Sunday, November 15, 2009

"The Future of Vancouver a Model City or Urban Gated Community"

Ah Vancouver, my city by choice like so many others. A town that is always on the some publication's annual  "Best City", or "Most livable City" list. In some ways it is, great views, access to the ocean and stunning nature, a amazing culinary scene. Yes this is a great city.....for now....
 With sky rocketing real estate prices that run from bat shit crazy to just plain Lindsey Lohan on meth crazy. This week there was a report that by the spring the average price for a detached single family home will be $900 grand! And for you who do not live here just google "Vancouver Special" to see what just shy of a cool million will get you today in crow city.
"Vancouver Special"

  A few years back  the city sold it's soul to Concord Pacific in return for an experiment in Modern Urban Density. Soon we became a city of glass fish bowl condos. They all look similar, Mc Condos, with out supersizing. Sure Condos in and of themselves are not bad. Home ownership is a good thing, but for alot of people they do not want to own, or cannot afford to own. So they rent.

 Rentals in Vancouver are scarce, you might have  a better chance of seeing Big Foot or John Gosslin not wearing a douchy Ed Hardy shirt.  The city has chosen condos not apartments for this city. Thus turning us slowly into the largest urban gated community on earth outside Dubai.
 Vancouver will become an elitist Tower filled country club where we have to bus in the people who feed us, sell us stuff, and  who also work below management levels.

 Condos are not the answer to a successful City / Urban experience. A mix of rentals and ownership, market price and affordable housing makes for a dynamic diverse community. Not a Island of Glass fish bowls and hot yoga studios.  Just look at our city they have pretty much torn down every old building, and as a New Yorker it is kinda unsettling and sterile. We do have areas that are still real city, gritty interesting but they are quickly dying.

 Vancouver will to me only really be a world class city when, it is a place of economic inclusion, a place that gets rid of it's draconian booze laws so we can have more live music, arts and culture and not just one large dance club downtown. A place that can celebrate its economic diversity as much as its cultural diversity.

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