Last November, PT did a series on the development of Brentwood station area (Burnaby Builds a City, starting here) – including a shot of the redesign of Lougheed Highway adjacent to ‘Amazing Brentwood’ at Willingdon:
While searching for images of new towns in Singapore, I came across this rendering for the proposed redevelopment of Pasir Ris, a residential town in the northeast corner of the island nation:
From the shape of the elevated MRT station to the design of the landscaping, from the separation of the paths to the location of the coffee bar, the similarities are so exact that it’s hard to believe this is all coincidental. Perhaps it’s a reflection of a global similarity in high-density station-area design, with an emphasis on walkability and mixed-use.
While Amazing Brentwood is practically finished, Pasir Ris station and adjacent mall still looks like this:
Brentwood, on the other hand, used to look like this:
Vancouver is a settler city that has been influenced by the culture of the West – the ultimate movement of European DNA to the coast of the Pacific. Today, of course, it is a hybrid city, as migration from the other side of the Pacific is shaping our new reality. (It’s what the ‘West Pacific’ series of images attempts to reveal.)
While Singapore and other Asian cities have looked to us for examples of city-building and urban design, the exchange, as revealed above, seems to be mutual. So logically we should be looking to what is happening in the dynamic cities of the eastern Pacific Rim, notably places like Singapore, for our inspiration as much as we do from the European and American antecedents we have typically turned to. The origins of who “we” are is ‘both sides now.’
(Michael Gordon, a retired Vancouver City planner and PT contributor, just took a trip to Singapore, as it happens, and in upcoming posts he’ll be reporting back on what he saw.)