the renewed city.

where is vancouver headed?
May 2, 2009, 3:33 pm
Filed under: ideas

every year, vancouver is drenched in praise from around the world for it’s leadership in sustainability, urban design and quality of life. certainly, a key element helping contribute to many of these achievements is the city’s equally well-recognized built environment. the downtown core is one of the most walkable and livable neighbourhoods in all of north america. a lack of freeways and heavy investment in traffic calming has helped discourage car use and foster a culture of active transportation and public transit. the introduction and spread of citizen planning committees in the 1970s gave residents an outlet to be engaged in the growth and development of their own neighbourhoods and molded strong community pride and ownership.

vancouver’s reputation, and the means that have helped to shape it, did not happen by accident. they are the products of visionaries who were not afraid to challenge more dominant but by no means appropriate paradigms of the time. two big ones that come to mind are the urban renewal policies of the 1960s and the stifling, top-down, and unbureacratic planning approaches of the 1970s. surely, if vancouver followed the lead of cities like atlanta or buffalo, i would not be sitting here writing this today.

this acknowledgment, however, yields a very important observation. the foundations of vancouver’s success today is in large part due to the actions of the past. and so, it is logical to ask, then, where is vancouver and the greater vancouver region headed today? or, better yet, are we doing enough to maintain the understructure laid by those before us? does creativity and ingenuity continue to play a key role in the maturation of our city or the growth of the city’s outlying areas? or has the city or region as a whole fallen victim to a sort of apathetic mentality that in turn fosters a similar attitude in its people and development patterns?

these are important questions that need to be tackled if vancouver and it’s surrounding areas are to remain sustainable and livable well into the future. i’d like to explore this idea over the course of this year. while i don’t have a ‘game plan’ on how to tackle it just yet i am leaning towards breaking the question down into smaller, more workable parts like themes. of course, i would love to hear any feedback you might have on the topic of vancouver’s future as well.

stay tuned.


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