5 Questions for Brian

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Brian Jacson, Vancouver City Planner, will be at the West End Community Centre tomorrow, 28 august 2013 to answer questions about the neighbourhood plan. Here are 5 questions I would ask Jackson about the City’s plan in Mount Pleasant.

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The End of an Era

1912 crash

A Visual History of Vancouver, Bruce Macdonald (1992)

The signature feature of Mount Pleasant is its urbanism. It was built between 1908 and 1915 in the furor and frenzy that accompanied the run up to the opening of the Panama Canal (1915). However, there is evidence that points to the construction window being much tighter than seven years. The chart shows a precipitous decline in the issuance of building permits starting in early 1912. Continue reading

The New Urban Paradigm

Livable Streets, Walkable Neighbourhoods, Affordable Regions

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China Creek Park

Re-zoning neighbourhood land to tower densities is fuelling land speculation and triggering a crisis in housing affordability. How can we reverse this trend, build walkable neighbourhoods and livable streets? Continue reading

Small is Beautiful

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8th Avenue and Prince Albert, Mount Pleasant

On 22 june 2013 the Mount Pleasant Implementation Committee (MPIC) held a self-directed design workshop to test applying charrette methods to the redevelopment of the neighbourhood. On the evening of 24 june the results of the workshop were presented to the public at Our Town Café. On 11 july the products of the workshop were shown at the MPIC meeting. Download a pdf copy of the presentation here.

The findings are startling!

  1. As one of 23 neighbourhoods in the City of Vancouver, all more or less of equal size, the Mount Pleasant share of the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) targets for 2040 can be estimated as 7,000 persons. This is one twentieth of the 140,000 persons in the RGS.
  2. Good urbanism is not just about Density. Historical precedent, the human experience in public space, and neighbourhood-level social functioning must also be taken into account.
  3. Mount Pleasant is the only historic neighbourhood in the city developing its own brand of urbanism outside the downtown core. Continue reading

Jane’s Walk 2013

Janes Walk 2013 Quebec Manor

Quebec Manor (1915) 7th & Quebec Street

42 people turned out on a sunny Sunday afternoon in early May to follow local history raconteur Robert McNutt and urban design practitioners Stephen Bohus and Lewis N. Villegas on a tour of historic Mount Pleasant. The walk was organized in memory of urbanist Jane Jacobs. Download the walk map here.

This year the walk was structured around key buildings and places that may guide new construction and planning. The models identified and discussed on the tour included: tall buildings; storefront buildings; apartments; row houses; public open spaces; ‘Great Streets’ and transit implementation options.

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5 Principles for Mount Pleasant Urbanism

3rd & Main

Main and 3rd Avenue

Five Principles for Mount Pleasant Urbanism

  1. Neighbourhood footprint
  2. Built Form
  3. Street Space
  4. Social functioning
  5. GHG-Zero Transportation

Five principles in urbanism can deliver walkable neighbourhoods and livable streets to our longstanding, most venerable neighbourhoods. We can obtain these results in the places we call home by restructuring them as a series of quartiers centered on the place of original settlement; building the urban paradigm with human-scale buildout; delivering social housing in sufficient numbers to meet demand; rebuilding arterials to support social functioning; and removing car trips from the street. Continue reading