Price Points: What is Vancouver’s newest neighbourhood?

If you haven’t been down Second Avenue between Cambie and Burrard recently, be prepared for a shock:

It’s another instant neighbourhood, Vancouver-style.  Upland from the Olympic Village, it is at once distinct from that City-directed megaproject but still a continuation of it.  (Map here.  The Arrow is roughly where the above image was taken.  The Streetview, though only a few years old, is completely out of date ).  It is a neighbourhood without a name.

Even as the Olympic Village site was being rezoned, smaller developers were assembling parcels, one by one, to take advantage of the spillover effect on sites to the south.  That momentum came to a rather unpleasant halt because of the financial crisis and related problems with the Village, all of which made the higher-density development more risky.  But ultimately Vancouver’s buoyant housing market prevailed, and a few developers like Wall Group proceeded.  Then everyone else jumped in.  Evidence above.

This district is roughly analagous to the North Shore of False Creek, with Pacific Boulevard as the dividing arterial between Concord Pacific on one side and Yaletown on the other.   Second Avenue is looking and functioning more like Pacific Boulevard every day – but the brownfield sites and old industrial properties, with the exception of the wooden Salt and Opsal Steel buildings (to eventually be rebuilt), lack the integrity and density of historic Yaletown.

These blocks are like Downtown South, but more mid-rise – still too dense for some critics like Michael Geller, but one of the few brownfield areas left that can absorb density without impacting residential neighbourhoods.  (Though it will no doubt add redevelopment pressure on the Mt. Pleasant industrial district to the south.)

But what to call this new district?  Not-Quite-the-Olympic-Village is a little too long.  NoSex (North of Second) probably won’t do.

Your nominations will be gratefully received.

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Gordon Price is the Director of The City Program at Simon Fraser University. He sat for six terms as City Councillor in Vancouver, BC and also served on the Boards of the Greater Vancouver Regional District (Metro) and TransLink. He publishes an electronic magazine and blog on urban issues, with a focus on Vancouver, called “Price Tags” – www.pricetags.ca as well as www.pricetags.wordpress.com He has written several extensive essays on Vancouver and transportation issues – The Deceptive City, Local Politician’s Guide to Urban Transportation – and in 2003, he received the Plan Canada Award for Article of the Year – “Land Use and Transportation: The View from ’56″ – from the Canadian Institute of Planners.

 

 

17 comments

  1. Hi Gordon – that strip strikes me as ‘concrete alley’ – it seems so bereft of greenery, character or charm… – what do you think?

  2. How’s about:
    NoMoPleas? (North Mount Pleasant)

  3. Just to avoid any confusion, that pun was very deliberate.

  4. Creekside?

    That’s what the community centre is called. Makes sense to us. Not exciting, but it will do.

  5. I’ve seen it referred to as ‘Lower Mount Pleasant’ or ‘Mount Pleasant North’ as it is technically within the boundaries of the City’s definition of Mount Pleasant (as is Olympic Village). I don’t find those terms very convincing though as the area has very little in common with the rest of Mount Pleasant neighbourhood.

    It’s also referred to as as Southeast False Creek by real estate types and it what I use most often), although I find that more of a geographic label than compelling neighbourhood name..

    How about ‘Creekside,’ after the nearby community centre and its proximity to False Creek? The neighbourhod could including all of the development between 2nd Ave and False Creek and Main and Cambie (including the Olympic Village).

  6. I like “The Village,” Rennie might not like the generic-ification of that name, but I do.

  7. You can throw up buildings relatively instantly, but it takes a lot longer to foster a real community and neighbourhood. Same with the name. People who move into the neighbourhood will collectively start to call it something so why not let time decide? 

  8. Creekside is too generic (Whistler anyone?), and the fact that there’s a Creekside Drive a couple of km west and unconnected with the area would add confusion. How about Maynard’s, in honour of probably the area’s most well-known business and heritage building (with the possible exception of the K-9 compound).

    Of course, they called the Canada Line station Olympic Village and it’s even further west so maybe just call everything between Main and Cambie OV.

  9. Critics of the lack of green and parks should note that there is landscaping going in and a park development down the road. Like any neighbourhood the greenery is planted in its infancy and it will grow. Planting mature trees would result in many dying and ultimately a costly failure.

    Mount Pleasant Base Camp? Just kidding. Creekside works for me.

  10. Creekside would be good and simple Forget about SE or anything that is geospatially oriented. It lacks character. Lacks soul/history. That’s just for techie/engineering types.

  11. Add to my point: think of Toronto’s neighbourhoods that have names…not geospatial pointers. It’s part of fostering community identity and strong marketing points for visitors worldwide who come to Toronto (Neighbourhood names of: Pape-Danforth (Greek district), High Park (not West-end, which is usless for the breadth of Toronto), Dovercourt, The Annex, Queen St. West, Summerhill, Leaside, Rosedale. Some of these names do coincide with subway station names but sopme of neighbourhood names have existed long before TTC.

  12. I’ve always referred to it as South East False Creek, and think it’s a perfectly acceptable name. Very much looking forward to moving there in about a month.

  13. Assuming we are talking about the name colluquially I like NoMo (north Mount Pleasant), Aoly (“around olympic village” pronounced like the condiment aioli) or as a play on the subsequent winter olypics SoChi (for south of Chinatown). Might as well make it fun to say, right?

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