ChapterPDF Available

People and Plans: Vancouver's CityPlan Process



Vancouver, Canada is internationally recognized as one of the world’s most livable cities. This case study describes the role public engagement played in addressing choices Vancouver faced in moving toward becoming a more sustainable city. The study draws from the author’s experience leading Vancouver’s CityPlan process. Part 1 describes the three phase CityPlan program to establish directions for Vancouver. The first phase (1992-1995) involved more than 100,000 people in considering the choices and consequences of a wide range of strategic directions. The result was CityPlan a Council adopted strategic plan (City of Vancouver 1995). The second phase (1995-2008) continued stakeholder engagement in preparing and implementing a variety of policies based on CityPlan Directions. The third phase involved three planning initiatives in ‘single-family’ neighborhoods designed to increase housing choice and make more efficient use of existing services. Part 2 reflects on the outcomes of CityPlan. The study concludes that four features of planning processes – including all city responsibilities, broad public engagement commencing with the initial steps of plan making, public involvement in choice making when limited land or funds require tradeoffs between city values, and allocating funds for early implementation – contribute to public support for plans. The study also concludes that plans which are expeditiously implemented through regulation or funding benefit from public support. Phased planning processes which require further plan making prior to implementation can experience approval decay among politicians and citizens. People and Plans: Vancouver's CityPlan Process. Available from:'s_CityPlan_Process [accessed Jul 11, 2016].
... possible for the fullest expression of citizenship and the realisation of democracy(Stoker 2013), and that it builds community trust in governments(McAfee 2015, Alter 2013, Hubbell 2013. Engagement also has the potential of harnessing citizen/community expertise in the process of policy formulation and implementation (Bason 2013, Nambisan and Nambisan 2013, Pietrucha and Sammut 2013, Schneider 1999). ...
... and need for citizen engagement (Akbulut and Soylu 2012,Bason 2013, Briggs 2013, McAfee 2015, Pietrucha and Sammut 2013, Rosenberg 2007, Stoker 2013, Thondhlana et al. 2015).Engagement requires citizens and communities to have unhindered access to real-time, place based, up to date and relevant data in order to be able to contribute effectively(Kettl 2013). Harnessing the potential of citizen engagement also requires a critical assessment of the contextual and institutional arrangements involved. ...
Full-text available
Managing natural resources continues to be a major challenge in resource-rich developing countries. This has produced a rich scholarly literature examining the paradox between resource endowments and negative socio-economic outcomes, commonly referred to as the resource curse. There seems to be a consensus that the core problem is one of poor resource governance. If resource governance can be improved, it might be possible to minimise or avoid the trap of the resource curse. Consequently, efforts have been put into promoting better governance of natural resources by improving revenue management, transparency in extractive activities and institution building. In recent years attention has turned to promoting community engagement as part of the effort to improve resource governance. It is the relationship between community engagement and resource governance policy strategies to manage extractive resources that provides the focus for this thesis. A growing weight of scholarly opinion has emerged supporting the view that community engagement in governance processes improves livelihoods, empowers communities, resolves conflicts and promotes resource and/or environmental conservation. For many governments and regional bodies in Africa the real and potential significance of community engagement has prompted its integration into their resource governance policies. This has been particularly pronounced in the area of renewable resources governance where governments have been open to ideas about community engagement. But in the area of extractive resources there has been considerably less emphasis placed on meaningfully integrating community engagement into the governance of extractive resources. In Tanzania, there appears to have been a concerted effort by the government to initiate and promote community engagement strategies in the extractive resources sector as part of its policy reforms. However, questions arise as to what the government means by ‘community engagement’ and how it has sought to promote that. Exploring these questions forms the central thread of this thesis, which in turn involves pursuing answers to several other questions, such as: What policies have been developed and implemented by the government to bring about effective community engagement in natural gas governance? To what extent have these policies succeeded in realising the government’s aims? What might be the strengths and limitations of current government-community engagement arrangements? To address these questions, this thesis has adopted a qualitative case study approach informed by a libertarian socialist framework. The findings from this study show that the government frames community engagement in natural gas governance around two main issues: 1) economic participation, and 2) infrastructure safety and protection. Its strategies for engagement centre upon creating economic benefits and ensuring sector stability. While these are mostly in line with many of the expectations of the local communities in Mtwara and Lindi, these communities want more than just economic benefits. They want to participate in and influence decisions about natural gas development and, more importantly, about how they benefit from gas projects. In this respect, and despite the government’s formal statements and policy frameworks, it appears that the government has not empowered the communities in the ways anticipated by those communities. Rather, the evidence suggests two things. First, that the engagement is experienced by the communities as manipulation rather than as genuine participation in decision-making. Second, the government’s idea of community engagement is seen as a means to serve the government’s own agenda. In part this is accentuated by the fact that there is no requisite government policy for engagement in decision-making processes as the only policy framework in place caters for economic participation. Hence, this thesis concludes that there is a need for a formal community engagement policy to be developed and implemented that is not simply focused on economic participation. Rather, such an engagement policy should provide a framework to define and guide community engagement in ways that empower communities to be part of the planning and decision-making processes in the governance of extractive resources. This would also enable the government to add real meaning to its goal of economic participation in ways that would assist it to achieve balanced socio-economic development and well-being and improve Tanzania’s chances of avoiding the trap of the resource curse.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.