The year 1961 marked a significant change for urbanists. This was the year that Jane Jacobs published The Death and Life of Great American Cities, which highlighted her experience and observation of the streetscapes of New York City, specifically Greenwich Village where she lived. Jacobs presented urban life and urban spaces in a way that had not been widely considered previously: as social spaces.
While a suburban mortgage may look cheaper, itâs perpetuating a problem for municipalities, businesses, and taxpayers. Canadian municipalities, and their taxpayers, are also faced with billions of dollars in unfunded costs for new suburban developments.
Three years ago we both came to Vancouver (separately), with a vague idea of what this city was all about. We made this blog in our spare time for fun one day, not knowing it would take off the way it did. For that, we are grateful, and appreciative that something we created…
Once upon a time, a group of passionate public servants and politicians envisioned Metro Vancouver as “cities in a sea of green.” This resulted in the creation of the Liveable Region Strategic Plan - a revolutionary regional planning doctrine that helped shape Metro Vancouver as a region of compact cities, connected by public transit, and surrounded by green space.
As part of the first Liveable Region Strategic Plan established in 1996, approximately 70% of land was set aside and designated a Green Zone, protecting Metro Vancouver natural assets, including major parks, watersheds, and ecologically important areas. Metro Vancouver also made an important decision to establish an Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) that would designate and protect farm land around the region.
Fast forward to the present day, and this vision - cities in a sea of green - is under threat. Citizens are vilifying Translink as a waste of taxpayer’s money, developers are plowing over the ALR with strip malls and rodeos, and highways have expanded to the point that Metro Vancouver has the widest bridge in the world (10 lanes).
How did this happen?
Local urbanist and Vancouverite Gordon Price has been writing some excellent essays on his blog, Price Tags, about this issue. This one regarding how Metro Vancouver is being “Forded over” as we embark on “the biggest expansion of carbon-transfer infrastructure in our history,” is worth a read.