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  I feel very fortunate to do what I do – urban planning – which is about the art, business, and science of great place making.

Simon O'Byrne

Vice President, Discipline Leader, Community Development (Planning)

Edmonton, Alberta

Simon is an award-winning urban designer and planner, vice president of urban planning, and the sector leader for community development in Canada. With his planning expertise, he’s frequently quoted in North American media, and he’s a regularly sought-after public speaker.

His experience ranges from intensive urban revitalization redevelopments to the creation of many master planned communities, brownfield, and transit-oriented developments. Simon has led multi-disciplinary design teams in the planning and successful delivery of large, complex, and politically charged projects.

Selected to become the 2015 Allard Chair in Business for MacEwan University, Simon was also named one of Edmonton’s Power 30 by the Edmonton Journal. Alberta Venture magazine named Simon as one of the 50 Most Influential People in Alberta for 2012, and in 2009, Avenue magazine named Simon as one of the Top 40 Under 40. As a community leader, Simon volunteers and leads many different civic, economic, social justice, charity, and professional boards and committees.

Interconnected to the core

Transcript of the video follows
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<p>Messy vibrancy is at the heart of any plan that involves people, because a great plan is about connections. And connections are fluid, they are unpredictable, and messy.</p> <p>The economy is at the center of any great planning exercise. We want to make sure that we are allowing the economy to flourish because the economy is going to give us the means to continuously rebuild the city in a more progressive, more interesting way.</p> <p>We need the public space to give us great outdoor living rooms. If you don’t have great outdoor living rooms, there’s no place to hang out, there’s no people watching opportunities.</p> <p>Transportation is the big connector. It attaches everything together.&nbsp; We need to provide the means and the modes by which these people are going to connect to their work, to where they’re going to play, to where they’re going to just experience life.</p> <p>Great cities are not just about movement. They’re about being walkable, they’re about providing connectivity. So we need to create much more walkable, pedestrian centric cities.</p> <p>As we think about heritage, that is something that gives us a strong sense of place, a strong identity. The cities that have success in their core are cities that have preserved their heritage.</p> <p>And why this matters is because it’s all woven into the soul of the place, the spice of the place is its culture. We want visual stimulation, we want to have animation happening.</p> <p>This connects to sustainability. That means thinking about how do we reduce, relentlessly, the ecological footprint of the city.</p> <p>All of these seven components, they create one big major idea here. It’s that: as goes the city center, so goes Saskatoon. You cannot have a great city without having a great city center. Because the city center, the downtown, the core: That is the brand of a city.</p>

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