My City's Still Breathing

Larry Beasley

Love as the prime force in the economy of cities: an urban competition and sustainability framework for civic arts and culture

Who would have thought that “love” might become a key force in the economy of cities, much less a prime force?  Yet, over the last decade, two epochal urban challenges – competitive and environmental – have come together that cities can only respond to if their citizens are solidly on their side; if they love their city.  Larry Beasley will argue that responding to these challenges will take a new approach to city building that he calls “experiential planning”.  This involves delivering cityscapes that people will truly desire and fall in love with and prefer over unsustainable forms.  He will outline how arts and cultural efforts are essential to engender urban affection in the harsh contemporary city and he will cover some common pitfalls that limit the effectiveness of these programs; pitfalls related to the building of new arts institutions, facilitation of public art, and sponsorship of cultural and community programming.  His presentation provides the conceptual framework through which arts and cultural initiatives can be understood as pivotal for economic development and sustainability.  He concludes that “love” may be the spiritual equity that makes all the difference toward success or failure in the survival and robustness of our cities in the future.

Larry Beasley presents at My City's Still Breathing

Larry Beasley CM, BA, MA, FCIP, Urban Planner
Vancouver, Canada
Love as the prime force in the economy of cities: an urban competition and sustainability framework for civic arts and culture Biography

Larry Beasley

Larry Beasley is one of the world’s top urban planners.  He helped establish the City of Vancouver as one of the most livable cities in the world.

Over the past 28 years of civic service, Beasley has served as the city’s senior community planner and as director of the Vancouver Legacies Program, where he raised $3.5 million from the private sector for civic projects.  Among his recent initiatives are new land use and transportation plans that are dramatically reshaping Vancouver’s inner city.

Beasley has studied architecture and has bachelors degrees in geography and political science, as well as a masters degree in planning. He chairs the National Advisory Committee on Planning, Design and Realty of Ottawa’s National Capital Commission, and regularly advises other Canadian municipalities and cities worldwide including Auckland, New Zealand; Washington, Chicago, Seattle and San Diego in the United States; and Xi’an, Tianjin and Shanghai in China. For pleasure, he sits on the board of the Vancouver International Film Festival.

Beasley is an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia in the School of Community and Regional Planning and lectures widely elsewhere.

In 1996, the United Nations honoured Beasley’s work among the “World’s 100 Best Planning Practices.” The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada conferred on him its 2003 Medal of Excellence as Advocate for Architecture, and he is a fellow of the Canadian Institute of Planners.

In 2004, Beasley was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada, our country’s highest honour for lifetime achievement.


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