A New City-Wide Plan?

On November 20, 2014, The Commission partnered with SFU City Conversations to mark the approaching 20th anniversary of Vancouver’s 1995 CityPlan with a public event for sharing reflections and thoughts about the future of city-wide planning in Vancouver.

Does Vancouver need a new city-wide plan?

McAFee Condon Whitelaw
Presenters L to R: Ann McAfee, Patrick Condon, Peter Whitelaw at SFU City Conversation November 20, 2014

The presentations by Ann, Patrick Condon and Peter Whitelaw offered thought-provoking ideas, and were followed by a lively discussion with the overflowing lunchtime audience.

  • Ann McAfee, Vancouver’s Co-Director of Planning (with Larry Beasley) who guided Vancouver’s 1995 CityPlan.
  • Patrick Condon, Chair of Urban Design at UBC’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.
  • Peter Whitelaw, Principal at Modus planning group with experience in creating and updating plans for other BC municipalities.


Although the major focus of the City of Vancouver’s Planning Department during 2012-2014 was local area planning and implementation, the idea of a new city-wide plan for the City continued to be a topic of public interest, particularly during the preparation of the City’s Regional Context Statement in 2013 and during debates leading up to the municipal election in November 2014.

The basic layout of Vancouver’s streets, neighbourhoods, schools, parks and basic infrastructure dates back to the Bartholomew Plan of 1929. This plan was the foundation for many local area and community plans, for transportation plans, and for zoning maps identifying what could be built and where. After half a century of growth and change, and with extensive public process, in 1995 Council adopted CityPlan, a 20-year framework for decisions on programs, priorities and actions on funding, programs, and actions that has been the basis for many community and other planning programs.

What would be the benefits of a new attempt to create a city-wide plan that defines where growth would take place, what could that process look like, and what hazards would that process face?

Quick links to documentation of the November 20, 2014 conversation