CityPlan June 18

Engaged Vancouver? 20 years since CityPlan

June 18: An evening of discussion and insight — for Vancouver and for Australia

[Post meeting report: About 20 people joined, with several hundred years of cumulative experience in civic affairs in Vancouver. The presentation by Dr. McAfee was fascinating, and the ensuing discussion, facilitated by researcher Andy Marlow equally so.  This story of CityPlan is deep and wide and has messages for us all. Stay tuned for presentation materials and a short report to be posted in the coming weeks.]

CHW 18-June-2013, event flyer

When: Tuesday, June 18, 2013, 7 to 9 pm
Venue: Welch Room, 4th Floor, YWCA Metro Vancouver. 535 Hornby Street Vancouver, BC V6C 2E8
Guest researcher: Andy Marlow (see bio below)
Guest presenter: Ann McAfee (see bio below)
Program: See below
Register online through EventBrite – (space is limited – 30 seats) (Note that you  do not have to use Facebook to register. Click on “register with e-mail” in center of page.
Organizer:, with Green Millennium Foundation, e-mail

Target audience: Citizens who have knowledge, and ideally, actual experience with CityPlan process in the 1990s and in implementation-related activities thereafter.

Vancouver is world renowned for its dedication to progressive planning and particularly forCityPlan, a highly popular consultation and planning process in the 1990s, now famous as an innovative model for participatory neighbourhood-based planning. But our city has steadily moved away from CityPlan over the past decade, just as the implementation phase was to have been in full swing. In fact, on June 11, City Council is about to adopt adocument designed top-down that will become the city’s Official Development Plan, though it could be described as the antithesis to CityPlan. How did this happen?

Meanwhile, Sydney, Australia is beginning a major urban planning initiative. Influential voices from Vancouver are actively promoting our city’s methods there, and Australians are looking for lessons and models from Vancouver, including CityPlan and EcoDensity.

Visiting architect/researcher Andy Marlow from Sydney sees the political will building towards a community-focused strategic planning approach in Sydney. But he has questions. CityHallWatch has offered to support his work by hosting a discussion about CityPlan in Vancouver, about stakeholders (who was in/out/ignored/absent?), process (what was asked? by whom? when? who had influence? what was negotiable, what not?) and evaluation (were the plans good? were the built outcomes good? what is the evidence of success?). His comparative research covers community participation and engagement strategies from Seattle, Vancouver and Chicago.

Examining the successes and failures from community participation programs, his Engaging Communities project is intended to help understand processes that can be successfully transferred to Sydney and help to create more engaged communities. CityHallWatch sees this discussion as an opportunity to shine a spotlight on Vancouver’s past and present and learn more about our own city.

Andy Marlow is an architect with one of Australia’s largest practices — Cox Architecture. His “Engaging Communities” research is funded by the Byera Hadley TravellingScholarship, administered by the New South Wales Architects Registration Board.

Andy is a Co-Chair of the Australian Institute of Architects NSW Sustainability Committee, sits on the Property Council of Australia Sustainable Development Committee and is a Green Star Accredited Professional. He has experience working on green buildings at various scales including the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre that seeks to be the first project to achieve Living Building Challenge status in Australia.

The introductory presentation will be made by Dr. Ann McAfee, who was the Co-Director of Planning for the City of Vancouver from 1994 to 2006.  During this time she was responsible for guiding the extensive public process leading to the adoption of Vancouver’s “CityPlan.” With CityPlan in place, Ann directed the development of new policies for Vancouver’s city-regional plans, sustainability directions, city-wide Economic, Industrial, Transportation, and Financing Growth policies. Concurrently she managed staff preparing new plans for the City’s single-family neighbourhoods and business improvement areas.  From 1974-1988 Ann was responsible for Vancouver’s Housing Programs. Since “retiring” Ann has been working internationally. She is currently advising Auckland on their new plan and is an Adjunct Professor teaching Strategic Planning at UBC.

After the event, a report of the meeting will be posted on CityHallWatch.


Engaged Vancouver? 20 years since CityPlan
June 18: An evening of discussion and insight — for Vancouver and for Australia


Opening, by Randy Helten, Coordinator,

Introduction to Engaging Communities – Andy
Background on the project and Sydney planning context.

CityPlan context – Ann McAfee
Why it started, overview of process and structure

7.30- 7.50
Reflections on CityPlan – All
Discussion: experiences of City Circles, Ideas Fair and other events.

Outcomes of Neighbourhood Plans – All
Discussion; what changes have occurred as a result of neighbourhood plans, what has not happened?

Post CityPlan – Presenter
Overview of EcoDensity and current Regional Context Statement issues.

Post CityPlan – All
Discussion: perceptions of EcoDensity and views on the current direction of city planning.

Wrap up, thanks – Andy & Presenter

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