A City for All

2018 Summit: “A City For All”

The Vancouver City Planning Commission (VCPC) is a citizen advisory board mandated under bylaw to advise the Mayor and City Council about planning and development issues that affect the city’s future. With such a broad mandate, VCPC is uniquely positioned to work as a catalyst, convening dialogues with other groups and partners to gather, analyze and consolidate information, formulate advice and recommend action.

In 2018, the Vancouver City Planning Commission (VCPC) is hosting a series of events under the theme, “A City For All”, culminating on December 4, 2018 in a summit about how diversity, inclusion and reconciliation can contribute to improving Vancouver’s resilience in the face of shocks and stresses.


In 2016, more than 30,000 people convened in Ecuador to participate in the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, which focused on making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. It resulted in the New Urban Agenda (NUA), an international guideline for urban development for the next twenty years. The VCPC attended the conference as part of the Canadian delegation and decided to use the NUA as a guide to our own programs for the next five years.

The overarching theme we chose is Resilience: our ability as a city and region to anticipate, prevent and respond effectively to shocks such as earthquakes, floods and sea level rise, and stresses such as affordability, the opioid crisis, and population migration. Under the resilience umbrella, the other four themes we chose are: Engagement for Real (2017), A City for All (2018), Communities and Corridors (2019), and Financing Public Spaces (2020).

In 2017, VCPC focused on Engagement for Real, in particular on the role of advisory groups in the region.

In October, in partnership with the City of Vancouver, pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) and SFU Public Square, we held our first summit:  “Shaping Resiliency: A Summit on Resilience and Vancouver’s Future.”

In early 2018, VCPC participated in UN Habitat’s ninth World Urban Forum (WUF9) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Over 23,000 people attended from 160+ countries to discuss “Cities for All,” and to produce the Kuala Lumpur Declaration; a call to action for local governments to implement the New Urban Agenda through innovation, inclusion, and collaborative partnerships with meaningful participation.

Inspired by the Kuala Lumpur Declaration VCPC is exploring what “A City for All” means to us in Vancouver, so that we may advise Council on how our city can embrace this part of the New Urban Agenda. The summit is scheduled for December 4, 2018, after the municipal elections.

Goal of the 2018 Summit

Resiliency of natural systems is increased by diversity along with (in human systems) strong social bonds. The 2018 Summit will focus  on what a “City for All” means in Vancouver, particularly on how strengthening social capacity can contribute to improving Vancouver’s resilience in the face of shocks and stresses.

The program is envisaged as a series of partner lead-up events and activities, culminating in a one day Summit on December 4 2018, where the emerging lessons will be shared and formulated into recommendations for consideration by Mayor and Council and other key decision makers in the public, private, academic and community sectors.  

Framework and Themes

In planning with partners for the 2018 Summit two cross-cutting  frameworks have emerged: reconciliation, and intersectionality. The following are our initial working definitions of these concept:

  • Reconciliation occurs only after a recognition of the truth of the lived experiences of indigenous peoples and later settlers, both historically and today, enabling a healing process that fosters sustained relationships of mutual respect and understanding with local First Nations and the urban Indigenous community. There is also a need for redress with other groups that have suffered systemic discrimination.
  • Intersectionality is the idea that the overlap of various social identities, such as race, gender, sexuality and social class, contributes to the cumulative systemic oppression and discrimination, or the cumulative advantage, experienced by a person or group.

Three other themes emerged from planning workshops and meetings held in the spring and summer of 2018. They are:

  1. Belonging: the feelings and attitudes associated with inclusion and exclusion, sharing, thriving with diversity, mutual respect and reconciliation.
  2. Equity: the distribution of power, access to resources, governance and decision making processes.
  3. Places and Spaces: the design of the natural and built environment, access and mobility.


  • Raise awareness with the new Mayor and Council about “A City for All”, Habitat III, the New Urban Agenda, the Kuala Lumpur Declaration, and why they matter to Vancouver’s resilience.
  • Gather, analyze and consolidate results of pre-summit events to define what “a city for all” means and to consolidate potential recommendations.
  • Recommend
    • A working definition of a City for All and its sub-themes/issues
    • Actions that can be taken by many actors (various orders of government, not-for-profit groups, community based organizations, businesses, academics, faith groups, the media and individuals) to improve Vancouver’s inclusiveness and resiliency
    • Promising ideas that would benefit from further exploration.
  • Catalyze action to implement ideas resulting from the summit.

Key Audiences

There are two key audiences for the Summit.

The first audience is the new Mayor and Council, along with their senior management team. They would be invited to attend the entire event or any parts of the event, particularly the afternoon session and to act as participant observers (listeners). They will be asked not to make statements, present or defend a position on issues related to A City for All or the Summit themes. They will be encouraged to ask questions to clarify. This represents an unusual opportunity for them to listen to the accumulated wisdom of members of previous advisory boards and community groups.

The second audience is the participants in the partner events and the Summit itself.  The input from partner events is intended to reflect the diversity of the city. We anticipate these events will be open and widely accessible and will raise the level of awareness and understanding of the issues. The invitation list for the Summit, however, is focussed on thought-leaders and key influencers. Although the topic is “A City for All” this is not a conference for all. Recommendations for actions will be focussed on key actors: the four orders of government; the business sector; the academic sector; the not-for-profit sector; community based groups; faith groups; the media; and individuals.

As well as using the event process to build understanding and relationships, an additional desired outcome is that the electronic and printed report will amplify the results of the Summit.


The full day invitational summit is intended to engage 200 thought leaders and influencers from the community and various sectors including the not-for-profit, business, academic and government (First Nations, municipal, provincial and federal) sectors. Invitations will include people from groups traditionally under-represented.

Partner Events

Leading up to the summit, we are inviting partner organization to host events connected to the “A City forAll’  theme. These partner events could range from public story telling events, to meetings convened with specific groups with an interest in the topic who wish to contribute to the recommendations.

Partners would organize an event, research project, or other activity to explore one of the themes with the objective of contributing to the discussion at the Summit itself.  The partners would be self-organizing and self-funding. The desired output from each group would be a presentation at the Summit covering:  “ what” (the nature of the issue), “so what” (why it matters to Vancouver’s resiliency) and “what next” (recommendation for actions that can be taken by different actors and promising ideas for further consideration).

Location & Timing

The location and timing of partner events leading up to the Summit will be determined by partner groups and posted on the VCPC’s website.

The 2018 Summit itself will be held on Tuesday, December 4, 2018 between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre. This full day invitational event is intended to engage approximately 200 thought leaders and influencers from the community and various sectors including the not-for-profit, business, academic and government (First Nations, municipal, provincial and federal) sectors. Invitations will include people from groups traditionally under-represented.

Next Steps

Over the next few months the VCPC will be meeting with groups to identify potential partners and sponsors who are willing to organize lead up events and/or provide input and resources for the Summit content and process.

Interested parties are asked to contact: Yuri Artibise, Executive Director of VCPC at 604-992 4197 or by email at yuri.artibise@vancouver.ca .