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» babble   » from far and wide   » bc, alberta, saskatchewan   » Revitalising the 'Granville Mall' in downtown Vancouver

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Author Topic: Revitalising the 'Granville Mall' in downtown Vancouver
Anchoress
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posted 14 July 2004 09:40 PM      Profile for Anchoress     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Stakeholders want to revitalize the scruffy downtown street from harbour to bridge.


I'm not sure how I feel about a 'revitalised' Granville mall; I'm quite fond of the 'no cars' zone, and I'd hate to see the counterculture shops go... in other words, I don't think we need another Robson street.


From: Vancouver babblers' meetup July 9 @ Cafe Deux Soleil! | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
BleedingHeart
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posted 14 July 2004 09:43 PM      Profile for BleedingHeart   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
When I last visited the Granville Mall it had been changed to an entertainment district which seemed be quite busy and a change from what had been there before.

Cities need scruffy areas. If you unscuffy one area, another becomes scruffy.


From: Kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Vansterdam Kid
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posted 15 July 2004 03:39 AM      Profile for Vansterdam Kid   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well I think the parts of the Granville Mall are a bit dreary, dingy and boring. Specifically the areas North of Georgia -- that could use some sprucing up. Although for the Granville Mall as a whole I see no point in adding Cars. The street is so skinny anyways that there would only be room for a two lane road, with no parking. I'm sure they could cut down on some side walk area and creativley add two lanes but for reasons of practicality I don't think it will cut down on traffic.

[ 15 July 2004: Message edited by: Davidbcalec ]


From: bleh.... | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
captain_easychord
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posted 15 July 2004 04:28 AM      Profile for captain_easychord     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I guess there's really no stopping gentrification at this point; Yaletown and Robson are looking to merge, and Granville's in between. Will the pawn shops just move onto Davie street now?

My solution to the dreariness between Robson and Dunsmuir is still to blow up Pacific Centre, or at least the blank walls facing the street. Take the whole side out of Eatons and turn it into small, open, street level shops. Do the same with Holt Renfrew, Le Chateau, eveything.

Ultimately, tear down the Eatons bulding; it's an eyesore. Open that corner up a lot, extend Robson Square, even if just visually.


From: The West Beyond the West | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Vansterdam Kid
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posted 15 July 2004 04:52 AM      Profile for Vansterdam Kid   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I agree with you on the extension of Robson Square, which would be expensive to say the least, but it would be a Great idea imho. I think Pacific Centre is there for the long haul so to get the old Eaton's (now Sears) out of there would mean re-locating it to another part of the mall -- perhaps building on to it or further down after all this is downtown were talking about not much room other than up or down.

With regards to the big storefronts on Granville I think you've hit the nail on the head. If someway could be found to purchase a certain amount of space from these large retailers, which is probably the only way to realistically do it, and zone that for small shops, cafe's and other sort's of businesses that might do the trick. Although just a point of contention north of Robson there aren't many counter-culture shops from what I understand. Either the storefronts are just extensions of the big retailer's i.e.: The Bay, Sears, London Drugs or name brand retailers between Georgia and Robson. So hasn't the gentrification already happened? Although that being said I don't really shop at counter-culture places anyways cause I'm kind of a square when it comes to that sort of stuff. *Oh no I said square*


From: bleh.... | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Anchoress
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posted 15 July 2004 05:13 AM      Profile for Anchoress     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
No you're right David, there aren't any cool stores north of Robson; but it's the section south of Robson that city planners are trying to 'revitalise' - they're not worried about the Big Box Village between Robson and Pender.

And to add that I agree about Eatons; I think it should be bought by whoever owns the TD Tower and turned into a business plaza a la the Bentall and Royal Bank plazas.

[ 15 July 2004: Message edited by: Anchoress ]


From: Vancouver babblers' meetup July 9 @ Cafe Deux Soleil! | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Vansterdam Kid
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posted 15 July 2004 05:30 AM      Profile for Vansterdam Kid   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
True -- this is too bad as well as stupid because it's the section north of Robson specifically north of Georgia that needs 'revitilization' the most!!!

I geuss it's a bit dingy south of Robson but so-what if they really want to revitalize it they should plant some trees, increase funding to homeless shelters & support services to keep them of the streets (as well as housing programmes among other things) and hire more people to pick up garbage.

Edited to say south of Robson not north.

[ 15 July 2004: Message edited by: Davidbcalec ]


From: bleh.... | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
captain_easychord
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posted 15 July 2004 06:03 AM      Profile for captain_easychord     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
North of Robson isn't gentrified; it's been the Central Business District for many, many years, which is why it feels so dead and inhuman. (was that too much?) It's an uncomfortable space by design, really. I agree that that's where the problem is; I've never been unhappy with the main strip of Granville, but then again, I've got no financial stake like the BIA... those fuckers.

Gentrification refers to the process of a low rent neighbourhood or 'slum' being bought up by new money, raising prices all around and displacing existing residents and businesses who can no longer afford to stick around. see Gastown and Yaletown for good local examples.

Yeah, the Eatons building is there for a long time; demolishment is just a pipe dream, but it is a very lovely dream.


From: The West Beyond the West | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Centrist
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posted 16 July 2004 03:39 AM      Profile for Centrist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
During the so-called "Golden era" of the years preceding and up to the early 1960's, Granville Street from the bridge up to West Georgia St. was known as the "Great White Way" - a place to see and to be seen.

This section of Granville Street was lit up with neon, populated with mom and pop type shops, and included theatre row.

In a similar vein, Robson Street was known as Robson Strasse back then, that unique street-scape with mom and pop European stores lining several blocks of the street west of Burrard.

Around 1974, Vancouver attempted to "revitalize" the decaying Granville Street with a pedestrian only Granville Mall, which essentially failed due to the then indoor mall shopping trend.

Now we have all of the vital and critical mass ingredients necessary downtown, so to speak, which should permit the full bridge to Georgia segment return to some of its former glory.

Ideally, this segment will eventually be a European-style pedestrian mall with open-air cafés, shops and the existing entertainment venues which will attract people as well as families from all over Greater Vancouver as it once did.

I've been waiting years for that street to be cleaned up and rejuvenated in terms of some of the more notorious retail establishments at its southern end.

Unfortunately, unlike yesteryear, with its mom and pop type shops, the future retail environment will also likely comprise mostly chain stores.


From: BC | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Dagmar
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posted 05 August 2004 03:10 AM      Profile for Dagmar   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Where are these mom and pop stores? Are those the places that sell bongs? Or the places that sell satanic jewellery? Or the place that sells whips and ball gags?
From: Santa looks a lot like Daggy! | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Vansterdam Kid
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posted 05 August 2004 03:57 AM      Profile for Vansterdam Kid   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm pretty sure that what your talking about is nearer to Davie and that is where the Granville Mall starts...I guess downtown is kind of confusing coming from Hope and all.
But near the two movie theatres near Robson many of those shops are 'mom-and-pop' places. They sell things like comics, books, clothing and food. A lot of these places aren't chain stores. I'm a pretty conservative guy (not politically!) so I'm not that interested in satanic rings and bullwhips but people are going to buy them so these shops are going to exist somewhere. And since I'm a social liberal I could care less so long as they're consenting adults and they aren't hurting anyone (un-consenting ppl and all considering the whips n' stuff ).

[edited for spelling error concenting to consenting]

[ 05 August 2004: Message edited by: Davidbcalec ]


From: bleh.... | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Longtime Listener
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posted 05 August 2004 07:25 AM      Profile for Longtime Listener   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Bleedingheart observed:

quote:
Cities need scruffy areas. If you unscuffy one area, another becomes scruffy.

Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand at Work." Feels better having gotten that out.


From: Uphill from a muddy creek | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Screaming Lord Byron
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posted 05 August 2004 10:12 AM      Profile for Screaming Lord Byron     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Dagmar:
Where are these mom and pop stores? Are those the places that sell bongs? Or the places that sell satanic jewellery? Or the place that sells whips and ball gags?

And your problem with these would be what?


From: Calgary | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
bittersweet
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posted 05 August 2004 10:51 AM      Profile for bittersweet     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Bonnis Properties Inc., which developed the Future Shop building, has proposed a two-storey building at 958 Granville
You see, this is what the area is going to look like. The Future Shop building is a vulgar, soul-sucking, aggressively mediocre landmark of Consumerzombieville. And of course, it appears to be successful. This is why bong shops are needed more than ever in Vancouver.

"City planning." What a bunch of maroons. Call it what it is: The "anchor retailer trickle-down theory."


From: land of the midnight lotus | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Vansterdam Kid
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posted 06 August 2004 06:12 AM      Profile for Vansterdam Kid   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think it looks fine. I don't think that any 'bong shops' are going to be replacing it anytime soon. I also like the added touch of the way they did the signs on a vertical axis as opposed to a horizontal.
From: bleh.... | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
bittersweet
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posted 06 August 2004 04:46 PM      Profile for bittersweet     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Fine? Can we not desire a higher standard for a prominent downtown building? For our downtown as a whole? Where is the vision?

I mean, look at good architecture--it exists right here in Vancouver, mostly crowded out by the brazenly uninspired. But go to cities like Berlin, New York, London, and while they all have their lousy buildings, the thing is, the better ones overwhelm them. And there's life on the streets, not just tourists and other consumers, pecking around like pigeons with pocketbooks. And that life is constant, it doesn't just spring up during major corporately sponsored festivals.

Now return to Vancouver. Look at the Future Shop building. It's a barely disguised big box store, and when something is barely disguised, it becomes even more obviously what it's trying to hide in the first place. Vertical signage? That's like saying the font on a crappy novel has any merit. And this building is a conspicuous part of downtown! Buildings like it end up cumulatively defining a place. Vancouver has fabulous architects, who've designed great buildings. But the overall situation is the opposite of better downtowns in more cosmopolitan cities--in Vancouver, mediocrity overwhelms the exceptional.

This is why I find its downtown to be utterly dull and uninspired...and yet it could be so much more. The reason it isn't is because downtown Vancouver is devoted to safe, mind-numbing, consumertecture. Mall walls, tarted up big boxes, derivative, formulaic highrises, cheap veneers. It's nothing better than suburbia, replicated. It oppresses the eye like a diet of bad food oppresses the palate. And as long as this standard rules, Vancouver will always remain nice and fine and parochial, an oasis known more for the setting around it than for what's in it. A decent culture cannot grow in such an environment, it can't find nourishment in the overwhelming white noise of monuments to the short-term transaction. Only a contentedly superficial culture can dominate in such a bland, brand-name landscape.

I love Vancouver, born and raised. That's why I'm passionately critical of its downtown, which in my view, stinks. Like Stein's Oakland, there's no there there. And so I've found that the best way to live in the city is to return home frequently. At least the folks in Oakland have San Francisco.

[ 06 August 2004: Message edited by: bittersweet ]


From: land of the midnight lotus | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 06 August 2004 04:57 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Will the pawn shops just move onto Davie street now?

Perhaps so, though Davie -- at least west of Burrard -- was gentrified a bit as far back as the 80s. The prostitutes were pushed off it, anyway, and had to migrate east. That documentary Hookers on Davie, ca. 1983, was out of date within a couple of years of its release.

quote:
That's why I'm passionately critical of its downtown, which in my view, stinks. Like Stein's Oakland, there's no there there.

< drift >

Are you familiar with downtown Calgary? Oy and vey. It makes me nostalgic for downtown Vancouver. There's the Vancouver "anchor retailer trickle-down theory," and the sad Calgary "plus-15-plus-one-way-streets" reality.

< /drift >


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Vansterdam Kid
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posted 06 August 2004 05:28 PM      Profile for Vansterdam Kid   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Obviously a city should inspire to be more than it is. But lets not forget Vancouver is only about 118 years old, it takes time to establish landmark buildings -- yes we have some but were not going to be a Rome of the West. And in regards to this specific building who cares. How big is it? Three, four, five stories high? So what if it's a 'consumerist hole' [I know you didn't say that specifically] some people choose to be consumers they aren't evil or something. Unless you avoid all chain stores like the plague I don't see how this is important. Personally there are only a few specific stores that I avoid, due to my political beliefs, and the big one is Wal-Mart. Besides it's not a blight on the landscape of the city, it's a building like many others so who gives a damn. There will be more buildings and they will be more impressive.
From: bleh.... | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
bittersweet
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posted 06 August 2004 06:03 PM      Profile for bittersweet     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
But lets not forget Vancouver is only about 118 years old, it takes time to establish landmark buildings
And no time to establish mediocrities. Where will the landmarks go? And if and when they're established, will there be enough of them to make a difference? If a landmark downtown is what we want, and if it takes time to create, then planning ought to reflect that goal, and that process. What it currently reflects is the expediency of big box anchor-tenancy borrowed from suburban mall design.
quote:
some people choose to be consumers they aren't evil or something
Just to be clear, those are your words, challenging an accusation that was never made.
quote:
Unless you avoid all chain stores like the plague I don't see how this is important.
I can't avoid what is ugly. I only ask that ugliness not be the standard. Chain stores are typically ugly, and they are used to anchor whole blocks. London Drugs fluorescently dominates the corner of Granville and Georgia, for example. Our major intersection. It's laughable. The thin edge of the wedge is driven deep already. Closed meetings with "stakeholders" and all.
quote:
Besides it's not a blight on the landscape of the city, it's a building like many others so who gives a damn.
"A building like many others" is why I give a damn. As I wrote, the effect is cumulative.
quote:
There will be more buildings and they will be more impressive.
Well, that's settled then, isn't it?

From: land of the midnight lotus | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Vansterdam Kid
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posted 06 August 2004 06:20 PM      Profile for Vansterdam Kid   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yep it's settled I win. After all this was such a big deal that clearly a circular argument is necessary.

Oh yeah btw I think it's a given that intelligent city planning will be necessary to add more character to the city. But if the city planners could discourage more 'Vancouver specials' and 'Monster Homes' surely they can plan a better downtown. As such I think your making a mountain out of a molehill.

[ 06 August 2004: Message edited by: Davidbcalec ]


From: bleh.... | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
bittersweet
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posted 06 August 2004 07:13 PM      Profile for bittersweet     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Wow: a rollie-eye combined with straw men, unsupported pronouncements, avoidance of any substantial remarks originating in the posts you're supposedly countering, and accusations of faulty reasoning. I'd better revisit my whole premise.
quote:
But if the city planners could discourage more 'Vancouver specials' and 'Monster Homes'
Mmm, yes, our far-sighted municipal leaders bravely discouraged them after they'd already become enough of a blight that they'd acquired derogatory pet names. After the tax windfalls had finally wound down. After the expediency had become a political liability. Now there's planning to put one's faith in, all right. With those kind of decisions, how could one avoid the conviction that "There will be more buildings and they will be more impressive?"

From: land of the midnight lotus | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Vansterdam Kid
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posted 06 August 2004 08:00 PM      Profile for Vansterdam Kid   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
[Sarcasm] Okay for your sake I will go out and do some research. Then just to indulge you I will write a research paper of at least 8 to 10 pages. With a complete bibliography and set of endnotes. [/sarcasm]

Ok seriously from what I understood the argument you first brought up was about how aesthetically unpleasing the building was. That's an opinion not a fact. Therefore one can't expect everyone to agree. I just don't think this one specific retail establishment is important or as un-appealing as you claim so circle the argument if you wish. [Yes that's an opinion, that's mine so there's no point in pointing that out]


From: bleh.... | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
bittersweet
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posted 06 August 2004 09:53 PM      Profile for bittersweet     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Now add sarcasm to the ways and means of avoiding substantial debate. Bravo. "Expecting everyone to agree." Another straw man--again, your words, nothing I wrote or implied. You don't think the store is as "important or as un-appealing" as I claim? Why? The only explanation you've offered is that the city prohibited Vancouver Specials and Monster houses. Which I countered. And then you used sarcasm to avoid dealing with it. So chase your tail all you want now; I'll stop trying to break you of the habit. Bon appetit.
From: land of the midnight lotus | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Vansterdam Kid
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posted 07 August 2004 04:19 AM      Profile for Vansterdam Kid   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Bah it's unimportant.

[ 07 August 2004: Message edited by: Davidbcalec ]


From: bleh.... | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged

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