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Congratulating John Friedmann on his 90th birthday and revisiting a lifetime of achievements: a personal highlight and professional pleasure!

At the end of March, Robin Chang had the pleasure of representing the School of Spatial Planning in congratulating the influential John Friedmann on his 90th birthday.

Back in 1988, formal ties between Friedmann and our school were established through Prof. Dr. Klaus Kunzmann who honoured the legendary scholar and practitioner with a Doctorate from TU Dortmund. On a visit to Vancouver almost 30 years later, I could see why and how John Friedmann earned his reputation as I interrupted his morning reading session (The Planning Review from disP - in both English and German, covering developed and developing nations!) for a cup of tea.

Bearing gifts from the School and Kunzmann in hand, John Friedmann greeted me with a warm smile and thanked me for "being Santa Clause in Spring" and treated me to a humbling narrative about t "series of accidents" that embody his legacy. Despite his 'retired' status, John Friedmann shared that he was still working on curriculum development for the University of British Columbia, while also passively supporting the work of his partner Leonie Sandercock on Aboriginal narratives from the Haida Nation on the Westcoast. Thanking me, Klaus, and the Faculty it was clear that the little detour on my visit home was not only worth it for me, but also for our Friedmann, our formidable friend.

Robin Chang, European Planning Cultures, School of Spatial Planning