Media and Online Sources

The new city-wide physical plan: media and online sources

Brent Toderian

Director of Planning, Brent Toderian, referred to the city-wide physical plan initiative in a number of public interviews and presentations.

The idea of a city-wide physical plan was advocated by Brent, whose term with the City of Vancouver ended on January 31, 2012.



The Cambie Street Corridor and the Future of Vancouver
Erick Villagomez in Spacing Vancouver, 2011 April 27
Quoting Brent Toderian:

… as we conceptualize this corridor, we’re thinking ahead about how it relates to the entire corridor structure of the city. That’s going to serve us well once we move into doing a new physical plan for Vancouver – something that’s been called for over the last few years, and I’m very keen to initiate. So, the corridor program is a bridge, if you will….a bridge from just focusing on local areas and local area plans, to being able to think at those multiple scales. The regional scale, the city scale, the district and neighbourhood scale, the street scale, the block scale, the building scale and even the sidewalk scale. We tend to think that way, but our plans don’t always illustrate that. Our plans can appear disconnected, even if our urban thinking is holistic and multi-level…

…In the EcoDensity Initiative, the task was called the Eco-City Plan. We’re now referring to it, in more generic terms, as a new physical plan for Vancouver, a ‘PlanVancouver’ if you will, and it essentially starts with – and respects – the results of CityPlan and the various Community Visions and area plans. It would also seek to address both our city-wide needs and regional issues, not the least of which are the pressures of sprawl on agricultural and industrial lands. But it would not do all this at the expense of the ‘city-of-neighbourhoods’ concept that is so important to us. It would provide greater clarity around what physical change can and should look like across the city, because the more clarity we can provide in the context of a shared vision, the less we’ll have debates on a project-by-project, proposal-by-proposal basis when everybody is concerned about a project setting a precedent. But as you can imagine, you don’t do that exercise unless you are able to do it properly and successfully. It will take the right resources, it will take the proper mandate…

Moving Forward Together
Presentation to Urban Development Institute, 2011 November 28
Transcription of comments by Brent Toderian:

…We need new models for plan-making and building our city. We need to think at every level and scale as we’re doing this…Luckily, we have a convergence of plan-making going on, but we have a missing piece. We had CityPlan in the 1990s, but it was never a physical plan to provide clarity on how change would occur within our city. We strongly believe that this is something that is necessary, because, in the meantime, we have CityPlan and a series of community visions that provide a patchwork quilt of sometimes frustrating policy that lacks clarity and flexibility.

Our idea for the plan for the city, Plan Vancouver, if you will, a working title, starting point… The intention of this city-wide plan is to be a reflection of our big challenges, not a starting point about what we want to achieve with our city. We have many principles, initiative and policies that speak to what we want to be. What we don’t have is physical clarity on how that will actually land across the city in a way that knits the communities together.

The Planners’ Plans for 2012
Karenn Krangle in Novae Res Urbis, 2012 January 23
Quoting Brent Toderian

“I do intend to move forward this year on the idea of a city-wide plan,” Toderian said. “We are in a challenging budget year with an already heavy workload, but I think that just means we’ll have to think outside the box on how to develop a city-wide plan and fund a proper process for it.” He noted that, regardless of the timing of a city-wide plan, Vancouver is required by the regional district (Metro Vancouver) to prepare a regional context statement within two years. That work could be done in concert with a city-wide plan. “There are many strong reasons for a city-wide plan,many ways that it would create significant clarity and value, so it’s still high on my priority list.”