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NO TOWER on Commercial Drive

For the past week or so I’ve been seeing the proposed Kettle Boffo Project in Vancouver make the rounds online. Here’s a rendering of the project, which is located at Commercial Drive and Venables Street:

image

The reason it has been making the rounds is that a community group called NO TOWER (written in all caps) has come out in fierce opposition of the 5 to 12-storey building. They have over 3,500 signatures.

As an outsider looking in, this is surprising. The scale of the project seems appropriate. The height roughly matches the existing building shown above to the right. It may even be lower. And the project will provide somewhere around 30 social housing units, as well as additional space for the Kettle Friendship Society non-profit, who are currently on the site. (Note: An application to the city hasn’t yet been made.)

What this has me thinking about is the push and pull between bottom-up and top-down planning. 

When architect Bjarke Ingels talks about his Dryline project in New York, he likes to refer to it as the love child of Robert Moses (top-down planning) and Jane Jacobs (bottom-up planning). In the case of this project, it’s because it’s a large infrastructure project that they are trying to root into the local neighborhoods. Makes sense.

But this same thinking could also apply to overall city building. Local communities rightly have their own wants. But at the same time, cities need to be thinking about the overall. The challenge is finding that right balance.

I would be curious to hear your thoughts on the Kettle Boffo Project in the comment section below – especially if you’re from Vancouver.

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