The Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) and the Planning Institute of British Columbia attracted more than 1,000 community planners from across Canada, and around the world, to their joint conference in Vancouver from July 6 -9, 2013. Entitled INFUSE 2013, the event featured dozens of seminars, panels, walking tours and informal dialogues. Attendees were held in thrall by keynote presentations from celebrated artist, designer and urban planner, Candy Chang, as well as renowned author and philosopher, Mark Kingwell.
Fitness and fun were built into the INFUSE experience with daily Sun’s Up runs, daily Rise and Shine yoga, and the Grouse Grind, a 3 km hike up nearby Grouse Mountain featuring an average grade of 31 percent! There were also several walking and cycling tours throughout the conference, which provided simultaneous exercise for the brain and muscles.
A walking tour called, Seeding Change: Local Food Networks and Community Revitalization, explored how planners must deal with the complex, interrelated issues of climate, food production, lack of arable land, high real estate costs, and exploding population growth. Led by Jessica Hum, Cameron Barker, Andrea Carlson, Sean Dory, Kailin See, James O’Neill and Sean Heather, this mobile tour provided a glimpse into how local food networks are forming and transforming Vancouver food systems. Naturally enough, participants ended the tour with a meal of local food at Vancouver’s Potluck Café.
A related conference presentation, Local Eats: Developing Food Policy for Local Governments, was presented by Rob Buchan, FCIP, RPP and Janine de La Salle, and explored how resilient local food and agriculture systems can boost community vitality, generate community wealth, and help to build community around meaningful projects.
Numerous presentations were wholly or partially about building healthy communities including Community Wellness and Design, presented by Alan Boniface and Kevin King, MCIP, RPP during one of INFUSE’s unique Learning Dinners dialogues; and Prove It: Evidence-based Tools for Evaluating and Planning Healthy Community Design, a field school learning tour offered by Dr. Lawrence Frank, MCIP, RPP and colleagues from the University of British Columbia. Participants were shown how evidence-based tools like the Walkability Index and Streetscape Audit Tools can contribute greatly to urban quality of life and health.
In addition, as the title implies, School Lesson: Transportation, Healthy Kids, and School Site Selection, presented by Jacky Kennedy, Janet Barlow and Mark Seasons, FCIP, RPP, explored the social and health consequences associated with the closure of local neighbourhood schools.
The CIP’s Healthy Communities Practice Guide, and the three research briefs produced on Active Transportation, Children & Youth, and Social Equity under the Healthy Canada by Design CLASP Initiative, were shared with all conference attendees on card-sized USB keys.
Conference presentations are available for viewing and download on the INFUSE website at http://www.infuse2013.ca/conference-basics/faqs/faqs.
Prepared by Mark Shainblum and Andrew Sacret, MCIP, RPP, Canadian Institute of Planners