Small is Beautiful

SnowyHouses DSC01358

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.

Continue reading

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

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

Urban Planning in Mount Pleasant

Late in 2010 a new Mount Pleasant Community Plan was adopted by the City of Vancouver. In 2012 a self-directed Mount Pleasant Plan Implementation Committee (MPIC) was formed by a dedicated group of volunteers ready to work with the city’s planning department to review development applications, clarify plan directions, and advise Council on new development proposals and policy initiatives.

This blog will provide a running account of the activities in Mount Pleasant, including future directions and emerging urbanism. The blog site will also act as a go-to resource to find city policy, a local point of view, and general information about this historic neighbourhood that boomed with the arrival of the streetcar in an area about one mile to the south of the original founding place of the city.