On the Edge: Redevelopment Projects at the Urban-Marine Interface in Vancouver, BC
Sharma, Ian Alexander Narasimha
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This thesis looks at three urban waterfront redevelopment projects along Vancouver, British Columbia's False Creek that were developed beginning in the 1970s. It seeks to determine to what degree such projects have actually implemented the discourse and perspectives of the planning/design and ecological fields, how successfully they may have done so, and how they have influenced and been influenced by one another. The three projects studied--False Creek South, False Creek North, and Southeast False Creek--were analyzed in terms of their implementation, ecological success, social success, and economic success to determine how well ecological and urban/social discourses were integrated. False Creek South, the earliest of the projects, was one of the earliest residential redevelopment projects in an urban, former industrial setting. Its popularity caused Vancouver to rethink the dominant urban planning paradigms of the time. Although it fundamentally altered the trajectory of the city's urban development, it nevertheless still adhered to modernist ideas of top-down planning and social engineering through the built environment. The natural environment, by contrast, was largely overlooked. False Creek North, building on the successes of its predecessor, introduced density in what is the largest urban development in North America; it is largely responsible for the development of the urban development style that has become known as "Vancouverization." Despite its density, it nevertheless incorporates a number of open green spaces for residents, though none were specifically designed with ecological restoration in mind. False Creek's most recent development, Southeast False Creek, was developed with the goal of creating the world's "most sustainable community." It includes numerous components designed to enhance both the social and ecological environment of the area, such as wetlands, rainwater recovery, and shoreline restoration. These projects demonstrate an evolution in the planning paradigm in Vancouver that has seen urban waterfront redevelopment projects gradually become more inclusive of ecological and environmental components, despite what has been a historical antagonism between the two disciplines.
- Marine affairs