Transplanting The Vancouver Model To The Middle East

<p>The man largely responsible for planning modern day Vancouver has found his next challenge in the Middle Eastern capital of Abu Dhabi.</p>
April 14, 2008, 7am PDT | Christian Madera | @cpmadera
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"When Larry Beasley received an e-mail from Abu Dhabi government headhunters more than two years ago, he dismissed it as spam.

Surely the last thing he needed days before he was set to retire after a 32-year career in Vancouver's planning department was another scam artist bothering him.

But another e-mail arrived, this time with more urgency. Then a phone call. Mr. Beasley thought he would humour the caller.

"I found out that they wanted me to develop a plan for [Abu Dhabi], that they wanted it to be one of the best cities in the world and that they had been doing a search for the person to lead the way," Mr. Beasley said during an interview at the lavish "seven-star" Emirates Palace hotel.

The youthful-looking 59-year-old's name kept popping up to the Emirati staffers, who were hearing about "the Vancouver Model," a world-renowned planning concept that tightly packs in high-density buildings while discouraging car traffic as much as possible."

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Published on Sunday, April 13, 2008 in The Province
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