The Vancouver City Planning Commission’s annual cycle of events to name the milestones of 2017 in planning and development kicked off on November 16 with a workshop at City Studio. The table talk was intense as urban thinkers, professionals and advocates debated policies, decisions and events that could have a transformative impact on Vancouver’s evolution.
By the end of the evening, the group had whittled down a list of 17 potential milestones to 12 while proposing several other contenders.
“It was our best workshop ever,” a member of the VCPC chronology committee said afterwards.
The invitational workshop was part of the VCPC’s third annual Year-In-Review. Urban planners, architects, developers, academics and advocates come together every year to sift through council decisions, policy initiatives and events in the city to name watershed moments in planning and development from the earlier 12 months.
The spirited debate over milestones offers a unique opportunity to reflect on the direction of the city. The list of contenders put together at the workshop form the basis for a survey that informs a public panel discussion slated for Feb. 5, 2018.
The milestones are reviewed after five years to decide whether the impacts were truly significant. Those that stand the test of time are added to the online Chronology of Planning and Development in Vancouver.
At the workshop, participants considered issues that had barely caused a ripple as well as those that had filled the public gallery at city hall. Everyone agreed on the significance of some contenders.
A new housing strategy that will increase choices in single-family zones and the collaborative planning process initiated in False Creek South are expected to have a transformative impact on the evolution of the city.
The significance of the appointment of the city’s Chief Resilience Officer as part of the Rockefeller 100 Resilient Cities, the delegation of authority to the city engineer to facilitate complete streets and a new West End parking strategy were among other milestone contenders that were hotly debated.
The full list of contenders will be published in late January, shortly before a VCPC sponsored panel discussion of milestones for 2017 in early February.