June 14, 2021

Reimagining Surrey City Centre – Jun 15

SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue and SFU Public Square are hosting “Beyond COVID: Reimagining Our City Centres!”  Sign up today for the one on Surrey City Centre.

Tuesday, June 15 at 10:00 a.m. PT

  • What are we missing about our city centres?
  • What meaningful innovations have we seen in them during COVID-19?
  • Most importantly, how do we want them to look when we emerge from this pandemic?

Details and registration here.


If you haven’t visited this regional town centre recently, you may not realize the extent of change it is undergoing.

Elizabeth Model, the long-serving CEO of the Downtown Surrey BIA, is even surprised at the scale of development planned, in the approval process or underway.

The BIA started to keep track in their development updates (so good, even the City of Surrey uses it for planning) and provides a summary every month.  Here’s the latest:

  • As of May 2021, there are 36 approved major projects in City Centre, consisting of 42 high-rises, and 24 low-rises.
  • There are 26 major development applications under initial review, consisting of approximately 30 high-rises, and 21 low-rises.
  • As of May 2021, there are 17 major projects under construction in City Centre, representing approximately 15 high-rises, and 8 low-rises.




It’s not that this city centre will need ‘revitalization’ – it seems pretty damn vital already – but it needs to be better understood (and respected) for its role in the region and the possibilities it offers for Surrey and the rest of Metro.  There is no way the City of Vancouver, for instance, is going to solve the housing crisis on its own.  Its future, just as Surrey’s, is going to be shaped in places like this.

A downtown is more than the sum of its highrise buildings – though that may be the visual measure we use – and it’s certainly not a measure of what’s missing or needed.  Hence the purpose of this series, particularly now that the pandemic has shown both the possibility of change and the need for it.  Join in.

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  1. If projects approved are in addition to those under construction, and those under review are approved, the scale of development is staggering. That leads to 87 highrises and 53 low rises. What about schools and hospital beds, to say nothing about transportation and green spaces

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