Cover of the Plan Canada Social and Racial Equity Issue
Cover of the Plan Canada Social and Racial Equity Issue

After more than a year of work, it is so exciting to see the Plan Canada Social and Racial Equity issue live and published.

The issue opens with Kamala Todd’s “City of Land Remembering”, which situates readers and the planning profession in context of the land and long history of where we work. Jonathan Boron, Katherine Levett, and Myfannwy Pope’s “Racial Inequities in Rural, Remote, and Northern Canadian Planning” then sets historical context of slavery and colonialism in Canada in a planning setting, demonstrating how environmental impact assessment processes continue displacement and domination today. …


“Artificial intelligence” (AI) is an elaborate way of saying that someone programmed a computer to follow a set of procedures (an algorithm) and spit out a result. The language makes AI sound more sophisticated than it is.[1] To explain, planners use algorithms every day. We follow the Local Government Act, Community Charter, development procedure bylaws, and other bylaws and policies. When we write zoning bylaws and official community plans, arguably, we are writing algorithms that the development community follows. The difference between a planner and artificial intelligence is intelligence. …


In this first article in the Planning for Equity series, we will look at how representative the planning profession is and why that matters. This article will be followed by articles about how the professional context impacts the diversity of the planning profession, and finally what the real life impacts of planning work are and whether those impacts are felt equitably across communities.

Social Equity is the principle that each member of society is given fair and equitable treatment, access to resources and opportunities, and full participation in the social and cultural life of a community. This may include equal…


When thinking about equity in the context of an entire profession, there are three aspects to keep in mind:

  1. Who are the people doing the work? Is the profession comprised of individuals who reflect broader society as a whole? For example, if people with disabilities comprise 22% of the general population, do 22% of the professionals identify as disabled?
  2. What kind of work are they doing? What are the professional standards and who upholds them? What kind of jobs are available to the professionals, and do professionals from various backgrounds have equal opportunities to do any of those jobs? For…

In November 2019, the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) published the first comprehensive compensation and benefits survey of Canadian planning professionals.

Image of the cover of the Canadian Institute of Planners 2019 National Compensation and Benefits Survey
Image of the cover of the Canadian Institute of Planners 2019 National Compensation and Benefits Survey

This article contains a few of my thoughts on how the survey findings are likely optimistic, show an underepresentation of racialized and disabled planners, and reveal an unfair two-tier pay structure. (For more information about the context that this work is happening in, check out my piece on how planners are looking at social equity in the profession.)

Survey Results Paint a Dismal Picture

Of 7,658 Canadian planning professionals, 1850 responded to this survey. The survey reported back on a number of items, such as…


Almost 900 jurisdictions across the world have declared a climate emergency. But what does that mean? I asked planning, architecture, landscape architecture, and engineering colleagues on Twitter to share their ideas on what planning in a climate emergency means to them. You can also check out climate change policy guides for planners from American Planning Association and Canadian Institute of Planners.

Anthropocentric (suggested by @bambinoir). In October 2018, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report from the world’s leading climate scientists who warn that humanity has 12 years to reduce carbon emissions by the 45% needed…


As a newcomer to Canada and to the Vancouver area, I wanted to find out more about how and when the area was settled and what happened to the people who were already here. Please note that I’m still learning, so I’ve likely missed things. It’s also illuminating to keep in mind that much of the action happened about 100 to 150 years ago aka great-grandparent years ago for many millennials. For some readers, these activities would have been contemporary for your parents or grandparents.

Time Immemorial to the 1850s

By all accounts, settlement of the people now known as…


So you’re interested in what you can read to be a better urban planner, urbanist, or neighbour in a diverse community? Here are a few recommendations, and I will add to the list periodically.

Please consider procuring them from your local library or favourite indie bookstore. Check out 100% Indigenous-owned and operated Massy Books and Black-owned A Different Booklist.

Update July 2020: Deleted Robin D’Angelo’s White Fragility (thank you Dr. Rhea Boyd), added books/articles/films, swapped out links. And! Sarah Gelbard compiled a great list of short-form writing and video on anti-Black racism in planning and urbanism, including Danielle Dirksen’s Planner’s…


As many stories on the internet, this one begins with some guy on Twitter.

A bit of background: Steve is making the argument that you have to be vegan to be a feminist. His supporting arguments are:

  • “Animal exclusionary feminism isn’t intersectional, and therefore isn’t feminism.” — Steve Glen
  • “One mechanism for oppression is that some lives are inherently more important than others. I do not believe that some lives are inherently more important than others.” — Steve Glen

Can you be vegan and feminist? Sure! Do you have to be vegan to be feminist? No, and let’s unpack why.

Daniella Fergusson

Daniella Fergusson is an urban planner unpacking how we got here and where we’re going next.

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