High traffic volume, social housing and warehouses

  • Social Housing (Mocha)
  • Redevelopment sites; currently 1 & 2 storey buildings (blue)
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The map shows one of the most startling discoveries of the Charrette. The area is roughly the “Downtown Eastside Oppenheimer District” (DEOD) zoning district. It is bounded by Hastings north to Alexander Street; and Main Street east to Heatley Avenue.

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There is no surprise finding social housing here, nor seeing one and two storey concrete block warehouse buildings. The surprise is seeing them together—and experiencing on foot the results the mix obtains. The lands north of Hastings—designated “Heavy Industrial” in 1930, but building out as small warehouses instead—have been chosen as sites for social housing. Powell, Cordova and Hastings in this area suffer the daily burden of unmitigated high volumes of traffic. A condition that has steadily worsened since the 1970’s. Further complicating the social challenges created by concentrating social housing in a warehouse district is the near lack of neighbourhood amenities.

The lack of social functioning in the utopian visions of Modern urbanism presents here as part of the problem. The Charrette analysis identifies: Correcting traffic volume issues; re-zoning to mixed residential; and leveraging the moneys from new construction to build a neighbourhood that will attract a wide range of services, and employment. After the failed attempt by Modern planning to destroy neighbourhood, and neighbourhood functioning, the recovery of the East End as a residential district looms as the more realistic alternative.

© Lewis N. Villegas, Vancouver, January 2011

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