The City after Vancouverism: | The Plan
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The City after Vancouverism:

Will we be ready for the next challenge?

In 1976, Vancouver hosted the first Habitat: UN Conference on Human Settlements, a milestone event held every 20 years, backed by the writings of John Turner, recognized that it is not only development but also underdevelopment and poverty that is the leading cause of environmental degradation. In his declaration, the early isolated advancements on social justice, ecology and quality of human settlements started making their mark in the local attitude. Continuing with 1986, the World Exposition on Transportation and Communication was a seven-month long celebration of Vancouver’s 100th anniversary. The measured planning of Expo 1986 gives a good example of the British Columbian mindset and focus in investing in long-term infrastructure progress and making temporal the buildings that were difficult to repurpose. Expo did not leave the city any architectural gem, like Moshe Safdie’s Habitat 67. Skytrain, the Light Rail Transit system, was Expo’s major outcome. It changed the city growing patterns, controlling sprawl by securing density around the train stations later integrated with other modes of transportation. UN Habitat 2009 Global Report on Human Settlements considers it has helped to strengthen walkability, a major component of the revitalization of the decaying downtown population that almost all North American cities suffered from starting in the 1970s. In an interview published by the School of Architecture of Pescara (Quaderno di PPC 2, 2002) George Baird made use of the Auteur Theory to explain why only a handful of Canadian architects names are known beyond our borders, acknowledging that Vancouver’s Patkau possesses all the merits to join the Starchitect club, whose reputation is backed up by routine lectures at Ivy League schools, regular book publishing and specialized magazine coverage. Baird’s essay was reprinted in Substance over Spectacle (2006), a book title that clarifies the direction of Canadian architecture and...

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