January 15, 2014

Nominations: Best Thing My City Did This Year

Atlantic Cities closed the year with this: The Best Thing My City Did This Year.

For the Vancouver region, Brent Toderian thought it was this:

2013 has been a banner year across the region in hyper-charging this rethinking and rebuilding, all based on the transformative power of public transit.Brentwood Public processes have started, approvals are being given, and construction is underway for the urbanizing of car-centric malls and 1970s town centers, turning them inside out with externalized streets, and new public places. It isn’t just a ‘fake main street’ or a ‘better suburb’ though – it’s about creating real urban conditions with a dense mix of housing and jobs, excellent transit access, and walkable design.” – Brent Toderian, consultant with TODERIAN UrbanWORKS, former Vancouver Chief Planner, and President of the Council for Canadian Urbanism


Me?  I thought, for my neighbourhood, it was lane housing in the West End.  Lane housing is not unprecedented, whether at Mole Hill or in development massed like this (but with an entrance on to the lane):


The new plan says: “Through Laneways 2.0 encourage infill housing in the Neighbourhoods that provides 100% market rental housing, particularly for families with children.”


What think you?  Send in your nominations in Comments below for “Best Thing My City Did This Year” – and if I get more than five, we’ll have a vote.

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  1. I nominate Council’s June 26 vote for a two-year study to remove the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts, and to replace the roughly 31 acres of dead spaces below and around them with a new ground-level network of roads, cycling and pedestrian paths; new and expanded parks; restored waterways and shorelines; new housing for 7,000 families; new and enhanced recreation and sports facilities; new scenic overlooks; an expanded district energy facility; new transit opportunities; and new cultural facilities. All, while reconnecting Strathcona, Chinatown, False Creek, CityGate, the Downtown Eastside, and Downtown.

  2. If this is not limited to Vancouver and BC, then I’d nominate Sydney City Council, Australia for finally after more than a decade, convincing the NSW state government to formally adopt a mobility plan for the whole city centre which gives priority to pedestrians, bicycles, public transport (including new light rail), service vehicles, local traffic then through traffic, in that order. This plan is to be carried through in conjunction with maintaining severe restrictions on off-street and on-street parking, and a full reorganisation of bus routes.

  3. http://www.newwestcity.ca/database/files/library/Secured_Market_Rental_Housing_Policy_FINAL%281%29.pdf

    The City of New Westminster adopted its Secure Market Rental initiative in May of 2013. Really worth a read by planners, developers and politicans in B.C.; and all those concerned with the rental housing situation in the Lower Mainland.
    There is no reason that other municipalities cannot take initiatives like this.
    The Mayor of New Westminster, Wayne Wright, has also been very involved in dealing with the homlessness situation in his municipality and the metro vancouver region.
    I don’t live there, but New West is my metro vancouver municipality of the year.