In this case: The Vancouver Club – where the elite meet to eat.  And what they eat is veggies and herbs from their very own rooftop garden:

. From Vancity Buzz:

This project began as dream over the spring/summer of 2012. The Vancouver Club’s rooftop garden is an elegantly designed vegetable garden, a rare site in Vancouver…. The hope is to supply the Vancouver Club’s gourmet kitchen with as much food and herbs as possible. If a few food transport miles can be reduced each week, then they’ve achieved their goal.

Pot Incorporated is responsible for this rooftop masterpiece. Conex Construction and Situ Design are responsible for the hardwood deck and design.

Notice in the background one of the city’s first rooftop herb gardens on the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel.

More shots here.

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The developers have somehow transformed a type of architecture that evolved from a dense urban grain of low-rise courtyards and narrow streets into meaningless wallpaper: an endlessly repeatable pattern for the decoration of standardised slab after standardised slab.

Flimsy rows of concrete arches hang above swaths of blue mirror glass, punctuated by stick-on timber trellis screens. These are modelled on traditional mashrabiya panels, those beautiful latticework openings designed as ventilating veils, but here they become meaningless applique.

“If we are imitating, why can’t we imitate the best?” asks Angawi, in a tone of desperation. “Why are we imitating the worst mistakes of 60 or 70 years ago from around the world – only even bigger?”

Find out where here.

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Better! Cities & Towns features a prototype cottage for “Southlands” – the so-far frustrated proposal for what is still known as the Spetifore lands in Tsawwassen.  The removal of these lands (map here) from the ALR and the subsequent proposals constitute a development saga unparalleled in the Lower Mainland.  The battle even resulted in the removal of planning powers from the GVRD by an annoyed Municipal Affairs minister with the name of Vander Zalm when the regional board refused to allow a rezoning for standard residential subdivision.

However, developer Sean Hodgins’s vision, based on the Duany plan for an agricultural community, struggles on:

A cottage has been built in the Southlands, an “agrarian urbanism” development on a 538-acre tract near Vancouver, British Columbia. The unit is a prototype for pocket neighborhoods — or “cottage courtyards” — clusters of homes gathered around a landscaped common area, to be built in the project, planned in 2008 by Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co.

The 1,190 square foot cottage is geared towards more affordable housing “that meets the shrinking family household size and lifestyle needs of both starter families and aging empty-nesters,” according to Smallworks Studios, the builder.

Robert Steuteville, in reviewing Garden Cities, Andres Duany’s book on ‘agrarian urbanism,’ reveals how that eight-day Southlands charrette in 2008 contributed to the development of this still-relevant idea – no doubt leading to more chapters to come.

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The weather may not have been brilliant, but our gardens are.  And what’s nice about Vancouver is the care that citizens have taken to nurture greenery in some unlikely places.

Like under the Burrard Bridge (map here) – where a dedicated resident has been nurturing a show garden of shade-tolerant plants:


And along an otherwise dismal pathway that leads up to the bridge deck:


Our garden-city tradition has always made room for boulevards, or planting strips, along our residential streets.  But only recently – notably along this stretch of Cambie (map here) – have we made room along our arterials:

The City assumes the adjacent property owners will take care of these strips – and that everyone will respect them.  And they do: no litter, dead plants and worn soil here.


My favourite garden, though, was the result of a special effort by the West End Residents Association(assisted by a planning student, Don Buchanan, from UBC) to get permission from the Park Board to create a community garden on the edge of Stanley Park (map here).  It was not easy, especially since some of the adjacent residents were skeptical, if not hostile.  But once inaugurated in 2004, the results have, shall we say, blossomed:





Got some nominations worthy of a green medal of honour?  Add them to the Comments .

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