Learning from Vancouver’s Planning Successes

Vancouver’s reputation as a beautiful “mini-Manhattan” is well documented and well earned. But how did the city manage to fend off regrettable fashions in planning over the years, and how prepared is it to continue its success in the future?
February 18, 2014, 12pm PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Patrick Kiger goes beyond the obvious and easy explanations in examining the much-lauded case of Vancouver. “[While] planners and developers elsewhere seek to copy the salient features of what has come to be known as “Vancouverism,” those involved in the shaping of modern Vancouver caution that there is more to it than just view corridors, slim towers juxtaposed with mid-rise development and bike paths, or the breathtaking natural environment.”

Rather, according to Kiger, “the real secret of Vancouver’s success has been its deliberative, values-driven evolutionary process, in which local government planners, developers, and the citizenry have labored over the past few decades to form a consensus vision of what their city should be like—and then come up with creative solutions for achieving it.”

Kiger also mentions one (minor) miracle in Vancouver’s planning efforts: “Vancouver’s view corridors are just one of the strictures in what is arguably the most heavily regulated development space in North America. But while there have been periodic complaints that the process has slowed Vancouver’s growth, it doesn’t necessarily stifle creativity.”

The article also includes a word of caution about a perceived lack of engagement on the part of Vancouver’s citizenry.

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Published on Friday, February 14, 2014 in ULI Urban Land Magazine
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