Vancouver’s Planning Culture and Principles

City planning – the coordinated and collaborative decision-making that shapes a city’s built, social, and natural environment – is itself shaped by an ever-evolving set of principles and values. Taken together, these principles and values are a central part of a city’s unique planning culture. They inform how we make decision, as well as the decisions themselves.

These principles and values are sometimes explicit and sometimes simply understood, but are all important guides to future planning. Principles are not universal and absolute: they must be renewed and revised, reaffirming what is defines us across generations, questioning what doesn’t, and identifying the new ones that speak to where we are today as we look towards tomorrow.

In October 2015, three events produced by organizations closed associated with planning in the city explored urban planning in Vancouver under the theme Vancouver’s Planning Principles and Culture.


Stories from the Ground:

Identifying Core Principles to Guide Vancouver’s Planning Future

UBC School of Community and Regional Planning and Vancouver City Planning Commission

In facilitated discussion, a diverse group of 60 individuals from many backgrounds and with experience engaging with planning processes in Vancouver shared personal stories with features that highlighted significant practices, lessons and values.


Politics and Planning:

Vancouver’s Next Planning Director

SFU City Conversations

Marguerite Ford and Peter Ladner, former City Councillors, and Frances Bula, urban affairs journalist, discussed the relationship between politics and planning.


Future and Past:

Planners and Planning in Vancouver

SFU City Program

Larry Beasley, Ann McAfee, Ray Spaxman and Brent Toderian, former Vancouver Planning Directors, discussed their experience with planning in the city and shared ideas for the future.