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MOUNT PLEASANT
Vancouver BC

A Contemporary Urban Village Centre.

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LAND CONSERVATION AND COMPACT COMMUNITIES: BUILDING UP MAKES SENSE.

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WORKING MOUNT PLEASANT

Designated zoning "CD-3Z"

BUILDING TYPOLOGY

TYPE A: Two thirty-story arced triplex-building complexes east and west accommodate . . . families on the four lower floors, academic on floors five and six, live-work on floors seven-fourteen and condos on remaining floors.

TYPE B: Three existing buildings on 10th remain as used.

ANCILLARIES: Day care, nurseries and blke security: accommodated in the academic buildings.

TYPE C: Four new buildings facing Broadway reflect the Lee Building envelope. Accommodate Mom and Pop commercial/retail accessible to Broadway and water park. Academic above.

TYPE D: Two new buildings, Main @ Broadway reflect the Lee Building exterior. Accommodate Mom and Pop commercial/retail accessible to Broadway and water park. Academic above.


South Elevation: 10th Ave.

RIZE:
North West Corner,
10th Ave @ Watson.

Click on image.

CITY of VANCOUVER BC.
12.Amber elipse:
Mount Pleasant neighbourhood's pivotal location.

Click on image.

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RATIONALE

The aerial photo of Vancouver above makes clear Mount Pleasant's central place in the city's future. Traditional downtown is evolving into an entertainment area giving MP a higher profile.

The community is more accessible, as the confluence of Broadway, Kingsway and Main Street for potential surface trams. It is within reasonable walking distance of VGH, City Hall and, as this esquisse proposes an academic centre for future UBC and SFU facilities.

MOUNT PLEASANT VILLAGE CENTRE comprises three parts:

To the west of RIZE: 3.5 acres.

RIZE: 1.23 acres.

To the east of RIZE: 3.7 acres.

Total: 8.45 acres.

The November 2010 Mount Pleasant community plan describes a possibility of three towers in the central area. Sites suggested are Rize (in the planning approval process), Kingsgate Mall (3.2 acres east of RIZE), and an IGA site (2.3 acres) at 12th @ Main some four blocks south on Main.

This esquisse coalesces the various sites into one by replacing the remote IGA site into the 3.5 acres west of RIZE.

The village centre is an attempt to mitigate overloaded east west traffic on Broadway.

Mount Pleasant has become a pivotal location noteworthy for its uniqueness. Most of the city comprises sprawl relieved by occasional human scale shopping streets in limited locations: West Broadway, Commercial Drive, South Granville etc. Traffic noise everywhere is untenable, the consequences of hectic road traffic!

During the academic year traffic to UBC and SFU along Broadway is intensive. The plan, therefore, suggest all new development plans at those two academic institutions be directed into MOUNT PLEASANT VILLAGE CENTRE. Siting both those institutions at the opposite extremities of the metro area reflects an era long gone: in the case of UBC's 1922 Great Trek (at the time understandable) to SFU's completion in 1965 (at that time not understandable). It is time to alleviate traffic along Broadway by bringing both those august institutions central!

In this plan Main Street is closed off accessible only to trams and pedestrians. I do not know how realistic this move is, the theory being by making auto traffic inconvenient and time consuming the public will be attracted to transit. This may be, in 2012 impractical, given the massive traffic load inflicted on that block and obvious hostility from the motoring public.

Watson Street, although very narrow, becomes accessible to service and pedestrians only: pretty much as it is today. It extends some considerable way south from this site acting almost as a utility lane.

In essence this plan coalesces many of the services scattered through out the city in the interests of GREENING the city by 2020.

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PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Everyone deserves to have his or her voice heard. Whether or not anyone is listening is another matter.

After a lengthy public debate Mount Pleasant Community Plan was approved by Vancouver city council November 18, 2010.

The community has a population of 23,615 as of the 2006 census of which 18% are under the voting age, leaving 19,400+/- eligible Mount Pleasant voters: down from the previous census.

Generally about 2/300 residents of voting age attend public hearings. More attend the plan presentations. The majority of residents appear to be either uninterested to express their views or otherwise occupied at the time.

What does this say for the validity of public hearings? To legitimize the process? Hardly! The RIZE public hearing was attended by a vociferous minority militantly opposed: council approved it anyway with few amendments, April 2012. Apparently, Vancouver planning public hearings are pursued to legitimize the planning process and for no other reason.

It should not be like that. Public participation should be a fecund debate on the pros and cons of the project hopefully resulting in a more integrated development. Unfortunately, with so much off shore involvement good intentions take a back seat.

It was not always like that.

Director of Planning Ray Spaxman introduced to concept of public involvement when he came to Vancouver from Toronto in 1983. Public debate, though, has evolved since his time. The public is more consumed and neighbourhood committees, sometimes militantly demand their say.

I have been on both ends of public hearings: on the receiving end when one of my projects was up for scrutiny and to debate the issues when my community is concerned. I have never had a problem yet I have never seen the anger that prevails today!

I am told there should be no towers in the neighbourhoods: only downtown! I am not quite sure why: Kits, Kerrisdale and Oakridge has had them for years. Anyway, no problem just lay RIZE on its side and fit it's 241 condos and amenities on the 1.25 acre site. Let me know how you make out!

For those who prefer row houses to towers. Be careful what you wish for!

What does Andrês Duany Thinq? Written after his Spetifore land proposal (2009) had been rejected.

These are my opinions, and mine alone, and there is much more to come.

Vancouver's murals: streets and schools.

Pretty shallow, all of them. Who tells artists what to paint? Compositions and colours are tepid. I wont compare them to the great Mexican muralists of the last century. That would be unfair.

Unexpressed frustration colours all conversations. Every official discourse is tempered by paradise, the view, mountains and the sea with green city by 2020 topping it off, the implication being, if you don't like it go live somewhere else. When will official myopia come to its senses?

Maybe artists, the rest us, are so happy and content "we have nothing to say". Somehow I doubt it!

June 2012
Roger Kemble ma (urban planning) rca maibc

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