Even with sky-high land costs in the City of Vancouver not all developers are relying on multiple lot assembly in order to build mixed use projects.  While traveling around East Vancouver you notice various multi-family developments making it work on smaller lots, some as narrow as 33′.

4376 Fraser Street

3401 Fraser Street

6555 Victoria Drive

3939 Knight Street
Simple but effective none the less.  No doubt the metrics work due to the less desirable arterials when compared to the Westside, but nice to see some basic effort in materials and ornamentation.  These buildings have more architectural interest than some of the newly proposed downtown condo towers.

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If you have a chance stop by the pop up park at the corner of West 5th Ave and Pine Street in Kits, its a temporary space opened by the City in November 2016 promoting sustainability through recycling of materials and habitat creation.

A colourful mural symbolizes onsite efforts to transform the light industrial site to neighbourhood meeting space among meadow plantings benefiting bees and other pollinators.

More about the pop up pocket park here on the City of Vancouver website

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Another new Parklet emerges in front of the recently opened Eastwood Bar and Grill and Pizza Carano on Fraser Street.  Interesting to note The Eastwood to my knowledge is the only watering hole on Fraser and in the surrounding community.  While having a Pint at the bar, patrons expressed their gratitude there’s finally a pub in the neighbourhood, complete with Trivia night on Tuesdays to boot.

Before photo from Google Earth below:

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While walking down Sixth Street in New Westminster I came across this temporary seating “Parklet” in former vehicle parking at the intersection with Belmont Street.  These urban interventions are always more successful when tied to a adjacent cafe or takeout, in this case Tim Hortons.  The before and after photos give you an idea of the powerful impact of enhancing the public realm with minimal effort and cost.

The previous street condition below:

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Welcome to Southgate City the largest new master planned community you’ve probably never heard of, I know I hadn’t until adverts started popping up in the Vancouver Sun.  Developed by Ledingham McAllister on the site of the former Safeway distribution facility in South Burnaby, the 60 acre site features a whopping 19 residential towers above podiums.  Site amenities including 5 acres of park space, a gourmet grocer, restaurants, cafés, and a community centre all located internally within the development.

Southgate City’s utopian-like glass towers are anchored in floating green space and numerous water fountains with a resounding lack of colour or use of materials.  The architectural renderings show building forms that appear difficult to engage with on a human scale once you get pass the street level podium.

It will be interesting to see how it feels when finally constructed but the master plan appears starkly opposite to recent developments such as Olympic Village and UBC’s Wesbrook Village built around a denser street grid with a range of building types.

Olympic Village aerial from Google Earth

Aerial of Wesbrook Village on the University Endowment Lands from Google Earth
I’m amazed at the scale step down from Southgate to the existing single family neighbourhoods across the street.  Perhaps this intense density could have been spread throughout the single family zoning with two and three story walkups rather than concentrated on this commercial/industrial land.

The loss of significant Commercial/Industrial space in a central metro location is also something to be debated.  A friend was lucky to find a location for his large business two years ago near Boundary and Lougheed Highway but he reports there is currently next to nothing on the market for lease regarding buildings accommodating light-industrial activities in Vancouver and Burnaby.

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