SFU CED Public Lectures: Fostering Thriving Local Economies

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Discover how Community Impact Real Estate is tackling the commercial real estate affordability crisis and fostering inclusive local economies in Vancouver. 

In a city like Vancouver, real estate is inevitably at the centre of any discussion regarding the liveability of the City. The residential affordability crisis rightly takes centre stage in conversations around the future viability of neighbourhoods and their potential to provide a home to all residents. However, there is a parallel crisis in commercial real estate affordability that is often overlooked. Rising lease rates make it incredibly difficult for non-profits, social enterprises and, small businesses to remain in community close to the constituents they serve. In neighbourhoods like the Downtown Eastside that means residents are losing access to affordable goods and services and growing increasingly disconnected from the place they call home. Community Impact Real Estate was created to think differently about commercial real estate, disrupt the traditional leasing model and, work towards fostering inclusive local economies that provide opportunities for all residents to thrive and prosper. This session will examine the CIRES model and unpack the way commercial real estate can be leveraged to create cohesive, whole communities.


Our Executive Director, Steven Johnston is a seasoned executive with more than 18 years of experience in the not-for-profit sector, working to improve the social and economic circumstances of vulnerable populations. He began his career in community economic development at Dixon Hall in Toronto, where he played a key role in building and supporting innovative programming for at-risk residents in the inner city. He relocated to Vancouver in 2014 to lead Tradeworks Training Society, where he guided the growth and revitalization of the agency’s critical employment and social enterprise programs. The majority of his experience supporting populations facing barriers to employment, including concurrent disorders and homelessness, comes from working in two of Canada’s most challenged and impoverished urban communities: Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and Toronto’s Regent Park. He has developed, delivered, and led innovative programming to provide support and solutions to improve the lives of residents with a focus on income generation and grounded in social determinants of health perspective. He serves on a number of community boards, including the Advisory Board of the Binners’ Project, and is a mentor to many organizations in the Downtown Eastside.

All are welcome! Register here for the Zoom link 

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