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21 Places for the 21st Century
Alex Steffen, 27 Jan 05

Here's a small, great example of what makes Vancouver a model of good urban planning -- an "ideas competition" for building new public spaces, 21 Places for the 21st Century:

"Vancouver has gained an international reputation for its public realm and park spaces. Among its most popular features are its many high-profile public places such as Stanley Park, the Seawall, and its beaches. But Vancouver possesses many other delightful public spaces - hidden jewels known only to a few. These may include a small patch of waterfront, a pocket park, a row of trees, or a peaceful bench in the middle of downtown.

"As our city welcomes the world in the coming years, the 21 Places ideas competition seeks to inspire citizens to consider what it is that draws people to public places.

"We invite you to help enhance Vancouver’s built environment by sharing some of your favourite places, along with ideas about how to make them even more appealing. Your ideas may include ways to make a place more sustainable, more functional, more attractive, more accessible, more inclusive, more multicultural, or perhaps more inviting to a range of age groups."

(Thanks, Flem!)

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Experiments with space with a focus on a sustainable habitat in cities like Vancouver and, for example, Brazil’s Curitiba provide us lessons on how to define and improve our living conditions. Social security and effectivity of infrastructure and public transport have a direct effect on the daily lives of the cities inhabitants. A well planned city is an important condition for a sustainable society.

But planning and design demand anticipation and resources. A considerable part of the world’s population lives in informal settlements, where there are no resources and where construction is ambulant, planning is absent and policymakers are corruptive. In these urban jungles, survival is the only issue and quality of life is a dream.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if we can substract ideas, tools and guidelines from cities like Vancouver to improve the living conditions in favelas, shantytowns and slums? Can’t we define the do’s and don’t’s of basic city planning by learning from cities where the experiment can take place?

Can cities like Vancouver be a laboratory of sustainable urban planning or are they really just homes for the wealthy?

Posted by: Maurits on 29 Jan 05

Vancouver is a city that started the use of an online game that allows people of the city to go online and participate in the future planning of what they would like their city to be like. I believe Envision might be the name of the website.
Here is the link:

Posted by: gary demos on 4 Feb 05



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