Crosscut – Seattle’s Tyee – has a columnist, Knute Berger, who every so often tosses off a little diatribe on Vancouver.  Here’s an excerpt from his latest:

I am not a big fan of Vancouver-style high-rise density. The city is now the most expensive housing market in Canada, reports The New York Times, and the West End is as dense or denser than Manhattan. While the old-growth forest of Stanley Park falls — if you haven’t seen it, the devastation of last winter’s hurricane-force storm is appalling and still not cleaned up — the concrete forest of skinny towers on the artificial isle that is downtown Vancouver continues to sprout. A 60-story, five-star, high-rise giant nearly 650 feet tall is going up called Living Shangri La. It will be the tallest building in Vancouver. The views are great, but despite its setting, the downtown has the cold, generic feeling of a developer’s boom town.

The column is here.
Oh, by the way, the West End is not denser than Manhattan.  Not even close.  Not even as dense as parts of Toronto and Montreal.  I’m often surprised that people who should (or do) know better keep repeating that myth.  As though somehow it’s an indictment.


  1. What an odd thing for him to say. What is the alternative? Suburban sprawl? An arcology / hyper structure?
    Last I heard, Stanley Park was going to leave a lot of the downed trees in place to promote forest health. What should we have done, remove everything and make it look like a golf course?

  2. I have followed Knute Berger’s articles for the past months — since Crosscut started — and frankly, he drives me up a wall. He reminds me of any number of folk here in Victoria who complain complain complain about change, but really have absolutely no realistic alternative.
    People who do this need to ask themselves why they would want to invest in Potemkin Villages, for that’s what their prescriptions produce. In my own neighbourhood, I’ve read one community board member’s bio proclaim that “we” don’t need to “make room” for more people because (…wait for it!) “there’s plenty of room” beyond the city limits (sprawl, anyone?).

  3. Seattle is such a joke in every way when compared to Vancouver; no rapid transit, the beautiful I-5 slicing through the downtown and of couse that gem known as the Alaska Way Viaduct. Meow, kNUTte is just jealous. Vancouver is everything that Seattle wants to be.

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