The world is facing an unprecedented number of major, seemingly intractable issues. We now face major global issues that will impact us at the community level. We need to anticipate how climate change coupled with the occurring revolutions in communications, social, political and economic systems might affect us at home. A wise community will document as best it can what these shifts might mean to our future and what alternative actions seem to be available to ensure a good future.
Such questions as these need to be addressed: Is there a limit to growth? Is it inevitable that we have to go on growing? As water supply becomes a major global issue what impacts will various political responses across the world have on Vancouver? How will rising oceans affect us? How is the widening income gap affecting our future and can we do anything about it? Can we accommodate more people and if so where, how, who and how many? How can we create confidence and trust in our political, community building systems. What alternative futures can we consider?
As a uniquely attractive urban place we are becoming more and more desirable as a place to live (and, or invest), especially as the various environmental, social, political and economic crises unfold around the world. With it come the continuing demands for more housing, more jobs and more transportation. All our servicing systems and budgets will be placed under increasing stress. As urbanization continues, for there appears to be no willing alternative to growth, at this time, we still have to do our best to ensure growth occurs as fairly and compatibly as possible within our wishes to create a livable and just society. That means we must apply the best expertise available to understand, discuss, evaluate and develop our social, economic and environmental systems.
“Great planning does not mean either “most restrictive” or “most laissez-faire”. It means creating the conditions for growth and change while maintaining a vision of the common good. It balances competing interests. It includes a grasp of the cumulative effect of individual decisions, which private developers will not have. It can protect long-term benefits against damage from short-term profit. It has the ability to spot problems before they become crises and find a way to address them. It can review alternative approaches to an issue, such as population growth, and promote the best ones. It has clarity and consistency, so everyone knows where they stand. It has the ability to review the results of its own decisions, and learn from them. It is informed by knowledge, not guesswork. It is the result of genuine and transparent public debate.”
UK Observer, 2014