Policies, Plans & Initiatives

The idea for a city-wide physical plan is rooted in the context of the City of Vancouver’s current planning work, in in recent plans and policies, and in significant older documents which have shaped the development of Vancouver. This section provides an overview of relevant recent references.

The new city-wide physical plan: City of Vancouver references

2008 June: The origins of this iteration of the concept could be said to have its roots in the EcoDensity process:

“An ‘Eco’ CityPlan: Staff be directed to report back to Council on a proposed work program and resource needs to develop a new city-wide plan, that builds on and respects CityPlan and the many Community Visions, rather than replacing them, to form an approved physical direction that will manage change and density across the city to meet the commitments of the EcoDensity Charter.”

EcoDensity Initial Actions (pages 11-12)

2010 January: The idea of a new sustainability vision and framework was echoed in the report from the Greenest City Action Team, recommending that:

An integrated Greenest City Plan should use a systems approach to create an over-arching vision and structure that shows low carbon energy opportunities, viable sustainable transportation routes and nodes, potential for expanding green spaces, employment nodes, and appropriate housing density.

Vancouver 2020: A Bright Green Future;
An action plan for becoming the world’s greenest city by 2020 (page 25)

2011 July: The idea for a city-wide received prominent mention in a Council report on the next set of community plans.

Staff anticipate reporting to Council in early 2012 with a proposed strategy for the preparation of a city-wide plan, including information on the recommended scope of work, timing, and resourcing. Staff would ensure that such a program is carefully coordinated with ongoing community planning initiatives, including the next community plans, and that all planning at different scales informs and aligns with each other.

As noted above, as a first step towards this coordination staff will distil from existing Council-adopted policy documents (CityPlan, Greenest City, EcoDensity, etc.) a set of draft city-wide principles to guide the next community plans. It is anticipated that these principles would be considered and possibly enhanced as an early phase in the city-wide plan process.

Vancouver’s Next Community Plans, Report to Council, 2011 July 28
(page 11; more on pages 3, 4, 7, 11, 17)

2011 September: The idea of introducing a city-wide land use plan to proceed in parallel with the work of the transportation plan update was presented as an opportunity to consider land use and transportation issues together.

Throughout the Transportation 2040 process to date, there has been a recognition from staff and many stakeholders of the important relationship between land use and transportation. Much of the success Vancouver has experienced with increased walking, cycling, and transit use is connected to the development of complete communities where homes, work, and the goods and services of daily life are in close proximity.

As the Transportation 2040 work progresses, the Planning Department will present to Council for consideration a work program for a city-wide land-use planning effort in 2012. The city-wide planning process will move forward in collaboration with Transportation 2040 to enable the City and the public to address land use and transportation issues in tandem and to meet the Transportation 2040 objectives and targets.

Transportation 2040 Phase 1 Consultation Summary (page 12)
City of Vancouver Council Meeting 2011 September 21


Convergence of Current Planning Work

Comments about the new proposed city-wide physical plan often refer to a ‘convergence’ of current planning work that is underway, at various stages and scales. This creates an ideal environment for conducting a parallel city-wide physical plan. Here are some of those initiatives:

Greenest City Action Plan 2020
City of Vancouver Greenest City

Housing and Homelessness Strategy 2012-2021
City of Vancouver Housing Strategy

Transportation Plan 2040
City of Vancouver Transportation Consultation

Vancouver Economic Action Strategy 2011
Vancouver  Economic Commission Action Strategy  pdf icon

Community Plans: DTES, Grandview-Woodland, Marpole, West End
City of Vancouver Council Report, Minutes 2011 July 28 (page 4, items  A, B)
City of Vancouver Next Community Plans (Council Report 2011 July 28)
City of Vancouver Community Plans (Information)
City of Vancouver Neighbourhood Planning

Mapping Community Visions (areas, building types for ‘further study’)
City of Vancouver Council Minutes 2011 July 28 (page 5, item E(ii))

Urban Health Strategy, 2011
Healthy City Strategy

Social Infrastructure Strategy, 2011
Social Infrastructure Plan

Development-related  Benefits 2011
How development helps fund communities

Culture Plan for Vancouver 2008-2018
City of Vancouver Creative City

Regional Context Statement (Metro Vancouver)
(required 2013 to comply with 2011 Regional Growth Strategy)
City of Vancouver Council Report, Minutes 2011 March 3
City of Vancouver 1999 Regional Context Statement
Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy


Prominent Recent Plans and Policies

EcoDensity Charter (2008)
A set of goals and actions committing the City to make environmental sustainability a primary goal in city planning decisions in ways that also support housing affordability and livability.

Transportation Plan (1997)
An overall transportation strategy for the city, based on CityPlan. It sets out targets for walking, transit, biking and vehicle trips, and outlining 70 related actions.

CityPlan (1995)

A city-wide framework of directions developed with broad consultation. CityPlan has guided the development of plans for transportation, economy, downtown development, corporate planning and for neighbourhood-based community planning.

Clouds of Change Vol. 1, Vol. 2 (1990) pdf icon
The report focused on improving air quality through reduction of toxic emissions from many sources. it proved to be a catalyst for the development of later city-wide and comprehensive sustainable development policies.


Prominent Earlier Plans and Policies

Central Area Plan: Goals and Land Use (1991) pdf icon
A policy framework that has shaped developed in the area north of Broadway wet of Main and east of Arbutus, including the downtown peninsula.

The Vancouver Plan: The City’s Strategy for Managing Change (1986) pdf icon
A 10-point action plan focusing on the core but with city-wide implications.

Goals for Vancouver (1980; updated 1987)  pdf icon
This comprehensive statement of goals laid the groundwork for the CityPlan process and articulated the idea of a city of neighbourhoods. It was based on extensive city-wide public involvement organized by the Vancouver City Planning Commission.

A Plan for the City of Vancouver (1928)
Although not formally adopted by Council, this city-wide plan created by Harland Bartholomew was the first to consider the city within the region.  The “Bartholomew Plan” laid out the basic structure of the city including the distribution of schools, parks and streets.