— Jane Jacobs

Last month we looked at the history of Gastown. This month we explore Gastown’s future with our recent community campaign/initiative called ‘Gastown Tomorrow’. 

1.5 years into the pandemic and the lasting impacts on this city are becoming more and more evident. We could sit back and wait for things to go back to normal (whatever "normal" means), or we could jump on what some are referring to as the "Great Urban Reset", which is giving us a once-in-a-century opportunity to reclaim public space and create more inclusive communities for the businesses and people within them. We chose the latter.

The City of Vancouver is actively responding with new policies and regulations and we want to make sure that we’re ready to create the Gastown of Tomorrow. But in order to do this, we need your ideas and insights on our shared public spaces.
The Study
Over the last few years, we (and more specifically, a local architect firm, ph5 architecture) have been doing a deep dive into understanding how public realm changes could affect the greater good of this community. The outcome - a very thorough Urban Design Study (UDS).

Fast forward 3 years and the UDS is even more applicable than ever.

We have released the study for the first time. Go ahead and immerse yourself.
Community Ideas
Gastown has always attracted designers and creatives, and many of them have called this neighbourhood “home” for decades. 

5 local designers have shared their dreams for what Gastown could be. Each envisioning a key area of the neighbourhood. And this is just the beginning.
Feeling Inspired?
We know the neighbourhood is full of diverse creative thinkers, makers and entrepreneurs. We want to hear all voices contribute to what our shared spaces could become so that we can compile and report back to the City for action.

We're inviting you - the people of Gastown - to help shape future decision-making by sharing your visions for the Gastown of tomorrow.

Fill out the survey here OR draw your own sketch, post it on Instagram and tag @mygastown + #GastownTomorrow.
Ideas in Action
From an outdoor gallery on the empty facades of the Vancouver Film School (Water Street side) to a plaza revamp, you can find various community initiatives around the 'hood, including at your local coffee shops, restaurant and stores, all supporting #GastownTomorrow.
What the Media is Saying
Everyone's talking about #GastownTomorrow. Check out what the media is saying about the Gastown Urban Design Study:

"There has been a lot of talk about Gastown coming out of Vancouver city hall over the last decade, but not much action. So the Gastown Business Improvement Society decided to do its own urban design study."

"You're talking about revitalizing a neighbourhood that some are calling ghost town right now."

"Now the next phase is what does the public think."
"Ziplines everywhere."

"A makeover of the streets in downtown Vancouver’s historic Gastown district would reduce road space for vehicles to make way for a pedestrian-oriented, event-friendly public realm."

"The Gastown Tomorrow report examines four key initiatives that will preserve the longevity of the area, including increasing equity and redistributing street space."

"Walking the streets... Seeing the design... It makes you think - wow, this is a cool place and there's a lot of cool things I want to learn about this city while I'm down here."
Let’s move forward on this journey together.

Please join us at #GastownTomorrow.