Canadian Institue Of Planners

Shaping our Communities
Sustaining Canada's Future.

Gerald Hodge, PhD

 
Gerald HodgesGerald Hodge commenced his work in planning when Baby Boom children and their families had to be accommodated in our cities and towns. He had just earned a master's degree from the University of California at Berkeley. Today, in his retirement, he ponders how communities can best respond to the surge of now much-older boomers, the subject of his newest book, The Geography of Aging: Preparing Communities for the Surge in Seniors. Over these fifty years, heattained a doctorate from MIT, returned to Canada to teach planning (first at UBC, then at Toronto, Queen's, and Simon Fraser), conducted extensive research on regional development issues (especially the viability of small towns), consulted on public policy issues (including a second airport for Toronto), became a film producer, a CBC radio commentator, a jazz deejay, and wrote (or co-wrote) four books.

Several concerns dominated his practice. Small communities and rural regions and their prospects and resilience were a prime focus; this led to Towns and Villages in Canada: the Importance of Being Unimportant (1983), with M.A. Qadeer. First Nations' communities such as Moose Factory ON, where he lived for a year and advised the local band, also figured in this concern. He considered the voice of the citizenry vital for planning and he walked the talk when development seemed inappropriate: waterfront development in Kingston, a lakeshore airport in Toronto, a freeway through downtown Vancouver. Planning Canadian Communities, which emerged in 1986, came out of his realization that Canadian planning is distinctive and needed to be recognized; four editions have followed with David Gordon collaborating on the latest. Since Canada's regional planning is also distinctive, and deserved its own book, he published Planning Canadian Regions (2001) with Ira Robinson. Long before he turned 65; his concern about the adequacy of community environments to support the activities and independence of seniors showed in his reports and articles and is now more evident with his new book.

In between times, he served as director of the planning school at Queen's (1973-86), editor of Plan Canada (1979-81), a member of the National Advisory Council on Aging (1994-8), and produced a film series about seniors, Harvest of Age. Born in Vancouver, he now lives with his wife, Sharron, on Hornby Island where he continues to write and pursue his lifelong passions for photography and jazz.