About CityStudio Vancouver

CityStudio Vancouver aims to shift the way students, City staff, faculty and community members work together to co-create solutions for our city.

About us

CityStudio Vancouver is an innovation hub that brings together city staff, students, faculty and community to co-create experimental projects that make Vancouver more sustainable, liveable, joyful, and inclusive.

It was co-founded in 2011 by Dr. Janet Moore and Duane Elverum to accelerate sustainability in higher education and provide students with direct opportunities to work in and with the city on urban challenges.

Born in response to Vancouver’s plan to become the greenest city in the world by 2020, CityStudio was created with the support of founding partners, Simon Fraser University (SFU) and the City of Vancouver.

Since then it has grown into a collaboration between the City of Vancouver, SFU, University of British Columbia (UBC), Langara College, British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), Emily Carr University of Art + Design (ECUAD) and the Native Education College (NEC).

Learn more.


Our vision is for sustainable, equitable, and joyful cities where youth around the world are deeply engaged with problem-solving and civic leadership.


Our mission is to innovate and experiment with the ways cities are co-created, while teaching students the skills needed to succeed in today’s economy and inspire action in the community and government.

CityStudio Manifesto

CityStudio’s manifesto directs what we do, how we do it and why. It reminds us of what matters most about the CityStudio way.

We don’t employ a devil’s advocate at CityStudio. We say Yes more than No. We remain curious and stay open to others’ ideas.

We learn by doing. By following an idea. By experimenting with our hands. By taking risks. By trying, struggling and failing forward fast.

And in the end, we have done something that is real. We find ways to tackle global issues by putting a project on the ground in a local place.

We learn that good projects come from good relationships. That working together is the only way it can work. And that we can’t solve a complex problem without hearing from everyone affected by it.

We sit in a circle and speak from our hearts and our minds. We learn to listen. We learn to enjoy the long pause that emerges in a rich dialogue. We learn how to design. We find better problems to solve. We learn that aesthetics matter.

We work on a team and reflect on our process together. We believe that small projects can add up to big changes in our community, our city and in ourselves.

And if we do it right, we will be high fiving at the end.

We’ve been to the future and it ends well.

Trust the Process.

Theory of Change

CityStudio measures its impact using an evaluation and reporting framework with a theory of change that’s based on our manifesto, goals and desired outcomes.

  1. Build trust-based relationships between students, city staff, faculty and community.
  2. Launch experimental projects that advance specific city goals.
  3. Inspire students to be more engaged citizens.
  4. Shift culture inside City Hall and higher education.
  5. Contribute to a global movement that makes our cities more creative and innovative.


Canada’s Top 100 Recovery Projects | 2020
Future of Good

Inspired Educator Award | 2017
Canada Green Building Council

Advocate of Architecture Award | 2015
Royal Architecture Institute of Canada, Metrovan Chapter

Shortlist – Re-Imagine Education Award | 2014
The Wharton School

Best Practice Case Study | 2013
Tendensor’s 15-region EU study outlining Tools and Strategies for Innovative Talent Retention in Cities

Cordes Innovation Award (first Canadian recipient) | 2013
Ashoka U

Willis Award for Innovation – awarded to the City of Vancouver | 2013
Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators

Top 10 groundbreaking initiative leading social change and innovation in Canada | 2013
Tides Canada