Searching for controversy in the West End plan

Projected development in Vancouver's West End. The blue towers, mostly on Georgia and Burrard, represent future densification.

Projected development in Vancouver’s West End. The blue towers, mostly on Georgia and Burrard, represent future densification.

Two recent posts on Fraseropolis focused on Vancouver neighbourhoods — Grandview-Woodlands and Marpole — where resident activists have forced big delays in the City government’s area planning process.

Denman Street 2, Vancouver reducedIn Vancouver’s West End, however, City Council moved ahead last month with the adoption of a new community plan. This area is the finest urban village in British Columbia for access to services and urban life, at least as measured by the Fraseropolis index, and the City plan is advertised as a tool for preserving and enhancing these qualities. (The plan actually defines three West End villages — Robson, Denman, and Davie — but for an outsider from the deep ‘burbs, they blend comfortably together.) Continue reading

The textbook urban village: Vancouver’s West End

Denman Street, West End Vancouver

This is the oldest big-city neighbourhood in British Columbia; construction of the tight pattern of residential towers began in 1957.  People said it was the most densely-populated patch of ground in the Commonwealth outside of Hong Kong.  More than 40,000 people live here now; more than half of these get by without a motor vehicle.

Off Haro Street west of Denman. Wikipedia tells us that the section between Denman and the Park is not officially included in the West End, but unofficially it is.  Fraseropolis votes with the unofficial. 40,000 makes for a big urban village — maybe it’s two villages, or three, but the entire area feels like a single walkable piece to me, once you move away from Burrard or Georgia, which form the eastern and northern boundaries of the West End. Continue reading