Mustafa Dikeç’s article “Police, Politics and the Right to the City”, one of the assigned readings, describes the issues involved with the Grand Ensembles in Paris, and how although they had their social issues, they were not a “crisis of the suburbs”, rather a social issue that faced the city, and not just the suburbs. Dikeç begins with an explanation that although the Grand Ensembles were social housing, they differed from the North American thought picture of social housing. However there is a direct correlation between the Grand Ensembles and slum like areas in North America, not specifically areas assigned to social housing but areas that the poor could afford to live in. This similarity is in the ability to find transportation, and the lack of basic necessities in that specific area.
The Grand Ensembles were on the outskirts of Paris and lacked many basic necessities and rights for people to access within walking distance or within walking distance from public transport. Which is similar to many poorer areas in North America. Many areas lack good grocery stores within walking distance, or near a bus route, so many of the people that live in these areas are forced to buy groceries from expensive stores, or simply eat out (at fast food restaurants). This problem occurs because purchasing groceries at reasonable price is simply not an option as there is no way to get to a store. Or in the case that schools may be too far from home to commute to for young students to attend. The problems go on about the issues caused by a lack of access to quality transportation. And this problem becomes the largest issue that is not currently being addressed.
Vancouver, British Columbia; it is the largest city in Western Canada. It’s captivated by diverse culture, and the ‘Western Canadian teenage dream’ wanting to move to Vancouver and smell the ocean air every day. With Vancouver population increases, and people wanting to move into the already dense downtown core, the question presents itself where will all these people live.
But Vancouver City Council is proposing a plan; knock down the Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts and replace it with a park, and residential buildings. The Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts are the far from attractive looking big concrete bridges that greet the public to the Vancouver downtown core. A viaduct is a bridge spanning across land that has large arches to support the bridge.
This plan however has received criticism from the public specifically people within that area that are concerned about an increase in traffic. However with the viaducts removal will allow for streets to connect to directly to Georgia, and allow an increased efficiency for transit in that area of the downtown core. With an even greater improvement to the already well-structure transit system in the downtown-core, will encourage the population to take transit over a car. Not only will this street connection to Georgia allow for improvements to transit, but allow for an increase in the accessibility for cycling and foot traffic.
The plan to demolish the viaducts and create green space, and more residential housing in Vancouver’s downtown core is a plan that needs to be taken seriously. This plan is about to go before Vancouver City Council in the next few weeks, and should be a contender for solving the problem of Vancouver’s growing population.