In the intricate tapestry of city building, the theme of public safety emerges as a crucial thread vital to the well-being of our communities. Recognizing the evolving landscape where safety is foundational to planning work, Plan Canada brings a timely issue dedicated to the subject for Spring 2024.

Planners and shapers of policies in the public interest find themselves at the nexus of a dynamic relationship between urban planning and public safety. For the first time, we invited contributions that explore this relationship and the multifaceted dimensions of public safety, transcending traditional boundaries, and delving into progressive and equitable approaches to urban planning. Contributors assessed the impact of planning concepts on safety at different levels, raising attention and awareness of important considerations and interrelationships that are relevant but not always at the forefront of our practice.

Submissions investigated public safety across geographies and topic areas, including mobility, technology, urban design, climate change, and more. The articles offer modern interpretations and critiques of concepts like Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) and Jane Jacobs’ ‘eyes on the street,’ with an aim to consider how urban planning can better support community safety, and advance alternative approaches that prioritize equity and justice.

This issue features discussions on how planning practices can address broader definitions of public safety – encompassing surveillance, psychological safety, mental health, downtown safety, climate resilience, environmental justice, conflict resolution, wildfire and natural hazards, and, more broadly, pedestrian risk reduction – expanding the conversation to spark dialogue on innovative solutions, and collaboration opportunities across sectors. Safety, in this perspective, transcends mere regulatory requirements. Planners are urged to perceive it as an integral part of creating sustainable, resilient, and equitable communities that nurture a sense of belonging.

The Spring 2024 issue is diverse in contributions and invites questions as to how the planning profession can aid in creating safer and more welcoming communities for all.

Author: Devin Husk

Devin Husk is a candidate member of the Canadian Institute of Planners with multidisciplinary experience across the private and public sectors. He is currently employed with the City of Calgary in Strategic Initiatives under Regional Planning.