UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Unlocking the emancipatory potential of urban planning : a case study of the Ontario Municipal Board Munn-Rivard, Laura


The modernist planning theory of the Chicago School cannot effectively deal with the challenges presented by cities of diversity. Leonie Sandercock’s planning theory unlocks planning’s emancipatory potential by showing how urban planning bodies manage the different identities in cities. Using a case study of the Ontario Municipal Board, I will seek to apply Jane Jacobs’ invocation of people centered design using the particular framework provided by Sandercock; in this way, I will analyze the degree to which the OMB’s planning process and decisions reinforce existing power structures. I will be arguing that the process and decisions of the Ontario Municipal Board fail to reflect Sandercock’s proposal of a new emancipatory urban planning approach. First, I will examine the evolution from modernist planning to Sandercock’s planning theory. The OMB’s process and decisions will then be analysed, in light of these theories, which will lead to some concluding thoughts on how to renew the Board in the face of its failure to fit into the new urban planning theory. During this analysis, four ways emerge in which the OMB must change; there must be a greater focus on practical wisdom, there must be better acceptance of multiple publics, the OMB must use more mediation with a focus on history, and the guiding legislation for the OMB needs to be rewritten.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International