A Brief History of Gentrification in Vancouver with Michael Kluckner, October 7th

A Brief History of Gentrification in Vancouver

WHEN: October 7, 2013, 7:00 PM
WHERE: Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts

Gentrification is one of the hot topics in contemporary Vancouver, but is it a new phenomenon? Author/artist Michael Kluckner presents an illustrated historical overview, ranging from the ‘degentrification’ decades before the 1960s to the urban-renewal era and the beginnings, in Strathcona and Kitsilano in the 1970s, of the modern trend toward fixing up deteriorated old buildings in the city’s vintage neighbourhoods.

We will look at the eviction of the Coal Harbour houseboat community in the 1950s, the boutiquing of Gastown in the 1960s and the first attempt to “clean up” Pigeon Park, the Kitsilano housing battles of the early 1970s and the genesis of local area planning, the Expo evictions, the gentrification of Kerrisdale in the 1980s and the saga of Woodward’s and the Downtown Eastside in the past 20 years. The changing retail landscape on streets such as Robson provides a segue into the contemporary scene, where The Drive and Main Street have become restaurant and boutique backdrops for the painted-up heritage homes of Grandview and Hillcrest.

Kluckner discusses probable causes, including the failure of Modernist-style urban renewal, the Strata Title Act, the abandonment of housing programs by the federal government, the role of artists as a harbinger of change (à la David Ley), and the current period of easy credit and low interest rates. The intention is to follow up this lecture with a symposium on the subject in the spring of 2014.


Worthwhile reading:

A historical overview: Vancouver Remembered by Michael Kluckner, Whitecap Books, 2006, available in print or from the iTunes store.

David Ley on gentrification of inner cities:http://rohcavamaintenant.free.fr/USB%20KEY%20Fahriye/GENTRIFICATION/DAVID%20LEY-INNER%20CITY%20GENTRIFICATION.pdf

Douglas C. Harris, Condominium and the City: The Rise of Property in Vancouver, available at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1747-4469.2011.01247.x/abstract

Andrew Longhurst, Aestheticization and Consumption in Advanced Capitalism: The Woodward’s Redevelopment as a Landscape of Class Power,  available at – http://ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/trailsix/article/view/183274


Michael Kluckner is the author and illustrator of more than 15 books, including several on Vancouver, its history and architecture, and is probably best known for the book Vanishing Vancouver, published in 1990, and its sequel, Vanishing Vancouver: The Last 25 Years, published in 2012. He was the founding president of Heritage Vancouver in 1991 and served as chair of Heritage Canada and the Vancouver Heritage Foundation. He returned to live in Vancouver in 2010 after operating a sheep farm in the Fraser Valley and living for several years in Australia. He lives in Grandview with his wife Christine Allen – www.michaelkluckner.com