CityStudio Vancouver is an innovation hub inside City Hall where staff, university students and community members co-create, design and launch projects on the ground. The central mission of CityStudio is to innovate and experiment with the ways cities are co-created, while teaching students the skills needed to collaborate on real projects in Vancouver with City staff and community stakeholders. These projects improve our city and enrich our neighbourhoods, making the city more livable, joyful and sustainable.

CityStudio convenes stakeholders, defines problems and creates solutions while improving student skills and retaining talent in the city. Inspired by Dublin’s Studio and DCC Beta, and countless projects around the world, we aim to create a culture change at City Hall and demonstrate future possibilities for citizens, while building the next generation of change-makers and active city builders.


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 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 an energetic hub of urban innovation. We will reach full potential when there are CityStudio type programs across North America.


Employing an integrated ‘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. We have a vision for collaborative city building that provides staff, students and community members with deeply engaged experiences in 3 program areas:

1. One Year Studio Program

2. Partner Network of project-based courses on campus

3. Convening and Consulting Services for cities in Canada and around the world

Our 10 Year Vision: We aim to create City Hall in the model of a “Teaching Hospital” with universities and other cities collaborating with interdisciplinary teams of students who are co-creating and innovating solutions and real work on the ground.

In the past 3 years CityStudio has engaged 127 students in the Studio Program; 1878 students in the Partner Course Network; 75 Faculty across 6 campuses; 40 City of Vancouver staff; and over 100 guests in dialogue and consultation. We have had over 1500 people participate in our events and logged over 50,000 hours of training, projects and community action towards collaborative city building supporting the Greenest City Action Plan, and the Healthy City and Engaged City Strategies.

How can people become involved in or replicate our innovation?

Join us at the Art of Cities in Vancouver this May 24-26, 2017. Learn more here