Comment 113365

By RobF (registered) | Posted August 08, 2015 at 11:26:14 in reply to Comment 113364

Totally agree ... our aim should be urban communities that are well-built and designed.

I think a missing aspect to the discussion is the ability for places to incrementally change over time ... one of the key faults of modernist architecture and planning, particularly high-modernist (urban renewal was generally this ... see Pruitt-Igoe), was that they were almost sculptural. Once built they couldn't be changed or adapted by users/residents. Current residents at False Creek South are looking to allow respectful intensification in the community to address shortcomings in what is a generally successful place. That is possible only because, while dense, False Creek South wasn't over-built to start with.

I also reject the current dogma of Vancouverism that height doesn't matter as long as the podium is appropriately scaled and designed to compliment the streetscape. I'm not against tall buildings, per se, and Vancouver generally does tall reasonably well for a number of reasons (the Vancouver Charter gives their planning department and city council powers that the OMB in Ontario thwarts), but tall shouldn't be our first choice for most spaces. We have a lot of land available for infill in the core. Starting with well-designed low-to-mid-rise projects makes sense if urbanism is our goal (by low-rise I mean 3-5 stories, and mid-rise 5-12). I'd reserve tall for key sites and demand that height be used to create architecturally distinctive buildings ... no square floor plates or 20+ storey slab-blocks.

You hit my main point in your first comment ... getting our waterfront development right is about politics. If we don't demand social/income-mix, high-quality architecture and design, and so on, we won't get it, because money will drive the decision-making. I'd like to see the City benefit financially from a good-quality development that contributes to the tax-base of the City, economic sustainability matters, but ROI can't be the only criteria in city-building. It leads to pyrrhic victories for urbanism.

Comment edited by RobF on 2015-08-08 11:30:03

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