A midday stroll through Vancouver and one can’t help to think how lively this city is during the day and at night. A forest of glass towers, hot girls in lululemon pants running around the seawall and hipsters enjoying a caffeinated beverage or two at their local Blenz or Starbucks. Life doesn’t get any better than this. Make no mistake there is still need for improvement in Vancity, however take a look at Yaletown, Coal Harbour, North East False Creek and soon South East False Creek. These are all by products of excellent city planning, mainly by Mr. Beasley, the man most famous for the reshaping of our beautiful city and one associated most with Vancouverism. Renowned architect Bing Thom describes Vancouverism in this way:
It’s a spirit about public space. I think Vancouverites are very, very proud that we built a city that really has a tremendous amount of space on the waterfront for people to recreate and to enjoy. At the same time, False Creek and Coal Harbour were previously industrial lands that were very polluted and desecrated. We’ve refreshed all of this with new development, and people have access to the water and the views. So, to me, it’s this idea of having a lot people living very close together, mixing the uses.
The fundamental principles are about density and livability. These principles in city planning have been a part of Vancouver for many decades now. The development of the West End in the 60’s was considered a huge success. Today the West End remains one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods in North America.
This concept of living first, does have a fatal flaw. This condo centric development has led to a shortage of office space as developers are more keen on building residential units to fatten their wallets, as they should be. However, Vancouver can still fix this and city hall has proposed a ban on condo development in the central business district. Now if only we can lure back big business to the city, all will be well. To bad our current mayor is an idiot of the highest degree. He has done nothing but coin the phrase “eco-density” while strolling around town. To mayor Sullivan, I bid you farewell.