During our engagement activities in 2015, the Re-Imagine Downtown Vancouver team asked a diverse group of people to provide ideas on how they wanted downtown Vancouver to evolve over the next twenty-five years. We received suggestions from over 1,000 individuals.
This is how they imagine the people of downtown Vancouver in 2040:
- Downtown Vancouver is a healthy, life-affirming place where people want to spend time, not a place that people want to flee at the end of a workday or event.
- Downtown Vancouver’s network of connected greenways make it easier for people in wheelchairs and with strollers to get around.
- Local non-profits, social enterprises and developers have developed new partnerships with federal, provincial, and local governments to offer a variety of housing options that reflect the diverse mix of people who want to live in downtown Vancouver.
- Downtown Vancouver is a place where people of different characters, backgrounds and social classes cross paths without tension or fear. A place with something for everyone and anyone regardless of background.
- Activation of our alleyways and sidewalk enhancements have increased the number of “eyes on the street” making downtown Vancouver safer and more welcoming.
- Downtown Vancouver is home to a diverse collection of free public art that inspires curiosity, playfulness, and interaction. These installations have promoted increased public engagement and helped us overcome our past reputation as an “unfriendly” city.
- Building on the success of events like the Vancouver Pride Parade, the Vancouver International Film Festival and TAIWANfest, downtown Vancouver is renowned for its year-round series of festivals and public events highlighting its multicultural heritage.
- Downtown Vancouver’s new public square has become a beacon for outdoor musicians and performers.
- Downtown Vancouver has enough affordable, high quality day-care spaces to meet the needs of all of its residents and employees, and to help balance the realities of working parents.
- Downtown Vancouver has enough elementary and secondary schools to enable families from all socio-economical backgrounds to live here.
- Downtown Vancouver is home to a First Nations Centre offering local, cultural and entrepreneurial services to local First Nations and the broader community.
- There is free public Wi-Fi (and whatever the next technology will be) throughout downtown Vancouver, to enable access to tourism and work information 24/7, including local maps, city services, and platforms for people to interact with public art, heritage buildings…and each other.
- Downtown Vancouver is home to the West Coast’s preeminent New Year’s Eve celebration.
- Downtown Vancouver pays homage to local artists, with their art woven into the fabric of our built form for everyone to enjoy. More sculptures; more statues; more murals; more mosaic art tiles.
- Downtown Vancouver is internationally renowned as a place that welcomes new ideas, and where people feel at ease. A downtown with a sense of humour. A downtown with a lightness of being.
- Our multi-cultural community is celebrated in ways that go “beyond cultural festivals” — through art, landscaping and the incorporation of stories from people of different backgrounds.
- Street corner “Speaker’s Corner” video kiosks are installed at key intersections. They are in place to foster civic engagement and a digital-era interpretation of a public square. Videos are displayed in nearby SkyTrain station platform, allowing people awaiting trains to interact
with the speakers.
The strength of downtown goes beyond just the buildings and architecture. It comes from the people who live here, work here and shop here. The downtown experience should be positive and inclusive for everyone – regardless of age, ethnicity, income, ability, or gender identity.
The ideas generated through Re-Imagine Downtown Vancouver reflect a desire for an innovative and holistic approach to the evolution of downtown Vancouver. We don’t own these ideas; they belong to the people that dreamed them.
Achieving this collective vision will require a collaborative approach between the Downtown Vancouver BIA, its members, the City of Vancouver, and other partner organizations. It will need visionary leaders within our community to steer the development of ideas that resonate for them. We look forward to working together to embrace this vision and make the ideas listed in this report a reality. Because, if we don’t determine how downtown Vancouver grows up, others will determine it for us.