“Cities need to experiment on the ground with innovative solutions to the complex sustainability challenges that they are facing. Cities also need strategies to engage young people as both leaders and decision makers. Our aim at CityStudio is to work directly with the underserved, disillusioned and talented students who want to change the world and cannot find university programs that help them do so. CityStudio helps City Hall find ways to include student passion and ideas in the co-creation of the city. We imagine a future where City Hall is more permeable and accessible and a energetic hub of urban innovation. We will reach full potential when there are CityStudio type programs across North America. “ Moore and Elverum, 2014 unpublished manuscript.

CityStudio Vancouver – 2014 Awardee

CityStudio Vancouver is an energetic hub of learning and leadership inside City Hall where students gain hands-on experience with complex real world problems, while co-creating solutions on the ground with City staff. CityStudio takes students out of the university environment to design and construct on-the-ground projects in order to solve the city’s problems.

Employing an innovative ‘dialogue and design’ process, students collaborate with city employees to frame
problems, refine their designs, and implement their projects. The projects are vehicles for learning about how to build and nurture relationships and engage in a thorough design process. The city gets a steady flow of innovative, sustainability demonstration projects from which it can choose the best to replicate. City staff innovate more frequently and more easily as a result of this co-creation and the energy and enthusiasm students bring to the work.

Each year, CityStudio runs 3 intensive and interdisciplinary studios and coordinates a large network of partner courses on 6 campuses that relate their course content, curriculum and assignments to the themes being addressed by CityStudio. We have a large archive of projects at our website citystudiovancouver.com. Our projects take the following forms: research, mapping, analysis, engagement, design material and pilot/demonstration projects. At CityStudio: the City is the Classroom.

Since 2011, CityStudio Vancouver has brought together 1616 students together with 27 City staff, 39 faculty and 87 guests, project advisors, experts and decision makers in the city to experiment with ways to create change on the ground (CityStudio Annual Report 2013).

Accomplishments 2011-2013:

  • 116 students in six cohorts in the studio program
  • 53 Greenest City projects on the ground
  • 87 guests in dialogue and project consultation
  • 66 partner courses on 6 Vancouver campuses
  • 1500 partner course students
  • 39 partner faculty on 6 campuses
  • 27 CoV staff leading projects
  • 8 showcase, exhibition and storytelling events
  • 50,000 hours of research learning and action on Greenest City Projects
  • 1616 students empowered to make change

How can people become involved in or replicate your innovation?

CityStudio is planning to launch a one year program for students – stay tuned to our social media channels to learn more. Cities interested in the CityStudio model can connect directly with Janet Moore or Duane Elverum to learn more about our workshops and consulting. CityStudio has opportunities for jobs and internships on our website.

Contact Information
Janet Moore, Assistant Professor, Simon Fraser University Janet.moore(AT)citystudiovancouver(DOT)com
Duane Elverum, Co-Director, Co-Founder, CityStudio Vancouver: duane.elverum(AT)citystudiovancouver(DOT)com

Twitter:@citystudiovan, @janetmoo, @duaneElverum

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CityStudioVancouver