Notification Window


48CE - Beyond Design: Turning a Place Around

09 May 2014 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM

3 ConEd Learning hours

This session is also offered Thursday, May 8, 2014 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Course Outline

Revitalizing public places is a perennial challenge. We have all seen examples of grand revitalization schemes which focused on the latest design trends, and a generation later, the community needs a new strategy in order to “turn a place around”. The social and economic fabrics are fragile, woven over time into the unique character of each community. We must look beyond the architecture and design features to support the people engaged in helping their communities thrive.

This workshop will consider:

  • How is the community considered within a revitalization project?
  • Who leads these initiatives in challenging economic times?
  • How does the management of public places benefit from partnerships and creative collaborations to address the social, economic and environmental issues of the day?
  • As architects and designers you have a vital role to play as stewards of the public realm—how will you turn places around in your communities?

This session will challenge architects to examine how revitalization needs to re-consider the roles of the public, private and non-profit sectors and how unlikely partnerships are breathing new life into older places. It will include selected examples of revitalization projects from a variety of Canadian communities.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Gain a wider appreciation of revitalization and its role in community-building
  2. Discover how heritage conservation extends beyond the design of an individual buildings
  3. Understand four key aspects of revitalization which complement the architectural design of a “place”
  4. Identify public, private and non-profit partnership models for the stewardship of urban places


Judy Oberlander, Principal, and Associates Inc., specializes in the design of educational programs, conservation and fundraising strategies for governments, foundations and non-profit organizations.   Over the past 30 years she has worked in the public, private and non-profit sectors in Ottawa and Vancouver including heritage conservation projects in many parts of Canada.  She received her Master’s degree in Historic Preservation from the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University and a Certificate in Fundraising from NYU.  In addition to her consulting practice, she currently teaches heritage conservation and urban revitalization courses. Her work has been recognized with two national continuing education awards and three City of Vancouver Heritage Awards. 

She established her firm in 1989 after working in Ottawa for the Heritage Canada Foundation and Commonwealth Historic Resource Management Ltd. Her recent clients include the North Vancouver Museum; Yukon Government; Willowbank School of Restoration Arts; Vancouver Foundation; the Vancouver Heritage Foundation; Osoyoos & District Museum and Archives; The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden; the Heritage Legacy Fund of British Columbia; Canada Green Building Council and the BC Provincial Government among others. She has worked extensively with local governments for whom she and her team created heritage conservation strategies, interpretation, education and public awareness programs. Between1990-2002 she consulted to The Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Family Foundation in Montreal on the design of their Urban Issues Program and conducted site visits in communities across Canada. 

From 1993 to 2005 she was the founding Director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University in downtown Vancouver. There she created award-winning mid-career continuing education programs on a wide range of urban issues including professional development courses, free public lectures, and designed a nationally recognized Certificate in Urban Design. In addition she actively raised funds to create the $1.5 million City Program Endowment Fund as well as over $510,000 through dozens of grants and sponsorships to support curriculum design, publications, student bursaries and free public lectures. In the first 12 years of the City Program, 23,000 people participated in the courses, lectures and special events in both Vancouver and Calgary.

Since 1986 she has taught intensive mid-career courses in cultural resource management at the University of Victoria. Her course, “Fundraising Strategies: Sustaining Arts, Culture, Museum and Heritage Organizations” for the Heritage Canada Foundation in Montreal in 2012; in Ottawa in 2013 will be offered in Charlottetown in 2014.   She co-teaches “Urban Design: Urban Revitalization” with Alastair Kerr in the SFU City Program (Vancouver 2008, 2011, 2014, Edmonton 2009).  She was the curriculum designer and continues to teach in the Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s education program, Old School: Courses for Building Conservation which is recognized by five professional associations, including the AIBC, as part of continuing education and also welcomes members of the public in a unique learning environment.

Civic engagement is important to Judy--she has served on the numerous boards including—The Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation, Pacific Parkinson’s Research Institute, Jewish Federation, Association for Preservation Technology, ICOMOS Canada and civic boards including  the City of Vancouver Development Permit Board Advisory Panel, Vancouver City Planning Commission and the Ottawa Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee.  In 2009 she completed the Institute for Corporate Directors’ Governance Essentials Program for Directors of Not-for-Profit Organizations.