About Kari

Kari Huhtala has considerable experience in the preparation and implementation of community plans, policies, strategies, and initiatives.  He worked for more than 25 years as a senior professional planner with the Cities of Richmond and Vancouver, and the Corporation of Delta.  He has participated on numerous Metro Vancouver growth management, culture, livability and social plans.

For seven years, Kari was an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia`s School of Community and Regional Planning teaching a course on social planning policy.  He has served on community based non-profit boards (e.g. Society for Youth and Children, Child and Youth Friendly Communities Program, Children’s Play Resource Centre and others) and served on professional organization boards and committees (i.e. Planning Institute of British Columbia Council, British Columbia`s Building Bylaw Committee on Disability Access Code Improvements, etc.).

He was a founding and honorary board member of the Little Mountain Neighbourhood House Society, Heritage Hall Preservation Society and the Arthur Erickson Foundation.

Kari developed and managed the Richmond Public Art Program for many years.  He was instrumental in initiating the Richmond Olympic Oval public Art Plan and Strategy that led to the development of five major art works: by Janet Echelman’s“Water Sky Garden”), Buster Simpsom’s“Ice Blade”, Pratt and Campos’s “Sight Works”, and Tim Paul and Rod Sayershave’s “Hupakwanum”.

On heritage, arts and cultural planning, the work has included strategies and plans for Kelowna, Greater Vernon, Tofino, Pemberton, Surrey, Nanaimo, Strathcona County and Fort McLoud to name a few. 

He has extensive experience in working with First Nations artists in arts and culture, community involvement, planning and development marketing (i.e. Musqueam, Mt. Currie, Stellat’en, Simpcw, Fisher River Cree Nation, and Blackfoot Nation).

Kari has published numerous articles on a variety of topics, the most recent being “Cultural Planning in Canada”, Oxford Canada, 2016.  This article offers an introduction to cultural planning using three case studies: Kelowna, British Columbia; Kingston, Ontario; and Moncton, New Brunswick.  Cultural planning is a relatively new and rapidly developing area of municipal and regional planning, and these cases offer many lessons for smaller cities with limited financial and staff resources.

In 2016, Kari chaired a subcommittee of the Professional Standards for the Planning Profession in Canada that led to the accreditation of Master of Community Planning at Vancouver Island University.  His project "Surrey is Home: Immigrant Integration Research Project" received the 2017 Canadian Institute of Planning’s Award for Planning Excellence in the category of Social Planning. 

Kari can be contacted by email or phone at 604.613.0319. View a short resume of Kari.

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