Composite image showing from left to right: illustration of cities, Vladimir Putin, Ryan Reynolds, Gerphil Geraldine Flores, aerial shot of Vancouver

Our top 5 stories of 2022

From the connections between loneliness and city life to UBC’s rising stardom in Hollywood productions, here are the top stories that captured our readers' imaginations this year.


1. Alone in a crowded city

Illustration of homes inside bubbles

lllustration by Gracia Lam

Before the coronavirus pandemic took hold, there was another public health crisis that had experts worried: rising levels of loneliness. 

In 2012, Vancouver’s mayor launched a task force to combat loneliness in the city. In 2017, the U.S. Surgeon General declared a loneliness epidemic. And in 2018, the U.K. appointed the world’s first loneliness minister.

Now, after a few years of social restriction, people are feeling lonelier than ever, particularly those living in cities. In this article by Madeleine de Trenqualye (BA’07), UBC philosophers and psychologists explain urban loneliness, its impact on our wellbeing, and what we can do about it.

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2. Adventures in Asian pop music: 6 UBC acts to note

Composite image of 6 UBC Asian alumni who are pop musicians
From left to right: (top row) Kevin Moon (of the Boyz), Bernice Liu, Daniel Kim; (bottom row) Gerphil Geraldine Flores, Phil Lam, Emily Liang.

For Asian Heritage Month, we took a deep dive into Asian pop music and found some interesting UBC connections. The stories of six UBC grads and former students who you might not know pursued careers in Asian pop music reveal just how unpredictable the path to stardom can be.

Some nurtured their musical dreams while completing their degrees but others had their academic studies interrupted when the entertainment industry came calling. One individual, despite garnering international attention, is even planning on returning to UBC. 

Find out more about the twists and turns of these six musical talents in this story by Craig Takeuchi (BA’96, MFA’02).

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3. How UBC became the rising star of Hollywood North

Shot of an iPad screen held over the Chemistry building. On the iPad screen is a shot from the Adam Project outside Chemistry building.
A scene from The Adam Project, shot along UBC's Main Mall. Photo by Paul Joseph / UBC Brand & Marketing.

Here's something that Hollywood power couple Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds have in common that you might not know about: both have starred in films shot on UBC’s Vancouver campus.

From 2015’s The Age of Adaline starring Lively to 2022’s The Adam Project starring Reynolds, UBC has made many a cameo in Hollywood movies. In fact, it's one of the most filmed locations in the world. 

And our bragging rights don't just include movies but a wide range of TV shows including The X-Files, Battlestar Galactica, The Magicians, and Riverdale

For a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at filming at UBC, check out this article by Thandi Fletcher.

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4. Could Vladimir Putin be ousted over his Ukraine invasion?

Headshot of Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to the Governor of Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area Dmitry Artukhov during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, on March 21, 2022. Photo by Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP.

On February 24 of this year, the world watched in horror as Russia invaded Ukraine. Within a matter of weeks, the ensuing war reshaped geopolitics and created a massive refugee, humanitarian, and strategic crisis. 

It also raised questions of whether Vladimir Putin’s removal from power might be the only way for the war to end.

In this article, UBC political science professor Lisa McIntosh Sundstrom surveys the socio-political landscape for potential sources that could contribute to Putin’s eventual downfall.

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5. The ideal city

A photograph of Vancouver taken from a helicopter above the Stanley Park area. It shows West Georgia Street, with False Creek and Science World at the end, and East Vancouver in the background.
A photograph of Vancouver taken from a helicopter above the Stanley Park area. It shows West Georgia Street, with False Creek and Science World at the end, and East Vancouver in the background. Photo by Jeremy Lee (@jw.klee).

When you think of Vancouver’s urban landscape, what comes to mind? 

A jumble of residential and commercial developments? Dense and walkable neighbourhoods? Or maybe a forest of tall, thin towers? 

"Vancouverism," as it's become known, is the distinctive planning style that sets Vancouver apart from many freeway-dominated North American cities. Vancouver is seen by many as an alternative expression of the urban ideal. 

But while Vancouverism has enjoyed success, it faces new challenges, from affordability and inequality to climate change. So where does Vancouver go from here? This article by Richard Littlemore sheds some light on this question.

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