CityStudio Abbotsford finds new home in historical downtown

CityStudio Abbotsford now has a home.

The CityStudio Hub is located in the newly renovated Centennial Building in the heart of historical Abbotsford.

The new home for the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association (ADBA), Tourism Abbotsford, UFV CityStudio Abbotsford, and Banter Ice Cream has officially opened.

The renovated Centennial Building – the former Matsqui Centennial Library at 33660 South Fraser Way, next to Jubilee Park.

Mayor Henry Braun said the building will be a key community gathering space and innovation hub within the growing Historic Downtown.

A multi-purpose, classroom-like space has been generously provided by the City of Abbotsford as part of the CityStudio Abbotsford initiative originally launched in 2018.

The space will serve to further the experimentation and civic innovation that springs from a close collaboration between UFV students, faculty, and City of Abbotsford staff. The CityStudio Hub will host academic activities, workshops, post-project showcases, and a variety of other formal and informal events that will benefit both students and the community at large.

To facilitate creativity and advance student skills set and career readiness while working on addressing civic challenges, the CityStudio Hub will be equipped with the latest in touch-screen technology. This will provide a dynamic environment to brainstorm, prototype, and present. The new space will also offer a welcoming place for networking and mentorship through close professional ties with City partners. The CityStudio Hub in the Centennial Building is expected to host student art work that pertains to past and present CityStudio projects and reflects upon student values and knowledge as empowered and engaged citizens.

President Joanne MacLean speaks at the opening of the renovated Centennial Building.

The activities within the new space will be conducted in accordance with public health advisories due to ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and in continuous consultations and compliance with the City of Abbotsford’s and UFV’s safety protocols and timelines.

While the new space is awaiting the time when it is safe to  welcoming students, the work of CityStudio continues with three important projects this Fall. Dr. Afia Raja’s Geography class is working closely with the City in the field of data analysis.

The students from Dr. Kim Milnes’ class are engaged in prototyping innovative and web presence for the CityStudio Abbotsford model itself.

As well, Dr. Cherie Enns’ class is engaged in an urban planning class that conducts best practices research and case studies in the area of repurposing public spaces using the equity, inclusivity and social justice lens.

Enns’ students are expected to collaborate with multiple stakeholders within the Fraser Valley region through an adjacent community art project that will further enrich their educational journey and raise civic awareness.

Students at a previous CityStudio event.

“City Studio takes problem-based learning to another level. Students interact with community leaders and civic officials to address challenges facing our region. The city studio team is a great asset to collaborative learning process,” comments Enns.

Larissa Horne is UFV’s Experiential Education Coordinator and she is excited about the new home for CityStudio Abbotsford.

“The CityStudio Hub in the Centennial Building will be a great place for innovation in experiential learning, providing a dynamic environment to experiment, prototype and present. It will enhance students’ educational journey and their career preparedness, as well as serve the betterment of our community.”

Going forward, the CityStudio HUB in the Centennial Building will serve as a place to meet, learn, and grow.

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