Milestones 2017

2017 Year in Review Brainstorming Workshop

What were the significant events in planning and development in Vancouver in 2017?

The Vancouver City Planning Commission’s annual cycle of events to identify the milestones of 2017 in planning and development was kicked off on November 16 with a workshop at City Studio. The table talk was intense as urban thinkers, professionals and advocates debated policies, decisions and events that could possibly have a transformative impact on the evolution of Vancouver.

Commissioner Robert Matas discusses prospective 2017 milestones at the VCPC sponsored workshop.

By the end of the evening, the group had whittled down a list of 17 potential milestones to 12 while proposing several additional contenders.

“It was our best workshop ever,” a member of the VCPC chronology committee said afterwards.

The invitational workshop was part of the VCPC’s third annual Year-In-Review. Urban planners, architects, developers, academics and advocates come together every year to sift through council decisions, policy initiatives and events in the city to identify watershed moments in planning and development in the previous 12 months.

The spirited debate over milestones offers a unique opportunity to reflect on the direction of the city. The list of contenders put together at the workshop form the basis for a survey that informs a public panel discussion slated for Feb. 5, 2018.

The milestones are reviewed after five years to determine whether the impacts were truly significant. Those that stand the test of time are added to the online Chronology of Planning and Development in Vancouver.

At the workshop, participants considered issues that had barely caused a ripple as well as those that had filled the public gallery at city hall. Everyone agreed on the significance of some contenders.

  • New housing initiatives that will increase choices in single-family zones and the collaborative planning process initiated in False Creek South are expected to have a transformative impact on the evolution of the city.
  • But what will be the lasting significance of a decision to revisit the zoning polices in Chinatown or the Development Permit Board rejection for the first time of an application.
  • Does the relocation of Emily Carr University of Art + Design and the start of consultation on a new vision for Granville Island mark a turning point in development of the city’s top tourism destination?
  • The significance of the appointment of the city’s Resilience Officer as part of the Rockefeller 100 Resilient Cities, the delegation of authority to the city engineer for bike lanes and parking policy in the West End were among the milestone contenders that were hotly debated.

The full list of contenders will be published in late January, shortly before a VCPC sponsored panel discussion of milestones for 2017 in early February.