“In a Big-Box World, Can the Street Be Saved?” by Lisa Rochon discusses the importance of the “visual and textural experiences of architecture and streetscapes.” Big-box stores, she says, “suck the life out of downtown streets.” Vital, diverse communities require that new developments be fully attuned to their surrounding context, and offer programs tailored to its unique urban fabric.
“Vancouver architect Gregory Henriquez and developer Ian Gillespie actively, ambitiously redeveloped the old Woodward’s department store in Vancouver’s Gastown to include a beautiful, subtle patchwork of services that the neighbourhood critically needed: a daycare, a bank branch, a dentist’s office, Simon Fraser University’s downtown School for Contemporary Arts, market housing, assisted living units, a basketball court and a café. ‘You have to curate the amenities that go in, that’s the only way to do it,’ Henriquez told me this week. ‘Otherwise, the marketplace is going to deliver 7-11 convenience stores or whoever is going to pay the highest rent. Development has no ethics. Individuals have ethics.’”
[Top Image: The Woodward's Atrium by Flickr user Sean Marshall]