Over the past six months, we in City Planning have been working diligently away on a Divisional Strategic Plan – our first ever! This document is rooted in the Vision of the Official Plan, and clarifies how we will go about our day-to-day work implementing that Vision. If you’re not familiar with the City of Toronto’s Official Plan, you can find it here. The document positions us to strategically employ, and make better use of, our existing resources to better facilitate city building. It references the Official Plan again and again, since this is approved Council policy, and our most important city planning tool. The Strategic Plan is about how we get the job done.
In anticipation of my launch with the Division on Monday, I thought I would share a sneak peak of my opening comments:
Creating a vibrant city is a delicate balance of art and science. To be successful requires thoughtful deliberation, collaboration, and a willingness to listen and learn as much as an ability to share knowledge and build capacity. As city builders, it is our role to be out front leading the discussion and debate. That is both our place and our responsibility. By providing good information, analysis, and input, we can broaden the conversations this city has about its priorities, introduce new ideas that generate creativity, and advance an agenda that is rooted in ensuring a high quality of life for all.
This Strategic Plan is an affirmation of who we are and why we are here. It is about reaffirming our commitment to the City’s Official Plan and its vision for an attractive and safe city that evokes pride, passion and a sense of belonging. It is also about adding clarity: clarity about what matters most, how we will work, and who we will work with to meet our goals and objectives as a Division. Most of all, it is about exploring opportunities, challenging assumptions and taking risks.
A series of key cultural shifts identified at the outset of the strategic planning process help shape this Strategic Plan. These key cultural shifts call on us to:
- Reinvent engagement to broaden participation in city building;
- Shift from a reactive to a proactive planning culture, by focusing on area-wide and strategic initiatives;
- Create, support and elevate a culture of innovation;
- Embrace new collaborations both within the municipal organization and outside it; and
- Inspire and continually pursue a culture of best practices.
Ultimately, we must better deliver, package and express what we do, its value and relevance to everyone, and its importance to Toronto’s success. We must be more nimble in how we work and embrace new ways to bring our diverse constituency into our thinking and conversations about the future. By embracing these key cultural shifts, I believe we can strengthen our impact as a Division and ensure that we continue to remain effective in our advancement of a city building agenda.
This Strategic Plan is our playbook for moving our Division forward. I am looking forward to sharing the journey ahead with all of you. Planning a great city, TOgether!