For the past ten months, I’ve been working on Re-Imagine Downtown Vancouver, a public engagement process to co-create a future-oriented and inclusive experience over the next 25 years. The project was in initiative of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (DVBIA), in partnership with SFU Public Square.
During the summer in 2015, we conducted a comprehensive community engagement process that connected with thousands of downtown Vancouver residents, community members, and business people to “re-imagine” downtown Vancouver. The process has offered a rewarding opportunity for the DVBIA to connect and collaborate with the broader downtown community. We are proud of the depth and quality of our engagement work, and have received positive feedback from participants and observers.
Last week, we released the report of our findings. The document identifies a high-level vision, along with some specific ideas that the DVBIA and other stakeholders can carry out to improve the experience for people when they are downtown. We hope that it results in a more connected and engaged downtown community that will help shape what downtown will be in the future.
11,000 Dreamers ‘Re-Imagined’ Downtown Vancouver as a Rain-proofed, Affordable Home for all in 2040
In 2040, downtown Vancouver will be:
- a healthy, life-affirming place
- a network of connected greenways and activated alleyways highlighted by art and businesses,
- home to young families and seniors
- affordable for anyone that wants to live there
- home to multi-national headquarters with a distinctive skyline
- ‘rain-proofed’ with retractable awnings
- supported by relaxed liquor regulations resulting in a renaissance of cafés and restaurants
- where all downtown employees earn a living wage.
These are just some of the specific ‘how to’ ideas creating a vision for downtown in 2040 that is a 24/7 ‘mash up’ of commerce, culture, creativity and community, according to the 11,000 residents, business people and visitors who weighed in as part of the Downtown Vancouver BIA’s Re-Imagine process this past summer.
The new vision for downtown over the next 25 years includes an equitable, sustainable and friendly city that celebrates its waterfront setting. Where protected nature and creative urbanism successfully cohabit. Where digital technology is embraced. And, where our equal distance from Asia and Europe positions us as a city of influence.
I want to congratulate the DVBIA on engaging thousands of Vancouverites in developing a new vision for a vibrant downtown. It’s great to see such a strong outpouring of public support for city priorities such as increasing public space and making it easier to walk, bike, and take transit in our downtown. I look forward to delving deeper into the report and hearing broader public feedback on it.
—Gregor Robertson, Mayor of Vancouver
The DVBIA launched its report to its members on November 5, 2015. The report is available online at www.reimaginedowntown.com/report for community groups, businesses and the City to use to help implement ideas that most resonate with them. The DVBIA will use the research to inform its new five-year strategic plan.
About the DVBIA
The DVBIA represents 8,000 property owners and tenants in the 90-blocks of the central business district and downtown south. Strategically, is supports access to downtown by all modes of transportation. It is in its 25th year of operation. The Re-Imagine process was co-managed with SFU Public Square.