Last night, Vancouver’s developers, designers, and planners alike helped welcome Vancouver’s new General Manager of Planning, Urban Design, and Sustainability Gil Kelley.

At the event hosted by the Urbanarium, Kelley gave an inspiring talk on what his new role means, highlighted some of his past planning successes and failures in Portland, San Francisco, and Berkeley, and shed some light on potential opportunities he sees for Vancouver. Although he has only been at his new job for two weeks, we are excited to see what he and his team of planners, along with the new General Manager of Development Services, Buildings and Licensing Kaye Matheny Krishna, have in store for raising the level of design discussion and planning processes in Vancouver.

Kelley characterized himself as a listener. His attitude toward questions posed to him last night proved that even further. Instead of suggesting quick answers based on his experiences in other west coast cities as solutions to Vancouver’s unique but similar problems relating to urban planning, he instead focused on describing why certain programs or initiatives were successful in their respective places. Among his self-cited accomplishments were leveraging funding from Bayer to support the Biotech Partners program in Berkeley, and Vision PDX.

As fellow city-builders, we are happy to welcome this new wave of leadership to Vancouver, and excited to meet you, Gil.