2010 (120p)Water Balance Model for Canada.

The City of Surrey is a recognized leader in advancing the practice of rainwater management. Rémi Dubé is the co-lead for the Topsoil Law & Policy and Technical Primer Set, developed under the umbrella of the Green Infrastructure Partnership. 

These 'how-to' documents synthesize the pioneering experience of Surrey, the City of Courtenay and North Vancouver District in restoring an absorbent landscape.


Surrey is Enhancing Habitat

“While Surrey’s beauty has been a secret to outsiders, Crescent Beach in its south is a tidal ocean beach as vast as some of the beaches on the west coast of Vancouver Island. There are two major rivers, the Nicomekl and the Serpentine, running directly through town,” writes Lisa Rochon.

“Amazingly, the city’s creeks were never paved over, and they never suffered from toxic dumping. Indeed, Surrey is enhancing habitat to ensure that people can watch salmon spawn in the city’s creeks for generations to come.”

City of surrey - stream perspective


About 'TownShift: Suburb into City'

“TownShift: Suburb into City” is an international competition seeking innovative ideas for five of Surrey's established Town Centres: Guildford, Fleetwood, Cloverdale, Newton and Semiahmoo.

The aim of the competition is to “Shift” thinking and opportunities for each of these “Town” hubs towards more intense, public-minded and productive urban futures. The objective is to generate innovative new thinking about suburbs transforming towards sustainability in an era of increasingly expensive energy.

TownShift has been conceived to open up debate and communicate design ideas amongst the general public and city-building professions. The hope is that its results will shape this rapidly-evolving city for decades to come. Indeed, the civic slogan proudly displayed on Surrey's new urban brand is “The Future Lives Here.”

City of surrey - future lives here logo (360p)

Posted in March 2010