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.
[Note: urban rooms are shown in green and earth-tone colours.]
We believe that by tripling the existing population in the Historic Quartiers using human-scale urbanism, the Charrette met its stated goal:
To demonstrate an urban redevelopment process that will deliver a sustainable urbanism.
The incremental intensification shown in the Charrette plan reaches the critical mass necessary to rebalance the ecology, energize the economy, and support social functioning in the Historic Quartiers without triggering gentrification.
We can’t stress this enough. There see no point in engaging the cradle of our city, if the end result will displace the very population that has made it its home since before the arrival of the railway. The most resilient value of this place has been its long history of mixing a socially and culturally diverse population. We will propose that this is the place where we first encounter Vancouver’s defining characteristic—its multiculturalism.
Intensification Without Gentrification
We see the intensification shown in the charrette plan delivering the following results in the Historic Quartiers:
- A fully functioning local economy with a full array of jobs, shops and services.
- Transit implementation—including LRT on Hastings, and BRT on Main Street—adding the trip capacity necessary to revert Water-Powell, Cordova, and Prior-Venables Streets to neighbourhood function.
- Street revitalization takes place at the same time as transit implementation.
- New social housing looks like every other house on the block. It is distributed throughout the city, rather than zoned in one area.
- The Donut Principle: Residential intensification is planned around urban rooms—spaces that support, and encourage social mixing.
- We place great importance on the choice of building type for intensification. The urban house tops our list of products that build great neighbourhoods or quartiers. The promise of fee-simple ownership of high-density, human-scale, urban houses is the logical choice for an area that was platted before 1900.
© Lewis N. Villegas, Vancouver, January 2012.