Jennifer Chutter has written an interesting review of Battleground: Grandview for the always useful Ormsby Review.
She notes three over-arching themes in the book: Who is the city for? What is a neighbourhood? and What is an expert? For the first, she writes that:
“From the City of Vancouver Planning department’s perspective, the city is for the future residents and not for the current ones. It is clear throughout King’s work that current residents are disregarded as having any sort of role in creating the current vibrancy and functionality of the city; furthermore, the poor are unacknowledged … King’s argument challenges the reader to think through the larger political machinations that are guiding urban growth and the impact it has on smaller neighbourhoods.
As for the neighbourhood:
“King does a strong job emphasizing the difficulty of defining what constitutes a neighbourhood … According to King, City planners misunderstand the complexity of planning for urban growth because they don’t account for the interconnectedness of people and structures. The problem with the initial Community Plan was that it homogenized the entire area and flattened out the distinct features that make the neighbourhood unique, and there appeared to be little understanding that changes to one area would impact the whole.”
And as for the role of “experts”:
“Despite hundreds of residents giving up their time to participate in events hosted by the Planning Department, their expertise from living within the neighbourhood for years was denied as having any value.”
In conclusion, the review says:
“In Battleground Grandview, Jak King presents a strong call to action: it is time for the City of Vancouver to take into consideration the needs, wishes, and desires of current residents to maintain the vibrant areas of the city, rather than persistently planning for future urban growth in the form of tall towers.”
I want to thank Ms. Chutter for taking the time to study and understand the book, and to the Ormsby Review for sponsoring the review.
Copies of Battleground: Grandview are still available at People’s Co-op on Commercial Drive, direct from me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and from VPL.
One of the long term effects of the corona virus pandemic in Vancouver is a whittling away of good community reporting. We saw this with the closure of the Vancouver Courier and with significant reductions in local TV newsrooms. Luckily, we still have the Georgia Strait and its fine correspondent Carlito Pablo.
I was fortunate enough to be invited for an interview with Carlito at the end of last week and we discussed Vancouver politics in general and my book in particular. He has now published an article that captures many of the items we discussed.
If you are interested in Vancouver politics and urban development — and the future of Commercial Drive and Grandview — this book takes you into the nitty-gritty of how City of Vancouver Planning Department and the Vision-majority City Council ran rough-shod over a community, pushing through major changes in the look and feel of a successful and well-loved neighbourhood against the wishes of a significant number of residents.
It describes how public “consultation” was corrupted into nothing more than a public relations exercise, ticking all the progressive boxes while actually delivering the pre-determined outcome preferred by the Planners and Vision Vancouver’s financial backers. CityHallWatch calls it “an X-Ray into the City’s planning” process.
The 288-page book includes detailed coverage of the 2014 civic election, and shows how the Grandview debacle fits in to the trajectory of similar anti-community planning exercises in Mount Pleasant, Norquay, Marpole, Downtown Eastside, the West End, and Oakridge.
Battleground: Grandview retails at $25.00 and is available at:
People’s Co-op Bookstore, 1391 Commercial Drive
SuperValu, 1st & Commercial
You can also get a copy direct from me at email@example.com — $25 including postage — via Interac Email Transfer, adding a mailing address to the message.