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What Makes a Street Special?

VIDEO: Vancouver’s ‘fine grained’ arteries are losing their character to blocky new buildings. If you feel sad, here’s why.

Christopher Cheung 27 Nov

Christopher Cheung reports on urban issues for The Tyee. Follow him on Twitter at @bychrischeung or email him here.

Big box stores just can’t offer the pleasures of a classic main street: our choice of multiple greengrocers, the barber that knows what we want, and varied shops for everything from a last-minute gift to a replacement lightbulb.

But it’s not just the goods and services that make these streets beloved. A lot of it has to do with their design. And in Vancouver, that design is under attack by high land values and the development that follows.

It’s hard to put the experience of what makes a street special into words, so above is our video walkthrough pointing out the details.

In Vancouver, some neighbourhoods have streetcar-oriented development to thank for their excellence. The old shopping strips along the tracks are like little villages you can easily walk around on foot, each block packed tightly with business and familiar faces.

This month, the city kicked off a public consultation for its first city-wide plan in a generation.

As the city grows, how might it address the needs and neighbourliness that these streets provide?

See for yourself what the best streets can offer in our video above.

The Tyee team behind this video includes: Christopher Cheung (script, voiceover, producer), Alexandra Marriot (video editing), Good Bad Habits (animation), Scot Hein (sketches).  [Tyee]

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