The Urbanism Lab

The NCC’s Urbanism Lab is an innovative space where Canadians and leaders in urbanism, design, heritage and conservation, sustainability, and placemaking get together to inspire the future of Canada’s Capital Region.

Running between September 2018 and June 2019, season five promises to continue to create spaces where Canadians and leaders in urbanism, design, sustainability, heritage and conservation collectively inspire the future of Canada’s Capital Region.

Over the past four years, nearly 17,500 people have participated in one of the 50 Urbanism Lab events, either in person or via webcast. We expect that this season will attract thousands more. Here is a brief overview of our lineup.

Upcoming events

Walk This Way: Designing a Pedestrian Paradise

September 25, 2018
This panel will explore how to create spaces that contribute to the urban fabric as dynamic and multi-functional venues.


Gardens and a Healthy City

October 30, 2018
Presented in collaboration with Canadensis and the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association, this panel discussion will focus on the unique contributions to human health that gardens and picturesque landscapes provide.


Beyond Green Buildings

November 20, 2018
Presented in partnership with the Canada Green Building Council and the Embassy of the United States in Canada, this event will be hosted by The Royal Canadian Geographical Society in Ottawa. This panel discussion will seek to demonstrate how sound urban planning principles can contribute to building more resilient cities to help face the increasing pressures related to climate change.

The City and the Brain

December 13, 2018
Presented in partnership with Urban Forum, this panel will discuss new and innovative ways to analyze the built environment, by seeking to understand the neuroscience behind our experiences in public spaces. Why do some places fill us with joy, while others, we seek to avoid at all costs?

Metropolitan Governance and Big Data

January 2019
This panel discussion will review recent studies in regional governance and its impacts on everything from services to spatial design. How does big data play a role in shaping policy-making in large metropolitan areas?

Breathing New Life Into Old Buildings

February 2019
Presented during February to help mark Heritage Week, this panel will discuss how we can boldly push our thinking on the adaptive reuse of heritage buildings and whole neighbourhoods. Examples include the Monastère des Augustines in Québec City, the Galt Post Office in Cambridge, Ontario, and redevelopments in Detroit, Michigan. A symposium event will be held during the day, with an Urbanism Lab discussion in the evening.

From Digital Pathways to Urban Spaces

March 2019
Digital channels have changed the way we interact with our cities and their partner organizations. This Urbanism Lab event will explore how organizations are using digital engagement strategies to better connect with audiences and to enhance a city’s brand values.

Fantastic Trees and Where to Find Them

April 2019

This panel discussion will engage audiences on the importance of the urban tree, by presenting the findings of a tree canopy assessment completed in the National Capital Region, as well as new perspectives from other regions.

Living, Breathing Walls

May 2019

Green architecture and design have decreased the environmental impact of the built environment, but biophonic design takes it to the next level, recognizing the innate connection of humans to nature. By integrating nature into building design, we can see hospitals where patients heal faster, schools where children’s test scores are higher, and offices where workers are more productive.

National Indigenous Day

June 2019
The erosion of shorelines is presenting as a global challenge. This is of particular concern for Canada, which has the largest coastline in the world — and especially for Indigenous nations. Important heritage and legacy traces are being literally washed away. What exactly are the challenges we are facing, and what strategies have proven successful? Join us in this important discussion as we celebrate National Indigenous Day.

2017-2018 season

Watch the 2017-2018 season on Youtube.