When a group of UBC urban design students unveiled their vision for Surrey's future, something was notably absent — cars.
The team has spent the last three years mapping out what Surrey could look like in the year 2060.
In their glimpse 42 years into the future, the large and often-packed parking lot at Guildford Town Centre is gone and the sprawling automall across the street is a fraction of its current size.
The vacant space has been filled with affordable housing units, green space and a series of walkable corridors that connect the neighbourhood.
"Maybe we don't need to accommodate the car so much," said Scot Hein with UBC's School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.
"With the impact economically on land and how we use land, we're not necessarily building to store cars anymore, we're building for people. It can be hugely transformative."
After the plan was revealed this week at SFU's Surrey campus, Mayor Linda Hepner, former B.C. premier Mike Harcourt and SFU City Program director Andy Yan had a panel discussion on the future of the city.
Hein and his colleague, Patrick Condon, gave their students three specific areas of Surrey to focus on — Anniedale, Guildford and a section of land near the Scott Road SkyTrain Station.
The team spent a year on each neighbourhood, mapping out what they'd like it to look like decades from now.
Much of the industrial land around Scott Road station is preserved, but a large concert venue and arena have injected some life into the area.
Harcourt said the area reminds him of what False Creek looked like when he was mayor of Vancouver in the early 1980s.
"It's taking an old rail and industrial area and transforming its use, for example," he said.
"Opening up the waterfront to the public, to green space, pathway, biking. Combining uses. Not just industrial use but mixed use."
Hepner liked how the students made the Fraser River more accessible.
"I once said that I want to get activated waterfront that would get kids down there somehow," she said.
"I was pleased to see that they actually activated the waterfront. A bit of a boardwalk and things to do."
The linchpin for the team's vision for Guildford is light rail transit.
A pedestrian walkway that features plants and greenery connects a mall above 104 Avenue near a transit hub at the intersection of 152 Street.
In Anniedale, Hein pictures a farm attraction similar to Persephone Brewing's "beer farm" on the Sunshine Coast as a catalyst to attract developers.
"I think Surrey is one of the most exciting cities in Canada," Harcourt said after watching the presentation.