Invitation to a research symposium on the implications of COVID-19 for the Regional Official Plan (ROP) - August 18, 2020

We'd like to invite you to participate in a virtual research symposium on the potential effects of COVID-19 on the Regional Official Planning Process. Please join the Region of Waterloo, in partnership with the University of Waterloo's Faculty of Environment, on August 18, 2020 from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in light of the ROP review process currently underway, the Region wanted to re-examine our assumptions regarding the appropriate policy response for development in Waterloo Region: How has the pandemic changed things in our community, and how could we shift our development policies to address this change? More specifically, we are asking:

  • If our public infrastructure can weather the COVID-19 storm?

  • How could we adapt our region to ensure that we plan for vibrant, compact centres with a re-envisioned public environment for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders?

  • What are the implications in Waterloo Region for housing?

  • How do we ensure resilient food systems in the region?

  • What do lessons from the COVID-19 lockdown teach us about tackling the climate and biodiversity crises?

To further explore these ideas and questions, the Region of Waterloo has partnered with the University of Waterloo to commission a series of papers that attempt to link the effects of the pandemic relative to some theme areas in the ROP, including:

  • The economy and the way we work;
  • Infrastructure, including water/wastewater, roads and transportation;
  • Density and housing; and,
  • Social and environmental implications.

The papers will consider the current policy objectives relating to their area of research and aim to design a logical, thoughtful response to the implications of the pandemic for the ROP. With the initial research now complete, we are hosting a virtual research symposium to review the findings and recommendations. We are eager to hear feedback from the community on the research and how it could inform the ROP policies.

Approximately 45 minutes will be spent discussing the research from each of the thematic areas. To register for the symposium, please visit the registration page.

The agenda and abstracts for each of the research papers are now available. For the agenda, please click here and for the abstracts, please click here.

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