Canadian Institue Of Planners

Shaping our Communities
Sustaining Canada's Future.

Plan Canada - Winter 2023

Few land use categories have undergone as much disruptive change in recent decades as ‘retail.’ Land use and market trends suggest retail will continue to evolve rapidly in the years ahead.
Where once a definition of retail may have assumed the existence of a ‘physical store as a place to facilitate the sale of goods and services to customers’, current retail options now encompass not only bricks and mortar stores but online stores, mobile stores, and every possible combination in-between.
What does this mean for planning policies designed to provide for the needs and well-being of communities in the context of market forces that may have different priorities for consumers? The introduction of big-box stores and large-scale retail centres was historically disruptive to planning policies protecting traditional regional, community, and neighbourhood retail nodes and corridors. Many retail strips and shopping centres currently in states of decline are being redeveloped for housing and other uses. How can planning policies, regulations, and the way they are implemented keep up with the pace of change?
Issues relating to and influencing retail land uses will remain a constant for planners and decision-makers regardless of the size or location of a community. Examples of which include:
  • The desire to protect the assets of healthy downtowns;
  • The cultural and economic impact of specialty and ethnic retail stores in communities;
  • Serving the practical needs of suburban retail clusters in ways that reduce the need to access facilities by car;
  • The impact of retail delivery services in congested cities and communities;
  • Withstanding pressure from retail investors that threaten to overwhelm existing retail areas;
  • Localized small urban and rural retail development or decline and influence on communities.
The Winter issue of Plan Canada is seeking articles that explore these and other issues, including but not limited to:
  • What is the impact of redevelopment, adaptive reuse, or gentrification of abandoned or declining physical retail spaces, and how does it influence affordability and local communities?
  • What are the impacts of an increase in preference for online over physical retail services? How does this impact land use planning within our communities?
  • What tools are available to help planners track retail consumer data and prepare economic forecasts to better inform plans and decision-makers?
  • How are planners engaging in and supporting reconciliation in consideration of retail land uses? (i.e. Urban Reserves and Treaty Land Entitlement, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action, No. 92,)
  • What does the future hold for Canada’s ‘main streets’ that can define both the character of places and their economic viability?
  • How do online retail distribution centres (dark stores) impact regional and local  industrial retail land use planning?
  • How are other land uses ancillary to retail changing in response to increased online retail activity?
The deadline for the Winter issue is not until mid-October but the Editorial Committee encourages you to start thinking about your submission now! The co-editors for this issue are editorial board member Robyn Rechenmacher, MCIP, RPP, and Glenn Miller, FCIP (guest editor).

Submission deadline is October 13, 2023 

Submit your Article