Research Team


  • Nathanael Lauster, UBC Sociology – Professor Lauster is a sociologist and sometime demographer at the University of British Columbia who primarily studies housing, cities, urban policy, home, and households. In addition to numerous articles, Nathan is also the award-winning author of The Death and Life of the Single Family House: Lessons from Vancouver on Building a Livable City (Temple University Press). He blogs at
  • Jens von Bergmann, Mountainmath – Jens von Bergmann holds undergraduate degrees in Physics and Computer Sciences and a PhD in Mathematics. He taught for several years at the University of Calgary, University of Notre Dame and Michigan State University before founding MountainMath to work on his passion of data analysis and visualization.

Graduate Research Assistants

  • Meryem Belkadi, UBC SCARP – Meryem has a 6-year professional degree (BArch) and qualification in architecture from her home country of Morocco, and she completed a Master in Community Planning at the University of Cincinnati, as a Fulbright Scholar. Prior to starting her PhD in Community and Regional Planning at the University of British Columbia, she worked for five years as an urban designer in Morocco, South Africa, as well as the United States. As a designer, she was always interested in researching the impact of zoning regulations on urban forms and urban spaces, and this project is a great opportunity to explore this urban question in a new country and a new city. In this project, she is taking part in developing the GIS zoning maps.
  • Nick Chretien, UBC Sociology – Nick is a Masters student working out of the sociology department at UBC, under the supervision of Dr. Nathan Lauster. He completed his undergrad at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, with a major in sociology and a minor in history. His Masters thesis is a qualitative study that focuses on how people living in their vehicles remain connected to the urban technological grid in Metro Vancouver. His research interests in urban and historical sociology have complemented both his interest and involvement in this project.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

  • Desiree Gabriel, UBC – Desiree is a 4th year undergrad student studying Environmental Geography and Urban Studies. After taking a short but fulfilling urban studies course in Italy, she was determined to focus her energy on urban planning within the Metro Vancouver area, where she was born and raised. She enjoys all types of experiences that pertain to urban life, such as working with different urban communities, spending time in green spaces, attending community events, or analyzing codes for a sociology zoning project. At UBC, Desiree is an exec for the Environmental Policy Association and Humanitarian Organization for Providing Empowerment, and participates in many initiatives led by the Center for Community Engaged Learning. On her off time, you can find Desiree eating at her favourite local eateries such as Manpuku in Chinatown or John 3:16 in Richmond. Support your local businesses! 
  • Susie He, UBC – Susie grew up in Calgary, Alberta before moving to Vancouver to pursue an Honours in Human Geography at UBC. Passionate about migration, urbanism and placemaking, Susie plants to pursue a career in urban planning. Susie has been involved in the community by volunteering at the Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre of BC and UBC Social Enterprise Club. In her free time, she can be found exploring Vancouver, taking care of her house plants and making art.
  • Max Kittner, UBC – Max Kittner is a fourth year currently studying Geography and Urban Studies. Raised in the Washington, DC area, he has been riding the Metro since before he could remember. From a family of artists, Max found his niche dreaming of fictional cities and drawing their maps, distracting him from the struggle of fifth-grade math. Little did he realize that his distractions in class would drive a passion for urbanism, planning and transport. Nowadays, you can find him working on various projects at his website In his free time, Max likes DJing at CITR, biking in Vancouver and eating chocolate.
  • Chris Nurse, UBC – Chris is going into his third year as an undergraduate student in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture with a minor in Urban Studies. Growing up in the city of Toronto, ON, Chris has always had a passion for all things urban and is excited to see what he can do with the Metro Vancouver Zoning Project. His academic interests lie in using research in city planning to solve the problems for a future faced with unprecedented urbanization and development! Apart from his studies, Chris is fascinated with exploring architecture and the built environment, using each opportunity he can get to travel into the neighbourhoods of every city he visits. 

3 responses to “Research Team”

  1. Helmut Pastrick


    The Burns Bog Conservation Area in Delta is shown incorrectly as industrial.

    The City of Delta does not classifies this area as industrial

    1. nlauster

      Thank you for this! I can see that an effort was made to rezone Burns Bog to match the Conservancy designation in 2013, as per this document: – but I don’t have a record of whether the rezoning effort was successful, and so far Burns Bog remains zoned as I3 “industrial” in our zoning dataset, even though it is also a protected Conservancy area. Currently you can turn on the “Vancouver Parks and Schools” layer, which recognizes the Conservancy Area designation and removes Burns Bog from industrial zoning. But until we get confirmation of the rezoning, we don’t want to lose the official designation we’ve got. We’ll keep looking into this, but also please let us know if you’ve got a record of successful rezoning we can turn to, in which case we’ll be happy to update our zoning codes for the site.

  2. Patricia


    In Port Moody the blue area mapped as industrial where Thrifty Foods is located should be high rise CD. There are currently 3 residential towers with 2 more towers almost complete. The area is known as Suter Brook and it is TOD area.

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