Housekeeping Items
Mark was unable to provide an example of the
matrix filled in; so we will have to decide whether to
proceed to fill it in on our own, use the SEED model
(simplified), or a combination.
 I'd like to spend part of the class on our project, and
part reviewing the first part of Leung.
 Any announcements?
 Context for Leung: Urban centres in BC and
elsewhere in the world are undergoing rapid
change. The population of Nanaimo grew by 21.4%
between 1991 and 2001, and 9.3% from 20012006. As in many cities, some of this was
accommodated in “greenfield” sites and some
through redevelopment of existing urban areas.
Context (cont’d)
In contrast with the ‘60s and ‘70s, when the federal
and provincial governments played more of a
development role, nearly all of this is occurring
through private, large-scale development companies,
with municipalities and regional districts attempting
to direct development in such a way as to protect
what they perceive to be the public interest and to
improve urban amenities.
At the same time, developers and municipalities
must deal with adjacent landowners and citizens’
groups who often resist land use change if it is
perceived that it will have a negative effect on their
property values and/or quality of life.
Urban Land Assessment -(Chapter 1) of Leung
Urban land assessment involves a suite of
tools and methods employed by the major
players in the urban land development
process. The methods chosen will depend on
the values that are driving the assessment
process. The methods, while often rigorous,
are not value-neutral. Moreover, developers
and municipalities are also increasingly be
encouraged to approach their activities from a
sustainability perspective, which adds a further
layer of complexity.
To understand land assessment, we need to
understand how people value land:
as commodity or investment
as resource or for its functional value
as environment or amenity
as ecosystem
as home or homeland (heritage/ sense of
place) and
as bioregion, or from a sustainability
The role played by each of these can be seen
in the history of Nanaimo:
as commodity or investment (land speculation, shopping mall
development, suburban tract housing, status value of certain
properties and locations)
as resource or for its functional value (First Nations food
gathering sites, the coal resources that occasioned the first
European and Asian settlement, protection of farmland in the
as environment or amenity (views, access to water, favoured
neighbourhoods, recreational corridors, public beaches)
as ecosystem (protection of critical habitat, including riparian)
as home or homeland (downtown revitalization efforts, protection
of heritage artefacts, First Nations treaty process)
as bioregion, or from a sustainability perspective (Regional
District of Nanaimo, Georgia Basin Ecosystem Initiative).
Overview of Tools Appropriate
to Each Concept
•commodity/ investment
- market analysis (residential, retail, office, industrial),
project pro formas
• resource/ functionality
- population projection and estimation, land supply inventory,
land capability/ suitability analyses (e.g., sieve mapping),
carrying capacity analyses, geotechnical analyses,
housing needs studies, transportation demand
studies, economic- base analysis, traffic impact studies,
retail impact studies, fiscal impact assessment
• environment/ amenity
- open space analysis, carrying capacity analysis, visual
preference surveys, view corridor analysis, social impact
• ecosystem
- carrying capacity analysis, population counts, habitat
assessment, ecological transects, contaminant sampling,
environmental impact assessment, Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design (LEED)
• home/ homeland/ heritage - heritage inventories, new urbanist transects, cultural
landscape surveys, resident quality of life surveys, aboriginal
mapping, social impact assessment
• bioregion/ sustainability
- multiple accounts analysis, life cycle assessment/ full cost
pricing, bioregional mapping
The Three-Legged Stool of Land Use Change
Management: Balancing the Often Conflicting Pulls
The Caper’s Block in Kitsilano, Vancouver: An Example
Of One Development That Does A Pretty Good Job
From ‘Placeless’ Planning
to Place-Based Planning
For most of the last century, we planned
our cities around maximizing profit,
maximizing efficiency, maximizing
convenience for the automobile, or
maximizing the prestige of various elites.
We did not plan for sustainability or for the
integrity of our places. The result was a
loss of a sense of place. To begin to plan
as if places matter, we need to
understand what places are.
Key Points from Leung
The PPS chart may have some relevance for
our project. Certainly much of the campus has
been developed without much reference to
sense of place; it is quite 'functionalistic' in
Leung makes a number of observations:
the health consideration in planning has been
broadened to include mental and emotional
pedestrian safety and amenity, previously
ignored, has become much more important
and streets are being seen as much more than
mere channels for traffic.
Key Points from Leung
finding the right amount of density and
compactness that avoids overcrowding,
while promoting efficiency & easy access
to things, has become a consideration
considering the value of “brownfield” vs.
“greenfield” development has become an
increasing attention is being given as to
how to balance the needs, rights, and
interests of potentially conflicting groups
within society.
Further Points
planners and city councils must
increasingly pay attention to
environmental considerations, and are
even beginning to address climate
change issues (e.g. PCP) and ‘peak
now that cheap fossil fuel is going the
way of the dinosaur, what implications
does this have for our cities? (energy
consumption is directly related to land
use patterns; we use 4 times as much
for transportation as in Europe).
Further Points
some municipalities are trying to ensure
that there is adequate land for more
affordable housing
protection of public morals is sometimes
seen as an issue (e.g. casinos)
more municipalities are seeing
development as a cash cow and/or as a
means to attract investment
there is also the issue of what to do with
surplus government properties.
Players in the Land Use Game
In B.C., municipalities and regional
districts are the key land use
planning agencies, with some roles
performed by the provincial
government. The municipal role is
not just performed by planning
departments, but also by
engineering departments (roads
and infrastructure), transit
departments, parks departments,
and others. Not all are equally wellresourced, nor are they necessarily
on “the same page.”
B.C. Planning Law
Municipalities, which do the bulk of the land use
planning in Canada – at least insofar as it
affects the built environment – have no
constitutional authority.
As one wag put it, in our antiquated 1867 Constitution (when the country was overwhelmingly
rural), municipalities factored in somewhere
between dogcatchers and insane asylums.
They are strictly “creatures” of the provinces
which can abolish them, amalgamate them, and
transform them at will, while creating the
legislative frameworks under which they must
operate. These frameworks change from time to
time. Currently, the principal law in BC is the
Local Government Act.
Municipal Authority (cont’d)
Thus, all authority exercised by
municipalities, regional districts, and the
Islands Trust, is delegated authority.
Provincial legislation offers an interesting
window on what the social priorities of the
day are. One of the first powers granted to
municipalities in B.C. in 1899 was the
power to regulate laundries, mostly
Chinese-owned (was this motivated by
racism?). This was followed, in 1908, by an
amendment to allow municipalities to
regulate “dancehalls,” skating-rinks, and
other places of amusement.
Municipal Authority (cont’d)
In that same year, municipalities gained the
right to regulate noxious industries and land
uses that might reduce residential or
commercial property values.
A few years later, a law was passed that
enabled local governments to zone areas for
exclusively residential use. Point Grey, near
what is today UBC, which was then separate
from Vancouver, was the first municipality in
BC, and one of the first in Canada, to pass a
comprehensive zoning bylaw in 1922.
Municipal Authority (cont’d)
B.C. passed its first comprehensive zoning
legislation in 1925. Municipalities are governed
by various versions of the Local Government
Act, which is revised every few years. In
January 2004, the Liberal government passed
a new law, the Community Charter (January
2004), which gives municipalities expanded
powers. However, it doesn’t affect land use
planning much.
In addition, Vancouver has had its own Charter
for quite a while which gives it a broader array
of powers than other municipalities.
Municipal Authority (cont’d)
Some of the powers that Vancouver has
enjoyed include the ability, in using Official
Development Plans for specific areas, to
regulate the urban design and demand
exactions and amenities from developers in
excess of what other municipalities can do.
They have made extensive use of these
powers on the north shore of False Creek, and
are using them in Southeast False Creek and
Its charter was just expanded to enable it to
borrow as much money as needed to salvage
the Olympic Village.
Municipal Authority (cont’d)
This reflects more of a British, as
opposed to an American, approach to
planning. Under the American system of
zoning, once an area is zoned for a
particular land use it is difficult to
prevent a land use or development if it
meets the zoning requirements. It is, in
other words, permissive. Moreover, as
our former mayor, Gary Korpan, was
fond of pointing out, proponents can
always apply to have specific parcels
rezoned on their own merits.
Municipal Authority (cont’d)
In the British system, local governments are able to
make specific demands and impose specific
regulations for specific sites.
We won’t go into it today, but other legislation that is
pertinent to land use planning in BC includes: the
Regional Growth Strategies Act (incorporated in the
LGA), the Land Title Act, the Strata Property Act, the
Highway Act, the Agricultural Land Commission Act,
and the Fish Protection Act.
The best source of information on B.C. planningrelated legislation is William Buholzer, British
Columbia Planning Law and Practice, available in the
reference section of the library.
Other Actors
In addition to municipal and regional
governments, there are numerous other
actors. These include:
residents who live and work in the area
industries and firms doing business there, and
organized interest groups, such as ratepayers’
groups and neighbourhood associations,
merchants’ associations, real estate boards,
chambers of commerce, and non-government
organizations devoted to environmental or
social justice issues.
Other Actors (cont’d)
A key group in the land use planning
process is the development community,
since planners and councils are often
reacting to what developers are proposing.
As Leung notes, a typical development
process goes through five stages:
feasibility study
contract and construction, and
marketing and disposal.
Other Actors (cont’d)
Developers have multiple roles: promoter,
negotiator, market analyst/ marketing agent,
securer of financial resources, team
manager, and entrepreneur.
They commit equity, equipment, human
resources, and managerial talent, and take
risks in doing so. For them, “time is money,”
whereas planners tend to be more cautious.
On the other hand, in other ways
developers (and their financial backers) are
very risk-averse.
Other Actors (cont’d)
The public is a key group (there are often many
“publics”), and it often knows what it wants without
knowing what kinds of trade-offs are involved or
how complex the planning system can be.
Nonetheless, the public can intervene and prevent
major planning disasters from occurring, as has
happened many times in the past (can you think of
Other Actors (cont’d)
But the public can also often be motivated
strongly by narrow self-interest and prejudice
without seeing the “bigger picture,” and this is
manifested in the so-called NIMBY and
BANANA syndromes. What are some
Because of the complexity of planning and
growth management and all the different
players involved, planners must not only have
technical knowledge, they must know how to
communicate to different groups and facilitate
their working together. Developers are also
learning the value of this.
Changing Views of Planning
The pendulum has swung in planning from physical
determinism, to planning as if human needs outside
the economy and having a home and a job were of
little consequence (which produced a lot of ugly
placeless development), back to a more balanced
position that the physical environment is a key
component contributing, positively or negatively, to
human well-being.
Changing Views of Planning
This leads to the need to plan proactively, rather than simply reactively,
which has often been the dominant
mode in the past.
At the same time, it must be
recognized that planners are not “free
agents”. They either work for private
developers or for municipal councils,
and thus have to deal with “politics”
and power. The best planners try to
create their own power base, however
Class Project
The main topics that we all expressed
interest for the class project were: –solid
waste; –innovative buildings; and –pilot
projects. There was also discussion about
improving the public realm and I asked you to
review the Campus Master Plans documents
to see how well they address some of these
issues. Do you have any comments on the
strengths and weaknesses of those
Let's also do a brainstorm on whether the
three areas of interest have some potential