Update: February 2009
I’m also now undertaking a part-time MBA at the University of British Columbia. Let’s see if that means I blog more or I blog less…
Update: May 2008
I recently took up a position as Economic Development Strategist at the Light House Sustainable Building Centre at Granville Island in Vancouver. I run the quarterly Market Insights program, which delivers in-depth analysis and market intelligence to the BC green building industry. This means I have to stay on top of all the latest news, track industry metrics and analyze policy issues, to turn this information into relevant knowledge for industry to utilize. This in turn means lots of material to include in this blog!
The bigger picture at Light House is that I manage and coordinate research as well as revenue generating projects in order to catalyze economic development in this sector. This in fact takes up a larger portion of my time, and is definitely where I see an opportunity to really catalyze the green building industry.
In the past year I’ve also joined the ULI BC Council as a member on the executive committee for the Young Leaders Group. My fellow committee members are all driven, bright and successful young real estate professionals who share a passion for best practices in land use and sustainable development. Being on this committee also gives me exposure to what is happening on the ground and provides a valuable network to bounce ideas off.
My name is Juvarya Warsi, and I’m a UK transplant who’s spent eight years on the West Coast – starting in San Francisco and now in Vancouver.
The idea behind this blog is that I start to document the process of real estate development ‘going green’. I work for a Vancouver developer with a good record of building sustainable communities that is now in the process of forming an official sustainability policy, and I will try to also keep this blog current with this process.
In the course of contributing to discussions on sustainability, I will report on any events and seminars I attend around the subjects of sustainable design, green building and affordable housing.
As the sustainability policy at my company comes together I will follow and evaluate the implementation process.
I graduated from the University of London at the School of Oriental and African Studies. I completed an undergraduate honours degree in Development Studies and Economics, which focused on development issues of the economies of developing and emerging countries. I also took courses in International Law and Human Rights.
Recently, I have completed a graduate management programme at the McRae Institute of International Management. While offering courses normally associated with graduate business programmes, McRae offers concurrent courses in cultural context, with a choice of Asia-Pacific or Latin American specialization. For instance, Strategic Management and Finance courses are complemented by the analysis of Asian news and politics, training in Asian historical traditions, and cross-cultural negotiation workshops.
As part of the McRae programme, I’m nearing completion of a 12-month co-op placement with a developer in Vancouver. I have assisted in the Development, Acquisitions and Communications departments and amongst the skills I have developed are analysis of potential sites and strategies for corporate and community relations.
My interest is still in sustainable urban development for both emerging and developed countries. According to UN statistics, some time about now the number of urban dwellers will overtake the number of rural dwellers for the first time in history. It’s crucial to make these urban resident’s cities livable, functional and sustainable. That isn’t the case for many large Asian cities right now and the status quo is undergoing some rethinking (see the Sri Lankan and Korean projects which the International Centre for Sustainable Cities is involved in). Outside of Asia, Vancouver is launching it’s EcoDensity initiative in order to deal with the accelerated inward migration from both other provinces and overseas while at the same time staying a sustainable (and affordable?) region.
I’ve also been lucky enough to have lived in the Middle East, Europe, North America, Australia and Asia. I’ve travelled extensively too, and am trying to learn Mandarin to go along with my native English and fluent Urdu.