UDP (Urban Design Panel)

UDP meeting on Feb 22, 2012 , item 1401 ComoxUrban Design Panel

CityHallWatch comments (updated to Nov 2021):

  • The UDP is an advisory body for Vancouver City Council and staff.
  • Members include architects, engineers, industry people, and landscape architects. To join the panel, aspiring members apply and then are appointed by City Council.
  • Citizens need to watch what goes on with the UDP.
  • Though it does not approve or reject projects, its reviews of projects and policies are an important step in the project approval pipeline. Politicians and City staff use the UDP’s support for projects as a justification to go ahead. Ideally it would all be based on objective and professional standards. But that may not always be the case. Panel members are part of a relatively closed civic system, and Vancouver is not a large city by international standards. Members and their companies interact with each other multiple times over the course of a career. A person seeking UDP support on a multi-million-dollar project will be later in a voting position to either “support” or “not support” a peer’s project. From the citizen’s perspective, the subjective values and comments of the UDP may be quite out of step with public opinion or with neighbourhoods affected by a project. While the extremely rare non-support by the UDP may not stop a project, we find the entire body is too chummy and lacks the courage to question or challenge controversial aspects including height and density.  
  • It is important for citizens to monitor the agendas for upcoming UDP meetings and attend meetings on projects that affect them. Typically these meetings go onto the agenda rather quickly (posted online a few days ahead, with no other public notification). It would be courteous if the UDP or the City made an effort  to provide notification to the affected community, neighbours, and residents’ associations. Yet information and discussions in these meetings may not be available at any other time or in any other place.
  • We believe the positions are not remunerated, but the City provides meeting space and administrative functions for the Panel.
  • The public may attend the meeting, but does not have the opportunity to speak. Since much of the information may never make it into the public otherwise, we encourage concerned citizens to take photos, and audio or video recordings if you feel you may need to refer to the material in the future. If you get any flack, feel free to refer the authorities to this article: “Wrongful erosion of public access to City Hall? Bogus ban on video at Urban Design Panel meetings” https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2013/11/05/public-access-eroding-udp-video/


From website (12-Nov-2021)

COVID-19 update: in-person meetings

September 24, 2021: We’re transitioning back to in-person Urban Design Panel meetings.

Since May 2020, Urban Design Panel meetings have been held virtually with a livestream available for the public to view the proceedings. The temporary provincial government order that permitted these meetings to be held virtually has expired.

Meetings will now be held in-person and are open to the public to attend. All provincial health guidelines and social distancing protocols must be adhered to.

CHW note – The UDP has the capacity to provide livestream video via Webex (e.g., the 10-Nov-2021 meeting). Check the website for information.


Below we copy material from the City website as of November 2021.

Contact the Urban Design Panel
– Kathy Cermeno, 604-873-7770, udp.info@vancouver.ca
– May Sem, 604-665-2168, may.sem@vancouver.ca

The Urban Design Panel (UDP) advises City Council and staff about development proposals or policies, including major development applications, rezoning applications, and other projects of public interest. As well, the panel helps the Planning Department and City Council create urban design policy, including the design and interrelationship of all physical components of the City.

The panel reviews all civic building projects, including bridges, roads, parks, beautification projects, transit systems, civic buildings, and design competitions. The UDP does not approve or refuse projects or make policy decisions.

The Urban Design Panel Bylaw establishes the Panel, and describes its membership and duties.

Meeting schedule

Panel meetings are held every two weeks throughout the year. Special meetings are convened when necessary. The meetings are normally held on Wednesdays at 4:00pm in the Town Hall Meeting Room, 1st Floor, City Hall, 453 West 12th Ave. Public attendance is permitted, however, the public may not address the panel.

Meeting procedure

The panel meetings are conducted by the elected chairperson in the following manner:

  • The Development Planner introduces the project to the panel (referring to its location, context, background, scope and response to established bylaws and design guidelines)
  • The applicant is given the opportunity to clarify any aspects of the plan to the panel (no presentation is required of the applicant)
  • The panel members review the project material and provide comments and observations
  • The Chairperson summarizes the comments of the panel
  • The Chairperson presents a motion to either support the project, support the project with recommendations, or recommend resubmission
  • The Chairperson asks city staff if they have any final comments before the vote
  • The Chairperson asks the panel for a mover and a seconder for the motion, calls the vote and announces the result
  • If the motion does not pass, then the chairperson asks a panel member to move another motion, call the vote, and announce the result.

CHW note – We have a concern that sometimes minutes of the meeting have been posted on the website months after the meeting, far too late for public review.

Attendance requirement

Members may miss no more than four consecutive meetings without obtaining leave of absence from the panel. Membership will be terminated following the fourth such absence.


The panel consists of at least 13 members, representing the following groups:

  • Six members, Architectural Institute of British Columbia
  • Two members, Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia
  • Two members, The BC Society of Landscape Architects
  • One member, the development industry, from the Urban Development Institute, the Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association, or the Building Owners and Managers’ Association
  • One member, Vancouver City Planning Commission
  • One member, practicing professional artist

All members are appointed by Council, and may be reappointed. There is no limit on the number of terms a member may serve.

Members of the 2021 Urban Design Panel

10 members from the Architectural Institute of British Columbia

  • Alan Boniface, Architect, Boniface Oleksiuk Politano Architects
  • Alan Davies, Architect, Acton Ostry Architects Inc.
  • Angela Enman, Architect, Mcfarlane Bigger Architects + Designers Inc.
  • Brian Wakelin, Architect, public architecture + communication
  • Clinton Cuddington, Architect, Measured Architecture
  • Kelly Lee, Architect, Member-at-Large (AIBC)
  • Michael Henderson, Architect, HCMA Architecture + Design
  • Natalie Telewiak, Architect, Michael Green Architecture
  • Sydney Schwartz, Architect, MCMP Architects
  • Walter Francl, Architect, Francl Architecture Inc.

2 members from the Association of Professional Engineers

  • Brittany Coughlin, Engineer, RDH Building Science Inc.
  • Reza Mouskhani, Engineer, AME Consulting Group

2 members from the British Columbia Society of Landscape Architects

  • Margot Long, PWL Partnership Landscape Architects Inc.
  • Jennifer Stamp, Groundswell

1 representative from the Vancouver Planning Commission

  • Alyssa Koehn, IBI Group

2 members representing art professionals

  • Adrien Rahbar, Associate Director, Real Estate at Graham
  • Geoff Lister, Geoff Lister Photography



Members of the 2014 Urban Design Panel

6 members from the Architectural Institute of British Columbia

  • Ryan Bragg, Architect, Perkins + Will Architects
  • Walter Francl, Architect, Francl Architecture Inc.
  • Joseph Hruda, Architect, Civitas urban Design & Planning
  • Jennifer Marshall, Urban Arts Architecture
  • Arno Matis, Arno Matis Architecture Inc.
  • Matthew Soules, Matthew Soules Architecture Inc.

2 members from the Association of Professional Engineers

  • David Grigg, Engineer, Street Smart Infrastructure Planning
  • Goran Ostojic, Engineer, Cobalt Engineering

2 members from the British Columbia Society of Landscape Architects

  • Joseph Fry, Hapa Collaborative Landscape Architecture
  • Chris Mramor, PFS Studio

1 representative from the Vancouver Planning Commission

  • Phil Mondor

1 member representing the development industry

  • Maurice Pez, Intracorp

1 member representing art professionals

  • Greg Bellerby

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