Waking up to our first morning in Vancouver, it was nice and refreshing to actually sleep and wake up in a room that had an bearable temperature, good ventilation and a comfortable mattress. So first things off, our first stop of the day was to going to the Carrall Street Greenway which was close to Vancouver’s Chinatown for a tour provided by one of the people who actually worked on it in its early stages. His name is David Yurkovish. He provided an excellent tour and great insight of the planning of the greenway.
The Carrall Street Greenway felt to be a great inspiration for street planning that takes in the consideration of all users of the street, pedestrians, drivers, and bikers. I also believe that the design of it is also the most aesthetically pleasing street that I have seen on the trip. Although the design and infrastructure of the greenway provides equal amount of safety for all users, the problem I found with the greenway was that is very dependent on the way the streets are used in that area. For example if the street is crowded and high populated by only pedestrians and vehicles like Stockton St. in SF, it may pose the problems of having highly congested street and overcrowded sidewalks. The Greenway design can be best implemented in San Francisco Chinatown’s Grant Ave because of its small street size and it high pedestrian traffic on the sidewalk.
Anyways, going along with our day, we went on a Chinatown tour provided by the “Tour Guys.” It was a very insightful tours of the history and culture of Vancouver’s Chinatown with a seemingly strong theme on “Old vs. New, but I found that the tour wasn’t about conflicting differences between the times. It was more about how the changes in the city and the country shaped and how the neighborhood changed. It was about how the city rising anti-Asian sentiment brought the rise and fall of gates of Shanghai Alleyway. It brought a stronger pan-Asian identity with Chinese joining forces with Japanese. This is what I felt helped shaped the neighborhood and with our own Chinatown, I feel like with similar forces against it helped shaped it too.
Next stop for the day was meeting was with two planners who worked in the city, Helen and Wesley. They provided us a presentation on their plan to revitalize Chinatown and its economy called the “Chinatown Neighbourhood [Ooh notice the “u” in neighbourhood. We are for sure in a foreign country.] Plan & Economic Revitalization Strategy.” It seems too early for me to say anything about the plan, but I feels like it has a lot of potential. The daunting thing about the plan to me is the possible result of gentrification to the community, but I might be assuming too much because of me living in San Francisco where gentrification is at a high.
After that, we went to an upcoming youth group in the Chinatown neighbourhood in a little bakery restaurant. It was nice to seeing a local’s own perspective of about current standing of Chinatown. During the meal, I think we gave as much of our own knowledge of how youth groups work, so it all we can do for you now is just hope you guys can do the rest.