Not only do I work at UBC, I’m also a campus resident. My family and I live on the Point Grey campus, and we enjoy feeling part of a community and meeting our neighbours when we go out walking or biking in the evening and on weekends.
Each of UBC’s neighbourhoods is unique. Collectively they contribute to a vibrant, animated and engaging campus, and enrich our community of faculty, staff, students, residents, alumni and partners.
And now there’s a new neighbourhood being planned for UBC – Stadium Neighbourhood. It presents an opportunity to build on past successes and create a next-generation sustainable community.
UBC’s land endowment of 994 acres allows us to create vibrant neighbourhoods, like Stadium, and green spaces that enable the academic mission of the university. Our vision is to create a complete campus community within and connected to the broader region; a community that’s a model of diverse housing options, wellbeing, and sustainable infrastructure. This “campus as a living lab” will play an essential role in the regional ecosystem, supporting and connecting the region to world class education, research, health care and innovation.
The university’s new strategic plan, Shaping UBC’s Next Century, sets out our collective vision, purpose, goals and strategies for the years ahead (you can find the plan online at strategicplan.ubc.ca). One of the core areas we’re focusing on is people and places, and our campus neighbourhoods – and the people who live there – play an important role.
With planning for Stadium Neighbourhood now underway, we have the opportunity to create a neighbourhood plan that delivers on several strategies outlined in the strategic plan such as attracting, engaging and retaining great people, creating welcoming physical and virtual spaces, and supporting the development of thriving and sustainable communities.
Housing affordability is a challenge across the Metro Vancouver region and our faculty, students and staff are not immune. Stadium Neighbourhood could result in homes for about 3,500 residents. Forty percent could be non-market housing, which exceeds the Housing Action Plan targets for faculty and staff housing, and expands rental options for members of UBC’s community. The remaining 60 percent could be market housing which supports the academic mission through contribution to the endowment, pays for site servicing and community amenities, and funds the new stadium. Building Stadium Neighbourhood creates new housing options that will make it easier for potential faculty and staff members to choose UBC, join our community and stay here.
The strategic plan also identifies space as an important enabler of collaboration, innovation and community development. Physical spaces can create opportunities or barriers to connect, engage, work and play with others. Stadium Neighbourhood is being planned with this in mind, specifically aiming to help complete the South Campus by connecting neighbourhoods and destinations such as the Botanical Garden, UBC Farm and Thunderbird Park, create a community that maximizes opportunities for social interaction and community building, and to improve quality of life for residents. The planning process is also looking at integrating academic and other spaces in ways that support learning and research and innovation as part of living on campus. I’m looking forward to seeing the outcome of this work.
Stadium Neighbourhood will play an important role in delivering on our commitment to developing healthy, sustainable and connected communities. The planning team is particularly mindful of using the university’s land wisely, protecting and enhancing the natural ecology that surrounds us, and creating open spaces that support active community life as well as personal health and wellbeing. As a result, our new neighbourhood is being designed to be highly walkable, compact and have more density, to have sustainable, low carbon infrastructure and, to have a variety of open spaces that enable people to engage with each other and the natural environment.
We are also mindful of the need to consult with you, our neighbours. I recently met with current UBC neighbourhood residents to discuss the Stadium Neighbourhood. We listened to their concerns and suggestions and will be using their input to inform the planning process. We will also meet with residents again as that process unfolds.
There will also be additional opportunities for public input through surveys, workshops and open houses.
With the 18-month Stadium Neighbourhood planning process heading into the third phase, options for the neighbourhood plan are taking shape. (You can find out more about the planning process at https://planning.ubc.ca/vancouver/projects-consultations/consultations-engagement/stadium-neighbourhood-consultation). I look forward to seeing how the options balance aspirations for the neighbourhood, feedback from the community, technical and financial constraints, and direction given by the Board of Governors. I am certain that the final plan will result in a neighbourhood where people, community and nature thrive.
Professor Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor