Douglas & McIntyre
City Making in Paradise

Book details:

September 2007
ISBN 978-1-55365-257-1
5 1/2" x 8 1/2"
240 pages
Architecture / Urban & Land Use Planning ARC010000
Nonfiction
$24.95 CAD

Douglas & McIntyre

City Making in Paradise

Nine Decisions that Saved Vancouver

<p>This critical work explores the issues and citizen action that made Vancouver one of the world's most livable cities -- an international urban poster child -- and challenges policy-makers and the public to reinvigorate the debate for the next generatio


This critical work explores those key choices that made Vancouver one of the world's most livable cities, an international urban poster child-and challenges policy makers and the public to reinvigorate the debate for the next generation of successful, sustainable city building

Time and again, the Vancouver region is recognized internationally as one of the world's best places to live. Chroniclers of the city's success over the past half-century have noted its achievement - unique among the world's cities -- of growing past 2 million in population without losing any of the features that make it a great place to live. In fact, many would say that it is an even better place than 50 years ago, with more protected green space, better environmental quality, more choice in housing and transportation, a more diverse and stronger multicultural society, and urban design that frames a spectacular natural setting. Even with its current problems of housing affordability, drugs and crime, and congestion, Greater Vancouver is a world leader in addressing urban sustainability issues. Interestingly, it has achieved that status by breaking rules and pioneering new directions in North American urbanism.

This compelling book details the nine most important decisions made in the Greater Vancouver region since the 1940s. Authors Mike Harcourt and Ken Cameron, themselves key players in several of these developments, take readers to the heart of each story, focussing on the people involved to reveal the political machinations, the ideological struggles and the personal commitment that lay behind each one. The Fraser River flood of 1948 demonstrated the need for regional planning for the entire Fraser Valley. Shirley Chan and Darlene Marzari led the fight against bulldozer urban renewal in Strathcona. Dave Barrett was called a communist when the Agricultural Land Reserve was introduced, but the real battle was inside his cabinet. Gordon Campbell cut his political teeth building consensus around an inspiring vision of the future that set the regional agenda for a decade.

By tracing today's successes back to their roots, Harcourt and Cameron illustrate their central theme that cities-both those that work well and those that don't-are the result of the daily choices we make as leaders, activists and citizens.

According to urban critic Trevor Boddy, Vancouver is in a position to "write the new rulebook of city-making for the twenty-first century." But Harcourt and Cameron argue that Greater Vancouver itself is at a crossroads. They end their book with a survey of the decisions Greater Vancouver must make concerning transportation, growth, air quality, regional governance, relations with First Nations, and climate change if it is to remain an international model for urban sustainability.

Our future will depend largely on our ability to successfully plan and manage the development of our urban regions. If we can do this in a visionary, collaborative way, Harcourt and Cameron argue, Vancouver can continue to be a model for how to get things right.

Mike Harcourt is a former premier of British Columbia (1991-96), mayor of Vancouver (1980-86) and city alderman (1972-80.) He was Chair of the Prime Minister's Advisory Committee for Cities and Communities, which handed in its report in June 2006, , and Co-Chair of the National Advisory Committee on the UN-HABITAT World Urban Forum, which was successfully held in Vancouver in June 2006. Honorary Chair of the International Centre for Sustainable Cities, Harcourt is a federal commissioner with the B.C. [First Nations] Treaty Commission and a senior associate of the University of British Columbia, where through the Liu Institute for Global Issues where he spearheaded CitiesPlus, Canada's Gold Award-winning entry in the World Gas Union's international competitione for sustainable urban systems design. He is an honorary member of the Canadian Institute of Planners and speaks and advises internationally on sustainability solutions. In June 2006, Harcourt received the Canadian Urban Institute's Jane Jacobs Lifetime Achievement Award. He is also the author of two books: Mike Harcourt: A Measure of Defiance and Plan B: One Man's Journey from Tragedy to Triumph. Ken Cameron's thirty-six-year career in provincial and local government service has consistently focused on the role and potential of urban regions for meeting human needs sustainably.

Born and raised in Vancouver, Cameron has lived in central Canada for lengthy periods, serving in the 1970s as the Executive Director of the Royal Commission on Metropolitan Toronto headed by the late John Robarts.

Since returning to Greater Vancouver in 1978, Cameron has held senior planning and management positions with the City of New Westminster and the Greater Vancouver Regional District. He played a part in a number of the key decisions that have made the Vancouver region one of the world's best places to live. One observer has labelled him "the Forrest Gump of planning in Greater Vancouver." Cameron is currently CEO of the British Columbia Homeowner Protection Office. Sean Rossiter wrote an award-winning column about civic affairs entitled "Twelfth & Cambie" for Vancouver magazine for sixteen years. He has also written extensively on architecture and city life for The Georgia Straight. Rossiter has won two City of Vancouver Heritage Awards (in 1989 and 1997) and shared another, in 1998, with his colleagues in the Urbanarium Society for researching and producing free public events on issues of civic interest. He hosted most of the Urbanarium's "Builders of Vancouver" series of forums, panels and historical slide presentations. Sean Rossiter is also the author of nineteen books.

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Ken Cameron

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