Gaining Ground 2010 Conference – October 4-7, 2010

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“Eco-Logical” The Power of Green Cities to Shape the Future

Vancouver, BC October 4-7, 2010

Conference Location: downtown Vancouver campuses of BCIT, SFU and SFU Woodwards.


From Gaining Ground – The 2010 Gaining Ground Conference is targeted to practitioners and advocates across a range of fields working to advance and accelerate urban sustainability–in Vancouver and North America. Gaining Ground 2010 intends to promote Vancouver’s green economy, vision, culture, and achievements, and in all ways to assist Vancouver to become North America’s first ‘eco-logical’ city–making it a front-runner in green practice and economy much as it has been in urban design and city-making for two decades. In that regard, the conference is also designed to solidify Vancouver’s image as an urban sustainability transaction hub…the ‘head office’ for the exchange and presentation of green city knowledge and innovation.


The 2009 Vancouver debut conference established a solid legacy of accomplishment–almost one hundred partner organizations; a great platform for Mayor Gregor Robertson and the Greenest City Action Team; and, between the core conference and its shoulder program, almost two thousand participants.

By integrating a core conference program and a shoulder program spanning the interests of business, policy, professional practice, education and public engagement, Gaining Ground began last year to shift the conventional definition of ‘conference.’ It will refine this approach for 2010.

The upcoming conference underscores a growing belief that cities and city regions represent the best prospects for the shift to ecological practice and living, underscoring California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s convictions about “the tremendous role of sub-national governments in climate change mitigation” and the entire urban sustainability agenda. It aims to be a platform for important gains in ecological innovation and practice at the city/regional level. Fully titled EcoLogical: The Power of Green Cities to Shape the Future, it promotes alignment and stronger interaction between sectors: business, local government, civic leadership, communities, learning institutions, non-governmental and professional organizations.

This is exactly how and why ‘Vancouverism’ has succeeded brilliantly: all constituencies discovered the benefits, mutual advantages and opportunities flowing from collaboration; and this idea of beneficial collaboration is an important and unique part of what all the Gaining Ground conferences promote.

Gaining Ground/EcoLogical will address these opportunities:

  • Business transition to the green economy;
  • Aligning city vision and policy goals with constituent capacity;
  • Unifying civic assets and levers to ensure broad-based, durable support for a rapid green city shift;
  • Strategies for city-wide green learning, so all constituencies advance together;
  • Aligning city-making process with personal health and community well-being.

We anticipate that the conference setting will be a powerful attractor. We will be using the downtown ‘campuses’ of Simon Fraser University (plenary sessions will be centred at the new Woodwards facility) and British Columbia Institute of Technology: a walkable conference in the heart of Vancouver. The conference and a significant shoulder program keyed to the conference themes will be fully integrated. BCIT has ambitious plans to advance the sustainable practices agenda with a number of its constituent industry groups and to unveil the International Ecocity Standards developed since the 2009 conference.

This will also be the debut of the Gaining Ground Open Directory–a universal online tool designed to assist the mainstream user to easily access sustainability ideas and information, and to build online communities. (We believe this tool will provide significant branding opportunities for Vancouver and BC.)

Building on the exceptionally productive visit of Portland mayor Sam Adams and a dozen-strong team during the 2009 Gaining Ground conference, mayoral teams from a number of coastal and other cities will be invited to join Vancouver at Gaining Ground EcoLogical. And if circumstances permit, we hope to amplify entrepreneur Richard Branson’s recent “Carbon War Room” challenge announced in Vancouver (the charter city) by inviting partner global cities to promote this carbon reduction agenda at the conference.

We are sure we can promise a speaker roster of provocative thought leaders and a rich mix of workshops, salons, learning programs and networking events.

For more information, visit:

Watch a related video below (Host of Resilient Cities 2009, Gene Miller welcomes attendees to Vancouver’s conference):

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