Karenn Krangle did a nice summary of the Feb 21st City Conversation on Planning for Queer Communities in Novae Res Urbis:

What can a city do to help people with diverse sexual orientation feel at home? …

The (City Conversation) became a spirited debate on the various needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people and the differences between them.  Like many topics in Vancouver, it also came down to an east-west debate, in this case, the gender-friendliness of Grandview-Woodland versus the West End. …

Participants also had different thoughts on a suggestion that all services for LGBTQ people could be provided under one roof, although one participant wondered if all groups should be lumped together.

Metha Brown, a social planner and a member of the city’s LGBTQ advisory committee, said there needs to be improvement in planning and programming for public spaces, especially for recreational facilities and public areas to make them more comfortable for transgendered people. …

Gordon Price said the West End developed in the late 1960s as a community attractive to gay people because it had all the right ingredients: a large stock of cheap one-bedroom rental apartments, proximity to downtown and the beaches and parks, a service economy with lots of jobs, good transit service and it is a walkable neighbourhood.

“But the pivotal thing was that huge stock of rental one-bedroom apartments,” he said. “It’s easy to forget how critical that component was.”

Price called the decade from 1969 to 1979 the “golden age of the gaybourhood” although such communities began much earlier in places like San Francisco and they continue to evolve. …

While Price focused on the Davie village area, one speaker said not all LGBTQ people identify with the “mainstream older white gay male” and think in more inclusive terms.

“This needs to be included in this dialogue about community spaces because the Davie village is very gay-male identified, where you get east Vancouver with more queer and female identified folks who experience a very different world view than gay men do,” she said.

Kevin McNaney, assistant director of central-area planning for the city, said planners working on the new community plan for the West End are looking at the roles of places like Davie village and how can physical decisions made on planning have an impact on communities.

“Bricks and mortar can just as easily destroy a community, and we’ve all seen that happen time and time again,” he said.

“We are writing a plan about where the bricks and mortar land in the next 30 years and we have a lot of thinking to do because the last thing we want is to plan for a community that is just a cartoon of itself.

“That’s not what we want to do and that’s not what’s important. …


Full article available in Novae Res Urbis, a newsletter providing the most detailed coverage on planning and municipal news in Metro – by subscription.