Canadian Institue Of Planners

Shaping our Communities
Sustaining Canada's Future.

David R. Witty FICU

Dave has combined academia and practice much of his career. He has volunteered extensively where he has lived (Bowen Island, Nanaimo, Winnipeg) believing that ‘giving back’ is a key attribute for professionals who have been blessed with the opportunity to help shape communities and, through that, community quality of life.
Since the early ‘70’s, Dave has practiced across Western Canada from the Lakehead to the west coast of Vancouver Island and into the high Arctic. He has completed assignments as a Senior Planner with the Province of Manitoba; Chief Planner, Parks Canada: Prairie Region (including the Yukon and Northwest Territories); Principal Hilderman Witty Crosby Hanna and Associates, an award-winning Winnipeg and Saskatoon firm of landscape architects and planners; and Principal, Senior Partner and Director Urban Systems Ltd., a multi-disciplinary firm. He has advised large cities, rural communities and First Nations in areas of urban design, community planning and resource impact assessment. Since the early 80s, he has been a proponent for the use of charrettes to help communities shape their future. Between 2008-11, he assisted the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council by conducting urbanism courses and urban design workshops for Emirati professionals.
During the early nineties, when he took a sabbatical to complete his doctorate, Dave was Acting Director, Continuing Professional Programs and Co-ordinator of the Certificate in Site Planning at the School of Community and Regional Planning, UBC. In the late 90s, he helped to develop and teach in the award-winning Certificate in Urban Design at Simon Fraser University.
He was Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, University of Manitoba (2001-2009). At the time, the Faculty was the largest design and planning Faculty (architecture, city planning, environmental design, interior design and landscape architecture) in Canada. Dave served as Provost and Vice-President (Academic) at Vancouver Island University located in Nanaimo (2010-2018). At both institutions, he has taught design and planning studios, often in remote First Nations.
Dave has been appointed as a Member of three Canadian Environmental Assessment Review Panels. He chaired the Winnipeg Heritage Advisory Committee and helped to develop the Area’s Design Guidelines, one of the first of their kind in Canada. He has served as a member of the International Advisory Board, Centre for African Settlement Studies and Development, and a number of regional bodies, including Smart Growth BC where he was a Founding Director. For 12 years, he served on the Advisory Committee for Planning, Design and Realty, National Capital Commission, Ottawa. He was founding chair of the City of Winnipeg’s Urban Design Advisory Committee. Dave is a founding member of the Council for Canadian Urbanism and was appointed an Honorary Member in 2010. He has juried several urban design awards, nationally and internationally. He is a former Chair of the Manitoba Professional Planners Institute (formerly MACIP), former President of the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) and was founding Chair of the Canadian Healthy Communities Project. He served the Planning Institute of British Columbia as Chair, Membership Committee. He was elected a Fellow of CIP in 1998. As part of the FutureFORWARD Task Force, he received the President’s Award, “in recognition of an outstanding lifetime contribution to professional planning in Canada.” Dave was a member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.
Throughout his career, Dave has been committed to the notion that theory informs practice and practice informs theory. To that end, he has written numerous planning articles and delivered papers at national and international conferences. In 2001, he authored CIP’s Professional Practice Manual. He is the recipient of several awards, including the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects National Honour and a Regional Merit Award (as part of Hilderman Witty and Associates). He was the 2010 Elite Visiting Scholar, Hong Kong Baptist University.
He continues to advocate for quality urban planning and design through writings, lectures, invited presentations and community service, and selected consulting projects.