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Shaping Vancouver 2019: What's the Use of Heritage? Conversation #1: Reshaping Local Places

Heritage Vancouver Society
Date of Event: 
Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Under many different names, including “revitalization”and “regeneration”, heritage is and can be used to craft a positive place image, develop local economic sectors, create a neighbourhood centre for culture, and improve upon the animation of local areas. This change can be compelling, but also has its challenges.

This process is especially relevant and timely in the False Creek Flats, Chinatown, and Punjabi Market areas of Vancouver. Under the False Creek Flats Plan approved in 2017, the approach is to make the area a thriving and innovative economic zone which “builds off of existing character… by leveraging key character assets, histories and economic anchors”. Chinatown is looking towards a process (including application for World Heritage) where a heritage informed by experiential authenticity, culture and ordinary daily life forms the basis for social and economic revitalization. Punjabi Market, while not having undergone extensive planning exercises, desires a future where the three block district is a place filled with Punjabi experiences for people to enjoy.

In this first talk, we look at how heritage can be used to reshape these places in the city. In particular, we examine:

  • What roles do these areas play in the broader narrative of the city, and how do we plan for them?
  • What is the difference between taking a “landscape” view of heritage vs a “site” view of heritage?
  • How can heritage be used as a lens through which to view issues around the integration of large developments, such as St. Paul’s Hospital, with neighbouring landscapes and the established ways of existing that are unique to people, organizations and businesses in these areas.
  • What conflicts emerge between the various meanings and values given to places?
  • How can culture-led plans fulfill economic, social and cultural objectives set for areas such as Chinatown and Punjabi Market?
Ben Geisberg
149 West Hastings
Vancouver, BC V6B1H4
BCSLA Event: 
Project: Telus Atrium Garden
Landscape Architect / Firm: Sharp & Diamond Landscape Architecture Inc in collaboration with Cornelia Hahn Oberlander
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Photo Credit: Brett Hitchins