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 Cherie Wee re-imagines downtown Vancouver:
Every corner of downtown Vancouver seems to tell a story. I remember walking past this Gastown alley and thinking, “wow if these streets could talk, what would they say?”
Walk a few blocks north-west, on the cobblestone streets of Gastown and you will be transported to Coal Harbour, where glass buildings are juxtaposed with the magnificent view of the North Shore Mountains. It amazes me to think that no matter where you are downtown, whether you’re in Crab Park or English Bay, you are never far from the mountains and the sea.
Siena may be thousands of miles away, but like Vancouver, there are magnificent views everywhere you go. From the medieval architecture of the city to the rolling hills surrounding it, this Northern Italian city is truly special.
While most European centres are built with four corners, Siena’s Piazza del campo is a fan-shaped, brick covered square that has a slope moving from the corners towards its centre. It’s not unusual for a typical week night to find people laying down and relaxing on its paths. Stand in the centre of the square, and you’ll see how dynamic and animated the square is. You are surrounded with activity and energy.
Instead of a strong core with a fountain in the middle, you will find people using the space from every corner, happily sharing this gem of a space. “Sieneses” often say that the Piazza is like a heart, the streets are arteries that all lead to the square where everyone convenes. This is something that downtown Vancouver lacks.
As much as I love Vancouver, I cannot help but feel that the stories that each downtown neighborhood has do not always connect. The Downtown Eastside is much different from Coal Harbour. Twenty-five years from now, I imagine Vancouver to be like Piazza del Campo—a place where people of different characters, backgrounds and social classes cross paths without tension or fear. A square that has something for everyone and anyone regardless of your background. Like Piazza del Campo, downtown Vancouver will one day have less corners and more equal spaces for everyone to share.
Do you have a downtown Vancouver story, observation, or idea (big or small) you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you! Share your contribution with us on our Stories page. Your contributions will help us re-imagine downtown Vancouver!