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Home Policy Articles: Cities & Communities: Urban Planning


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3000 Acres of Phony Demand: Consideration on Waverly West

Kate Sjoberg writes this brief paper in response to the approval, by the City of Winnipeg, of the Waverly West suburb development. Sjoberg is concerned the expensive building project is fiscally irresponsible and developmentally detrimental to Winnipeg, and Manitoba.

Being Realistic about Urban Growth

In this paper Christopher Leo and Katie Anderson compare and contrast policy requirements in urban centres with differing urban growth rates. Leo and Anderson specifically examine Vancouver and Winnipeg.

Big Spenders? An Expenditure Profile of Western Canada's Big Six

In this study, Casey Vander Ploeg explores where and how much Western Canada’s big cities spend. Vander Ploeg’s analysis focuses on the “big six” in western Canada: Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, and Winnipeg. She assesses the expenditure side of each city’s budgets to determine spending on specific services, as well as what portion of fiscal resources cater to funding those services.

Breaking New Ground: Urban Residential Development and the Environment

Karen Wilkie and Robert Roach begin by pointing out the strong demand for residential development in and around large urban centers in Western Canada. Two forms of development are taking place: suburban development at the edge of cities and country residential development in rural municipalities around the periphery of cities. Wilkie and Roach argue that residential development provides many benefits, including jobs, increased housing available to residents, and a broader tax base.

Cities and Communities that Work: Innovative Practices, Enabling Policies

Neil Bradford argues that innovation – applying the best ideas in a timely fashion to emergent problems – is an urgent priority in the private, public, and voluntary sectors. At the same time, he notes that, attention is increasingly being paid to those cities which demonstrate an institutional capacity to engage in collaborative learning processes – in other words, those most adaptive and innovative.

Contestability: The Uncontested Champion of High-Performance Government

Mrozek and McIver contend that municipalities provide a range of expensive services often without knowing whether they are receiving full, efficient value for the public money that is spent. They continue that, at a time when municipal governments are struggling to make ends meet and to provide an acceptable level of services, the status quo in service provision is no longer acceptable. It is necessary, they argue, for municipal governments to ascertain whether the cost of a service is justified, and if it is not, to provide the service at the most efficient price.

Creative Cities Structured Policy Dialogue Backgrounder

In this report, Neil Bradford puts current debates about creative cities in context and perspective.

Creative Cities: Structured Policy Dialogue Report

This report, by Neil Bradford, sets the stage for three other reports published by the CPRN which examine creative cities.

Creative Cities: What Are They For, How Do They Work, and How Do We Build Them?

This report, by Neil Bradford, sets the stage for three other reports published by the CPRN which examine creative cities.

Financing City Services: A Prescription for the Future

Increased funding responsibilities for Canadian cities, reduced provincial grants, and a corresponding increase in reliance on own-source revenues over the past 12 to 15 years have changed the fiscal environment in which cities now operate. At the same time, Harry Kitchen argues, cities have become increasingly important players in the competitive global economy.

Gentrification in West Broadway? Contested Space in a Winnipeg Inner City Neighbourhood

Silver examines the Winnipeg inner city, noting that the decline of urban inner cities since the 1950s has resulted in increased rates of poverty and crime, deterioration of residential facilities, lowering of property values and reduction in tax value of these areas.

Green Among the Concrete: The Benefits of Urban Natural Capital

Karen Wilkie and Robert Roach argue that urban natural capital pays psychological, physical, and financial dividends that greatly improve the lives of urban residents and help sustain the long-term economic prosperity of Canadian cities. Urban natural capital includes everything from wild areas and water resources to soccer fields and community gardens.

Housing and Transportation in Montreal – How suburbanization is improving the region’s competitiveness

In his report, Wendell Cox contends Montreal’s superior transport infrastructure and its land use policies give the city a new advantage.

Immigration, Diversity and Social Inclusion in Canada’s Cities

According to Papillon, Canada faces a positive challenge: to create the best possible conditions to capitalize on ethnic and cultural diversity in the new economy. He argues that diverse cities, where a plethora of languages, cultures, world-views, and life experiences meet, are highly conducive to creativity and innovation. Papillon argues, however, diversity must be sustainable to be an asset.

Inner-City Voices, Community-Based Solutions: State of the Inner City Report: 2006

This report outlines the condition of inner-city life Winnipeg in 2006, focusing largely on the West Broadway and North Point Douglas neighbourhoods.

Let’s Worry About Stagnation, Not Sprawl: Winnipeg and the 2001 Census

Wendell Cox’s article Let’s Worry About Stagnation, Not Sprawl argues Winnipeg’s policy priority should be an aggressive urban expansion agenda rather than regulation of the form of growth taking place. Cox points to Winnipeg’s low population growth vis-à-vis other Canadian cities in claiming that concerns about the negative effects of urban sprawl do not have validity in Winnipeg. Cox asserts, furthermore, that pursuing an agenda of‘ smart growth’ will “throttle what little growth there is” in Winnipeg.

Mission Possible: Successful Canadian Cities

In this report, Natalie Brender, Marni Cappe, and Anne Golden begin with the premise that Canada’s prosperity depends on the success of its major cities.

More Than Money: The New Deal for Cities and a Federal Urban Lens

Paul Shaker examines the “New Deal” for cities, announced by the federal Liberal government in 2004. It involves a change within the federal government when it comes to municipalities: an ‘urban lens’ is applied to how federal policies and programs are conceived and implemented.

Municipal Finance and the Pattern of Urban Growth

Enid Slack argues that the problem of urban sprawl can best be controlled by “removing distortions in the property tax system,” as well as by employing user fees and development charges to support, rather than work against, planning objectives. She cites studies showing that higher-density, downtown neighbourhoods have much lower development costs, and actually contribute to reducing the overall costs for services. Accordingly, Slack posits that urban sprawl must be controlled as it is costly to society.

Myths about Urban Growth and the Toronto “Greenbelt”

In this paper, Wendell Cox discusses the issue of urban growth, and more specifically, the Ontario government’s intention to implement smart growth policies to reduce or halt the growth of urban land areas.

North End Winnipeg’s Lord Selkirk Part Housing Development: History, Comparative Context, Prospects

In this paper Jim Silver explores the North End Winnipeg public housing development in the Lord Selkirk Park neighbourhood.

On Tap: Urban Water Issues in Canada

In this study, McFarlane and Nilsen explore urban water management issues facing Western Canada’s large cities; they provide an overview of Canadian water policy issues generally and urban water policy issues in particular.

Organization and Opportunities: Local Government Services Production in Saint John

Robert Bish begins his analysis by pointing out that, since the 1950s, local governments have been moving away from producing services exclusively in-house. Modern municipalities use a complex array of competitive options to ensure efficient and cost-effective service delivery, including contracting out to private companies, other municipalities, and other levels of government.

Place Matters and Multi-level Governance: Perspectives on a New Urban Policy Paradigm

Neil Bradford's article takes stock of the recent explosion of interest in Canada�s cities, explores the factors driving the new urban agenda, and examines the strategies needed to build healthy, vibrant cities.

Place-Based Public Policy: Towards a New Urban and Community Agenda for Canada

In his paper, Neil Bradford suggests there has been an ever-growing awareness regarding the importance of cities – both large and small – as strategic spaces in the age of globalization. He argues that cities are critical places where today’s major public policy challenges are playing out. Bradford also argues that countries that invest in their cities and communities are likely to be at the fore vis-à-vis progressive change in the 21st century.

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