It's amazing. It's like you can't avoid them, not that you'd want to. Walking down the street in New York City is like walking down a fashion runway. With cross traffic. And no security guards trying to tackle you.
These days, there are many important city-building issues we’re promoting here in Vancouver. The first of which is always sustainability, and particularly ecological sustainability (its difficult to consider an economic or socially sustainable future, if the powerful changes necessary to truly address climate change and other ecological implications do not happen).
But beneath (or within) sustainability, there are countless issues and debates about the nature of city-building that need to have powerful voices, particularly within the broader public (as opposed to us converted). One that I’m pleased to see gaining more and more traction and attention, in the popular media and in dinner party chats around cities, is the critical importance of beauty in the work that we do. The tide is turning on this issue, when publications like Canadian Business are trumpeting the value added nature of design, and the power of “pretty cities” to economic success.
In planning circles though, we still seem too loathe to use the word beauty. Too subjective, perhaps? For whatever reason, you’d be hard-pressed to find the word in most planning visions and documents, and that’s a shame.