The West Coast Charrette

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland called the post-Covid recovery ‘Our Moment to Change the Future for the Better.’ The West Coast Charrette explores 4 shelf-ready actions that will transform Canada’s metropolitan regions.

West Coast Charrette Report 

Fourteen professionals, educators, community activists and editors contributed to this response to rising house prices, and the Covid shut-down of the economy.

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The New Mount Pleasant Square

Vancouver Parks Board is meeting 29 May 2023 to approve a final design for a square to be built at the terminus of Kingsway, diagonally opposite the Community Center at 1 Kingsway, at the historic heart of Mount Pleasant, Vancouver’s first suburb.


The first order of business for the new ‘park’ site at 7th Avenue & Main Street is to pick a name:

Mount Pleasant Square.

Vancouver has always been a city of neighborhoods. Each neighborhood should build a square as its focus. A place where neighbors can bump into each other without having to call or text.  

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The History of the Making of Chinatown Square

Every community needs a place, a heart or an urban room, where people can meet casually without having to text or call first.

Left to Right: Daniel Lee and Roy Mah, both WWII veterans with Paul Tsui, Remembrance Day on Chinatown Square. Chinese Cultural Centre Museum (1986), Joe Wai architect, visible in the background. Memorial Sculpture (2003) is by Arthur Shy Red Cheng.

The opportunity to make a square in Vancouver’s Chinatown came in the 1990s when my good friend David Mah was chair at CHAPAC (Chinatown Historic Area Planning Advisory Committee). Continue reading “The History of the Making of Chinatown Square”

Two 30-storey towers proposed for 130 West Broadway (former MEC site). Virtual Open House ends April 2. A look at how it violates Broadway Plan guidelines.

City Hall Watch upholds its longstanding tradition of exposing the abuses of the law taking place right before our eyes at City Hall.

CityHallWatch: Tools to engage in Vancouver city decisions

Rezoning information sign

The City of Vancouver is holding a virtual open house regarding a rezoning that contains two 30-storey towers at 130 West Broadway, the site of the former Mountain Equipment Co-op flagship store. City staff are forgoing an in-person Open House for what is probably the largest development proposed in Mount Pleasant. The proposal would have a FSR of 8.46, building heights of 100.1m (328 ft.) and 99.1m (325 ft.), 524 rental units, a 37 space child care and 372 total parking spaces. Reliance Properties and Quadreal Property Group are the developers behind the project while the IBI group are the architects.

The virtual open house ends on April 2, 2023; however, it will be possible to contact the rezoning planner directly even after this date. The City received the rezoning application last year on December 5, 2022 and then waited months before making this information…

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Ukraine Invasion 2022

Past DAY 6 of aggressions, the Russian invasion of Ukraine appears mired in undefined stratagems and unspecified conclusions. No Ukrainians are standing to join Russia, while Russians refuting Putin are gaining in number.

54 years ago the 6 DAY WAR took place between the Israelis and Arabs. 35 years later the US unleashed Shock & Awe taking control of Bagdad in 6 days. 8 DAYS into Putin’s invasion of Ukraine this war looks different. On the CBC radio, 28 February, a Russian journalist from Moscow set the record straight:

Putin is calling this the ‘demilitarization of Ukraine’. Russian forces will either destroy or control all military assets in Ukraine. Putin is out to prove that he is right one just point: Ukraine is being swallowed up into the NATO orbit.

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Better Transit, Alright: But NOT Another Skytrain Extension!!!

Here is a H*I*N*T Mr. Trudeau: Better Transit = Affordable Housing. Guarantee Canadians Affordable Houses at the Next Election & you have my vote!

With a Federal Election Campaign now all but official, Prime Minister Trudeau is out in front of the election announcement tossing transportation money at all big cities in the nation. For Greater Vancouver, its a $1.3 Billion pledge that will fund the WRONG kind of transit.

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Victoria Street: The Heart In Downtown Kamloops

Downtowns have a lot to offer. The key is to make them great places to walk. That way, parking the tank and sending in the infantry on a 5 minute march becomes fun rather than a chore!

Every city has a downtown: A place to go, to see and be seen. Sometimes, changes come to a downtown attracting more people than ever before. That was the case 30 years ago when the Downtown Revitalization Program changed the character of Victoria Street in Kamloops making it a People Place. In 2020-2021 during the Covid epidemic, the sidewalks were widened downtown to provide safe outdoor seating. Now that Covid is under control, a win-win opportunity presents itself:

(1) Make the sidewalks widenings permanent; and

(2) Introduce back-in angle parking to increase the parking capacity in those places where the sidewalks are not widened.

Below is a walk along Victoria today illustrating long-standing strengths, and discussing new emerging opportunities of place.

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Housing Crisis in China

Shenzhen, Communist China’s poster-city planned to take over Hong Kong as a financial hub for the command economy has a BIG problem… And it is not just the cost of housing in China.

Bloomberg is reporting the cost of an apartment in Shenzhen is equal to 43.5 times a resident’s average annual salary. However, they are not reporting the size of the apartment (you can bet it’s not large).

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The grey space in the middle that will define the 21st Century

David Bowie speaks to Jeremy Paxman on BBC Newsnight (1999)

Pop icon David Bowie, 11 years ago speaking about the internet as the biggest opportunity, and the worst imaginable nightmare, in the 21st century.

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