Healing Cities Institute

The Healing Cities Institute is a non-profit society whose intention is to improve the physical, spiritual, social, and mental well-being of our communities.

The purposes of the society are to:

  • Promote awareness of the links between human health (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, social, financial) and the planning and design of cities and communities.
  • Foster, among individuals, community organizations, public agencies and businesses, new ways of thinking, learning and working together to make our communities and cities healthier and more sustainable places.
  • Participate in creating, incubating, creating tools and commercializing new knowledge by working with stakeholders in planning, design and health sectors on projects that expand practical knowledge about health and communities.
  • Participate in creating healthy communities through education and training, knowledge transfer, capacity building and other appropriate measures.
  • Act as a catalyst in bringing players to the table for conversations about what makes cities, communities and their elements healthy and supportive for a diversity of individuals.
  • Be a champion for innovative approaches to planning and design and healthcare that address the role of our physical environment in our health.
  • Celebrate places, people and organizations who have paid particular attention to creating healthy and healing places.
  • Promote understanding, research, education,  and the development of tools to aid in understanding the linkages between health and the physical places we live in.
  • Support development of capacity to raise the standard of planning and development everywhere.

The Institute was founded by Mark Holland, Nicole Moen, Lindsay Clark, Keltie Craig and Joaquin Karakas.


Institute Members


Mark HollandMark Holland

Mark is a LEED™-accredited planner who holds professional degrees in both Landscape Architecture, and Community and Regional Planning.  Mark’s career started in the City of Vancouver as a city planner and subsequently as the founder and first manager of its Sustainability Office.  Mark then helped co-found two consulting companies, the Holland Barrs Planning Group, and then HB Lanarc Consultants – both of whom have been recognized nationally as leaders in innovative planning, design and sustainability.  Mark‘s work over the past decade and half has focused on integrating sustainability principles into both the mainstream development industry and local government plans and policies.  In 2010, he was awarded the highest honour in BC for Planning, being named “Planner of the Year” by the Planning Institute of BC.   His current position is Vice President of Development for New Monaco Enterprise Corporation – a company developing a large master-planned community in the Okanagan that is based on the principles of health and sustainability (www.newmonaco.ca).


Joaquin KarakasJoaquin Karakas

Joaquin is an experienced urban design planner whose professional practice is rooted in community dialogue and engagement and focused on the planning and design of highly walkable, liveable and sustainable communities. Joaquin’s practice includes community sustainability planning, integrated land use and transportation planning, downtown revitalization/intensification, housing policy and conceptual design, master planning and site design and preparation of urban design guidelines.

Joaquin is an experienced project manager and has led numerous urban design and planning processes including the Coquitlam City Centre Area Plan, the Chilliwack Downtown Land Use and Development Plan, Austin Heights Neighbourhood Urban Design Plan, the Aldergrove Core Area Plan, and the Carvolth TOD Plan, to name a few.

Joaquin is an experienced facilitator and public speaker and has presents regularly on urban design issues. Joaquin is a Full Member of the Canadian Institute of Planners, a co-founder of the Healing Cities Working Group, and a past member of the Vancouver City Planning Commission.


Keltie CraigKeltie Craig

Keltie has a strong interest in the role both physical and social planning can play in enhancing community and individual health.. As a planner at HB Lanarc – Golder, Keltie has contributed to various municipal and regional plans including a comprehensive sustainability plan for Canada’s Capital Region; Port Coquitlam’s Environmental Strategic Plan; and a Cycling Plan for the Town of Ladysmith. In addition to her work with HB Lanarc, Keltie is a member of the City of Vancouver’s Bicycle Advisory Committee and active in community building including performing for 4 years with the B:C:Clettes – a bicycle-inspired performance collective. She is a Provisional Member of the Canadian Institute of Planners, and a member of the Canadian Community of Practice in Ecosystem Approaches to Health. She also organizes and works in a local community garden.


Photo of NicoleNicole Moen

Nicole Moen is a practical visionary who helps individuals and groups move beyond goal-setting to inspired wise action that combines creative energy with realities on the ground. She helps professional groups integrate whole health aspects into the process and content of their work. She is a seasoned event producer who has been progressing the fields of integrative medicine and environmental/urban sustainability primarily as a principal in Animate Community Inc. Broad experiences in project management, facilitation, education, business, government, not-for-profit, health, and the arts consistently offer her the opportunity to expand her natural ability to notice how diverse people connect and how they can help each other in new authentic ways. As a synthesizer of ideas and perspectives and a convener of people and community, she facilitates community action on the imperative to address economic shifts, disintegrated communities, unhealthy healthcare delivery, loss of meaningful work, and other current issues. Her own path to healing, whether it’s a city or herself, is informed by silence, contemplative wisdom practices and pilgrimage.  Healing for her is about having the courage to become more and more conscious, practical and vibrant. She asks, “If we listen deeply enough, can we find a way to heal ourselves, our families, our colleagues, our communities and the spaces where we meet in between, in order to live whole, alive, connected lives?


HCI Friends

Lindsay ClarkLindsay Clark

Lindsay is a founding member of the Healing Cities Institute. Her master’s thesis at UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning focused on Planning and Design as Healing Arts, which contributed to the development of the Institute’s core concepts and methodologies. Lindsay’s passion is contributing to a sustainable global future; her training in the Fine Arts, Environmental Studies, Urban Planning, and energy healing work give her a unique perspective on holistic health and wellness. While Lindsay is no longer on the board of the Healing Cities Institute, she continues to partner with the Society and work as a consultant in the healing arts.


christina worsterChristina Worster

As a Graphic and Web Designer for HB Lanarc-Golder, Christina focuses her creativity on layout design as well as identity development. Her passion is solving design problems with smart, unique and environmentally conscious solutions that resonate with the viewer. Christina enjoys the fusion of practical projects with the creative process and when she’s not pixel crafting you can find her by the ocean.


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