What Makes Us Vancouver?

On October 13, 2015, the Vancouver City Planning Commission and UBC’s School of Community Regional Planning jointly hosted a dialogue  on Vancouver’s planning culture. As an outcome of that dialogue, event facilitator developed this manifesto identifying some key principles to help guide planning in Vancouver.


An Aspirational Portrait of Vancouver’s Planning Culture

Vancouver is a city that places inclusive, meaningful engagement at the center of every planning process. Meaningful engagement is flexible and multi-faceted in order for the voices of all sectors of the community to be heard. Meaningful engagement is also collaborative and committed to power sharing in decision-making.

Our planning processes are rooted in respect and trust. Both professionals and non-professionals are respected for their unique contributions. They work together to make sense of complex information, choices and consequences, through encouraged conversation.

Our planning processes are clear and transparent. They begin by educating the public, building capacity for participation, sharing expectations and process assumptions upfront, documenting every step of the way, and demonstrating how decisions are arrived at.

Our planning decisions are grounded in good information. We expect rigour in the analysis that leads to production of data. We also expect humanization of data, through visualization and quantification, making it easily understood by the public.

Our city appreciates the need for planning at various scales of time and space. We integrate innovative site-specific design and neighbourhood-level planning with careful and efficient city-wide systems planning. Our planning appreciates the need for variety and the gifts of the unexpected, leaving room for surprise and delight.

We acknowledge the cultural history of the land and its Aboriginal people. Our planning decisions reflect and celebrate our distant and recent histories (cultural, social, architectural). We carve out spaces in our city for thriving cultures, creativity, and play to increase the well-being of our diverse population.

As a city, we are committed to equity.  We fully face the challenges of making our city affordable and livable for all in the face of global forces and rising costs. We are looking for an inclusionary vision for housing that demands the participation of senior levels of government.

Our city is a  global leaders in creating excellence through urban form. Livability is created through a varied and diverse urban landscape. This is developed at the human scale and appropriate to each neighbourhood’s context and character. We recognize the importance of the relationship between land use and transportation, and we make community plans that take the regional transportation framework into account.

Our city includes and integrates spaces for business and industry to succeed. We empower neighbourhoods to respond to regional and neighbourhood-specific economic needs while we support small, innovative businesses of all types by providing a relatively easy path to approval.

We plan for integrated social and ecological landscapes. Our planning provides access to quality natural spaces as a right for our citizens and ensures a resilient, thriving environment.

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