|This article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2011)|
Vancouverism is an urban planning and architectural technique pioneered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It is characterized by mixed-use developments, typically with a medium-height, commercial base and narrow, high-rise residential towers to accommodate high populations and to preserve view corridors.1not in citation given23not in citation given4
With a large residential population living in the city centre, no expressways connecting the core to the suburbs, and significant reliance on mass public transit, Vancouver is distinct from most large North American cities. In part, these reasons contribute to the fact that it is consistently ranked among the most livable cities in the world.5dead link An article in San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association has taken note of Vancouver's approach to new development and view corridors and asks if San Francisco should pursue similar direction.1
It's a spirit about public space. I think Vancouverites are very, very proud that we built a city that really has a tremendous amount of space on the waterfront for people to recreate and to enjoy. At the same time, False Creek and Coal Harbour were previously industrial lands that were very polluted and desecrated. We've refreshed all of this with new development, and people have access to the water and the views. So, to me, it's this idea of having a lot people living very close together, mixing the uses. So, we have apartments on top of stores. In Surrey we have a university on top of a shopping centre. This mixing of uses reflects Vancouver in terms of our culture and how we live together.
Vancouverism developed as product of Vancouver's context. Wedged between the sea, mountains and the border with the United States, the Greater Vancouver Regional District partnered with the area's municipalities to encourage controlled development. Early recognition that British Columbia's farmland would be engulfed by sprawl led to the establishment of the Agricultural Land Reserve in the 1970s. This assisted in containing and intensifying development throughout the Vancouver metropolitan area and the Fraser Valley.citation needed
Architect Arthur Erickson is credited by some with developing the concept that became Vancouverism in the mid-1950s, in a never-realized development called "Project 56".7 Many of the principles were incorporated into the development of the West End, which became the highest density neighbourhood on the west coast of North America by the 1960s. The city's planning department, under the direction of Ray Spaxman in the 1980s, began to expand on the concepts, many of which were brought into fruition with the development of the former Expo 86 lands along False Creek and Yaletown.
Another person who is credited with influencing Vancouverism is Jane Jacobs, author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities.8 Brent Toderian, Director of Planning for the City of Vancouver says of Jacobs: “There isn't a person or book more influential in creating ‘Vancouverism' than Jane and The Death and Life”... “I know what she means about people misunderstanding density – that's why we emphasize density done well rather than density as a mathematical exercise. [But] people 'round the world praise Vancouver's livability, and she had a big hand in it.”9
One principle associated with Vancouverism, as evidenced by planning policy, involves protecting "view corridors". Vancouver's "View Protection Guidelines" were approved in 1989 and amended in 1990, establishing height limits to protect views of the North Shore Mountains. This approach, while credited with preserving the city's scenic backdrop, has been criticized for lessening visual interest and failing to represent the city's contemporary image. In response, Council commissioned a "Skyline Study" in 1997 which concluded that Vancouver's skyline would benefit from the addition of a handful of buildings exceeding current height limits, to add visual interest to Vancouver's skyline.10
The study found that opportunities for such buildings were restricted due to a limited number of large development sites in the downtown.11 Eight years later, five of the seven sites identified for higher buildings had been planned or developed. The tallest of the new buildings is the Living Shangri-La hotel/residential tower, which was completed in 2008, and stands 201 metres (659 ft)12 tall (62 stories).13
- SPUR - Articles - Vancouver's View Corridors
- "ODP - Downtown" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-05-07.
- Boddy, Trevor 16.2, 2004, U.C. Berkeley journal “Places.”
- World's Top 100 Most Livable Cities
- "Past Podcasts – CBC Radio". CBC News.
- "Vancouver's architectural style in spotlight at London exhibit". CBC News. 2008-06-23.
- Wood, Daniel (June 7, 2012). "Vancouver's density debate pits Sullivanism versus the ideas of Jane Jacobs". The Georgia Straight. Retrieved June 11, 2012. "She is why international experts come to Vancouver to study its renowned livability. She’s the mother of Vancouverism."
- Wikens, Stephen (May 6, 2011). Jane Jacobs: Honoured in the breach. Globe and Mail Retrieved on: 2011-05-13
- "Downtown Vancouver Skyline Study" (PDF). Special Council Meeting Minutes. City of Vancouver. 7 and 23 April 1997.
- "General Policy for Higher Buildings" (PDF). City of Vancouver. 1997-05-06.
- "Vancouver High-rise buildings (in feet)". Emporis Buildings. Retrieved 2007-02-06.
- "Living Shangri-La, Vancouver". Emporis Buildings. Retrieved 2009-12-10.