Gregory Henriquez, the Vancouver-based architect, isn’t afraid of challenging local defenders of the status quo.
Last year, the principal of Henriquez Partners Architects felt the wrath of some vocal North Vancouver residents, who railed against his proposal for an iconic 40-storey highrise on the sleepy Lower Lonsdale waterfront.
The boobirds eventually got their way, and Henriquez’ design was chased away. Continue reading
Filed under British Columbia, Culture, Environment, Events, Gentrification, Green Space, Heritage, Immigration, Japan, Neighbourhoods, Nimbies, Parks, Urban Planning
12 January 2009
Love it or loathe it, Granville Street is a Vancouver original.
The downtown district for public intoxication, peep shows and post-pub pushing matches is quite the spectacle on a Friday evening — or a Saturday morning, for that matter.
But while Granville is a magnet for the young, the restless and the seekers of cheap pizza slices — it has yet to be universally embraced. Continue reading
Filed under 2010 Winter Olympics, Crime, Culture, Entertainment, Food and Dining, Gentrification, Law and Order, Neighbourhoods, Nightlife, Tourism, Transportation, Urban Planning, Vancouver
October 12, 2008
It’s been a turbulent couple of weeks for the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee.
Last week, at a Toronto forum on amateur sport, federal politicians scrapped over the long-simmering issue of including women’s ski jumping at the 2010 Games. This comes on top of Canadian ski jumper Zoya Lynch joining a lawsuit aimed at forcing VANOC to bring the women’s event into the Olympics mix.
But it doesn’t end there.
Many British Columbians were left shaking their heads in the wake of the recent decision to ban the charity Right To Play from the athletes village in 2010.
And now folks in Vancouver are coming to grips with the impact of the global financial crunch on the construction of that same athletes village — raising the grim spectre of taxpayers bailing out the project if funding dries up. Continue reading
Filed under 2010 Winter Olympics, Architecture, British Columbia, Commuting, Culture, Gentrification, Neighbourhoods, Politics, Protest, Real Estate, Sports, Transportation, Vancouver, Vancouver Province Columns
Monday, May 26, 2008
It’s celebration time these days for gourmands in British Columbia.
According to a ranking published earlier this month by Food & Wine Magazine, Vancouver is one of the 10 best restaurant cities in the world.
That puts our West Coast metropolis in the same league as such culinary heavyweights as Tokyo, Paris and London.
But it doesn’t end there.
At least two jet-setting celebrity chefs based in Manhattan — Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Daniel Boulud — are reportedly setting up shop here as well.
Even Britain’s Gordon Ramsay, the short-tempered chef who dishes out trash talk on his weekly reality television program, is considering the Lower Mainland for a future restaurant opening.
All of this should add up to, well, salad days for Vancouver’s dining scene. But in my view, all is not well in what some proudly refer to as “Canada’s culinary capital.” Continue reading
Monday, March 17, 2008
These are gloomy days for dodgeball, hopscotch and other staples of the traditional school recess in British Columbia. Over the past decade, playgrounds and sports fields across the province have gone quiet as a result of school closings; the sounds of children at play during their breaks from math and grammar giving way to a vacuum of silence.
And that’s a shame for all of us. Continue reading
Is Manhattan essentially a “gated community”? That is how it is described by the Economist-Free Exchange blog this week in a post sure to raise eyebrows with those who follow these kind of urban gentrification discussions.
The writer, a 7-year resident, notes that “the upper middle class aspire to stay in cities. This is true in cities elsewhere, but Manhattan’s geographic constraints make the gentrification more obvious.
The more gentrified cities become the more desirable they are to live in. Edward Glaeser and Joshua Gottlieb found cities became more desirable from the increased social interaction and consumer services they provided as crime decreased. This means poorer residents must move further a field. Many people priced out of cities are not homeless or criminals, but working families.”
“If we factor in increased commuting time and expense, has their compensation effectively decreased? The homogeneity of my neighbours makes me unable to know for certain.”
A friend who moved to the edge of the rough-and-tumble Downtown Eastside last year was recently on the receiving end of a 4 a.m. emergency alarm — forcing him to evacuate his highrise condo until firefighters arrived.
It turns out that some troubled individual had broken into his building and intentionally started a minor fire on the tower’s 23rd floor.
Short on kindling, this amateur arsonist torched his own jacket to make the mini-blaze a scary reality. A scene from the movie Towering Inferno it was not, but the early-morning commotion provided a dose of cruel reality for groggy residents.
It’s not the first time my pal has been victimized in his new haunts. Earlier this fall, his car was stolen from the building’s supposedly secure underground parking garage.
To the credit of the police, he eventually did get his wheels back, albeit strewn with garbage and empty beer cans. But his story points to a larger problem: The lawlessness that pervades the Downtown Eastside and its periphery threatens to scare off new residents and undermine the neighbourhood’s long-awaited revival.
It’s a side of the gentrification story you won’t read about in the glossy real-estate brochures. Still, the influx of new residents is inevitable. Continue reading