On our Stories page, we have put the call out for you to share a story, observation, or idea (big or small) on how you re-imagine downtown Vancouver. Here is how Michael McKnight re-imagines downtown Vancouver:
When was the last time you were with a group of people and you felt safe, you felt you had more in common than not, you felt like you were all working towards something together? That is community. And that is what I envision for downtown Vancouver.
High density can just mean more walls, more things to divide us. Vancouver has a fantastic opportunity to offset that with more open spaces. Accessible public spaces can bring us all together rather than drive us apart.
Seniors, who have given so much to the city during their lives can feel they have a safe space and retain their independence. Vancouver has approximately 95,000 seniors and in 25 years that number will grow. Access and transportation to community programs will ensure they are not left isolated or lost in a tightly packed downtown core. Generations can come together to work on community gardens and also feel safe knowing that they don’t have to worry about their next meal. In a wealthy city, no one should be hungry.
As Vancouver continues to make a name for itself in global commerce, young families can access childcare and afterschool programs based in their neighbourhoods to help balance the realities of working parents. Today, approximately 40% of low-income persons in metro Vancouver are in the workforce. How much can you really commit to civil society if you’re not sure you can meet your family’s needs for the next day?
When I imagine downtown Vancouver in 25 years I imagine a vibrant healthy community that reflects the people who live in it. I imagine a downtown core that can reach its full potential because the people who live there are free to reach their full potential, together. Downtown Vancouver is a concentration of everything that we’re experiencing across the Lower Mainland and it can be the epicenter of change too.
—Michael McKnight is President and CEO
of the United Way of the Lower Mainland.