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NGO Leadership 

Immediate Past Thought Leader,

RAIC, MetroVan's 

Built City Speaker Series

Public/Professional Dialogue on Walkable, Vibrant and Affordable Sustainable Cities 

Gloria Venczel was appointed to revive the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada(RAIC), MetroVan Chapter's public outreach program  of the  Built City Speaker Series  by the Chapter Chair.

As Thought Leader of the RAIC, MetroVan's Built City Speaker Series, Gloria created a public capacity building component, providing tools , perspectives and hope through curated professionals  on the hottest topics, namely affordable housing, small business viability and neighbourhood vibrancy. Gloria also wove into the programming capacity building elements enhancing public  literacy around pedestrian-oriented urban design and complete community urban planning principles. 

This professional/public forum for dialogue and joint problem solving provided accredited Professional Learning Credits for the various professional organizations, including the RAIC and Planning Institute  of BC.

All of the events were a sold out success, with standing room only, with participants of up to 120 people.

The RAIC, MetroVan's Built City Speaker Series was invited to create a charrette on affordable housing by an RAIC member, who was officially leading a False Creek  South Neighbourhood component of the City of Vancouver's False Creek South Planning Study. The study area was located on the northernmost part of the site, immediately adjacent to the railway tracks, as seen the event poster.

As Thought Leader, Gloria had planned and facilitated a full eight table sunny Saturday afternoon charrette titled, "The Nuts N Bolts of Affordable Housing- Finance, Form + Tenure- A TOD Mini-Charrette", supplying stripped down proformas, with non-profit housing experts serving a proformas number crunchers/table facilitators.  Some of the best regional pedestrian-oriented urban design professionals were table co- facilitators, demonstrating the importance of seamlessly integrating affordable housing through architectural streetscape design to minimize the stigmatization of affordable housing for anyone who has to work for a living, including doctors, teachers, architects and cafe baristas, etc.. For charrette participant testimonials, please click here. 

Past Founding Board Member,

Organizing Conference Chair, The Vancouver Summit,

Congress for the New Urbanism-Cascadia Chapter (CNU-C)

Gloria Venczel was invited to be a founding Board Member of the Congress for the New Urbanism- Cascadia Chapter, which included British Columbia, State of Washington and State of Oregon. 

The Vancouver Summit: 

"The Business of Northwest New Urbanism- 

Bridging Sustainability & Aboriginal Values"

Using her insights from her productive relationships with developers as a municipal urban designer/development planner, where she was able to guide the applicant development teams to a 99% success rate for rezoning applications at Public Hearing, Gloria knew that the professions-led CNU organization had a missing link, namely the development community, which are the actual implementers. 

Gloria sought out a progressive, urban design-oriented developer, John Gilmour, Magusta Developments,  as her Vancouver Summit co-chair, as well as inviting a notable local developer, Robert Fung, The Salient Group, as the Summit keynote speaker. Robert opened the Summit  at the Bill Reid Gallery of  contemporary Indigenous Northwest Coast Art.

The other missing link for the architect + urban planner-led CNU organization were the First Nations, who are very much in the process of shaking off colonialism and forging a new future, often as guardians of the natural world. Gloria hoped to provide opportunities for First Nations members to hear and connect with a nature-friendly approach to city development, assess whether these approaches would be valuable to them through the sustainability lens, in the context of the climate crisis. She also hoped create  a collaborative learning opportunity where CNU-C community could learn from First Nations approaches, in an exchange of presentations.


Patrick Stewart, a Nisga'a architect, was a key Summit presenter.

"Patrick has the distinction of being the first Aboriginal president of an Architectural Association in Canada. Patrick was the first Aboriginal architect to become the President of the Architectural Institute of BC. Patrick is also the first Aboriginal person in BC to own and operate an architectural firm." (


Patrick's heart-felt recounting of his experiences very much moved the participants, as well as leaving them speechless.

For a list of speakers for "The Business of Northwest New Urbanism- Bridging Sustainability & Aboriginal Values", please click here.



Past Founding Executive Director,

Smart Growth Canada Network 

Gloria Venczel was invited to lead the newly formed Smart Growth Canada Network (SGCN). She became the Founding Executive Director of the Smart Growth Canada Network, with her background in architecture and urban planning.

Through funding from Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and the Real Estate Foundation of BC (REFBC), Gloria and senior smart growth researchers from across Canada created the then cutting-edge, visually enhanced e-courses on implemented Canadian smart growth success stories.  Gloria was chief editor. 

Gloria also convened a national conference, National Smart Growth Symposium Ottawa: Building Capacity Online  with the then-nascent sustainability organizations from across the country, to map out  future directions .  The Hon. John. Godfrey, Minster of State, Infrastructure + Communities, Canada, was the keynote speaker.

For snapshots of the e-courses and related activities, please click here. 

She also developed a pan-Canadian SGCN Municipal Advisory Board , as well as a pan-Canadian sustainability organization-based  SGCN Steering Committee. With only project-based funding, without the possibility of core organizational funding in the Canadian  context, SGCN became dormant.

Architects in the Community Program,

Architectural Insititute of BC,

Past Co-Founder, Intern Architect  

Gloria Venczel started off volunteering on the AIBC Intern Committee, then became the Intern Committee representative on the AIBC Communications Committee, where she came across like-minded architects who were also interested in bringing architectural problem solving skills to neighbourhood communities. 

With a small core group, Gloria co-founded the Architects in the Community (AIC) Program, a disinterested, third party charrette-based problem solving approach to pedestrian-friendly neighbourhood design. She was also appointed as Chair, AIC Committee. 

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