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Victoria's OCP: Can City Planning Bridge the Divide?

Updated: Jun 5




The City of Victoria, is currently updating its Official Community Plan (OCP). This vital document shapes the city's growth and development for the next 30 years. But with a growing and culturally diverse population and an intercepting housing crisis, a crucial question emerges: who does city planning serve?

I’ve learned that equity compels specific performance of contracts- social contracts in the context. Traditionally, urban planning has balanced the interests of (a) the state, such as politicians and decision-makers; (b) capital, such as corporations, landowners, and real estate developers; or (c) the public. However, I’ve seen rising concerns about how these interests perpetuate inequality in our communities. Scholars like Krumholz and Forester argue that planning should prioritize disadvantaged, and underrepresented communities, tackling social and economic inequalities. This means building cities that promote equitable participation, inclusive and just, not just efficient and profitable.

City of Victoria's OCP update can be a powerful tool to champion equity and food security. I believe that we should preserve affordable housing through Community Land Trusts, which can be leveraged to create more community gardens on city-owned land. This approach aligns with communal core values: ensuring land is a common good, prioritizing people over profit, and empowering communities most affected by inequities. 

Greening the City to address urban food insecurity:

The OCP considers the growing importance of urban agriculture and community gardens. As Victoria densifies, ensuring access to green spaces where residents can grow their own nutrient-dense and culturally significant food is crucial. Initiatives like Harvest and Share Society's rooftop garden on Johnson Street demonstrate the potential for integrating food production into building design. The OCP can encourage similar innovative solutions and allocate space for community gardens on city-owned land.

How to get involved? 

The Victoria Urban Food Table has created valuable resources to help communities to participate in this engagement process, such as talking points, email templates, social media content. Click here to access. 

What do you think?

Victoria's OCP is a work in progress. Let's continue the conversation! Share your thoughts on how the city can use planning to create a more equitable future for all residents, with a city that is not only functional but also fosters a connection to fresh, healthy food.








Sources:

  1. Fainstein, S. S. (2010) The Just City (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press).  Google Scholar

  2. Krumholz, N., & Forester, J. (1990) Making Equity Planning Work: Leadership in the Public Sector (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press). Google Scholar

  3. Krumholz, N. (2018) Introduction, in: N. Krumholz & K. W. Hexter (Eds) Advancing Equity Planning Now, pp. 1–20 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press).  Google Scholar

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