1999 Award Recipient

Professor David Chuenyan Lai (Urban Geography)

Professor David Chuenyan Lai (University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia)
Professor Lai is cited for his significant contributions to the field of urban geography. He is an internationally known and respected researcher, and he has been a consultant to many cities in neighborhood rehabilitation and in the building of their Chinatowns.

Educational Background
Professor Lai took both his BA and MA in Hong Kong, and his Ph.D. at the London School of Economics and Political Science on a British Commonwealth Scholarship. He has been with the University of Victoria since 1969.

Career Development
Professor Lai is a Professor of the Department of Geography at the University of Victoria. He has also taught a Toronto, Lakehead, Hawaii, and Hong Kong universities. He developed the curriculum for the study of Chinese Geography at the University of Victoria.

Major Contributions
Professor Lai has an international reputation. He has been invited to serve as an overseas advisor to a number of bodies in the Guangdong Province. He is also a popular speaker and is invited to speak on numerous subjects including Chinese cultural exhibitions, Chinatowns, and community planning. He has been presented with the prestigious Citation Award in 1982 by the Association of American Geographers, and an Award of Merit by the American Association for State and local History in 1983.

Other Honorary
Professor Lai has a passion for community volunteer work, and sits on many Boards that deal with Chinese culture, history, urban geography, and recently in seniors’ issues. He has received the Order of Canada in 1983; Heritage Canada’s highest Gabrielle Leger Award in 1999, British Columbia’s Heritage Award in 1998, and Honorary Citizen of the City of Victoria in 1980. Professor Lai has authored the book ‘Chinatowns: Towns Within Cities in Canada’ in 1988, which is considered a classic in its field. He has also written over 200 publications.