"Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down."

. . . . . . . . . . . . . Robert Frost: Mending wall.

A new planning paradigm

Sea Bus 1 -

Sky Train 2 -

Victory Square 1 -

Sun Yat Sen Gardens 2 -

Pender Triangle Park 3 -

Oppenheimer Park 4 -

Crab Park 5 -

Maple Tree Square X -

- 1 MacLean Park Housing

- 2 Olympic Ice Rink

- 3 GM Place

- 4 BC Place

- 5 Main Library

- 6 SFU Harbour Centre

- 7 Woodward's Tower

DOWN TOWN EAST SIDE: quartiers by charrette

Walls are about zoning.

I prefer poetry to zoning by-laws, and although it has never been tried there is no doubt in my mind it would be more effective than the current pile of paper-bound hieroglyphics!

"A new planning paradigm is necessary!" (Lewis N. Villegas: 2010) . . . I agree.

Beginning 2010 Nanaimo, Newcastle/Brechin charrette it dawned on me to sub-set neighbourhoods into pedestrian scale, walkables: Lewis had the same idea and called them "quartiers".

I will go further . . . I will simulate a charrette in Vancouver's Downtown East side: a one-man urban experiment in a crucible, so to speak.

Am I alone, horrified at what I see materialising before my eyes: monstrous, ugly, overwhelming stumps, no consideration of ground level public space? Indeed no consideration for people, at all, other than to extract as much money as possible out of them. Developers just lie to the public!

Good heaven's after acquiring massive Olympic debt the provincial government is lumping the city with a Las Vegas type gambling joint! Municipalities are far too accommodating to developers . . . What next?

Huh! And a very irresponsible move to a new VAG building.

Interesting, heights range from 50' to 100' yet the Woodwards tower is 320'! Was this a necessary concession to obtain the social component? Or was HAHR a hasty response to curtail more Woodwards like speculation!

Pop running at about 100/htr, DTES following the DT peninsular in general: DTES pop 17,000 +/- 2001: homeless pop reputed to be 1,600 +/- 2010 and counting.

Just a couple of further preliminary points before I begin to craft my new paradigm: the neighbours are interested, we may assume, yet in my experience usually a couple of talkers always find the podium as we sit quietly listening.

But that is not all: the architectural and planning help seldom let the current fads pass.

And fads are not the point of a charrette! We are all far too deferential!

We could go into what a charrette is not about, but we need only look at the ubiquitous chunks of gray loneliness that abounds around us to answer that!

But first a few comments: it would help if the process were imbued with a modicum of integrity.

Yes, Hollywood and the church have been doing it to us forever but city building is for real!

The public participation, approval process has degenerated into wasteful, glossy coloured pictures as planners impatiently rush the process to prematurely escape back to the safety of their desks.

The impression is building, the city and provincial government are desperately thrashing around to fill the financial void opened up by the extravagant Olympic party: Las Vegas type Casinos, unrealistic luminous stumps etc!

To distract attention marketing catch phrases, "green", "sustainable" "bicycles" and "people" are being bandied around! Las Vegas Casino? Sustainable? Do they take us for fools?

Boltzmann's second law of thermodynamics state: Entropy, nothing is sustainable. So by every measure the act of building is unsustainable: PERIOD!

The town has been, still is, plagued by "leaky condos" and that has caused a new spate of professional turf wars: engineers v's architects etc. Good building practice using tested materials, a building code as standard, rather than marketing tool, will always trump marketing nonsense.

People, that overspun platitude again, must come first. But at the beginning of the twenty-first century Vancouver seems to be hell bent on building a city its citizens cannot afford to live in, with a multitude of ugly concrete stumps to accommodate a few itinerant international multi-millionaires hundreds of feet up in the mountain view for, maybe, a couple of weeks in the year.

Of course there is a lot more than wishing for a nice home in a nice urban village. There's a whole baggage of economic history that seems to thwart our every plan: something, that sooner or later, we will have to deal with!

Enough said, "the old order changeth . . ."

And so to A NEW PARADIGM . . .

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