Building Renewal on the Downtown Eastside

A couple of interesting Downtown Eastside tidbits caught my interest in the past few days.

Shot of Woodward's Construction

Shot of Woodward's Construction

The first is a video at gvtv.ca on the construction of new Woodwards complex.  And really, it is a complex because of all the different parts going into that block.  Not only is there market housing, but there is non-market housing, a community area, and the huge SFU campus with a focus on the arts and culture, it seems.  I have my own photos of construction from afar.  It looks impressive on the outside. We hope that this project will be the catalyst for the Downtown Eastside that it claims to be.

The other is a piece by the folks at re:place magazine.  It is the Flack Building on the corner of Hastings and Cambie across from Victory Square.  It’s good to see a building like the Flack Building being saved and restored.  Many people in Vancouver don’t realize that most of our historic buildings are down in the Downtown Eastside.  They have been obscured by neglect and poverty.  It’s really a shame.  There are wonderful old buidlings in other towns across North America and we often say that Vancouver has nothing like that.  In fact, we do.  It’s just all between Chinatown and the downtown core.

Of course, we don’t want to restore the Downtown Eastside at the cost of those low-income folks living there now.  Displacement is not the answer now.  It’s integration and renewal instead of pure gentrification which should be key to the area.

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