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False Creek South: An Experiment in Community

Sky-high rents and housing prices are among Vancouver's most pressing and persistent challenges. The answer, experts and developers say, is more "density" -- packing more people into every square kilometre of Vancouver.

Proposals to "densify" several areas of the city boiled over this year into neighbourhood rebellions and even tense picket lines.

Yet overlooked in the sparring are 6,000 Vancouverites quietly living a "densified" life in a community created decades ago in a moment of unprecedented, and unrepeated, alignment of municipal, provincial and federal urban visions.

False Creek South was created 40 years ago on city-owned land in the belief that mixed-income, green and walkable neighbourhoods could foster a real downtown community in the Age of Suburbs. But now city leases and federal funding that made the project possible are ticking down to their end-dates.

Tyee Solutions Society housing reporter David P. Ball explored one of the country's most audacious, if now long-forgotten, experiments in social and urban engineering -- and found lots to appreciate, and plenty to question, in the new millennium.

The series was produced by Tyee Solutions Society in collaboration with Tides Canada Initiatives Society. This series was made possible through the support of the Real Estate Foundation, Vancity, and BC Non-Profit Housing Association. Support for this project does not necessarily imply Vancity's endorsement of the findings or contents of this report. TSS funders and Tides Canada Initiatives neither influence nor endorse the particular content of TSS' reporting.

Other publications wishing to publish this story or other Tyee Solutions Society-produced articles, please see this website for contacts and information.

In This Series


False Creek South

False Creek's Urban Experiment Seeks a Second Act

Clock ticking for a Trudeau-era attempt at a visionary utopia in Vancouver.

By David P. Ball, 31 Dec 2013



Stars Aligned for False Creek South

Decades ago, three levels of gov't agreed to build something a little crazy. Funny thing: it mostly worked. Part of a series.

By David P. Ball, 1 Jan 2014


False Creek South photo essay

A Hippie-era Urban Experiment Hits 40

Eccentric False Creek South nailed one goal: creating real community in Vancouver's core. Part of a series.

By David P. Ball, 2 Jan 2014


False Creek South bikes

Second Life for False Creek South?

A deal that made Vancouver's urban housing experiment possible now clouds its future. Last in a series.

By David P. Ball, 3 Jan 2014