Today we had tours planned all throughout the day. The first tour or presentation was by a man by the name of David. David was apart of the planning of the green way in Vancouver’s Carrol St.’s green way project. He talked about the basics of planning, green ways, and the geographic benefits and conflicts around and in Carrol St.’s planning. During his tour I learned that there are irrigation systems for rainwater and city trees everywhere that I didn’t bother to notice or really care because in all honesty, I thought they were there solely for vegetation and foliage but I learned that underneath every tree or so there is a system that brings and collects rainwater to help support the plant when man support isn’t able to reach it or maintain it. But maintenance hasn’t been conducted regularly and so the systems can’t function anymore because of human trash and debris (litter). The street’s design was both pedestrian and bike dedicated and leaves little room of cars and the sort. Something unusual to see in SF.
We then later attended a tour from a real tour group called “Tour Guys.” Not sure if the pun was intentional or not but we were led from downtown Vancouver to the heart of Vancouver Chinatown or its nickname: Gastown. The tour guide was friendly but used many filler words but I guess she was trying to be friendly and opening to the tourists. The tour overall was great and informative. It covered much about the history of Vancouver’s Chinatown and explained why it isn’t as dense as SF’s Chinatown. Vancouver’s Chinatown compared to San Francisco’s Chinatown has vast differences that isn’t just the population of it. For example, while walking down the street, we were told that each building were taxed based on how much stories there are in a building and for a floor to be considered a story it has to be 7ft. or higher. Many old buildings had a “2nd” floor that was only 6ft tall and was not able to tax because it was only a feet off. Nice way of cheating the system.
After the tour guy’s tour we headed over to Gastown again and met Helen Ma and her partner Wesley. Helen Ma is in Vancouver’s planning department and constructed the Vancouver’s Chinatown Revitalization Plan. We looked over the plans and power while she explained the bases of it. The project revolved around getting the new shops have preserve some of Chinatown’s essence of history while having a touch of modern and permitted some buildings to have more floors. The plan also included ideas on how to get many of the vacant storefronts to be occupied once more.
After meeting Helen and saying good byes, we went to our last stop to meet Dorris and her colleagues. Here is a little background check from what I had gotten out of today. Dorris wants to create a youth program in Vancouver Chinatown to the youth programs like AAA and YSRO. We went to give them advice on how to become something similar like us, how to grow, the avoidable flaws and how to be efficient to their cause. An interesting concept I heard from Dorris was about the night markets that Chinatown had before it was shut down under questionable “construction excuses.” I really hope that their Mahjong night was successful and that the tips we gave them was informative and helpful in anyway. This concludes our Day 5 trip in Vancouver, thanks for reading!