“A City for All” Summit Overview

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 VCPC (in partnership with a wide representation of advisory bodies appointed by City Council, community organizations and multiple interest groups) is hosting a series of events under the theme, “A City For All.” These events will culminate 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, the VCPC joined the Canadian delegation and more than 30,000 people in Ecuador to participate in the United Nations’ Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development. The conference resulted in the New Urban Agenda (NUA), an international guideline for urban development focused on making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. The VCPC adopted the NUA as a guide to our own programs for the next five years.

In October 2017, VCPC, in partnership with the City of Vancouver, 100 Resilient Cities (pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation) and SFU Public Square, held our first summit: “Shaping Resiliency: A Summit on Resilience and Vancouver’s Future.

Encouraged by the interest shown in the topic of “A City for All”,  we participated earlier this year in UN Habitat’s ninth World Urban Forum (WUF9) in Malaysia. The Kuala Lumpur Declaration is a call to action for local governments to implement the New Urban Agenda through innovation, inclusion, and collaborative partnerships with meaningful participation.

In April of this year, VCPC convened a workshop with advisory boards and other groups concerned with diversity, and inclusion to explore what a “City for All” means to us in Vancouver. We are developing plans for a number of partner activities leading up to the Summit itself, which will be held on December 4, 2018, after the municipal elections.

“A City for All” Summit Objectives

  • Raise awareness with the new City of Vancouver Mayor and Council about the role of VCPC and other citizen advisory committees and interested partners in advising about the future of the
  • Raise awareness about “A City for All”, Habitat III, the New Urban Agenda, the Kuala Lumpur Declaration, and why it matters to Vancouver’s
  • Gather, analyze and consolidate results of partner pre-summit events to explore and define what “a city for all” means and to consolidate potential recommendations.
  • Recommend
    • Actions that can be taken by many actors (various orders of government, not-for-profit groups, community based organizations, businesses, academics, foundations, media and individuals) to improve Vancouver’s inclusiveness
    • Promising ideas that would benefit from further
  • Catalyze action to implement ideas resulting from the Summit over the next few

Emerging Themes

Four themes have emerged from discussions to date around the question of “What a City for All Means to You”:

  1. Belonging: the social and psychological nature of inclusion);
  2. Equity: access to power, resources, governance and decision-making);
  3. Places: access and the design of the natural and built environment); and
  4. Economy: access to financial resources and meaningful work).

A common thread of the discussions was the need to use an inter-sectional lens in approaching these themes.

Location & Timing

The location and timing of partner activities 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.


The partner events will range from public story telling events, to meetings or other events convened with groups who wish to contribute to the recommendations. The full day invitational summit is intended to engage 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.

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.

Next Steps

Over the next few months the VCPC will be meeting with multiple stakeholder 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 vcpc@vancouver.ca .