Presentation to the Rise Tower, Mount Pleasant Public Hearing:
I have been a property owner in Mount Pleasant since 1988. I attended the open house at the community centre last year, had an extensive discussion with the lead planner, and came away perfectly impressed with the fact that it would be… business as usual.
Mr. Mayor, there is a cancer spreading over our city.
Unless it is stopped, CD1 zoning will ravage our neighborhoods. Not just Mount Pleasant, but all our neighbourhoods. Continue reading
The urbanist charrette was the first challenge issued to the Modern planning paradigm. Striving to inject transparency, urban design principles, and meaningful participation into the planning process, the role of the charrette has evolved from exposing professionals to the subject site, to Educating about Sustainable Development (ESD), or ‘good’ urbanism.
The Vancouver Historic Quartiers presents a new planning paradigm grounded in the human experience of place. We believe that the resulting quality of urban spaces is the right measure for sustainable, or “good” urbanism. In the new paradigm, we design at the scale of the neighbourhood, or quartier, rather than the individual building site. We shape quartiers as places that have lasting social value, with urban rooms that are active around the clock.
We have lost sight of the social, economic, and environmental values embodied by the tradition engendered in the urbanism of the Vancouver Historic Quartiers. If we have forgotten how to look at the city, perhaps it is because we are driving by too fast, or because we are labouring under the false nihilism of the ‘Degree Zero’ doctrines of Modern urbanism. Everywhere we turn in the Historic Quartiers we discover another place, another space, another set of architectural elements honed to embody the values of community, and the values of place. Thickly encrusted by layers of benign neglect, here in our oldest and most venerable places, we can recover the longest, continuous tradition in urbanism, and secure a sustainable future.
Maple Tree Square
The Figuration of Place & the Urban Room
Inside the urban room we stand in a space in the city where we can see the buildings all around. It is a place where the linear tyranny of the street is finally broken, and where the distance separating the buildings can be set to resonate with the mechanisms of human sense perception. When the ratio of the building height, to the distance between the buildings can be described by small, whole-numbers, then a powerful and lasting impression is created in our memory that we term the urban room.
In the long city streets of a regularly platted grid one place can look very much like another. The experience of the urban room is something altogether different.
Four New Transit Lines & the Historic Quartiers
The charrette proposes using the implementation of four transit lines to support the intensification of the Vancouver Historic Quartiers, and the revitalization of Main Street, Hastings Street, Chinatown, and Japantown, together with transit implementation on the Broadway Corridor.
Through transit implementation and urban design we hope to achieve livable streets, walkable neighbourhoods, and housing affordability in the , and region wide.
2011 Vancouver’s Historic Quartiers
Using historical analysis we have identified five key settlement areas in the era immediately following the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway—the corporation that picked the name “Vancouver” for its pacific terminus:
- The Hastings Mill Townsite and Japantown (the townsite was re-platted as Railway Avenue by the CPR).
- Gastown (The Granville Townsite).
- The cottage lots, including those dubbed “Strathcona” in the 1950’s.
- The Industrial quartier.
Aboriginal people were among the groups denied land ownership rights. Although their presence preceded European and Asian settlement by millennia, because they did not own land, today no district or neighborhood carries their name.
The Charrette Intensification Plan
The final results of the charrette show the potential intensification for the area as:
The final Charrette plan shows incremental intensification in the Historic Quartiers with 15,500 units, housing 35,000 new residents, for a total area population of 55,000.
The East End in 1890
The old East End is the cradle of our city, the origin of the City of Vancouver, Canada’s capital on the fiery Pacific Rim.
In Vancouver we have two of the most successful examples in urban revitalization in North America: Granville Island and Gastown.
- Imagine that the streets in Granville Island looked like Keefer and Pender Street look today… What would become of Granville Island’s success story?
- Imagine Gastown’s sidewalks, decorative lighting, and pavements ripped out and fitted with the pavements, sidewalks, and street poles from Historic Pender Street. How would Gastown be faring?
When we say “Chinatown Revitalization” the markets want to know that we mean business. Involvement from all levels of government, and investment in the millions of dollars for Chinatown Street Beautification, is the signal investors are waiting for.
Presented to Vancouver City Council Hearing on Chinatown Historic Area Height Review. For the full text click here.
Forty Simon Fraser University graduate students in the PDP Program—and two staff—gave their best during six days between 20 and 29 May 2011. What you see on this blog is the result of their effort. Some said, “I have never seen Vancouver this way before”; others described the charrette as an “experience”. Continue reading