Honouring Larry Beasley

Interior Designers of Canada (IDC) and the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) have presented Larry Beasley, former director of planning for the City of Vancouver, distinguished professor of planning at the University of British Columbia and founding principal of the international planning consultancy Beasley and Associates with the prestigious 2012 IDC/IIDA Leadership Award of Excellence. The award, which recognizes his outstanding contributions to the urban landscape and design esthetic of Vancouver, was presented at the second annual IDC/IIDA Vancouver Leaders Breakfast on February 9 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Also, celebrating the recent unveiling of Pixar Studios’ new Vancouver facility, Pixar art director Jay Shuster delivered the keynote address. 

Through his 30 years of service in Vancouver and beyond, Beasley has established himself as a global leader in the field of city planning. “Mr. Beasley’s impact on the Vancouver urban landscape is immeasurable,” says Alyssa Myshok, president of the Interior Design Institute of British Columbia (IDIBC) and member of the committee that selected Beasley as recipient of this award. “Throughout his career, he has championed a socially responsible approach to zoning, planning and design while fostering in Vancouver a vibrant urban community known the world over as one of the most livable in the world.”

As a leader of the New Urbanism movement and creator of the “Vancouver Model,” Beasley’s work has dramatically reshaped Vancouver’s inner city and contributed to the revitalization of several disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Today, he advises the private sector and governments around the world through his work as chair of the National Advisory Committee on Planning, Design and Realty of Ottawa’s National Capital Commission, chief advisor on Urban Design for the City of Dallas in the United States, member of the International Economic Development Advisory Board of Rotterdam in The Netherlands, and special advisor on city planning to the government of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

Beasley has studied architecture and has degrees in geography and political science (B.A.) and planning (M.A.). He has also been awarded two Honorary Doctorate Degrees (Hon. L.L.D.), from Simon Fraser University and Dalhousie University. He is a fellow of the Canadian Institute of Planners, an honorary member of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects and has been recognized as an “Advocate for Architecture” by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.  He is also a fellow of the Dallas Institute and sits on the Board of the Canadian Urban Institute.  In 2007, he received the Kevin Lynch Prize from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the most prestigious award in American planning. Beasley is a member of the Order of Canada, the nation’s highest honour for lifetime achievement.

“My vocation has been the design of cities, but my avocation and lifelong passion has been the design of everything else,” says Beasley. “I am fascinated by the design of things big and small – everything from regions and cities and the structures that occupy them to the smallest of design products.  For this reason, this award is particularly meaningful and I am deeply honoured to have been selected by the committee.”

As keynote speaker, Jay Shuster spoke about the challenges of leading a group of creative individuals that make up Pixar and the choice of Vancouver as the studio’s second home. He shared with attendees his creative leadership philosophy and his secret to staying fresh through a unique approach and process, underlining the importance of collaboration and being receptive to ideas coming from every member of a creative team.