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Showing posts from 2014

Vancouver's Department of 'What if?': a License to Disrupt

A remarkable thing happened this past week. On Wednesday, June 25th, over 30 past Vancouver City Planning Commissioners sat in room at the Wosk Centre for Dialogue to talk about Vancouver's Planning legacy and future (Although, it turned out be more about the Commission's). With experiences dating back to the 80s, it was a room replete with knowledge.
While I have struggled to find a purpose for myself at the VCPC meetings, this unique event has energized my spirits towards this potentially important citizen advisory body. I can't attach names to any of the comments that were made as per Chatham House rules but some persistent themes came up.

The VCPC's Purpose
I'm a little relieved to hear that past commissioners also struggled to figure out what exactly a powerless planning commission is supposed to do and how it's supposed to do it. In fact, it was repeatedly suggested that the VCPC should be Vancouver's 'Department of What if?' By that, they mea…

The Vancouver City Planning Commission

So the first month of 2014 is behind us. The last part of 2013 was a whirlwind of activity for me: I started a new job (update: I still love it), put together a directed reading course for myself for this semester (update: read what you tell your prof you'll read!), and I was also appointed to the Vancouver City Planning Commission (VCPC).

The VCPC has a long history in this city and has had many different mandates but its current form came about mostly in the 1960s and 1970s. It has gone from a central institution in city building to one more along the side-lines, as a strictly advisory body (mostly due to the advent of modern day planning departments). This is not to say the VCPC cannot play a significant role - they've done some great work. Currently, the VCPC:
advises City Council on planning and development issues in the City, and may report to Council on any proposal likely to have a significant effect on the future of the City. The commission organizes conferences, cons…