Originally Posted by duener
I really think this is the last chance for Vancouver to create a fantastic public space downtown. I fear that the plaza will end up lifeless and dreary like most soviet/north american squares. I really hope they aim for Piazza San Marco rather than Nathan Phillips square.
It would be great if the surrounding buildings had narrow widths between them at a pedestrian level; that way you would burst out suddenly into a light filled animated square. There shouldn't be any auto traffic cutting the space off from surrounding structures either. To keep the space animated and lively there must be cafes/restaurants spillling out into it - without these railings blocking people off that you see everywhere like Yaletown.
I agree - the potential for a fantastic civic square here is huge, but whether the plaza succeeds as a public space all comes down to the little details. I think that allocating space for cafe and restaurant patios along on the edges is essential. I currently live a block from Dundas Square, and it just doesn't seem to work IMO. The sidewalks are bustling, but relatively few people seem to linger, because there isn't much to stop and see along the street walls. Also, unless there is something programmed there, the section in the middle feels vast and empty. I'd hate to see that replicated in NEFC. I don't think it's difficult to have roadways integrated into the plaza - Niewmarket and Leidsplein in Amsterdam are both good examples of bustling plazas that integrate traffic; in both, there's lots of room on the edges for cafes and bars.
As for the big picture, I'm really excited about an entertainment hub that stretches down to False creek - for a great water city, Vancouver is really
lacking that. I think back to how impressed I was by Darling Harbour when I visited Sydney years ago - bars, restaurants etc. right along the water. It was exciting and vibrant and packed with people and I can only hope this comes close (I'll take our streetcar and pass on their monorail though).
One question: what's a reasonable timeline for seeing all of this built out? 10 years? 15 years? longer?
Thanks for posting jlousa.