VIU Press Launches First Book

Vancouver Island University now has its own publishing house! Dr. Pam Shaw, Director of VIU Press; Mike Thibodeau, Manager of Retail Operations for the Campus Store; and Michael A. von Hausen, author of the first book published by VIU Press, celebrated at a special launch party on March 14.

March 16, 2018 - 2:30pm

Adjunct Professor Michael A. von Hausen pens Small is Big, a guide to revitalizing small- and mid-size downtowns

Vancouver Island University (VIU) Press celebrated an important milestone this week with the launch of its first book.

This special honour goes to Small is Big: Making the Next Great Small to Mid-Size Downtowns by Michael A. von Hausen, a leading Canadian urban designer and planner and adjunct professor at Simon Fraser University and VIU. The book is a guide to keeping the downtown areas of small- to mid-size towns and cities vital.

“Small- to mid-size downtowns need our attention,” says von Hausen. “Working with downtowns over the last 15 years has given me insights that I wanted to share in a visionary yet practical book. Small Is Big provides the tools to both develop and implement an action plan for change and position your town for the new economy. It includes a framework to create a complete and resilient downtown that invites and stimulates the right changes.”

VIU Press started in 2016 with the publication of the online International Journal of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. The goal of the press is to enhance student success, and strengthen community connections and international collaborations. Dr. Pam Shaw, Director of both VIU Press and VIU’s Master of Community Planning program, is pleased to introduce the new publishing house to the community.

“I felt like as an academic institution it was a piece we were missing,” she says. “It opens another avenue for faculty, staff and students to publish their work. We have a number of graduate programs on campus now and students are doing thesis work and other projects that should be published and sent out to the world.”

Shaw says the unique part of VIU Press is its integration throughout the University – the advisory board includes representation from the Scholarship, Research and Creative Activity office, the VIU Campus Store, through which the books will be sold, and the Library.

“There have been a couple of smaller publication initiatives at VIU, but not an in-house press until now,” says Shaw. “I’m also hoping it creates an opportunity for members of the public to look to VIU as another option to publish fiction and non-fiction.”

Dr. David Witty, Provost and Vice-President Academic, says the press marks another milestone in the evolution of VIU.

“Research activities continue to grow at VIU and the press is an important tool to help our students, staff and faculty share this knowledge with the wider community, as well as affording community members the same opportunity,” he says.

The book is available through the VIU Campus Store both online and in-store.



Jenn McGarrigle, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P: 250.740.6559 | C: 250.619.6860 | E: | T: @VIUNews



Does your small downtown need a refresh or a full makeover?

Small Is Big looks to the future and sees enormous potential in small downtowns. To help realize that potential, it provides the tools to both develop and implement an action plan for change. Inside this visionary yet practical guide, discover:


  • a tested process to envision and develop broadly supported options for your community
  • a unique tool to assess the health of your downtown on four fronts: social, economic, environmental, and organizational
  • case studies from towns and small cities across North America that have successfully realized vitalization plans
  • questions to spark discussion, visuals to inspire transformation, and lists of ideas to jump-start your customized action plan


A refreshing alternative to “cosmetic” fixes, Small Is Big addresses underlying challenges, leadership issues, as well as funding sources. This book will give you the framework to create a complete and resilient downtown that invites the new economy. Come explore the potential of your downtown.



MICHAEL VON HAUSEN is one of the leading urban designers and planners in Canada. He has completed more than 10 downtown plans and has received numerous awards for this work in association with his clients and other consultants as president of MVH Urban Planning & Design Inc. Michael is also an adjunct professor at Simon Fraser University and Vancouver Island University. He is a fellow of the Canadian Institute of Planners and a graduate of Harvard University with a master’s in urban design and specialty in real estate development economics.

Tags: Master of Community Planning | Research | Announcements

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