Yesterday we drove up to Vancouver (on biodiesel) to check out the third annual World Urban Forum. The expo space was teeming with booths and projects and brochures from organizations based around the world, all of whom are working to address rapid urbanization and the development of more sustainable cities. It's been a high-speed visit, and we've collected lots of great stuff. We'll be revisiting a number of these projects in depth once we return from the trip.
Last night we had some time to wander the city and marvel at how well Vancouver planners have executed high-density development. Although the residential highrises are much taller than those we're accustomed to seeing elsewhere, life at street level feels comfortable and uncrowded. The buildings themselves appear to let plenty of natural light into all the apartments, with lots of big windows and intelligent spacing that keeps them from blocking one another's sun. We also passed the downtown Vancouver Public Library (pictured here) -- a largely transparent, coliseum-like structure which boasts all sorts of sustainable features and a green roof. More to come from WUF when we get back.
It should be pointed out that Canada has a different system of local government and different social expectations/ attitudes about property rights and the 'public good.'
The great urban design you see in Vancouver is the result of not having to battle developers and property rights nuts every step of the way.
Did I say nuts? I meant proponents.
We could learn a lot from the design, but can American cities implement it?
And the library is by Moshe Safdie, author of "The City After the Automobile."
Glad you had a chance to visit our fair city. I'm looking forward to hearing more about your experience at the WUF.
I had a great time in Vancouver as well did not get to meet you but had a great time was fun going to another country and experiencing the differnt culture.
I'm looking forward to experiencing Vancouver as well, except from the confines of the North American Intefaith Network conference instead of the World Urban forum. Beautiful city in the dark (arrived at midnight local time).
Very interesting expo you got to attentd! I will look forward to earing mroe about the projects you were able to get more info about.
I have heard so many great things about Vancoover, it seems like an excellent place to visit and possibly live.
One of my favorite books is the pattern language, which discusses many of the intracacies of humans living near each other, and ways to design places to better suit human needs, I would be interested to see what projects are going in similar directions as the suggestions in that book, and if there are any really new technologies that makes urban life a much better quality of life than is today, especially in regards to noise, like trash dumpster trucks and ambulance sirens :)