woman and daughter

Building Community, together

Although environmental sustainability has quickly become mainstreamed into the way we design buildings, social sustainability and community building is often not embedded into new development plans. We aim to change this. Our goal is to make development of socially sustainable communities as systematic and streamlined as integrating LEED©, Built Green© or Step Code into new projects. We will help remove the guesswork and mystery of planning for enhancing community, and replace it with defined goals and outcomes.

How do we build community?

We’re doing this through a unique approach: we have defined a set of “Community Design Guidelines” that will be used to guide architects, engineers and ultimately builders on our projects. These guidelines reflect a coherent set of design principles and goals for our vision of building great communities. Our approach breaks down the design process into four realms – integrating design, programming, and policy strategies together while recognizing that all areas work together to build strong communities.

  1. Neighbourhood realm
  2. Building realm
  3. Unit design realm
  4. Programming & policy realm

We have design goals and principles for each realm. These guidelines will be shared with architects and developers delivering projects on our lands to ensure alignment with the Campus Communities vision.

How will developers use the Community Design Guidelines?

We look forward to discussing the guidelines with developers as we move forward and hearing your feedback and perspectives on how they can be improved and customized further for Abbotsford and Chilliwack. Our goal will be to find the common ground where developers can build great, successful projects while also building long-term socially sustainable communities.

What is social wellbeing?

Social wellbeing refers to the extent to which individuals and communities experience a sense of belonging, social inclusion, and overall satisfaction with their social relationships and connections. These connections include both casual encounters and deeper relationships with family, friends, neighbours, and the broader community. Social wellbeing is a core dimension of overall wellbeing, and is closely linked to mental, physical, and emotional health.


Realm 1:


Realm 2:


Realm 3:
Unit Design


Realm 4:
Programming & Policy

Envisioning the Future: Guiding Principles

We envisioned the following five key guiding principles for UFV Properties Trust

  • Ensure the University benefits from monies generated by Campus Communities;
  • Ensure the University’s core values are upheld;
  • Demonstrate leadership in the community and pursue new initiatives;
  • Independently identify and manage risks;
  • Engage and create a transparent dialogue with the First Nations 
  • Report results for performance against goals and targets, including environmental sustainability targets.
  • Ensure firm legal commitments are implemented to preserve access 
and use of shared spaces; and
  • Deliver both financial returns as 
well as intentional community goals.
  • Ensure projects earn a return on investment from non-core lands, and this investment is returned to the university to benefit students.
  • Investigate early revenue opportunities to minimize debt;
  • Streamline administration work to keep overhead low;
  • Contemplate Phasing infrastructure costs to match revenues;
  • Develop a housing product that bridges economy, liveability and innovation;
  • Consider diversified housing forms and revenue sources;
  • Explore rental buildings and recurring income; and
  • Generate density analyses and business case reviews for each project.
Environmental Sustainability
  • Consider innovative housing forms such as pocket neighbourhoods, live-work spaces, cohousing-like shared resources, aging-in-place designs, micro suites, flexible home designs with student-friendly 
lock-off suites;
  • Explore collaboration between UFV and new neighbourhood to allow use of university facilities (e.g. fitness) during non-peak periods (summer, weekends and evenings);
  • Ensure clear boundaries between UFV Campus lands and new development projects in a definitive yet visually permeable way (landscaping and soft borders);
  • Incorporate and embrace flexibility in design, to accommodate changes to technology and infrastructure;
  • Be open-minded to renewable energy technologies; and
  • Create career opportunities for UFV grads in planning, design and ultimately tenant selection.
  • Foster a mixed-age, socially diverse community or ’village’ atmosphere;
  • Create a pedestrian-friendly environment designed to celebrate the human scale, not the car;
  • Create intentional community gathering spaces with flexible programming to allow for a variety of uses;
  • Create vibrant outdoor spaces that are active throughout the day;
  • Celebrate Canada’s cultural mosaic by including Indigenous and non-indigenous art/design into community gathering spaces;
  • Incorporate community gardens and community workshops;
  • Consider opportunities for shared vehicles, bicycles and e-bikes;
  • Produce marketing programs aimed at attracting people energized by intentional community elements and neighbourhoods; and
  • Provide gathering places that overcome social isolation (e.g. homes with porches close to the public realm to activate the street)
Intentional Community Elements
  • Celebrate and preserve surrounding viable trees/nature;
  • Promote native planting that increases habitat for native birds and insects;
  • Create walkable trails connecting to/from campus;
  • Integrate bike paths/lanes where possible and safe;
  • Align with and support current and future local public Transit routes;
  • Promote Electric Vehicle charging stations where possible;
  • Support work-from-home “live-work” initiatives to lessen reliance on cars;
  • Reduce asphalt and incorporate natural stormwater management when feasible;
  • Incorporate sustainable building practices where practical/prudent;
  • Encourage Third-Party certifications of sustainable standards; and Consider District Energy opportunities.
Environmental Sustainability

Envisioning the Future: UFV Properties Trust

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