RPSS 2014-2015

Regional Planning Speakers Series 2014-2015

Funding Cities: Taxation and Regulation

Date: October 21, 2014

Topic: We have come to understand that cities are drivers of economic growth, innovation, and productivity and are thus crucial to the economic success of the nation. To be competitive, cities need to provide "hard services" such as water, sewers, roads, and transit as well as "soft services" such as parks, libraries, and cultural facilities which enhance the quality of life in the community and attract new residents and businesses. This presentation focused on how to pay for municipal services through property taxes, user fees, development levies, and other revenues, emphasizing that, as much as possible, cities need to get the prices right. Key topics included the importance on getting the prices for the pattern of urban growth and the extent to which we have compact development or urban sprawl, as well as how more local fiscal autonomy would give cities the flexibility to respond to local conditions and not be dependent on intergovernmental transfers that may not be stable and predictable.

Presenter: Enid Slack (director, Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance)

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Convergence: Transit and City Planning

Date: February 3, 2015

Topic: Transportation planning is fundamental to shape the way our cities look, feel and function. It is the glue that holds Canadian city regions together which enables our daily life possible. It has to work for all ages and has to include all modes of travel with future priority given to transit and the pedestrian. Successful cities understand that transportation planning results in sustainable infrastructure investment which in turn generates place making and city building opportunities. These are admirable goals but are we practicing what we preach? What have we learned from our past mistakes? Why is it so critical for our cities to practice an aggressive convergence agenda of transit planning and city building?

Presenter: Paul Bedford (adjunct professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Toronto and Ryerson University; former chief city planner, City of Toronto and director of Metrolinx.

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Panel Discussion: Alberta's Sub(urban) Growth, Problem or Opportunity

Date: March 12, 2015

Topic: To what extent does Alberta have an urban sprawl problem? How are Alberta's cities doing compared to other Canadian cities? What is the taxation connection/implication between property taxes, education taxes and suburbanized developments? What feasible approaches can be implemented at municipal and provincial levels to manage sustainable growth? What could future developments learn from suburbia, transportation, new urbanism and smart growth movements? These and other questions will be discussed in a public panel discussion of current and future states of suburbanization, as well as the associated challenges and opportunities in Alberta. The panelists include local as well as national academics and practitioners from both public and private sectors.

Presenters: Dr. Pierre Fillion (professor of planning, University of Waterloo), Dr. Allan Wallis (associate professor of public policy, University of Colorado Denver, director of the Center for Local and Regional Communities), Mary Axworthy, RPP, MCIP, IAP2 (principal, Urban Planning & Public Engagement, Axworthy International Consulting Ltd.; former director of land use planning & policy, City of Calgary), Simon O'Byrne (VP and dscipline leader, community development (planning), Stantec), Jodie Wacko (VP Beaverbrook Developments; former senior planner, Strathcona County and managing leader planning and landscape architecture, Stantec Edmonton), and Bill Symonds (former senior planner for Alberta Municipal Affairs and director of planning) June 2014.

Event partners: University of Alberta Planning Program and sponsored by the Kule Institute for Advanced Study

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Thank you to sponsors and friends of the 2014-2015 RPSS speaker series:

  • City of Edmonton, Sustainable Development
  • Stantec
  • Government of Alberta, Municipal Affairs
  • Brownlee LLP
  • Art Gallery of Alberta
  • University of Alberta, Faculty of Extension
  • University of Alberta Planning School