The residents have spoken, and the Vancouver of the future will be a high-tech, community-centered utopia, according to a Re-imagine Downtown survey from the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (DVBIA).
With the input of 11,000 Vancouver residents, the DVBIA has published the top visions for what Vancouver may look like in 2040 – but we’re not talking flying cars or towering skyscrapers; what Vancouverites want is quite simple: affordability, community and innovation.
It’s the kind of utopia children sketch in their notebooks in between harmonious science fiction novels.
“The new vision for downtown over the next 25 years includes an equitable, sustainable and friendly city that celebrates its waterfront setting. Where protected nature and creative urbanism successfully cohabit. Where digital technology is embraced. And, where our equal distance from Asia and Europe positions us as a city of influence,” says Charles Gauthier, president and CEO of DVBIA.
Residents agreed that by 2040, they want Vancouver to be:
- A healthy, life-affirming place
- A network of connected greenways and activated alleyways highlighted by art and businesses,
- Home to young families and seniors
- Affordable for anyone that wants to live there
- Home to multi-national headquarters with a distinctive skyline
- ‘Rain-proofed’ with retractable awnings
- Supported by relaxed liquor regulations resulting in a renaissance of cafes and restaurants
- Where all downtown employees earn a living wage
- Connected with free public Wi-Fi
- Home to the West Coast’s preeminent New Year’s Eve celebration
- Home to a prominent public square for large public gatherings and events
- Connected with a free streetcar system, allowing people to travel throughout the downtown peninsula
- A 24/7 city with all major transit networks operating 24 hours a day
“I want to congratulate the DVBIA on engaging thousands of Vancouverites in developing a new vision for a vibrant downtown,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “It’s great to see such a strong outpouring of public support for city priorities such as increasing public space and making it easier to walk, bike, and take transit in our downtown. I look forward to delving deeper into the report and hearing broader public feedback on it.”
Other findings in the report point to overwhelming support of Vancouver becoming more transit-friendly, with 94 per cent of respondents saying city planning should be more ‘transit-oriented’ rather than ‘vehicle-oriented’, and a large movement toward more public spaces not tied to commercial businesses.
For Vancouver to truly be a ‘World-Class City’, we also need a better sense of community, a livelier arts and culture scene and more ways to get around, according to survey results.
The 58-page report is available to read online and will be used to guide the DVBIA five-year plan. They will also work with various partners and stakeholders to attempt making these visions a reality in the next 25 years.