Michael Mortensen, MA MCIP RPP – a Developer & Urban Planner

Mortensen Michael 04

Michael launched Liveable City Planning Ltd in Vancouver BC in 2016 with 20+ years of experience delivering transformative mixed-use real estate projects. A developer and a Member of the Canadian Institute of Planners, Michael understands private and public interests. In Vancouver, he worked in public service for a decade, first with CMHC Assisted Housing, and subsequently with the City of Vancouver as a Senior Planner with the City’s Major Projects team. His private sector experience includes projects at scale in Greater Vancouver, Toronto, and Los Angeles, and international experience leading development teams in Grosvenor’s London UK head office (2013-2016). Michael has served on the City of Vancouver’s Development Permit Board and the City of Surrey’s Urban Design Panel. He is an Adjunct Professor with UBC’s Sauder School of Business, teaching an MBA course in Real Estate Economics, Pro Formas, and Urban Planning.

www.liveablecityplanning.com for more information.


  1. Micheal

    My name is Jake Fry I own smallworks (www.smallworks.ca) which a company that advocated for and was the initial builders of Laneway homes in Vancouver

    Just read your post on the New vancouver special. Could not agree with these idea more. I taken a few project to city along these idea – none survived.

    I am a chum of Bob Ransford and run a non profit with him Smallhousing BC (www.smallhousing bc.org) – I am sure Bob mentioned this to you. Bob speak very highly of you.

    We discussed the is morning how we could turn your proposal into a great charette to further explore this idea.

    we could get some local people together along with the some city staff (i.e. Pat St Michelle)

    Are you coming back to Vancouver for a visit soon? iF so let us know and we could set something up

    By the way Bob thinks you should be the new head of planning. With ideas like this to increase ground orientated housing stock , you would have my support!



    1. Hi Jake,
      That’s very kind of you! I know of you through your excellent work – your reputation precedes you! Indeed, I do think we have to have a wider city-wide discussion to re-examine all types of housing in Vancouver to see how our neighbourhoods – in urban centres, the old streetcar suburbs and the low density postwar suburbs – can work harder to address affordability and accommodate more houseohlds in the face of Vancouver’s particular challenges. I am currently in London but can find my way back home to Vancouver early in 2016 for a charrette of some kind. Vancouver is rich in examples of innovative development like the type I describe – from Paul Merrick’s fine coach house designs at Cypress and 13th, to the late Art Cowie’s fee simple row houses at Cambie and 33rd. Lets chat some more – you can reach me at m4mortensen@gmail.com




  2. Hi Michael, my name’s Suzanne Ward and I am an interior designer. I just heard your bit on cbc and I love what you’re thinking re. new Vancouver Specials. Looked for a contact me spot on this site, but no luck. So I’ll post here: I would love to talk to you about your idea and where/how you see it taking off.

    Great work, and I think you’re timing is spot on, good luck with it!



    1. Thanks Suzanne! You can reach me at m4mortensen@gmail.com

      I think the prototypes are out there for all to see in the City, from the fee simple row houses that the late Art Cowie built on Cambie St. near 33rd Ave to the new infill enabled by the RT-10 and RT-11 guidelines. We have such a standard template of regular sized lots – 33 ft, 40 ft, 50 ft – by 120 ft – we should be able to create some stock plans that offer people quality design and that also speed the approval process. This ultimately brings the cost of new housing down – a key reason why the old Vancouver Specials became so common.

      I wanted to chat a bit about public involvement but did not have a lot of time on air. It is important because designs alone are inadequate – we need to have a city-wide conversation on this in the context of other ways of providing more affordable and appropriate housing options at a variety of scales. Not a process as long and protracted as CityPlan was – but something timely that creates a new options for infill across many Vancouver neighborhoods.

      Vancouver will always attract new investment from within Canada and from outside the country. What we need to do is to harness the energy of that capital and energy to create housing that meets current and future social needs. Replicating the 1950s suburbs is not going to help. Sensitive multifamily infill will.




  3. Hi – just read your comment to Suzanne and wanted to say that it would be amazing if you could help people create stock templates for converting large living rooms into bedroom + living room.



  4. Dear Michael

    Your presentation to the architecture and planning foreign students at UBC was so well received. Some called it revolutionary in their thinking about development. If you are around Vancouver in early August we would love to have an encore. Thanks for considering this!



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