Vancouver's Grandview-Woodland urban development plan: Whose options are really on the table?

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In conjunction with what seems to be the year of the developer, the recently drafted Grandview-Woodland Community plan brings a new take on density to Vancouver's Broadway and Commercial neighbourhood.

When the City of Vancouver organized a workshop on July 6 titled "Exploring Options for a Transit Oriented Community," it was a response to the concern of residents around the tentative height of tower buildings and highrises outlined in the "Emerging Directions" development plan, released in June.

Though community planner Andrew Pask emphasized that the city will not proceed with the current propositions for the Commercial-Broadway area, the focus of the half-day workshop was less about the deeper questions surrounding the proposal, and more about the structure of development.

When participants were asked to express their hopes and fears around the Grandview-Woodland plan for Commercial and Broadway, many expressed concern that forgone conclusions had been established and that the workshop would merely pay lip service to assertions of dissent.

As people gathered into breakout tables, using blocks to organize their own personal ideas for accommodating higher density, the process allowed little room to talk about methods for avoiding displacement and gentrification. In addition, limitations and lack of promotion meant the event was not sufficiently inclusive and did not reflect the diversity of residents on Commercial Drive.

Which leaves one wondering: whose options are truly on the table?

Tania Ehret is a contributing editor with rabble.ca.

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