Gloria Venczel, BES, B.Arch., RPP, MCIP
PRINCIPAL/ URBAN DESIGN + ECONOMIC VIBRANCY
Rethinking Cities + Thought Leadership
As the "genesis of cities is commerce", the disruption of "business a usual" through Covid-19 has shone the spotlight on the pre-Covid widespread precarious underemployment conditions and hyper-focused public attention on the magnitude of the underlying economic inequity in cities, neighbourhoods and civil society. With such unprecedented attention on economic inequality, Covid-19 has opened opportunities to rethink the economic ecosystem at the neighbourhood and city scales. Vibrant Places Inc. is rethinking cities, neighbourhoods, place making, economic equity and urban planning by asking the communities themselves the hard questions and bringing together key players to equitably + sustainably problem solve for a post-covid recovery + climate crisis.at the neighbourhood + town + city scale. Vibrant Places Inc. offers communities solutions to build back better and stronger.
Cross-Disciplinary Professional: Architectural + Urban Planning
Former Intern Architect + Registered Professional Planner
Gloria worked as an architectural intern for a decade in diverse cities, starting in Montreal, working on sensitive infills in Westmount, then with cutting edge organic/secessionist architects in Pecs, Hungary during its cultural renewal. She was later immersed in Vancouver's architectural rise in sustainability. In a comprehensive green pivot, she next embraced environmental + social resiliency at the city planning scale & registered as a planning professional at the Planning Institute of British Columbia (PIBC)+ the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP). Her launch project as a planning consultant won a PIBC Award for "The Visually Enhanced Zoning Bylaw for the City of New Westminster".
Past Urban Designer/Development Planner, City of North Vancouver
Gloria was invited to interview at the City of North Vancouver & became the City's Urban Designer/Development Planner, where she oversaw the urban design & developed the programming + public/gathering spaces for the new Civic Plaza, which included the final location for the new City Library ( with the first Lonsdale Energy Corp. distributed energy mini-plant below the parking). She introduced a café on the new City Library's façade facing the new Civic Plaza for proper "people buzz" vibrancy. The closer proximity between the new City Library on the new Civic Plaza and the newly renovated City Hall entry helped create a more intense people activity programming, along with the two sided benches with backs for seniors + nursing mothers, with one side facing a linear water feature, the others forming "u" shaped casual gathering hubs facing the café, all .enhanced by trees for shade (human creature comforts), She also oversaw the urban design of the associated north facing Vista Commons park space, behind City Hall, resulting from the land exchange for the new City Library. As a development planner, Gloria had exceptional insight into Council's and the public's vision for the neighbourhoods, and gave excellent guidance to applicant teams in her urban design + planning reviews, as she had a 99% rezoning success rate at Public Hearings on the files that she managed. She also updated a variety of zoning bylaws relating to architectural streetscapes.
NGO Innovator + Instructor
Founding Executive Director-Smart Growth Canada Network
Architectural + History of Art Instructor, former Royal Oak College, Vancouver, BC
Gloria was the Founding Executive Director of the Smart Growth Canada Network, where she was chief editor for the nine visually enhanced e-course modules on Canadian cities' success stories on implemented smart growth principles, with funding from Natural Resources Canada( NRCan) + Real Estate Foundation Of British Columbia (REFBC). She assembled a Canada-wide Steering Committee made up of sustainability NGOs to help create momentum for addressing climate change and celebrate successes. Gloria was also a part time, sessional instructor in architecture and art history at the former Royal Oak College, downtown Vancouver.
Urban Design + Development Consultant
Principal/Urban Designer Cityscape Design Inc.
She returned to consulting as a sole practitioner & worked on a number of innovative master plan feasibility studies, rethinking housing typologies to create more affordability & social connectedness, privately coached up & coming MetroVancouver developers as well as providing strategic research. Gloria was a Founding Board Member of the former Cascadia Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism and was Organizing Co-Chair of the Vancouver Summit called "The Business of Northwest New Urbanism + Bridging Sustainability + Aboriginal Values"
Project Management Certificate, (2020), Simon Fraser University
Urban Design Certificate (2005), Simon Fraser University
Charrette Management + Facilitation Training (2011), National Charrette Institute (US)
Charrette Planner Certificate Training (2005), National Charrette Institute (US)
Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Volunteer Award 2013
Sustainable Transportation Coalition
Planning Institute of British Columbia Honourable Mention-Comprehensive and Policy Plans-May 2003
Urbanitas Consulting Inc. Urban Designer/Principal (former)
“Visual Enhancements New Westminster’s Zoning Bylaw”
Volunteering + Governance + Mentorship
Gloria has developed an expertise in volunteer governance, having been a volunteer in numerous organizations and guiding volunteers in leadership roles, very much aligning with Volunteer Canada's guidelines. Mentoring volunteers to achieve their goals is one of Gloria's hallmark soft skills. These skills apply to community engagement + capacity building equally.
Planning Institute of BC
Chair, Continuous Professional Learning Committee (CPL) , Planning Institute of BC + CPL webinar presenter
Mentor, PIBC Mentorship Program, to two Candidate Members, with an interest in pedestrian oriented urban design + city building excellence.
Speakers' Committee, industry continuous learning program, development industry+ city building professionals, Phoenix Group.
Past Volunteer Roles
Thought Leader, past, Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, MetroVan's Built City Speaker Series.
Founding Board Member ,Cascadia Chapter of the Congress of the New Urbanism (CNU-C)
Organizing Co-Chair, CNU-C, Vancouver Summit, "The Business of Northwest New Urbanism + Bridging Sustainability & Aboriginal Values."
Heritage Inventory, Heritage Montreal: Protestant Church Inventory, downtown Montreal.
Intern Committee Member, Architectural Institute of BC,
Communications Committee, Architectural Institute of BC
Chair + Co-Founder, Architects in the Community neighbourhood assistance charrette program, Architectural Institute of BC
Policy Chair , BC Women's Liberal Commission (BCWLC-federal), full policy cycle.