Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Redistributing More Than the LGBTQ2S Acronym? Planning Beyond Recognition and Rainbows on Vancouver’s Periphery

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Abstract:  Just urban planning recognizes sociocultural differences and addresses inequality by implementing redistributive mechanisms that move beyond urban neoliberal practices of aestheticization and festivalization. Such planning practices are only beginning to address sexual and gender minority recognition in central urban areas while metronormative assumptions about their geographies absolve suburban municipalities of accountability for LGBTQ+ inclusions. In suburban municipalities, therefore, an LGBTQ+ politics of recognition rarely synchronizes with a politics of redistribution to foster sustained and transformative responses across the professional and managerial boundaries between planning and other local government functions. Consequently, a reparative civic “rainbowization” stands in for transformative urban planning, producing only partial and commodifiable inclusions in the landscape that become absolution for inaction on more evidence-based goals and measurable targets. Drawing on a database of public-facing communication records referencing LGBTQ2S themes for three adjacent peripheral municipalities in the Vancouver city-region (Burnaby, New Westminster, and Surrey), this article analyses the tension between contemporary planning’s civic actions of LGBTQ+ recognition and outcomes of redistribution. In suburban municipalities, a rainbow-washing politics of recognition sidelines transformative planning and policy resulting in little more than the distribution of the LGBTQ2S acronym across municipal documents.

Keywords:  LGBTQ2S; rainbowization; social inclusion; suburbs; transformative redistribution; Vancouver



© Julie A. Podmore, Alison L. Bain. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.