Pessimistic individuals aside, Vancouver is a pretty special place, especially when it comes to urban planning and public spaces. This year the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize was awarded to New York City, a city which continues to innovate and lead in urbanism, just look at the Highline project.
Vancouver is no slouch in this category either. We’ve become world renowned for urban design, spawning the term Vancouverism. That doesn’t mean we can’t become better, in fact this is what makes a really great city. Right now the time has come for Vancouver to once again innovate and somehow bring back affordability into the mix. It won’t be easy and this is one of the reasons why we’re a city to look out for this century.
In addition to the New York City being named the 2012 Prize Laureate, six other cities and have been identified for Special Mention. These Special Mentions showcase the high quality of the nominations and is an opportunity to facilitate the sharing of best practices in cities. They are (according to alphabetical order):
1. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, Ahmedabad, India
2. AHT Group AG & SUN Development, Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa
3. Brisbane City Council – Urban Renewal Brisbane, Brisbane, Australia
4. City of Copenhagen (and Lord Mayor), Copenhagen, Denmark
5. City of Malmö, Sweden
6. City of Vancouver, British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Why Vancouver was chosen:
The City of Vancouver is an exemplary demonstration of strong visioning, community values and long-term planning. Over the last 40 years the city showed foresight and boldness in resisting two of the major North American urban trends – the introduction of freeways into the city centre and the loss of residents to the suburbs. Instead, the city embarked on an inner-city densification process supported by innovative planning, which has contributed to a more liveable and vibrant city life.
Today, the city is characterised by exceptional urban design that accentuates its
surrounding. For instance, building heights are controlled to maintain views of the
mountainous skyline and ocean backdrop. In addition, neighbourhoods are carefully designed to allow the seamless flow of private, social and green spaces, encouraging the diffusion of vibrancy and appreciation of the outdoors.