"Living First" and The Vancouver Model

Earlier today I read the cover story by Alan Ehrenhalt in Governing about urban planning in Vancouver, which argued that nowhere in North America had cities been able to duplicate the model of density of residential buildings in or near the downtown core. Be sure to check out Ehrenhalt's photo essay of Vancouver, with a first-hand description of some of the sites mentioned in the main article. I spent some time looking up some of the names mentioned in Ehrenhalt's article, as well as looked up an unsourced quote or two. The following is a little scattershot, but here are the results from some searching around on the subjects mentioned and profiled by Ehrenhalt.

What can best be described as a manifesto for the "Vancouver Model", the City of Vancouver's co-director of planning Larry Beasley wrote "Living First" in Downtown Vancouver, which originally appeared in the American Planning Association’s Zoning News. A June 2006 article in Canadian Architect described a panel discussion where Beasley “provided a good case for embracing density and congestion in cities. He showed how Vancouver has avoided building freeways into the city core and how it has helped public transit thrive. Beasley also demonstrated how Vancouver's City Planning department encouraged density and high-rise development in its downtown core. In Vancouver's case, massive economic development can equal great urban design. Developers must submit their designs that are reviewed by the best architects and urban designers in the city, thereby ensuring a high standard of development.” In November 2005, Derrick Penner wrote a piece in The Vancouver Sun in which Beasley defended Vancouver from the charge that neither residential nor commercial development and growth were going to stop in the downtown core.

Trevor Boddy, mentioned several times in the Governing.com article, wrote in September of 2005 comparing Manhattan and Vancouver's urban development. Trevor Boddy was behind "Dialogue of Cities", written up in The Tyee before the event and by yours truly at Urban Vancouver (see also the "Dialogue of Cities special report).

The quote from the Governing.com article about Vancouver as “this sterile row of glassy towers marching down the street” comes from, evidently, Joyce Drohan (who spoke briefly at "Dialogue of Cities"), from a 2003 article in The San Francisco Chronicle. I couldn't find the original source to the quote, again describing Vancouver's towers, “cliffs of slivery ice on cloudy days”, however.

Some of the professors mentioned were easy to track down, but a little less so for their publications. UBC Urban Geography professor David Ley, I found out, wrote an article entitled "Immigration in gateway cities: Sydney and Vancouver in comparative perspective" that appeared in a 2001 issue of Progress in Planning. I managed to track down a copy of the article—which I haven't yet read—via a search for a no-longer-existing PDF on archive.org.

If not relevant to the narrow topic of planning of Vancouver, you can at least hear Leonie Sandercock's voice while talking about Canadian multiculturalism. A Google Images search for her name reveals a lot of photos of the professor. Charlie Smith writing in The Georgia Straight reviews her book Cosmopolis II: Mongrel Cities of the 21st Century, which : “includes the example of Collingwood Neighbourhood House near the Joyce SkyTrain station in East Vancouver. Located in one of Vancouver’s most multicultural neighbourhoods, CNH does not provide culturally specific programming, she said. There are no seniors’ services exclusively targeted at Chinese people, and there aren’t special programs for aboriginal people. The 90 staff collectively speak 10 different languages, enabling residents to access service in their own languages, but not in a Balkanized ghetto.” The article links to (sort of) the website for a documentary about Collingwood Neighbourhood House.

Mike Howell in The Vancouver Courier adds detail to the assertion that Bob Rennie supported both Vancouver mayoral candidates in the 2005 election. In 2002 Vancouver Magazine held a panel in which Bob Rennie discussed downtown real estate, but it cuts off at the end, as the full discussion is evidently available only in the print version.