Designing Loveability: Chris Fair of Resonance, on Placemaking & Superstar Cities
Chris Fair helps places — communities, cities, regions — think about the future.
That thinking drives the design of everything from the branding of a destination, to the design of streets, buildings and other public spaces, and what is put in them in order to make a city not just liveable, but loveable.
Fair’s belief? That if you stop looking at how people behave, and begin understanding how people may want to behave in the future (in part through creative disruption, and of course big data), you have the best possible chance at helping a place realize its full economic potential. Beyond tourism, this applies to business attraction and retention, not to mention drawing in the talent that keeps economies bumping along.
In some cases, this approach — thinking about lifestyle and what sorts of experiences might resonate with people — can actually save a city. In his opinion, this was the case with one of the most interesting revitalizations of a downtown in the world. (For that answer, you’ll have to listen in.)
In the process of explaining his placemaking approach and the rationale behind it, Gord gets the Calgary-born creative to reveal how his company, Resonance Consultancy, was inspired in part by his passion for skiing and his eye for opportunity; casting aside creative writing two decades ago to leverage the Intrawest investment in Mont Tremblant into his own company, a bilingual media outlet. Today, Resonance has an international footprint and is known for helping translate contemporary lifestyles in a way that local governments can “get their heads around”.
Some interesting questions are posed, and not necessarily resolved in this conversation: Is Vancouver a resort city only for the rich, or a real place? Does liveability necessarily equal prosperity? Should we make Vancouver less attractive so more people can afford to live here down the line? How do we prioritize public amenities so they don’t just result in elite experiences?
And of the superstar cities of the 21st century, where does Vancouver rank?