How Vancouver fought freeways, replacing the Viaducts, foreign investment: all in one story

The Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts: part of Vancouver's future or relics of a project the city rejected?

The Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts: relics of the rejected freeway system

Vancouver’s battle to defeat freeways and the significance of council’s decision to replace the Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts has been included in the Guardian’s outstanding Story of Cities series with a wise concluding comment from architect Bing Thom.

After an excellent review of the community-led battle to defeat the freeways, the story moves to today’s struggles for housing affordability. The land around the Viaducts is now too valuable to leave under concrete.

Rising property values have underlined the folly of putting the car ahead of people and community.

What is foreign investment’s role in the cost of land? Here Bing Thom weighs in:

“Let’s be clear, [the investors driving up real estate prices] are a tiny segment of the Chinese people who immigrate to the city,” Thom says. “Ninety-nine percent face the same affordability issues as everyone else. It’s a class issue.”

“He doesn’t see an end to the trend anytime soon. “This is the reality of unchecked globalization. Vancouver is a small city and the scale of change is the same as New York or London, so it affects us much more. It’s inevitable that people are going to start asking themselves questions,” he says.

“Questions like: what is Vancouver today, and who is it for?”