Creating our environment

“Everywhere cities, towns and suburbs find it difficult to secure coherent and satisfying patterns of development. While individual buildings may be attractive or exciting in themselves, the cumulative effect is disappointing. There is no sum of the parts adding up to a greater whole. Strong organizing patterns are missing. Exterior spaces around buildings are weak, uneventful, and without clear form or character. The net effect at its worst is of a fractured disjointed world of divisions without connecting seams, a world offering no identifiable center other than the buildings in which they live.

There was a time not too long ago when architecture seemed to take care of urban design requirements without the need for some kind of overview. There was built-in sensibility that ensured a reasonable degree of order and harmony within the built environment, But that state of affairs has changed to such a degree that architecture often contributes to the disorder and disharmony of the urban environment.”

from Fundamentals of Urban Design
Richard Hedman, 1984

In 1984 Vancouver was developing its comprehensive urban design guidelines including livability criteria. Recent new developments leave me wondering how they have been used in assessing these new architectural products and how they are seen to achieve order and harmony. I am concerned about the lack of discussion about the direction of urban design in Vancouver and into the idea of Vancouverism.

Ray Spaxman
Director of Planning for the City of Vancouver, 1973 to 1988


Vancouver has no plan
Spot zoning
Vancouver – Transparency Urged