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2011 Integrated Neighbourhood Development

City of Burnaby, British Columbia, and the SFU Community Trust

UniverCity Community at Simon Fraser University

The initial architectural plans for Simon Fraser University (SFU) in 1963 conceived of a dense residential community surrounding the new university. In 1995, SFU and the City of Burnaby began working together to create a compact, mixed-use and transit-oriented residential community, founded on principles of sustainability. City staff, the university and the public undertook a cooperative planning process that ultimately led to city council's adoption of the SFU Official Community Plan (OCP) and new zoning district in 1996.

The UniverCity community is currently home to about 3,000 residents, with plans to accommodate more than 10,000 when fully built. It is located on Burnaby Mountain, within walking distance to SFU, and is only a 25-minute drive east of downtown Vancouver. The community is also served by several public transit routes. Each neighbourhood has its own elementary school and park, while a commercial core, recreational and child care facilities, and an extensive network of pedestrian and bike paths serve the UniverCity community as a whole.


  • More than 36 per cent of UniverCity residents use public transit, and only 50 per cent of UniverCity residents commute by car.
  • The zoning bylaw's new green building requirements specify that buildings must be 35 per cent more water-efficient and 30 per cent more energy-efficient than the provincial building code.
  • The average home in UniverCity uses 16,916 KWh of energy each year, 13 per cent less than the Metro Vancouver average of 22,744 KWh.
  • A comprehensive stormwater management system, consisting of detention ponds, infiltration chambers and an extensive network of open watercourses and bioswales, mimics natural processes and returns nearly 100 per cent of stormwater to the ground at pre-runoff quality.
  • The SFU Trust is finalizing the design of a neighbourhood energy utility (NEU), comprised of a biomass plant that would provide all space heating and hot water for the campus, and reduce GHG emissions by an estimated 10,860 tonnes per year.
  • Supported by net revenues from the development, the UniverCity initiative has generated a $25 million endowment to support teaching and research at SFU, and it is estimated that the completed project will generate $150-170 million for the fund.
  • New zoning regulations allow legal secondary suites in 50 per cent of units, increasing the community's supply of affordable housing.


Page Updated: 21/12/2015