NCI Consulting Services

  The New City Institute offers a variety of consulting services to business and government.

In the area of government services, NCI helps local governments implement progressive change. Our approach involves taking a best practices approach to fostering sustainability, citizen involvement, and good governance. Best practices are a good place to begin to improve cities because most urban problems are not unique. What works in one place can often work – in some form – in another place. But best practices are not easy to implement. They are usually presented as unbalanced success stories, and are almost always short of how-to detail. They also need to be modified to fit new contexts.

To turn these success stories into something governments can actually use, the Institute identifies and assesses best practices, then translates these into versions that work locally. A typical process follows this sequence:
a) define objectives and assess the local situation;
b) identify a broad group of best practices aligned with local objectives;
c) scope and research the most applicable practices;
d) assess and determine the most applicable practices, and translate these for local conditions. This involves modifying practices to suit local objectives, resources, laws, practices, and procedures. It is the largest part of any project;
e) create an implementation roadmap with targets, benchmarks and specific enabling techniques.

The Institute’s core group consists of experts in urban sustainability, citizen participation, community economic development, energy conservation, and community problem solving.

Don Alexander
PhD, Urban and Regional Planning. Professor, Geography Department, Malaspina University College; Research Director, New City Institute. Urban planning research consultant and university instructor, and the author of numerous articles on urban sustainability, smart growth, and quality of place. Lead author for the BC Sprawl Report 2001 and 2004, and involved in helping to establish the Smart Growth Canada Network. Is currently finishing a book manuscript, Place: Repairing the Fabric of Human Experience.

Mark Anielski
MA Forest economics. Adjunct professor, University of Alberta and Bainbridge Graduate Institute. Provides strategic counsel to communities, businesses and governments on measuring and assessing sustainability and well-being. As expert on genuine wealth measurement, has contributed to the work of the Pembina Institute and the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.

Pat Balfour
BArch. Conceived and managed the award-winning green retrofit of the Telus building in Vancouver.

Rosemary Cooper
MA Environmental Studies. Former Senior Program Associate for the Glynwood Center, New York State. Was involved in guiding nine towns and small cities through a collaborative planning program to address challenges, including downtown revitalization, heritage conservation, open space protection, growth management, and tourism. The Countryside Exchange program was recognized by the American Planning Association for its “outstanding contribution” to community planning. Currently engaged in research, policy, and communications work for GVRD’s Parks Department.

Charles Dobson
Director of Community Animation, New City Institute. Associate Professor, School of Design, Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. Expert in creative problem solving. Author of The Citizens’ Handbook, A Guide to Building Community [ http://www.vcn.bc.ca/citizens-handbook] and The Troublemaker’s Teaparty: A Manual for Effective Citizen Action.

Stephen Hall
MA, Social Ecology. Stephen has 23 years of experience in the energy/environment field. His areas of expertise include energy efficiency, renewable energy, and integrated market transformation strategies for sustainable energy technologies. Recently he was managing director for Latin America for the International Institute for Energy Conservation.

Karen Hemmingson
MA Planning. Developed affordable housing for Terra Housing consultants. Government experience on waterfront development and housing policy. Managed BC’s interests in the tri-partite Vancouver Agreement that focused on addressing the problems of the Downtown Eastside.

Rob Macdonald
MA Resource Management. Rob specializes in transit-oriented development, sustainable transportation planning and public consultation. His experience includes projects in Orange County, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Minneapolis and Vancouver.

Russell Moan
MA Planning. Developed legislation for fast-tracking smart growth projects in Maryland. Helped to create mapping software for inventorying heritage sites. A leading expert on smart growth.

Jennie Moore
MA Regional Planning. Research and government experience focused on removing barriers to sustainability. Currently senior policy planner for the GVRD on climate change issues and community education.

Marcia Nozick
MA Planning. Executive Director of EMBERS, a community economic development centre in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Author of No Place Like Home: Building Sustainable Communities.

Sharon Peters
MSc Hydrology. A registered engineer with experience in both regional government and the non-profit sector. Managed the Fraser River Estuary Management Program (FREMP) and the Burrard Inlet Environmental Action Program (BIEAP) with a combined annual budget of $1 million.

Gordon Price
Vancouver City Councillor from 1986 to 2002. Former member of the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority. Gordon is a recognized transportation expert who understands the political dimensions of public policy.

Mark Roseland
PhD Planning. Director, Community Economic Development Centre at Simon Fraser University. Author of Toward Sustainable Communities: Resources for Citizens and their Governments, and editor of Eco-City Dimensions. Mark was research director for the “Clouds of Change” Task Force on the responsibilities of the City of Vancouver in the face of global warming.

Ray Tomalty
PhD Planning. A Montreal-based consultant who has completed projects for the Intergovernmental Committee on Urban and Regional Research (ICURR), CMHC, Environment Canada, Natural Resources Canada, the City of Ottawa, the Regional Municipality of Halifax, and others. He specializes in issues related to urban growth management, greyfields and urban intensification, affordable housing, sustainable transportation, regional planning, financial instruments, and monitoring. He has also taught environmental studies at both the University of Toronto and McGill University.

Bob Yates
MA Town and Regional Planning. Principal of a planning firm that focuses on education, parks and recreation, and youth services [see http://www.yatesthorn.com]. Bob also has management experience in both the government and non-profits sectors.


The New City Institute emerged from a group of progressive urban thinkers best known for publishing New City magazine, and its predecessor City magazine. For thirty years this group influenced politicians, bureaucrats and academics by showing how different planning practices were shaping, and could shape, Canadian cities.