UniverCity

May 1, 2009

Campuses removed from city life tend to result in the sort of students who think nothing of showing up for a lecture in their PJs—no way to mould tomorrow’s engaged citizens. Since our two main campuses are positioned at the tip of a peninsula (UBC) and atop a mountain (SFU), the bustle and variety of the city must be imported. At SFU, one effort at transitioning to living village is well under way. By the time the 160-acre UniverCity matures, 4,500 houses will fill with 10,000 young parents and singletons. The development, though, is as far from student housing as can be, and the university’s semi-permanent population of 1,750 students is oblivious to its new neighbour. Yasser Ismail, an interdisciplinary fine-arts student, said, “No, I haven’t been there at all—I mean, I don’t have a car.” Those who do make the five-minute walk will discover an eerie Pleasantville: every tower is the colour of parched earth, with the exception of the Altaire, which tiptoes into seafoam. Winding roads lead to buildings with names like Serenity and Harmony, finally capitalizing on the million-dollar views impoverished students have been sucking up for free all these years.

 

DEMOGRAPHICS:
• 36% of residents are affiliated with SFU
• Average household income is $68,174
• Population density is 15,455 per km2
(Metro Vancouver: 735.6 per km2)

WHERE TO EAT
Renaissance Café
Beloved by flirting students and frumpy professors, this first amenity for UniverCity was opened
in late 2004. Fittingly, it sits by the bus loop, where the homeowner zone and the university’s concrete acropolis stare at each other. Prices are happily biased toward students: $4.50 gets you a sturdy panino and soup.

 

ON THE WAY
Daycare Centre
Proposed as a “living building,” this off-grid complement to the freshly minted elementary school is meant to have a carbon footprint befitting the miniature booties that rustle its floors.

Nesters Market
Every insta-community’s finishing touch: the boutique grocer.

Gondola
Students may forego diesel buses and ascend in pods from the Production Way SkyTrain Station.

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