The postcard-ready aerial view of downtown Vancouver wrapped by mountains, trees and sea is a famous image. But Vancouver also has a reputation as being a “no-fun city” that is expensive to live in and a costly place to do business.

The organizers of Real Estate Development (RED) Talks recruited John Bela, a San Francisco urban space designer who specializes in bringing public spaces to life, to ponder this apparent shortage of urban fun in Vancouver.

RED Talks was a one-night showcase of innovative concepts by leading real estate and development thinkers that took place at the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre on May 10 in front of an audience of developers, planners, academics, students and realtors.

The moniker of “No Funcouver” came as a surprise, Bela said. Prior to this visit, he had only been to the city once, during Expo 86, when he was just a kid. He said Vancouver has a reputation in his circles as a beautiful city, and as a North American leader in cycling infrastructure with a progressive green agenda.

The moniker of “No Funcouver” came as a surprise, Bela said. Prior to this visit, he had only been to the city once, during Expo 86, when he was just a kid. He said Vancouver has a reputation in his circles as a beautiful city, and as a North American leader in cycling infrastructure with a progressive green agenda.

Bela said the concentration of large condo towers in Vancouver strikes him. “You may never see your neighbours,” he told The Sun before taking the stage. “For all these folks who are living in towers, your only social interaction with your neighbour might be in the lobby (or) when you’re going up the elevator.”

Smaller could be better, he said. Livability and street activation could be better stimulated by mid-rise development, “where there’s connection to the street, more connection to ground level, with … smaller-scale streets and public spaces.”

 

Full article here.