Creative Urban Planning


Must all urban-planning firms be the same?

Almost everything we consume has been customized to the specific tastes of particular markets. And yet the urban planning industry tends towards a 'one size fits all' model. CUP rejects that model.

CUP believes that the work, design and techniques used in urban planning should be as varied as the cities they’re used in. In this way, cities, politicians, private industries, communities and non-governmental organizations can select from those that best agree with their own sensibilities.

We know that means we won't appeal to everyone and we're okay with that. After all, appealing to everyone is exorbitantly expensive and (also) impossible. We'd like, instead, to appeal to those of you who've always wanted something more intuitive, creative and unique but have never had that choice presented to you. We want to invite you to the table and ask; "How can we help you build something different?"

With that in mind, have a look at the philosophical principles that underlie CUP. If they click with you, maybe we should talk.

  • Build from street level; that’s where the people are. Don’t plan from a cubicle.
  • Current practice is not always effective practice and newer isn’t always better.
  • Be lean and don't waste time, capital, or resources.
  • Don't infantilize. Empower and organize people to do things for themselves.
  • The wealth of a city is never measurable, except imprecisely. Don’t equate money with wealth.
  • Good ideas aren’t ideological. They can come from all arenas and avenues.
  • People are creative beings. Be beautiful and exciting. Don't bore.
  • Have a point of view and state it plainly, clearly, and passionately. Be honest.
  • Adapt to your environment. Be fluid with strategy, tactic, analysis and logic.
  • People are emotional, often irrational, and rarely have perfect information when making decisions. Don't mistake a decision for a rational choice.
  • Have global insight and local execution. Don't apply ideas universally.
  • Cities exist for people. Design for them. Don't craft a city's body at the expense of its soul.


We’d love to hear from you. Unlike some companies, we read all of our email and respond in kind (spammers not included). We feel that if you took the time to contact us, we should return the favour. So if you have any thoughts, ideas, or opportunities, feel free to drop us an email at

If you have a specific interest in our Gondola Project, please contact us at

Whenever possible photos used on this site are creative commons.

Credits: Markfive (contact), Suzanne Long (home), striatic (about), Danielle Scott (philosophy), qmnonic (blog).



CUP is a small planning shop for people who love cities.

Over the next year we’ll be introducing several new “urban applications” designed to help build communities using non-traditional urban-planning methods.

We’re pleased to announce the first of these – The Gondola Project, an information campaign in support of cable-propelled transit, which is little known and little understood. Have a look.


What does CUP do?

We use applied and adaptive research to create new ideas and business models specific to urban environments.

We talk with people about urban issues. Not just politicians and policy-makers – all kinds of people.

We create, implement, and market suites of urban applications for people who love cities and want to change them for the better.

We help people transform the city they have into the city they want.


The CUP blog is currently under construction. Please check back soon.…

The Gondola Project

The Gondola Project / The Cable Car Project is an urban application designed to increase knowledge about Cable-Propelled Transit (CPT) and achieve uptake of the technology in urban environments. The Gondola Project has three parts:

1. The Gondola Project Homepage
website devoted to disseminating information about Cable-Propelled Transit. Simple, easy-to-understand lessons on the technology are added frequently; and each day, for one year, an original column will be posted regarding CPT technology.
To visit The Gondola Project Homepage, click here.
2. Cable University Lecture Series (coming soon)
A series of casual (and free) on-site conversations with Gondola Project lead, Steven Dale, exclusively for student groups and classes interested in Cable-Propelled Transit.
3. The Cable Workshop (coming soon)
On-site seminars and training sessions for government, planners, architects and NGOs interested in Cable-Propelled Transit.