Urban Land Advisors provides strategic land-use planning and development advice to governments, agencies, and institutions across Canada and internationally to help them achieve their their development goals and support their core mission in ways that also builds community - leveraging public land for public good.

Public Land for Public Good



Urban Land Advisors Inc., provides strategic land-use planning and development advice to governments, agencies and institutions across Canada and internationally – helping our clients leverage public land for public good.

Urban Land Advisors builds on the 30+ year track record of Harris Consulting Inc., an independent planning consultancy founded by Gordon Harris in 1988, and further leverages the collective experience and knowledge of a senior team with extensive experience in planning and development, as well as in governance and finance.

From 2007 until 2020 Gordon served as the President and CEO of SFU Community Corporation, where he led the planning and development of UniverCity. UniverCity is an international award-winning low-carbon urban community on the endowment lands of Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia. Net proceeds from this development are used to support teaching and research at SFU.

The Urban Land Advisors

Gordon Harris, Principal

Gordon is a city planner, urban land advisor and author who, as President and CEO of SFU Community Trust (2007-2020), led the planning and development of UniverCity, a complete community of 9,000 people on the endowment lands owned by Simon Fraser University in Burnaby B.C. For 35 years Gordon has also been an independent consultant and urban land advisor, focused on helping public-sector and institutional clients unlock the value of their land assets to support their institutional missions while also building community. Clients include universities and colleges across Canada and in Australia, as well as NGOs and all levels of government in Canada, Central America, and Europe. Gordon is a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Planners and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. He has served on the National Capital Commission’s Advisory Committee on Planning, Design and Realty, and on the boards of Presentation House (now Polygon Gallery), the BC Arts Council and the Vancouver Contemporary Art Gallery. He is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal for his lifetime contribution to community building in Canada. A frequent presenter at international conferences and lecturer at universities across Canada, Gordon has a BA in Urban Geography from the University of Alberta. He is the author of Building Community: Defining, Designing, Developing UniverCity, and of the upcoming sustainable development text, Urban Waste Land.

Chuck Brook

Chuck Brook brings four decades of experience in development planning in both the private and public sectors. He is a widely recognized expert in preparing and securing approvals for large, mixed-use, multi-phase comprehensive plans and development applications, and in designing and implementing public engagement strategies. Specialty areas include: development advice for land holdings; asset strategies for public land portfolios; high-level land use negotiations; and, expert witness services. Chuck joined the City of Vancouver in 1986 as Senior Development Planner. In 1988, he founded Brook Development Planning Inc., a consultancy that managed or contributed to numerous development and rezoning applications, including on large, multi-phase urban waterfront and transit-oriented projects. Since 2013, Chuck has worked independently as an advisor to private- and public-sector clients, specializing in: real estate asset management plans and land-use strategies; feasibility studies; site identification, assessment and selection; and complex negotiations. A past director of the Urban Development Institute and member of the Squamish Nation Advisory Design Panel, Chuck has a Masters in Architecture and Urban Design from the University of Manitoba.

Gary Brewer

Gary Brewer is a results-oriented executive with more than 25 years in senior leadership at York University. During his 15 years as the Vice-President Finance and Administration, the University financed and completed well over $1 billion in capital projects in support of its academic mission. Gary then served for three years as president of the York University Development Corporation (YUDC), leading development and business planning for York University’s Markham Campus expansion, initiating and managing construction of the $300-million Markham Campus capital project, and developing and implementing an innovative approach to selecting a private-sector development partner to design, build, finance and operate a 500-bed student residence on campus. Gary served for 20 years on the YUDC board, as well as for seven years on the board of the Canadian Association of Business Officers (CAUBO) and four years on the Ontario Education Cooperative Marketplace (OECM) board. He was a founding member of CAUBO’s Faculty Bargaining Services Steering Committee and was CAUBO President in 2008/09. Gary has an MBA from the University of Toronto.

Brad Foster

Brad Foster has spent more than 20 years helping public sector entities leverage their real estate assets to generate vital capital for reinvestment in public services and infrastructure. In sectors including advanced education, health care, housing, and transportation, Brad has worked with the University of British Columbia, Vancouver Coastal Health, and TransLink, on strategic land-use planning and development of large-scale mixed-use communities and individual residential, health care, and commercial developments. With BC Housing, Brad managed a $400-million financing portfolio for the development of affordable housing across British Columbia.

Prior to his career in real estate, Brad spent 10 years as a sought-after communications and marketing professional with leadership positions in major technology and cultural organizations.

Brad serves on the board of the Vancouver chapter of the Lambda Alpha Land Economics Society. He has a degree in Business from Mount Royal University and in Commerce and Communications from the University of Calgary.

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Building Community

Services & Approach

Urban Land-use Strategies

Public Land Development Strategies

Land Governance Strategies

Asset Management Strategies

Community Growth Strategies

Building community at any scale must start with the exploration of how all the pieces will fit together. Urban Land Advisors Inc. begins with an understanding of the underlying market dynamics and other external influences that will help shape a project and determine its potential viability, feasibility, and suitability.

We bring expertise in community engagement and organizational change and capacity to projects, with the understanding that that good processes lead to better outcomes. Working with clients to manage change and build capacity helps ensure successful implementation.

Urban Land Advisors Inc. is determined that every project for every client must build equity and the best way to do so is by creating urban features and connections that enhance livability, optimize longevity and sustainability, and focus on resilience. In other words, we help build communities that work in the real world.

Our land demand assessments, market positioning, and land allocation strategies are all rooted in an in-depth understanding of prevailing and anticipated market conditions and influences.

Our approach places profitable sustainability at the forefront, ensuring that our work creates value while supporting our clients’ core mission and enhancing the livability, longevity and resilience of the built environment.

We provide our services to a wide range of organizations involved in the planning, development, and use of urban land in Canada and abroad, including public landowners and developers, all levels of government, foundations, institutions, and non-governmental agencies. Typical projects range in scope and scale from development strategies for small urban infill sites and neighbourhoods to complete communities.

Representative Projects

UniverCity – from 2007 to 2020 Gordon Harris led the planning and development of UniverCity, the award-winning sustainable community on Burnaby Mountain in Metro Vancouver. This low-carbon community is being developed on lands owned by Simon Fraser University and is creating endowment wealth to support teaching and research at SFU. UniverCity is demonstrating global leadership in profitable sustainability through livable, affordable, and sustainable urban development.

York University (Keel Campus) Vision and Strategy – Gordon Harris provides on-going strategic advisory services to the York University Development Corporation in support of the planning of 68 hectares of non-core lands surrounding the Keele Campus in Toronto. This ambitious project will see university endowment lands developed over the coming decades with proceeds from university and market development going to support York’s mission and key goals and objectives while creating community within and adjacent to its campus.

Canberra (Australia): City to the Lake – as part of an ambitious and ongoing urban renewal initiative in downtown Canberra, Gordon Harris teamed with Beasley & Associates in 2016 to deliver an intensive program of workshops, master classes, and public presentations on city building, community development, and public engagement. This work leveraged experience in Vancouver and at UniverCity to help the Australian Capital Territory government advance a plan that will renew the build environment and accommodate an expanded population in the heart of Australia’s capital city.

Toronto Office Coalition – in partnership with the Canadian Urban Institute, Gordon Harris helped produce “Business Competitiveness in the GTA: Why Toronto is Losing Ground.” This major research study for institutional and other land owners looked at the impact of property tax inequities between Toronto and surrounding suburban jurisdictions and explored the implications for regional development patterns.

University of Alberta – as part of a team led by Stantec, provided land development strategy and business risk advice for the planning of a 13-hectare Michener Park lands owned by the University of Alberta.

University of Ottawa – assisted the university in determining on-campus student housing needs and assessed redevelopment opportunities for existing student housing sites. Also developed a roadmap for renewing student housing supply through third-part partnerships.

Australian National University – as part of an international team led by Civitas Urban Design and Planning, Gordon Harris participated in the creation of a comprehensive urban design framework for the Union Court/University Avenue precinct at the Australian National University in Canberra. The urban design framework introduces a wide mix of urban uses including retail, office space, residential, and public open space in an academic setting to more fully integrate this campus entrance with the Canberra city core.

Canada Line – during the intensive construction of the Canada Line, the 19-kilometre rapid transit line linking downtown Vancouver with the Vancouver International Airport, Gordon Harris and his team developed an extensive Business Liaison Program to assist businesses in in major retail precincts in downtown Vancouver, along the Cambie Street corridor, and in Richmond. The program helped reduce construction impacts on nearby businesses and positioned them for best performance when the line opened, just before the 2010 Olympic Games.

Powell Street / Port Lands Industrial Study – in collaboration with CitySpaces Consulting, Gordon Harris undertook a comprehensive analysis of the extent and role of Vancouver’s port-related industrial lands. The study’s conclusions and strategic directions, based on an investigation of global port cities’ industrial strategies and policies, gave the City of Vancouver guidance in protecting the valuable industrial portland assets and strategies for providing opportunities for industrial land expansion.

Ontario Tech University – completed an asset management strategy for Ontario Tech’s 200-acre land base in Oshawa, and continue to provide strategic land-use planning support. Working with the university and Ernst & Young, also managing the selection of a third-party provider of new student housing on the North Oshawa Campus.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University – Provided extensive support in the creation of a KPU Communities Trust, a new, wholly owned subsidiary mandated to establish new communities and enterprises that complement the university’s official campus plan and generate revenues that will support KPU’s mandate.

Strategic Alliances

Urban Land Advisors collaborates with other firms and organizations across a wide range of design and technical disciplines to ensure that each client benefits from access to a diverse and accomplished team of consultants. The following firms, along with other organizations are among our established alliances:


416-302-0139 | info@urban-land.ca

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  • University of Alberta – Land development strategy for 13-hectare Michener Park lands.
  • Ontario Tech University – Completed an asset management strategy for the university’s 200-acre land holdings.

  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University – Provided strategic support to KPU in the creation of KPU Communities Trust.