I’m back! Great trip to LA and Minneapolis (more about the former in an upcoming Price Tags – www.pricetags.ca) In the meantime, here’s the unedited version of my latest column in Business in Vancouver:
It’s time to end the myth of ‘suburbia.’ Not the actual suburbs, of course; they’re here to stay. But “suburbs” as a synonym for unbordered expanses of dreary low-density, single-use sprawl without a decent place to drink coffee. Where everyone lives uniform lives in single-family houses, drives to the malls in their SUVs and only goes to City Hall to fight changes in the single-family zoning bylaws.
It’s over, if it ever really existed.
The suburbs of Vancouver are embracing change on a scale that would been unheard of, if not unimaginable, a few years ago. Highrises in Abbotsford and White Rock. A university in Whalley. Town centres in Port Moody, with apartments above shops and parking below ground. Good coffee in more places than just Starbucks.
Superblocks are being divided, surface parking is disappearing, storefronts are being pulled up to the sidewalk. Transit, too, is being embraced: civic leaders want trains and streetcars and anything else that will lever urbanity. They’ve seen False Creek and said, ‘We want a piece of that too – something that gives us distinction, a heart and a boost in our tax base.’
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