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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Book Talk: ‘Battleground: Grandview’ by Jak King

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A conversation between author/historian/activist Jak King and architect/urban designer Scot Hein, recorded via Zoom on March 4, 2021

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Jak King has lived in Grandview for over 30 years, has devoted many years to study and document the life and history of this neighbourhood, through his blog and two earlier books, and was an active participant in the events covered in his book (order via

Scot Hein is an adjunct professor in the master of urban design program at University of British Columbia. He was previously the senior urban designer with the City of Vancouver.

This 70-minute conversation covers the historical context of the unique Grandview neighbourhood of Vancouver, the prologue, process and epilogue of the Grandview Community Plan, through the years 2011 to 2016, and brings us up to date with implementation of the plan to early 2021. In the midst of many pressures and a housing affordability crisis, Vancouver continues to change, with major developments being proposed, and a number of citywide planning initiatives all occurring simultaneously.

Jak published his memoir of the controversial community planning process from his local perspective at the core of many of the events described, many of which he detailed on his blog.

When city planners attempt the engage with communities in urban planning exercises, is it important that they realize the enormous time and energy contributions made by members of communities, which in this conversation it was suggested came to millions of dollars worth of volunteer time, possibly equivalent to what the City spent in real dollars. The conversation raises observations and pointers for everyone, including neighbourhood residents, present and future community activists, and professional planners, and concludes with hope for more trust-building and opportunities for new forms of engagement in the future.

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