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Old February 11th, 2008, 02:55 AM   #1
raggedy13
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Densest Square Mile in Canada: Vancouver's West End neighbourhood (Pt 2of2)

Hi all, this is the second part of my two-part West End photo tour that I did a couple Fridays ago. To see my first part, click here...

Part 1 of 2:
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=576025


from wikipedia

In reference to the thread title, the West End is often called the densest neighbourhood in Canada, however that title officially goes to the Toronto neighbourhood of St. James Town, relegating the West End to second place. However, the West End covers a rough square mile while St. James Town covers about a fifth the area - hence the thread title. If you want specific up-to-date density numbers you'll have to look them up, I don't feel like making the effort right now. Enjoy.

----------------------------------------------------------

This first shot was actually taken 2 days earlier than the rest that follow. Just thought I'd use it as a bit of an establishing shot (although it doesn't show anywhere near the entire West End)...


And so we begin where we last left off, approaching one of the West End's major retail streets - Denman Street...






Looking down one of the alleys along Denman...








Looking east down Robson Street, another one of the West End's major retail streets, at Denman...


















Now off Denman and back into the more residential areas of the neighbourhood...




At the border of the West End and Stanley Park...


Looking out at Lost Lagoon...


Was a rather chilly day...








One of the many 60s/70s residential towers in the neighbourhood...
























































I can't believe this guy was swimming...










Making my way along Davie Street, the heart of 'Davie Village' - the city's gay district...








The end.
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Old February 11th, 2008, 08:28 AM   #2
MNiemann
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definitely looks dense. the palm trees throw me off though. looks very active too! love seeing bikers, runners, and walkers, especially on cold days.
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Old February 11th, 2008, 08:48 AM   #3
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I'll be there in April for a family wedding.
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Old February 11th, 2008, 01:09 PM   #4
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I can't believe that's the densest part of Canada...
I'm really shocked.

Still, it looks like a nice area. I can see what all the hot vancouver gay guys live there
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Old February 11th, 2008, 03:45 PM   #5
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日本のお店ですか。
Is it a Japanese shop?

私はここに座りたいです。
I want to sit on this bench.
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Old February 11th, 2008, 04:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by city_thing View Post
I can't believe that's the densest part of Canada...
I'm really shocked.

Still, it looks like a nice area. I can see what all the hot vancouver gay guys live there
Because it's not

Great pictures though.
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Old February 11th, 2008, 04:44 PM   #7
Nouvellecosse
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It doesn't look all that dense to me. Yes, it has a lot of high and midrise residentials, but what's up with all the ugly, single story strip mall-type development?

U'd think in the densest area of the country stuff like this would have been cleared out by now...


I'm definitely lovin some of those streetwall corridors though.
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Old February 11th, 2008, 09:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by city_thing View Post
I can't believe that's the densest part of Canada...
I'm really shocked.
It's not the densest part per se (read what I wrote at the beginning of the thread), as the densest neighbourhood is St. James Town in Toronto...


from wikipedia

But from what I've seen the West End is the densest neighbourhood outside Toronto. The West End has something like half the population density of St. James Town but covers about 5 times the area. The name of the thread was chosen more for marketing than anything.
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Old February 11th, 2008, 09:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nouvellecosse View Post
It doesn't look all that dense to me. Yes, it has a lot of high and midrise residentials, but what's up with all the ugly, single story strip mall-type development?

U'd think in the densest area of the country stuff like this would have been cleared out by now...
The city has a planning policy to keep development along major retail streets shorter/with setbacks to give the appearance of a more 'human scale' and increase the amount of sunlight for pedestrians. That generally doesn't mean only one storey buildings (usually about 3 to 5 storeys max) but the West End is an area that hasn't seen a major sweep of development since the 70s. At that time higher density along retail streets wasn't really necessary/envisioned. When the next wave of infill hits the neighbourhood you can be sure to see a bit more density along the retail streets.

This picture from flickr is a good example of this policy in action. This image shows Robson Street (the one left of centre) which is downtown's premier retail street. There is quite an abrupt change in density particularly along the block immediately south of the street in order to allow ample sunlight to reach the street.

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Old February 11th, 2008, 10:15 PM   #10
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its kind of ugly.
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Old February 12th, 2008, 02:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raggedy13 View Post
The city has a planning policy to keep development along major retail streets shorter/with setbacks to give the appearance of a more 'human scale' and increase the amount of sunlight for pedestrians. That generally doesn't mean only one storey buildings (usually about 3 to 5 storeys max) but the West End is an area that hasn't seen a major sweep of development since the 70s. At that time higher density along retail streets wasn't really necessary/envisioned. When the next wave of infill hits the neighbourhood you can be sure to see a bit more density along the retail streets.

This picture from flickr is a good example of this policy in action. This image shows Robson Street (the one left of centre) which is downtown's premier retail street. There is quite an abrupt change in density particularly along the block immediately south of the street in order to allow ample sunlight to reach the street.
I've noticed that before in other aerial pictures, and although I agree that there's very good reasoning for it, I'm not impressed with the current results.

To me, human scaled means buildings of no more than 5-7 stories (ie historic european), and good street level interaction (podiums on tall buildings, shop windows, public art, benches, etc.), but it should still look like it's in the central city. Something along the lines of Gastown comes to mind. To me, a lot of the retail stuff shown here looks almost suburban.

Halifax has a few retail areas like that in the innercity downtown, one of which is beside our tallest building. But to Vancouver's credit there doesn't seem to be much surface parking accompanying them. Hopefully you're right in that more density is comming in the future. That would really make this an incredible area.
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Old February 17th, 2008, 07:53 PM   #12
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That's the most ridiculous policy idea I've ever heard. Vancouver needs to simplify it's development policies before it runs everyone and all the good ideas out of town. The city is becoming lengendary for blocking all form of development and basically neutering anything tall, architecturally interesting or advanced in favour of the bland Concord cityplace type buildings which are becoming it's hallmark.
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Old August 10th, 2009, 12:28 AM   #13
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To be honest its always been one of my least favorite neighborhoods in Vancouver, and I live here so Ive seen them all haha. It looks like a 1960-70s Miami retirement community for the most part
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Old August 10th, 2009, 01:33 AM   #14
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Well, I cannot see any pics.
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