January 10, 2016

… did someone say Artists in Surrey?

Eric, in a comment describing a hypothetical future for Granville Island:

…”All the artists have to move to Surrey, deep Surrey.”

This is something I’ve actually spoken about, not that it be the only option yet, but that it might be a good bit of civic possible to make it attractive.
Surrey (well, bits of it) is, in effect, the modern-day ‘Chinatown’, the role of which has been described well by Doug Saunders, who I mentioned early in the week, and has popped up on PT before (seriously, watch the video Gordon mentions … also, a good analysis of Saunder’s work: Arrival cities: the need for precision)

Arrival cities: the need for precision

One of Saunder’s suggestions is that these new arrival cities receive better transit, and be opened up to creative business (who gain in cheap/free rent what they lose in a ‘hip’ neighborhood). Not unlike what CoV obviously intends with its Social Innovation Hub on Main Street in the old Police Station.
I was speaking last year with Surrey’s  City Beautification Planner (which is a fantastic job title and role), about the down-times in the Newton area, with a town center which is losing business and investment, and an area which has increasing crime and social isolation … and I couldn’t help connecting the dots.
Newton is now an ‘Arrival City’, and is increasingly vacant and crime-ridden + Artists/entrepreneurs are hurting for cheap space …
SO: ‘give’ artists/business cheap or free space and in combination to improving transit, and maybe some better education opportunities, and in so doing solve a couple urban ills in one fell swoop, solving the thing not out of mandate, or last resort, but out of investment in the future. Stand on the shoulders of Slotervaart and Bijlmermeer.

“These transitional spaces . . . are . . . where the next great economic and cultural boom will be born or the next explosion of violence will occur,” he writes. “The difference depends on our ability to notice and our willingness to engage.”

The above quote from a book review on Saunders’ book from Urban Land Magazine.

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