The First Zoning in Vancouver


A Plan for the City of Vancouver  (1929)
Harland Bartholomew & Associates, Plate 50: Zoning Map

The Mount Pleasant Community Plan (approved 18 November 2010) comes to us 82 years after the introduction of zoning by-laws in our city. The first Vancouver zoning schedule was passed on 17 December 1928, at the moment that the city was expanding boundaries with the amalgamation of Point Grey and South Vancouver. Continue reading


The Mount Pleasant Workshop

Rainy Sunday Urban Solutions Shrouded in Cloud of Doubt

[Photo: East Broadway at Prince Edward—the western gateway to the East Broadway District proposed for Mount Pleasant].

On Sunday 18 November 2012 Mount Pleasant planners invited folks in the neighbourhood to an exercise in town planning. As the photo above suggests, invitees were not along for a Sunday picnic. Citing in their introductory comments that the Mount Pleasnt Community Plan as approved by Council two years to the day had ‘gaps’, gawkers and hangers-on turned out for the spectacle of seeing planners ramming 300-foot towers through said gaps. Would they try it? Could they get away with it? Continue reading

Vancouver’s Historic Neighbourhoods circa 1910

Detail from 1910 map in: Vancouver: A Visual History (1992) by Bruce Macdonald.

The plan shows the footprint of development in the City of Vancouver 25 years after the arrival of the CPR; 45 years after the opening of the Hastings Mill and townsite at the foot of Dunlevy Street; and just four years before the opening of the Panama Canal. The latter triggered a building boom in Vancouver starting in 1908. Continue reading

One Decision Our Way

Quebec & 15th Avenue
This building was built under strata legislation. The owners hold the property in common and must deal with issues as a collective. With the new legislation, each unit will have the legal entity of a single house. Expect changes in design. No more underground parking, common roofs, and shared landscaping. Also expect changes in use. Individual units will generate more opportunities for rental housing. We see major changes to the feel and functioning of the neighbourhood as well. In these matters, small changes can usher in great qualitative differences.

Slipping below the radar, in the first week of June 2012,  the Provincial Legislature passed a small amendment that made legal a form housing in this region that had been banned from the outset. As a result “the missing link” in Vancouver urbanism is now approved and ready for construction. Fee-simple (clear-title) attached housing is now legal to build in British Columbia for the fist in a long time. There really are no examples I can point to of row houses built here in the last 150 years. Row houses are there, but always missing one important feature or another. We have premised the Vancouver Historic Quariters analysis on just this reversal in policy. Read more about the implications of this change for Vancouver urbanism. Read More.

Rize Fiasco

Vancouver City Council approved the Mount Pleasant Community Plan on 18 November 2010. In March 2012 a Public Hearing convened to approve re-zoning of a 19 storey tower in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood attracted 295 speakers. Most rose to denounce the tower as the wrong building form for their neighbourhood. On 17 April, with one abstention and one vote against, Council approved the re-zoning citing the $6.25 million cash contribution from the developer as the decisive factor. The community plan, and a two-year community outreach and consultation process, were over ruled.  Continue reading