20 Actionable Student Innovations in the City



On Friday, April 8, 2022, CityStudio Vancouver hosted an engaging virtual project showcase, HUBBUB 18: 10th Anniversary Edition. HUBBUB is a celebration of co-creation and collaboration, with each showcase offering creative solutions imagined by students for city building and in making Vancouver more sustainable, equitable and joyful. 

Imagination and innovation is at the heart of what we do. After 10 years of projects, we’ve seen how courage is essential for collaboration and innovation. Without the openness and willingness of City Staff, the vision and encouragement of faculty, and the ideation and problem solving of students, these projects would not be possible. 

This term, 562 students collaborated with 20 city staff and 25 faculty on multiple City of Vancouver strategic priorities. The event featured 20 innovative projects with creative solutions to some of the city’s most pressing issues, including three project highlights from our engagement collaborations. 

Our expert judges deliberated and selected the HUBBUB 18: 10th Anniversary Edition’s winners based on the HUBBUB criteria of the project’s replicability, scalability, novelty and their overall potential to benefit the city. Additionally, we saw over 500 votes towards this semester’s People’s Choice Award! 

Read on for Hubbub 18’s top projects and congratulations to all the winners!


First Place: Stanley Park Railway Revitalization

Simon Fraser University, School of Sustainable Engineering (SEE 410W)

Reinventing the Stanley Park Train for the Next Generation

As Vancouver shifts towards a greener future, the city strives to identify engineering solutions which promote sustainability. SFU’s first SEE cohort looks to revitalize the Stanley Park Train for the next generation with an electric drivetrain design that powers the train for a fifth of its operating costs and virtually none of the current maintenance costs to upkeep the train. 

The proposed design allows for the train to operate for a mere $10/day in electricity and more importantly, eliminates all of the ride’s tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions. If implemented, the student team aims to support a retrofit of all the train cars in Stanley Park. The design itself fits seamlessly within the current train body which will help to maintain the look and feel of the ride that has been a tradition for thousands of families in Vancouver for generations and act as a symbol of the City of Vancouver’s sustainability goals. 

This project addresses the City of Vancouver’s Park Board Strategic Plan, which is committed to connecting people with green spaces, active living and community, and is linked to the daily operations and services of the Park Board.

What the judges said: “We unanimously felt that this was the standout project for the spring 2022 HUBBUB showcase. The conversion of the Stanley Park train to an electric motor will save money, reduce downtime, cut carbon pollution and it visibly signals the City’s shift away from fossil fuels. The students did an outstanding job!” 


Second Place: Online Training Platform

BCIT, Computer Science (ISSP 4900)

An online learning management platform to accommodate training documentation for the City of Vancouver Engineering Services Department

In early 2022, the City of Vancouver’s Engineering Services department approached BCIT seeking a technical solution to improve their existing training model. Students worked closely with stakeholders to identify a platform that would accommodate the city’s unique needs, including customization, equity, cost and long-term usability.

Students recommended Edapp as the city ‘s learning management system, which was implemented in collaboration with city staff. The work included a user manual for the onboarding process as well a full conversion of existing training materials into the Edapp compliant format. The finished product expedites the training process by allowing prospective employees and onboarding to take place virtually at the employee’s own pace, without the need of in-person training sessions.

What the judges said: “We found this project supports modernizing training through coupling innovation and technology. We were pleased to learn of its efficacy in solving an issue faced by many institutions.”


Third Place: Informobility

University of British Columbia, School of Community and Regional Planning (PLAN 211)

Equitable and timely access to information and help during transit route changes

Informobility is a modular communications enabled signage design that increases access to information when transit stops change. Currently, when transit stops move for rebalancing purposes, many people with varying accessibility needs find their transit routine disrupted. This interactive signage seeks to address many of the barriers people may encounter.  

The design itself comprises an enclosure, warning sign and tactile flooring which is attachable to the legacy transit infrastructure, making this design easily reusable for future transit changes. The signage will first identify that a change has occurred, both visually and tactilely. A wayfinding map will indicate the location of the new bus stop, which is supplemented by braille. Lastly, the system features a cellularly connected, battery powered speaker and calling system for added flexibility and support. 

This project addresses the City of Vancouver’s Transportation 2040 Plan, a strategy that ensures an inclusive, healthy, prosperous and livable future for Vancouver. 

What the judges said: “Congratulations on a well done project! We appreciated how this team’s proposed solution provided a variety of interactive opportunities in order to increase its accessibility and usability. We felt Informobility excelled in meeting the needs of the community.”


People’s Choice: Why Did the Bee Cross the Road?

Simon Fraser University, School of Environmental Science (EVSC 400)

Green rainwater infrastructure integrated pollinator pathways

​​As a result of the growing population density and effects of climate change in urban areas, communities are increasingly vulnerable to flooding and habitat fragmentation. Green water infrastructure  serves as a sustainable water management solution utilized by the City of Vancouver to redesign existing grey water infrastructure. 

Why Did the Bee Cross the Road? Offers a series of guidelines proposing GRI and vegetation that attracts bee populations in the aims of improving local biodiversity. The student team designed a scalable design strategy which can be applied to many areas through the city, and foster community engagement and learning opportunities for adjacent schools and residents through an educational program on optimizing green community spaces throughout the City of Vancouver.

What the people said: “This is the best project. We need bees to keep our city green!”


Congratulations again to all the winners from HUBBUB 18: 10th Anniversary Edition! We look forward to reconnecting with you this fall for HUBBUB 19. Until then, stay tuned for announcements regarding celebrations for our 10th Anniversary, including an upcoming story contest from collaborators through the years.