Mural on side of building: three people jumping on a sidewalk with the writing - we take care of each other

Social Infrastructure Strategy

Social infrastructure refers to the places and spaces where people gather to connect, learn, and support each other

Strategy and overview

The 10-year Social Infrastructure Strategy will develop recommendations for how we can meet the needs of a dynamic city in a more strategic and sustainable way through our various roles and working together with our partners.

We invest in the building, maintenance, operation, and delivery of social infrastructure through a number of different ways and need an overall framework to guide these investments.

We regulate land uses, such as social infrastructure for a healthy and complete community. We need to develop and build on policies, planning tools, incentives, and regulations to contribute to the right supply and type to meet community need.

We advocate for existing and new opportunities to partner, create, and support social infrastructure and non-profits. 

Focus of the strategy

The strategy will focus on finding out:

  • What social infrastructure exists, who it serves, and how well it meets our current needs
  • What social infrastructure will be needed in the future
  • The best way to fund, incentivize, and deliver new social infrastructure
  • Priorities and decision-making criteria to guide our strategic and sustainable investments
  • Ways to support capacity building within the social nonprofit sector related to space, such as planning, operating, renovations, development, or fostering partnerships

What is social infrastructure and why it is important

City of Vancouver Social Infrastructure Plan. City spaces to connect people.

Social infrastructure refers to facilities and services that help individuals, families, groups, and communities meet their social needs, maximize their potential for development, and enhance community well-being.

We face a collective challenge to meet social infrastructure needs in the city, including real estate costs, development pressures, risk of loss and displacement, an uneven distribution of social infrastructure across the city, social vulnerability, and affordability challenges. Growth challenges add to this as Vancouver's population is expected to increase by 150,000 people over the next 30 years.

Examples of social infrastructure include:

  • Neighbourhood houses
  • Family places
  • Youth centres
  • Seniors’ centres
  • Immigrant-serving organizations
  • Social enterprise
  • Indigenous healing and wellness centres
  • Informal gathering spaces
  • Food-related infrastructure

Strategy scope

Included in the strategy

The strategy will include facilities that aren’t currently included in our other infrastructure plans:

  • Social facilities and organizations supported by us through asset ownership, and/or other types of investment or support such as Social Policy Community Service Grants. These facilities and organizations provide services to a wide range of population groups including children, youth, families, seniors, new immigrants and refugees, Indigenous people, LGBTQ2+, and others
  • Non-City owned social infrastructure, including non-profit and places of worship, as well and privately owned commercial spaces with social tenants that provide programs and space for the wider community, including equity seeking groups

Not included in the strategy

What will not be included in the strategy:

The above social infrastructure has some shared objectives with the Social Infrastructure Plan. The aim is to create strong links between the strategies and plan implementation through continued collaboration and partnerships.

Social infrastructure is an essential ingredient in building strong, resilient communities

How we support social infrastructure

We support social infrastructure by:

  • Building, operating, and renovating social facilities
  • Building and leasing social facilities to non-profit organizations
  • Providing capital to non-profit organizations to build, renovate, and renew their facilities
  • Support the operation of social facilities and the needed services they provide through grants

Our funding for social infrastructure comes from:

  • City contributions - Property tax, user fees, and other operating revenue fund a majority of capital projects.
  • Developer contributions - Contributions from development, including development cost levies (DCLs) and community amenity contributions (CACs), to partially fund new and expanded amenities and infrastructure needed for growth.
  • Partner contributions - We receive funding from provincial and federal governments as well as from non-profit agencies, foundations, and philanthropists to advance Council and community priorities.