Coordinating multiple plans

Canadian communities have developed myriad plans and policies that affect the use and development of land. Official or community plans set the long-term vision and overall direction, and typically promote sustainability, smart growth, and urban efficiency. At the same time, governments adopt other policies in reaction to specific circumstances: some respond to demands from community interests; some follow regional trends; some are driven by conditional funding made available by senior government.

In the heat of the moment within short windows for decision-making, policy-makers may not consider the consequences of new policies on existing plans and land use objectives. Hence policies created at different times for diverse purposes may be overlapping, inconsistent, untimely, or even contradictory: e.g., official plans may support greenways and wildlife corridors while hazard plans may recommend removing undergrowth or clearing fire breaks.

This research explores the strategies Canadian planners are using to coordinate the growing number of plans that communities are adopting. It is funded through a three-year (2013-2016) Insight Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Partners in the research are the Canadian Institute of Planners and DalTrac Transportation Collaboratory at Dalhousie University.

The research team includes four colleagues in Planning from Dalhousie University and one contributor in Planning at the University of Waterloo: