Sullivan announces new cities focused think tank

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

10 comments

Sam Sullivan in Chinatown
Former Mayor Sam Sullivan – reaching out to youth on his new agenda

If you scan the front page of the Vancouver Sun today, you will read a story from Doug Ward about former Mayor Sam Sullivan and his plans to establish a new urban think tank. Sullivan plans to make the formal announcement of the launch of the Global Civic Policy Society (GCPS) tomorrow at the Pan Pacific Hotel where over 250 invited guests are expected to attend. Former NDP Mike Harcourt will emcee the event which will feature a number of guest speakers including Professor John Clague (SFU Earth Sciences Dept), Professor Lawrence Frank (UBC), and architect Bruno Freschi of Expo 86 fame.

According to Sullivan, GCPS has already attracted international investors and will attempt to raise the profile of a number of urban issues such as densification & other land use planning, safety and security and battling urban sprawl. Sullivan was a member of Vancouver city council for 15 years, whereby the last three years he served as the Mayor.

Here is an excerpt from Ward's piece:

Sam Sullivan, urban eco-warrior, has two rules in his new post-political life. He won't do breakfast meetings and he no longer drives, preferring to roll his zero-carbon wheelchair through a 10-block radius around his high-density downtown Vancouver condo tower...

Sullivan hopes Global Civic will become a vehicle through which he can explore some of the key policy areas of his controversial mayoral term: How to achieve denser communities (EcoDensity, anyone?); how people can live together in dense communities (Project Civil Society); and how drug laws can be created to treat addicts as disabled patients, and not as criminals (his ill-fated Chronic Addiction Substitution Treatment program).

These were policies that alienated many members of his Non-Partisan Association and, Sullivan acknowledges, contributed to his political demise last year.

In the crowd tomorrow you can expect to see a number of former Vancouver politicos, business leaders and community activists. If Sullivan is successful (and I don't doubt that he will be) you can expect to hear a lot more about Global Civic Policy over the coming years.

Without being encumbered by the normal restraints of poltics, Sullivan will have a freer hand to explore his twin passions of public policy-making, and his desire for Vancouver to become an even better place to live, work and raise a family.

10 Comments

Ah, isn't great to cash in all those favours!

"Cashing in favours" to launch an NGO? Right.

Just what the world needs - another NGO.

is this just another right-wing think tank

Hey, kk. You're pretty perceptive. It's very right wing to battle urban sprawl through public policy, and promote a greater civic dialogue among citizens and youth.

Having read the article in the Sun, I couldn't help but think that a think tank is probably better served if it has more than one member. That's not a tank, that's a... whatever a singular analogy is, I dunno.

Basically it's some unknown funder giving money to Sam to think about policy and try to influence those in power, with a thin veneer of expertise given that the advice is coming from a "think tank". Right. More power to him if he can pull it off, I know I would love to be in the same position.

will sam suggest a great way battle urban sprawl is to turn vancouver into a city of living shangri-la towers, more luxury condo's won't solve the problem as much as the npa and the real estate industry wan't us to believe

B, as usual your cunning powers of observation have really figured this one out.

Today the Annenberg Foundation announced it was a funder to the tune of $500,000 (look them up). Chip Wilson of Lulu Lemon is a donor, as are groups like the Tzu Chi Foundation, and various private donors many of whom were introduced at today's event by the emcee, former Premier Mike Harcourt.

Sam has enlisted professors on the subject of sustainability from both UBC and SFU as part of his research team, and Bruno Freschi, arguably one of Vancouver's most influential urban designers ever, is also part of the group.

Wasn't that story about Sam in the Sun written by Frances Bula's hubby Doug Ward? I'm pretty sure that Sam's not on their Christmas card list.

Well, then I respectfully rescind my skepticism. I was working from the Sun article before the press conference, and my impression (valid, I think) was that Sam would be working from home (as reported), alone (hiring no staff). The issues that he will be examining or working on are certainly laudable and need to be addressed.

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