The last economic cycle brought tremendous change to the city. You can argue whether it was good or bad, regardless we all know that change is inevitable and we must eventually embrace it. In the last decade we saw the downtown core grow into a vibrant urban oasis, the west side became even more exclusive and gentrification east wards brought in hoards of white people to what has in the past few decades been Asian (South and North) territory. Seriously look at some Fraser Street bus stops and you’ll see some tempting blondes, this was unheard of even 4 years ago.
Main Street has now blurred the lines of the east/west divide. It used to be Cambie Street that provided the arbitrary divide between the rich and working class. That title may now belong to Main Street as houses near and over $1,000,000 is becoming more and more common, a feat unheard of only 3 years ago. As Main Street succumbs to the yuppie elite, the hipsters will move East.
Raul over at Hummingbird 604 did an excellent post on this very subject. He stated that Fraser Street is starting to show the early signs of gentrification. I’ll delve into this more next week as I explore what kind of role Fraser Street will have in the next building boom. If the sales centre at Century was any indication, the area is ripe for development.
Gastown is in the process of re-gentrification and Chinatown is on the cusp of “greatness”. This again is inevitable as downtown pushes eastward. One of our more controversial posts (although it was meant to be in jest) talked about the role Woodward’s will play in Gastown’s future. No doubt it will bring in hundreds of residents, thousands of students and new shops to the area. Ultimately, it will be “W” that guides Gastown’s prominence back to its glory days. For those that insist developments like Woodward’s are evil and unhealthy for the area, I suggest you look at things from the entire spectrum and not just the one that goes along with your inherent ideological beliefs.
Another example is the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood and its epicentre Main Street definitely felt the change. House prices shot up and with that it brought about more investment from the local citizens. Heck even Hazel & Co. owner opened up shop on Main, after she received that gratuitous reward from the judge. Will the same happen to Fraser, only time will tell.
Change, just like death and taxes is certain. It is up to us the citizens of the city to make sure the change is in the right direction.
Update: Urban Dweller will be back from his vacation and resume his popular Sunday Musings next week.