Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Vancouver City Planning Commission

Vancouver City Hall - Wikicommons
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, consultations, competitions, presentations, and research on topics including housing, public realm, neighbourhoods, transportation, and public engagement. - City of Vancouver 
We've only had two meetings so far and it's been mostly orienting the new commissioners, like myself, and some procedural things. Not sure quite yet what kind of work we'll be getting into, however, the year is young yet.

Personally, I'd like to be more involved in planning engagement/consultations (which is also an academic area of interest for me). I'd like to see the commission be more visible so I've been tweeting from our meetings (#VCPC). If you're interested, our meetings are open to the public for observation and you can find the meeting details here. Feel free to shoot me an email or tweet before hand, too.