The Tyee on “City Making in Paradise”

September 17, 2007 at 11:35 am Leave a comment

A fine and comprehensive review by Charles Campbell on “City Making in Paradise” – the book that launched the Paradise Makers series here at SFU.

Here’s an excerpt:

The book was conceived when Harcourt and Cameron spoke at the 2005 memorial for Walter Hardwick, the Vancouver academic, bureaucrat and city councillor, about his under-acknowledged contributions. The book finds others to credit. There’s Tory political organizer Tom McDonald, who pushed for regional planning in the late 1940s. There’s the man McDonald found in Tennessee to do the job, Jim Wilson, who helped lead the first regional planning efforts in the 1950s. Early 1970s GVRD planner Harry Lash gets his own chapter for championing ideas and processes — he promoted the phrase “livable region” and created a very open model of consultation and decision-making — that persist today.

At SFU Harbour Centre, where the book was launched on September 7, Wilson was in the very large audience. So were people like Darlene Marzari who, along with young storefront lawyer “Ho Chi” Harcourt, fought to defeat Vancouver’s Chinatown freeway plan. Influential planner and Liberal insider Peter Oberlander was there, as was former NDP MP Margaret Mitchell. Current powers Mayor Sam Sullivan, Coun. Peter Ladner and new Vancouver director of planning Brent Toderian were in attendance. Former NPA councillor and SFU City Program director Gordon Price moderated the discussion.

This diversity of the crowd reflected another planning truth that the book makes clear: there isn’t much room for mindless partisanship if you want to build a city that works. Two people in the book who figure prominently in driving the success of the Vancouver region are former Vancouver mayor Gordon Campbell and former Vancouver NPA councillor George Puil — Campbell for aggressively promoting the GVRD’s late 1980s Choosing Our Future process, Puil as a key player in creating the TransLink regional transportation authority.

Read the whole review here.

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