City-wide Physical Plan

A City-wide Physical Plan for Vancouver (2011)


In July 2011, when Council received a staff report which outlined a concept and process for a new city-wide physical plan, the Commission set out to follow the idea, and invited a number of Vancouver’s prominent urbanists to provide their informed perspectives on this important topic at a very early stage in its development.

The idea of a city-wide plan for Vancouver has surfaced from time to time as the 1995 CityPlan neared the end of its projected life of 20 years, only to be displaced or modified by other priorities. Momentum for the idea started to build again 2011 as the Planning Department considered a process to integrate the City’s patchwork legacy of plans and policies with thematic city-wide plans and policies into a thematic 3D physical plan that shows how all these policies and plans might look on the ground.

Commission Interest

The idea of a city-wide plan has been a major interest of the Commission, and the relationship between city-wide initiatives and neighbourhood issues was central to theVCPC’s  Sustainable City of Sustainable Neighbourhoods project. In late 2011, the Commission invited some of our leading urban thinkers to offer early thoughts on the idea of a city-wide plan. Their comments are posted on this website, along with a statement from the Planning Department and  information gathered by the Commission to provide the context.

A city-wide physical plan has significant implications for a City that has evolved without an officially adopted comprehensive city-wide plan, and that, unlike other BC municipalities, is not required to have an Official Community Plan. Although there is no certainty about how the idea would develop, the Commission decided that it was not too soon to start thinking about what such a plan could mean for the future of the city.


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.

A primer on city-wide planning in Vancouver.