Paul Rosenau

William Paul Rosenau, BA, BLArch, MA, (born March 7, 1961, Edmonton, Alberta) is a Canadian urban planner and architect whose company EKISTICS Town Planning Inc. practices site sensitive and ecologically sustainable design in the field of urban design, site planning and resort architecture.

Rosenau studied at Trinity Western University (TWU) and the University of British Columbia (UBC). He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Geography from TWU in 1982, a Bachelor's degree in Landscape Architecture from UBC in 1987, and a Master’s degree in Urban Design from UBC in 1987. He began lecturing at UBC the following year, and became an adjunct professor in 1995. Rosenau has also been a guest speaker in the Simon Fraser University City Program. He now lectures internationally on the subject of site planning and sustainable design. He founded EKISTICS in Vancouver, BC in 1992 and has since undertaken the design of over 250 urban planning and resort projects around the world. Rosenau has been credited with spearheading a rethinking of standard land development models in his projects.

Rosenau and his company designed the master plan for the Whistler 2010 Olympic Games Athletes Village Master Plan in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, a project that is aiming to secure LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) recognition for Neighbourhood Development.


Rosenau is the Principal of EKISTICS Town Planning Inc, and has been involved in urban planning consulting since 1987. He is also currently an Adjunct Professor at the School of Community and Regional Planning at the University of British Columbia.

Ekistics and EKISTICS

The term Ekistics applies to the science of understanding human settlements. It includes regional, city, community planning, neighbourhood and building design. It involves the study of all kinds of human settlements, with a view to geography and ecology—the physical environment, as well as human psychology and anthropology, and culture, politics, the economy and aesthetics.

The EKISTICS company philosophy is to create sustainable and complete communities that are human in scale and contextual in design through the design exploration of the social, economic and ecological needs of the city, the community or the neighbourhood.

Lectures and articles

Rosenau was a keynote speaker at the British Columbia provincial forum entitled "Complete Communities: A New Way of Living" the goal of which was to produce a set of "actionable ideas" toward the development of mixed use and self-sustaining communities. Rosenau has spoken at the "Striking A Balance” community conference for sustainable cities in Edmonton, the "Visions” builders' and developers' conference in Kelowna and the Greater Vancouver Home Builders' Association spring lecture series in Vancouver. Rosenau recently co-authored two articles: "Complete Communities: Reconsidering the Way We Build Cities" in the world wide environment and policy magazine Ecodecision and “Necessary Ruins: Le Escuelas Nacionales de Arte, Havana, Cuba”, in Critiques of Built Works of Landscape Architecture. Rosenau recently spoke at two international conferences: The Latin American Studies Association Annual ‘Congreso Internacional’ in Washington, D.C. on "Charting a Fresh Course: New Directions for Foreign Investment in Havana’s Land Development” and The International Making Cities Livable Conference in Savannah, Georgia on "The Livability of Cities".

Rosenau has also participated extensively in Canadian discussions on the reality of design and economic opportunity in China, including a lecture at Phantom or Reality: Opportunities in the China Market, hosted by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and Canadian Architect Magazine as well as serving on a panel in the 2006 Design Northwest Conference for a session entitled The Construction Boom in China: Opportunities and Challenges for Canadian Companies.

New urbanism

Rosenau describes his vision for urban planning practice in Canada as one of "humanizing the suburbs". He is concerned with the need to re-establish a "sense of place" in neighbourhood design and the development of complete communities based on unique, local contexts.

Rosenau has been involved in significant planning projects in Western Canada that include traditional town planning designs for Murray's Corner in Langley; Kettle Valley Properties in Kelowna; Auguston in the Sumas Mountains of Abbotsford; Terwillegar Towne in District One of Edmonton, Alberta; Sun Rivers Community in Kamloops; McDonald Cedar Mill site in Fort Langley; and the 3000 acre Wilden new town in the Glenmore Highlands in Kelowna. Wilden is the second largest development in British Columbia, valued at $2.1 billion with over 2600 housing units on site, and has been cited as a project of high quality now serving as a precedent for other communities in the region.

Rosenau also designed a new urbanist community at Santa Maria Loma, the first fee-simple real estate project to be built in Havana, Cuba since the 1959 revolution; and El Tezal, the design for a residential resort community in the form of a traditional Mexican Village at Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Sustainable energy solutions

Rosenau has been active in promoting the use of ground source heat pumps and geothermal heat pump energy in the design of residential homes and new urban communities. He has designed four master planned communities which use geothermal technology exclusively for the heating and cooling needs of all the buildings. These include the first complete geothermal communities in Canada and China: Sun Rivers Community in BC and CIPEA in Nanjing.

Rosenau and EKISTICS are now researching and implementing geothermal technology in projects both nationally within Canada and internationally. In cooperation with Essential Innovations Inc, a geothermal manufacturing company in the United States, Rosenau is involved in the design and manufacturing of communal heat pump technology systems and has personal ownership in a new geothermal manufacturing company that will begin production of a highly energy efficient heat pump.

The Vietnam Joint Venture Group

Rosenau and EKISTICS have partnered with Essential Innovations Technology Corp. and Tien Thanh Environmental Consulting in a joint venture "to establish both a global manufacturing and distribution headquarters for the ESIV proprietary geoexchange heat pump technology as well as a sales, design and installation capability within the Country of Vietnam. Together with EKISTICS' many Asian projects, the ventures represent "a significant opportunity to employ Geoexchange technology and are being looked at as possible projects for which the Geoexchange technology manufactured by the Vietnam Joint Venture companies between EI Asia, TT, and Ekistics can or may be employed.

Whistler 2010 Olympic Games Athlete Village

Paul Rosenau is president of Ekistics Town Planning Inc., the Vancouver-based urban design and consulting group hired by Whistler to design the housing for the Olympic athletes. He says that selling just five to ten per cent of the village as market housing would provide enough financial support for the remaining 90 to 95 per cent to become price-controlled units. "That's a small price to pay to provide hundreds of families with affordable housing," Rosenau says. Compare that to plans for housing being built in Vancouver, where just 20 per cent will be set aside for subsidized housing, and the rest sold off at market rates. "This community isn't going to remain static. Whistler has to decide how it is going to grow and manage that," says Roseneau. "With our plan we can help make the resort community more stable and stop families leaving.

International New Towns (China)

First Forest

First Forest, EKISTICS' first new town in China was officially opened by Joseph Caron, the Canadian Ambassador to China, in 2004. It is a master planned community located in North-East Beijing, near the 2008 Olympic Games site. First Forest ″is a luxury residential complex that meshes ground-oriented, low-density, traditionally Canadian single-family homes and townhouses with surrounding commercial and public space to give the community a distinctly 'North American' feel″ The 17 wood-frame single family show homes celebrating environmental sustainability were conceived of by Paul Rosenau. Four of these homes on the aptly named ″Street of Dreams″ set a new benchmark for luxury single family homes in Beijing, using the SuperE program from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. EKISTICS was commissioned to undertake all aspects of design from the urban planning of the site master plan and the architecture of the 800 homes and 120,000 square foot Village Centre, through to the landscape architecture of all of the project's streets and parks.
″The community has a distinctly North American feel, due in part to Ekistics' use of sunlight, moving water, vegetation and topography to create a sense of open, natural space. The design also places homes close to existing trees and has used vegetation as a way to separate yards and create privacy. The technique gives inhabitants of the small community a sense of being close to nature, an amenity often associated with the Canadian lifestyle.″

China International Practical Exhibition of Architecture (CIPEA)

Located in the Pear Spring Tourism Area, north of the city of Nanjing, the China International Practical Exhibition of Architecture (CIPEA) is an internationally recognized project, the goal of which is to provide ″exposure to the art of architecture″. A collective group of world-renowned architects including Arata Isozaki, SANAA (firm) and Steven Holl have been assembled to design a permanent exhibition of architecture which will ″celebrate arts, culture, and nature in the form of build environment″.Paul Rosenau was commissioned, and recently completed, the site plan for this prestigious project and is currently coordinating the design efforts of the 24 architects from China, Japan, England, Mexico, Spain, Czech, Bulgaria and the USA. The CIPEA exhibition will open to the public in 2008 and is projected to draw over two million visitors in its opening year.
″EKISTICS President Paul Rosenau, who was instrumental in formulating the basis for the joint-venture partnership, said: ′Geothermal energy has the potential to become one of the primary solutions to China's current energy crisis. The partnership between ESIV and the CIPEA offers an opportunity to show off the design talents of some of the world's most renowned architects, as well as showcase Geoexchange technology as one of the most innovative and efficient energy-producing systems. The CIPEA project is expected to attract more than two-million visitors in its opening year. It is hard to imagine a better way of introducing Geoexchange technology to land developers and government officials in China, as well as worldwide.′″
Consequently, he is now working on the master plan for phase two of the project which includes 125 luxury single family villa’s on a peninsula surrounded by the Buddha’s Hand Lake. Following the successful approval of the CIPEA site plan, EKISTICS was asked by the local municipal government to develop a Regional Plan for the entire Pear Spring Tourism Area and this plan is currently under review by the central government of Nanjing.

International resort communities

In the last five years, Rosenau and EKISTICS have completed the design work for over 35 residential and resort projects in China and are currently working on 15 new large scale master planned communities in twelve different cities in China: Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Wuxi, Wuhan, Chongqing, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Sanya, Weihai, Qingdao and Xian; and three cities in Vietnam – Dalat, Cam Ranh and Con Dao.

Rosenau is currently spearheading the design of seven new 5-star resort golf course communities in China and Vietnam. These are: Sanya Four Seasons Golf Resort: a 300 room hotel and 36-hole golf course in Sanya, China; Du Jiang Yan Golf Resort: a 700 home and 36-hole golf course community in Chengdu, China; Hui Dong Golf Resort: a 300 unit, 18-hole golf course project in Hui Zhou, China; Tuyen Lam Lake Golf Resort: a 550 unit, 18-hole golf course resort in Dalat, Vietnam; Golden Sea Lake Resort: a 400 home and 36-hole golf course community in Beijing, China; Wan Sheng Ba Golf Resort: a 500 home and 18-hole golf course resort project in Chongqing, China; and Cu Hin Golf Resort: a 400 home and 36-hole golf course resort and hotel project in Cam Ranh, Vietnam.

Rosenau has also worked with Kyle Phillips, world-renown, respected Golf Course Architect whose Kingsbarns Golf Links near St. Andrews was named Best New International Course of 2001 by Golf Digest Magazine.


SACOM Resort in Tuyen Lam Lake Tourist Zone

On July 28, 2008, the Telecoms Cable and Material Shareholding Co. officially began construction on a golf course, a resort area, hotel and entertainment centre in the highland central province of Da Lat designed and consulted by EKISTICS.

Completed works


  • Whistler 2010 Olympic Athletes Village Master Plan, Whistler, British Columbia
  • Manteo Beach Club, Kelowna, British Columbia
  • Coal Harbour, Urban Design, Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Kristall Resort Hotel, Vernon, British Columbia
  • Okanagan Landing, Vernon, British Columbia
  • Wilden, Kelowna, British Columbia
  • Auguston, Abbotsford, British Columbia
  • Murray’s Corner, Langley, British Columbia
  • Whistler Village North, Whistler, British Columbia
  • Kettle Valley, Kelowna, British Columbia
  • McDonald Cedar Mill, Fort Langley, British Columbia
  • Heritage Pointe Golf Community, Calgary, Alberta
  • Twin Anchors Resort, Sicamous, British Columbia
  • The Rise, Vernon, British Columbia
  • Predator Ridge, Vernon, British Columbia
  • *

    Central America

  • EI Tezal, Cabo San Lucas, BCN, Mexico
  • Santa Maria Loma, Havana, Cuba
  • Cayo Sabinal, Camaguey, Cuba


  • First Forest Residential Community, Beijing, PR China
  • CIPEA Architectural Exhibition, Nanjing, PR China
  • OCT East Golf Resort, Dameisha, PR China
  • Phoenix Watertown, Sanya, Hainan Island PR China
  • Huai Rou New Town, Beijing, PR China
  • Blue Lake County, ChongQing, PR China
  • Streamy Valley, Shenzhen, PR China
  • Tang Xia, Dong Guan, China.
  • Foshan New Town, Guangzhou, China.
  • Wuhan International Golf Resort, Wuhan, PR China
  • Feng Jing New Town, Feng Jing, PR China
  • Pulau Pisang Island Resort, Malaysia
  • Con Dao Island Master Plan, Con Dao, Vietnam

In progress

  • Four Seasons Golf Resort & Hotel, Sanya, PR China
  • Du Jiang Yan Golf Resort, Chengdu, PR China
  • Hui Dong Golf Resort, Hui Zhou, PR China
  • Golden Sea Lake Golf Resort, Beijing, PR China
  • Tuyen Lam Lake Golf Resort, Da Lat, Vietnam
  • Cu Hin Golf Resort & Hotel, Cam Ranh, Vietnam
  • Summerland Hills Golf Resort, Summerland, British Columbia, Canada
  • Wan Sheng Ba Golf Resort, Chongqing, PR China

Recognition and awards

  • PIBC Award of Merit for Outstanding Accomplishments in the Field of Planning (2002)
  • Business in Vancouver’s 40 Under 40 award as one of Canada’s top young entrepreneurs (2000)
  • Outstanding Young Alumnus Award, University of British Columbia (2000)
  • Dr. John Wesley Neill Medal in Landscape Architecture (1987)
  • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Scholarship in Urban Planning (1986)
  • Kamloops Memorial Park Design Competition, First Place (1986)
  • Fyfe-Smith Scholarship in Landscape Architecture for Academic Achievement, Second Year Landscape Architecture, University of British Columbia (1985)
  • Alberta Association of Landscape Architects Awards to UBC School of Landscape Architecture (1985)
  • Dean's Cup in Landscape Architecture for Academic Achievement, First Year Landscape Architecture, University of British Columbia (1984)


  • “Humanizing the Suburbs”, A Study in Redesigning Conventional Suburbia, Surrey, 1992.
  • "Striking A Balance”: A Community Conference for a Sustainable Edmonton, Edmonton, Alberta, 1993.
  • "Complete Communities: A New Way of Living" the goal of which was to produce a set of "actionable ideas" toward the development of mixed use and self-sustaining communities, Vancouver, Kelowna and Nanaimo, 1994.
  • Co-authored "Complete Communities: Reconsidering the Way We Build Cities" in the world wide environment and policy magazine Ecodecision, 1995.
  • "Striking A Balance”: A Community Conference for a Sustainable Edmonton. 1996.
  • "Visions ‘96”: A builders' and developers' conference toward a new vision for Kelowna, Kelowna, Canada, 1996.
  • “PICANADA 1996 Conference”: Growth Management: Issues and Perspectives – Sustainability and Community Forms.
  • "Complete Communities II: Pathways to Design and Implementation", Kelowna and Nanaimo, 1996.
  • “Greater Vancouver Home Builders' Association Spring Lecture Series”, Vancouver, Canada, 1997.
  • Delta Council Workshop – Neo-Traditional Planning as Sustainable Design, 1997.
  • UBC SCARP Community and Professional Programs – “Residential Site Planning and Sustainability”, Summer, 1997.
  • Urban Development Institute’s “Real Estate Development Series” – New Urbanism and Site Design, Vancouver, 1997.
  • Team Leader in the Second International Design Charrette for Sustainable Urban Landscapes, Burnaby, 1997.
  • Beyond Agreement: Implementing Complete Communities in the Lower Mainland, New Westminster, 1997.
  • The City Programme at SFU – “Suburbia in the 21st Century”, Vancouver, 1998.
  • “Alternative Development Standards for Sustainable Communities” A Region Wide Symposium, Surrey, 1998.
  • 1999 Canadian Society of Landscape Architects Congress – “Landscape in Mind”, Design and Sustainability, Vancouver, 1999.
  • "The 29th International Making Cities Livable Conference" in Savannah, Georgia, March 4th - 8th, 2001 - "The LOS Debate: Level of Service vs. Livability of Streets".
  • The City Programme at SFU – “Designing Integrated Neighbourhoods”, Vancouver, April 6, 2001.
  • LASA XXIII Congreso Internacional organized by the Latin American Studies Association in Washington, DC, September 2001. Panel: "Sustainability within the Built Environment of Havana" and Lecture: "Charting a Fresh Course: New Directions for Foreign Investment in Havana’s Land Development”.
  • Co-authored “Necessary Ruins: Le Escuelas Nacionales de Arte, Havana, Cuba”, Volume 6 of Critiques of Built Works of Landscape Architecture, Fall, 2001.
  • “Achieving Economic Sustainability”, Making Waves Conference, Canadian Institute of Planners, Vancouver, May 2002.
  • Co-authored "Flirting with Capitalism: Land Development in Havana’s Socialist Cuba” Urban Land Institute Magazine, Washington, DC, October, 2002.

Teaching assignments (graduate studies)

  • Plan 582A Residential Site Planning I
  • Plan 548W Residential Site Planning I
  • Plan 565C Current Issues in Urban Land Development
  • Plan 545C Studies Abroad in Havana, Cuba
  • Plan 545A Studies Abroad in Jerusalem, Israel

Personal life

Rosenau was born in Edmonton, Canada on March 7, 1961 and spent the first four years of his life living in a small town in Western Canada. In 1965, Rosenau’s father was appointed a job working for the Canadian government in Nairobi, Kenya, and Rosenau spent the next 14 years of his life living in and around East Africa. At the age of 6, Rosenau moved away from home to begin attending boarding school at Rift Valley Academy and after that, spent ten months of the year living away from home until graduating from high school in 1978. This time served Rosenau well as it forced an independence and confidence that comes with having to leave home at such an early age.

Rosenau excelled in rugby and soccer and throughout high school helped the Rift Valley Academy rugby team maintain its rank as one of the premier rugby teams in East Africa—often playing against British Club teams and local university teams in exhibition matches. Rosenau developed many close friendships during these formative years in Africa and continues friendships until this day with some of his RVA classmates.

After returning to Canada at the age of 17 and experiencing a year of the culture shock of returning to what many like to refer to as "first world civilization", he spent four years at Trinity Western University, a small privately run university on the outskirts of Vancouver studying Urban Geography and Urban Planning. Generally, Rosenau spent these first couple of years in Canada missing Africa, and after barely getting by in his first two years of university, somewhere along the line, he “saw the light” and was able to finish his last two years with high honors, paying the bills with a modest soccer scholarship. Rosenau received offers at a number of graduate schools in the fields of urban planning and architecture around North America but decided to stay in Vancouver and complete four more years at the University of British Columbia finishing academia with two undergraduate degrees in Urban Geography and Landscape Architecture and Masters degree in Urban Design and Planning. He continued to play varsity soccer during these years until injuring both knees with torn ligaments and decided to hang up his football boots to get down to the business of living life and trying to make a name for himself as an architect and an urban planner.

Growing up in rural Africa and urban Nairobi, Rosenau became exposed to “the suburbs” for the first time at the age of 17 upon his return to Canada. This undefined “middle ground” which exists in every North American city left an indelible impression on Rosenau awareness of the antiquated nature of North American “zoning laws” and “land development patterns” so much so that Rosenau made his focus in both his undergraduate studies in landscape architecture as well as his master’s thesis in urban design to challenge the basic “outdated” premise of suburban land development and zoning theory. His academic campaign to reinvent suburbia was summarized by his motto in university, which was: “the greatest obstacle to innovation is the power of an outdated idea”.

In 1992 after 4 years of real world tutelage in one of the largest architectural companies in Canada, Rosenau decided to put his money where his mouth was and opened his own urban planning company called EKISTICS Town Planning Inc. EKISTICS quickly gained a reputation as being an innovative and contemporary design company that wasn’t afraid to take risks and was willing to take on government bureaucracy at all levels in order to accomplish change in suburban land development patterns. EKISTICS began promoting “new urbanism” in Canada before the movement of new urbanism was formed and the rest is history.

EKISTICS rapidly expanded and Rosenau now leads a group of 25 employees in his Vancouver office with additional administrative staff in Shanghai, China and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Rosenau currently works on a whole variety of architectural and urban planning projects and specializes in large scale land and resort development planning and design. The China market opened up a few years ago and he now spends over half of his time traveling around China and Vietnam and living in Shanghai.

Additional images


  • W. Rosenau, P. Fenske, and J. Gilderbloom, ″Flirting with Capitalism″, Urban Land Institute Magazine, October 2002, p.98

Saigon Times Online (Vietnamese) Dong Nai (Vietnamese)

External links

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