Urbanarium has started the conversation about future Vancouver by partnering up with Museum of Vancouver (MOV) to showcase Your Future Home: Creating the New Vancouver exhibit. The exhibit explores timely topics in Vancouver today – housing affordability, urban density, mobility, and public space. As part of this Urbanarium focus, the organization is hosting a debate series, speaker series, design workshops, happy hours, talk & tours, and out & about walking tours.


Chris Vollan, VP of Development at Rize, was asked to participate in Debate #2 for which the debate proposition was: Build Fewer Towers.  Chris’s key points, arguing the CON side against the proposition, included:

1) We humans have been building towers for over 2,000 years. Whenever land is limited and expensive, the most affordable solution is often to build as high as our technology will permit.

2) We have very strong local demand for tower homes (in fact, homes of all types). The market is driving what builders can and should provide and when designed for locals, locals purchase.  Rize’s The Independent at Main used as an example, where 50% of the purchasers live within blocks of the project.

3) We have strong local business demand for central and transit oriented office locations.  To satisfy this, and further strengthen Vancouver’s economic base, we will need more office towers.

4) Developers are opportunistic, and will build almost any type of home, subject to demand, approval and economic constraints.

5) We don’t have enough, or cheap enough land in Metro-Vancouver, to build only low or mid-rise.

6) Towers don’t fit everywhere, but in many locations, they are the only appropriate solution. Location and amenities, (green space, transit, food and entertainment, walkability), are key to healthy urban livability.

7) When well designed, residential towers encourage engagement and connection amongst neighbours.

8) With a growing population and rapidly increasing land and construction costs, towers are not the sole solution to our livability and affordability issues, however any viable solution to these will require us to build more and carefully designed towers.

8) We cannot afford to “Build Fewer Towers”.



The debate was a strong back and forth between the PRO and CON teams and in the end the audience felt that the CON team was the most persuasive. Urbanarium collects votes before and after the debate, to see which side has persuaded the most people with the arguments and facts that were presented.

A strong hat tip to Chris’ debating partner David Ramslie and to the PRO argument team, Lance Berelowitz and Oliver Lang as well as to the audience for some well pointed questions.

The Rize Team also took in the Your Future Home exhibit at MOV and found it to be packed of inspiring ideas for future Vancouver.  The exhibit is presented and setup in such a way to create productive dialogue and is a definite must see!

Here are few sneak peaks…




Check out Urbnarium.org for the upcoming Debate #3, Legislate Housing Affordability, recording of Debate #1 and #2, along with upcoming events such as workshops and tours. Also, check out the hashtags #Urbanariumvote, #YourFutureHome, and #MyFutureVancouver to join the conversation, (tweets with #MyFutureVancouver are featured in MOV exhibit). Connect with Rize and share your thoughts on your future Vancouver:

Twitter: @rizealliance
Instagram: @rizealliance
Facebook: facebook.com/RizeAlliance/

About Urbanarium
As our world and Vancouver continuously become more urbanized, our cities become more complex. Political, economic and environmental systems are undergoing radical shifts creating added uncertainty in planning for the future. This is why Urbanarium was formed. They believe informing, educating and engaging the citizens of Metro Vancouver will help guide decision making to protect our future wellbeing. Urbanarium is a platform for advanced urban conversation in Metro Vancouver and a place for people to get reliable information without political or ideological bias.