Change in Living Communities
False Creek South is a 55-hectare stretch of waterfront land between the Burrard and Cambie bridges, characterized by extensive green spaces and a diverse mix of housing types. The design of this community has its roots in the values-based social planning that was revolutionary when it was introduced in the 1970s and 80s. By giving priority to values associated with quality of life and a livable city, this area was created with an equal portion of non-market rental housing, co-ops, and condominiums in a “Garden City” setting geared to a pedestrian culture.
The lease agreements, with strata leasehold owners, co-ops and non-market housing operators that made this diverse mix of housing possible, will begin to expire in 2025. As we near this date, the City, which owns approximately 80% of False Creek South, has begun to explore the future of this neighbourhood and its residents. The issues are many and include the leases, the diversity of people that is supported by the housing mix so central to this community, retention and redevelopment of existing urban fabric, development along the edges of the community, such as the lot directly adjacent to Olympic Village Skytrain Station, but also how this example of a values based planned community can integrate with the ever-evolving urban fabric of the City.
Heritage Vancouver Society respects the importance of the built environment, the communities which make up that environment and the underlying social structures which support them as pillars of heritage. We also recognize that heritage can have a strong positive role in the management of change as living communities continue to evolve.
Through this public discussion it is our goal to contribute to the discussion around the inevitable change to False Creek South – a change through which the City intends to achieve broad civic priorities such as the pursuit of development opportunities to provide more housing, and strategic asset management which includes “achieving a reasonable rate of return”.
In this session, we seek to provide a space for attendees to discuss:
- What physical and non-physical aspects of False Creek South are significant and definitive and what degree of change is acceptable before those qualities are compromised?
- As a piece of city owned land that is seen as a means to contributing to civic priorities, in particular housing issues, how much responsibility should be placed on it as a solution to housing needs?
- False Creek South is seen as a city real estate asset both for the potential density that can be added and the rate of financial return that can be achieved. Does this view trump the other ways in which False Creek South is of value to the City?
- What are the implications of the fact that the land is City owned? Does the City have any responsibility to these areas which have become cultural and social assets to the City?
- Effective management of living communities often requires a broad range of stakeholders to come together and find resolution through true commitment to a collaborative process. What can be expected on this based on the formulation and approval by Council of adoption of the False Creek South Provisional Vision Statement and Guiding Planning Principles?
To explore these questions, we are excited to welcome four panelists to share their insights about potential changes to False Creek South:
John Atkin – civic historian, author, and heritage consultant. John has explored Vancouver like few others have and offers an interesting and offbeat insight to the city’s architecture, history and neighbourhoods through his walking tours, books, and blog. John curated and designed the Vancouver Museum’s City Light: Neon in Vancouver exhibition in 1999/2000, he is the author of the 2008 Chinatown Lighting Strategy and co-author, with Jeannette Hlavach, on the successful 2010 application for Chinatown’s National Historic District status. He wrote the City of Vancouver’s successful nomination for the 2012 Lee Kuan Yee World City prize presented by the government of Singapore.
Nathan Edelson – Project Manager at False Creek South *RePlan and retired Senior Planner for the Downtown Eastside, City of Vancouver. Edelson is a Senior Partner with 42nd Street Consulting which supports inclusive planning for diverse communities. He has worked on projects linking government and community organizations in a variety of settings including Delta, Fort Saint John, Haida Gwaii, Johannesburg, Regina, Sao Paulo, Toronto and Vancouver. He is also an Adjunct Professor with the University of British Columbia’s School of Community and Regional Planning and a Bousfield Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University of Toronto. He was Planner with the City of Vancouver Planning Department from 1983 to 2008. Through this work, he has managed the development of innovative Community Building policies and programs involving Arts and Culture, Economic Revitalization, Health Care and Social Services, Heritage Conservation, Housing, Public Safety and Public Realm Improvements and Programming.
Tom Davidoff – Associate professor in the Real Estate and Strategy and Business Ecomics groups at the Sauder School of Business, UBC. Prior to joining UBC, Davidoff obtained degrees from Harvard, Princeton, and MIT, and worked in real estate development in Brooklyn and as an assistant professor at UC Berkeley. While at UBC, Davidoff has advised the White House on housing and mortgage policy, and worked with two startup real estate intelligence companies. Davidoff’s research on aging, insurance, housing, and public policy has been published in leading journals in finance, real estate, and economics.
Jennifer Maiko Bradshaw – Data analyst, renter, and pro-housing activist with Abundant Housing Vancouver. Jennifer has fought for social justice for many years on issues ranging from freshwater accessibility in developing countries to ensuring the human rights of LGBTQ+ people. She strongly believes in applying an intersectional lens to housing and preservation in the context of historically inequitable use of unceded land and currently accelerating inequality of land wealth.
This event is worth 2.0 Organized/Structured CPL PIBC units.