Recently there has been a lot of discussion about the condition of Vancouver's streets and parks. Many people, myself included, do not think they are as well kept and attractive as they used to be. I have written about this before...Vancouver needs a good spring cleaning....http://gellersworldtravel.blogspot.ca/2009/04/spring-cleaning-for-vancouver.html and there was my recent post regarding the weeds along the False Creek Seawalk.
One of my friends who I greatly admire often tells me that I am too hard on my home town. Vancouver has so much going for it, especially by international standards. He thinks I should refrain from being so critical. He may be right.
But I found myself thinking about the look and feel of Vancouver's streets on my recent trip to Chicago. Why? Well just take a look at these photos taken in their downtown. Now I realize Chicago is a major, world class city, but we want to be a major world class city too....and the greenest city in the world to boot.
So I would like to see us do more to beautify the downtown. We don't have to do as much as Chicago...its urban landscaping has developed and expanded over many years. But perhaps we can start with the Art Gallery forecourt.
Now, as a former Trustee of the VAG, I know the gallery is short of funds, and there is some question whether this space is Provincial or City territory. But surely we can do better than this...I'm frankly embarrassed every time I walk by it...and I'm sure many other Vancouverites are too.
If neither the City nor Province want to spend the money, maybe they can invite some citizens or a corporation to beautify the space in return for short term naming rights...just a thought. I'm sure there are other ideas to improve the area in a cost effective way.
If we can't re-do the front courtyard, surely city staff can do something about this 'planter' on Georgia Street. And the weeds along the street. This is not a question of money...it's a matter of attitude, in my opinion.
To be fair, the City has put hanging baskets along the Granville Street Mall that add to the area, and there are some lovely gardens at Denman and Beach and elsewhere. But compared to Chicago, or Richmond, (just check out No 2 Road and Gilbert for two examples of what a small amount of money and care can accomplish) or Trail BC, we have a long way to go. Perhaps Sadhu Aufochs Johnston, who came from Chicago and is now Vancouver's Deputy City Manager responsible for the Greening of the City, will take this on as one of his projects :-)