“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.


Several United Nations agreements provide a framework for VCPC’s activities.The New Urban Agenda (2016) and the Kuala Lumpur Declaration (2018) call on local governments to implement the Sustainable Development Goals through innovation, inclusion, and collaborative partnerships with meaningful participation.

The overarching theme we chose in 2016  to guide us for a five year period is resiliency – 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 VCPC is taking a more in-depth look at four elements: Engagement for Real (2017), A City for All (2018), Communities and Corridors (2019), and Financing Public Spaces (2020).

In 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.”

2018 Summit: A City for All

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.

Our working definition of resiliency is from 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation, a partner in our 2017 Summit. To learn more, please visit www.100resilientcities.org/resilience.

The capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses and systems within a city to survive, adapt and grow, no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience.

Summit Themes

In exploring what “A City for All” means, three 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; and,
  3. Places and Spaces: the design of the natural and built environment, access and mobility.

Thus our working definition of “A City for All” might be:

A city where residents feel they belong, where they have have equitable access to decision making processes and resources, and where the design of the natural and built environment reflects their cultural and physical needs and aspirations.

Cross Cutting Frameworks

In planning with partners for the 2018 Summit on “A City for All”, two cross-cutting  frameworks have emerged: reconciliation, and intersectionality. The following are our initial working definitions of these concepts:

  • Reconciliation occurs only after a recognition of the truth of the lived experiences of indigenous peoples historically and today. Colonialism has broken trust between indigenous peoples and settlers, and their descendent. Our objective is to engage in a healing process that fosters sustained relationships of mutual respect and understanding with local First Nations and the urban Indigenous community. We wish to learn from the ongoing process undertaken by the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations and the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, and from other participatory processes that are building positive relationships of mutual respect.

Under the umbrella of “A City for All”, we recognize that there is also a need for reconciliation with other groups such as the Japanese community, the black community, Chinese communities, and LGBTQ2S residents who have suffered systemic discrimination. The City of Vancouver and others have initiated similar actions to change the course of these relationships, and to design policies, programs, places, and spaces that are inclusive.

  • 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. We wish to learn more about how these cumulative impacts can be addressed to improve our social capacity.

“A City for All” Summit Objectives

  • Raise awareness with the new City of Vancouver Mayor and Council about the value of VCPC and other citizen advisory committees and interested partners in advising on the city’s future.
  • Facilitate a peer learning network of groups and individuals working within the field to raise awareness about “A City for All”, and why it matters to Vancouver’s resilience.
  • Gather, analyze and consolidate learning from partner events/activities 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, 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 over the next few

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 5:30 pm at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre.

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 .