Welcome from the SFU Urban Studies Program

Welcome to Rethinking the Region V: A forum on Citizen Advisory Bodies and Urban Policy. This event is the fifth in a series of annual gatherings convened by SFU’s Graduate Program in Urban Studies to consider a topic of importance to the Vancouver region’s future. Today, scholars, urban development professionals, planners and policy-makers, students and citizens will consider how the role of municipal advisory bodies has evolved in and around Vancouver, as well as look at the approaches and practices to citizen involvement used in another Cascadian city, Seattle.

This program will provide opportunities to discover how citizen advisory bodies have influenced urban policy and to consider larger questions regarding how citizens engage with local governments on policy advice, including questions of representation, equity, influence and accountability.

This forum seeks to:

  • Better understand the range of activities and issues that citizen advisory bodies are involved in within Metro Vancouver and Cascadia, as well as the history, structure, influence and limitations of those groups.
  • Learn about some examples of how citizen advisory bodies have influenced urban policy in Metro Vancouver and Seattle.
  • Appreciate the role of citizen advisory bodies in today’s urban policy context, including the increasingly large role for digital forms of citizen engagement.
  • Reflect on who is involved in citizen advisory bodies and for what purposes.

As a participant in this workshop, you can help to advance our understanding of these questions:

  • Are citizen advisory bodies an effective way to involve the public in urban policy-making from the perspective of local governments?
  • How could these bodies better assist the local governments they advise?
  • Are advisory bodies an effective mechanism for citizens who want to influence their local governments?
  • What, if any, are the possibilities for making these bodies more effective mechanisms for citizen involvement and/or influence within Metro Vancouver?
  • Are citizen advisory bodies adequately representative and accountable? Do they help diversify the voices at the policy table, or just amplify the ones already represented?

Thanks for joining us and rethinking an important part of our region’s urban policy practice.

Dr. Anthony Perl
Professor of Urban Studies & Political Science
Faculty Convenor,  Rethinking the Region V