Admirers of Vancouver's strong city planning are worried about whether the British Columbia City will continue to hire planning directors as independent-minded as Brent Toderian and his predecessors.
Gordon Price, director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University and a former city councillor, suggests in his Price Tags e-newsletter that current mayor Gregor Robertson and his Vision Vancouver party may be looking for a planning director less focused on the quality of buildings and urban design and more focused on housing affordability, land negotiations, job creation, and a reduction in costs.
In the aftermath of Toderian's removal after six years as planning director, Price says that in recent decades there emerged in the planning department a belief that the planners' "primary duty is to serve and city and its people and not just the council in office at the time."
For half a century, Vancouver planning directors such as Gerald Sutton Brown and Larry Beasley had star power, Price says in a column that first appeared in the news source Business In Vancouver. The question now, he suggests, is whether the independence of planning directors in Vancouver will be compromised.
In a letter in response, Patrick Condon at the University of British Columbia argued that the planning of the Cambie Corridor in recent years—"North America's only form based plan for an important urban corridor"—is emblematic of Vancouver's strong planning ethos.
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