Urban-Suburban Divide: Can you build the life you want at a price you can afford?

Urban-Suburban Divide: Can you build the life you want at a price you can afford?

*This event is sold out*

Life in Metro Vancouver is expensive. Consistently ranked one of the world’s most unaffordable housing markets, it can be challenging for individuals, couples, and families to find housing suitable for their needs. Whether you’re looking to rent or buy, there are trade-offs for every decision you make. If you want the urban lifestyle – and can afford it – space comes at a premium. If you choose the suburbs for the cost savings, size of residence, or “small town” feel, long commutes or alternative work arrangements may be required. How might your family, career, health, and quality of life be affected by where you live? And how is the issue of cost affecting the demographics of our cities and suburbs?

This event took place March 19, 2014, at the UBC Boathouse in Richmond.

Official Broadcast and Online Media Partner:





Matthew Lazin-Ryder – Producer, CBC Radio One’s On the Coast


Lawrence Frank – Professor in Sustainable Transportation and Health, UBC

Michael Geller – President, The Geller Group; Affiliate, UBC’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA)

Christine McLaren – Freelance Journalist

Tsur Somerville – Associate Professor, UBC’s Sauder School of Business; Director, UBC Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate

Panelist Biographies

Matthew Lazin-Ryder

Matthew Lazin-RyderMatthew Lazin-Ryder is a journalist based in Vancouver. When he’s not thinking deeply about economics and the zombie apocalypse, he’s a producer with On The Coast, the Metro Vancouver afternoon show on CBC Radio One.

Outside of work, Matthew has a number of stage acting credits, works on learning Farsi as a second language, and loves making Scotch eggs. He is also an avid reader of non-fiction books about the Napoleonic Wars.

Matthew graduated from the BCIT journalism program, after being fully indoctrinated in the ways of Drama at the Langley School of Fine Arts.

Lawrence Frank

Lawrence FrankDr. Frank is a Professor in Sustainable Transportation and Public Health at the University of British Columbia.  He specializes in the interaction between land use, travel behavior, air quality; and in the health, energy use, and climate change impacts of urban form policies.  He has been studying the effects of neighborhood walkability on travel patterns and sustainability for 20 years and has led over $18 million in funded research and published over 100 peer reviewed articles and reports and two books on these topics.  Dr. Frank works directly with local, regional, provincial or state, and federal agencies to help translate results from research into practice based tools that provide direct feedback on the health and environmental impacts of alternative transportation and land development proposals.  His position at UBC is split between the Schools of Population and Public Health in the Faculty of Medicine (home department) and Community and Regional Planning in the Faculty of Applied Science.

Michael Geller

Michael GellerMichael Geller is an architect, planner, real estate consultant and property developer with four decades’ experience in the public, private, and institutional sectors. He also serves on the Adjunct Faculty of the SFU Centre for Sustainable Community Development.

Notable projects include Bayshore in Coal Harbour, UniverCity at SFU, and innovative mixed-use and residential developments around Metro Vancouver.

Michael is a former official with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver during which time he oversaw the first phase redevelopment of South Shore False Creek.

Michael is an internationally recognized expert in planning and housing development and served on the jury to select a planning team for Moscow’s new International Financial Centre. He is a past president of the Urban Development Institute and has been honoured as a Life Member of the Architectural Institute of BC and Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Planners.

Christine McLaren

Christine McLarenChristine McLaren is a freelance journalist who investigates solutions to urban problems. Early on, she cut her teeth reporting on affordable housing and urban development issues for the award-winning online news magazine TheTyee.ca. She has since worked internationally with publications and media outlets such as The Globe and MailMonocleGOODMetropolis, Xinhua News Agency and MSN, among many others, and been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, CBC and Maclean’s magazine and more.

Christine was the lead researcher for Happy City (2013, Farrar, Straus & Giroux [USA]; Penguin/Alan Lane [UK]; and Doubleday [Canada]), which investigates the link between the emerging science of happiness and urban design, and conducted research for National Geographic Emerging Explorer Alexandra Cousteau. Most recently she travelled around the world as resident writer of the BMW Guggenheim Lab, a mobile urban think tank project of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and co-authored the project’s interactive online glossary and book series, Participatory City: 100 Urban Trends (2013, Specter Press).

Tsur Somerville

Tsur SomervilleTsur Somerville is the Director of the UBC Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate, holder of the Real Estate Foundation Professorship in Real Estate Finance, and an Associate Professor in the Strategy and Business Economics Division of the Sauder School of Business at UBC. He has been at UBC since 1994. As Centre Director, he is in charge of the school’s academic programs in real estate, fostering academic research in real estate and urban economics at Sauder, and creating links between Sauder and the professional community.

Tsur’s areas of primary research are real estate development and housing markets. His work has been published in Real Estate Economics, The Review of Economics and Statistics, the Journal of Urban Economics, Regional Science and Urban Economics, Real Estate Finance & Economics, Urban Studies, Journal of Real Estate Research, Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, International Real Estate Review, and a number of professional journals. Among the editorial boards he serves on are Real Estate Economics, International Real Estate Review, International Journal of Housing Markets and Analysis, and the Journal of Real Estate Research. In addition, Tsur has been a fellow and received a post-doctoral honor from the Homer Hoyt Institute for Advanced Studies in Urban Land Economic and served as NAIOP Distinguished Fellow from 2006-2009.

Tsur Somerville received his Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University and his BA from the Hebrew University (Israel) in Economics and East Asian Studies.

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