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Avi Friedman

Housing Guru

Avi Friedman is confidently acclaimed by Wallpaper magazine “one of the top 10 style setters who will most influence the way we live in the next quarter century.” His international award-winning work in home design, community development and sustainability has earned him his keep as Canada’s housing guru and style setter.

Montreal, Quebec, Canada


Sustainable Residential Development
If planning and design for green neighborhoods you need to understand the principles of green building and how to apply them to residential development. These principles create communities that balance social, economic, and environmental needs.

Future of Homes and Communities
As a result of fundamental socio-economic changes in society, our homes and communities are also changing. The effect of these changes on our living patterns and dwellings will be described in this lecture.

Planning Homes and Communities for Healthy Living
Recent studies demonstrate that there is a correlation between the design of our homes and communities and their occupants’ health. In this lecture, Dr. Friedman will draw the line and will illustrate how homes and communities can be designed for healthy living.

The Grow Homes and the Next Homes: Thinking Innovation
The past half century saw urban sprawl and dependence on cars governing most decision in planning homes and communities. In this presentation Dr. Friedman will describe his alternative called the Common Sense Community.


Sustainable Buildings Canada | Lifetime Achievement Award

United Nations World Habitat Award

  • He is just a great speaker - inspired, animated and able to connect with the audience. The audience was very engaged by his presentation.

    - Manager, Strategic Programs, Vancity Community Foundation
  • Friedman is a whirlwind of energy, ebullience and no-nonsense arguments.

    - Canadian Geographic
  • The feedback on his plenary has been excellent, and we were delighted with the level of attendance and engagement throughout the event as a whole.

    - Community Investment Specialist, Vancity

Summary Profile

Avi Friedman is widely recognized around the world as Canada’s guru on housing innovation. That claim is backed by Wallpaper, an international design magazine, which includes him in its top-10 list of people “most likely to change the way we live.” A professor of architecture at McGill University in Montreal, Friedman has won awards for his work in home design, community development and sustainability.

His research focuses on factors that influence the design and implementation of affordable and sustainable building practices at the unit and community level – this includes market acceptance, construction and resource efficiency. Friedman is the author of numerous books and has been published extensively in both academic and trade publications. He has also designed three housing prototypes, which were built as full-scale demonstration projects.

One of the prototypes, The Grow Home (co-designed with Witold Rybczynski), is a narrow-front rowhouse that has received immense media attention. It has since been built in numerous communities across North America and Europe. The 21st century offers a “perfect storm” of challenges and opportunities for society, according to Friedman. Sustainability forms the thrust of his approach where social, environmental, economic and cultural aspects are regarded as integrated elements that propel prosperity and self-esteem.

Avi Friedman will share his principles on sustainability, illustrating the application of his work on regional master planning, neighbourhood design, urban renewal, and conception of prototypes for new dwellings. A passionate speaker, he projects a clear vision of the future in home design, and will change the way you think about our priorities as a society.