Tag Archives: urban planning

Shaping the city: more records of Vancouver’s Planning Department now available

We are pleased to announce that we are now able to make available a significant volume of records from the City’s Planning Department. The Department has been responsible for land use planning, administering the Zoning and Development By-law and administering development services since 1952.

The Hollies (1388 The Crescent), taken during a walking tour of Shaughnessy by Planning Department staff, ca. 1980. From file COV-S648-F0651

The Hollies (1388 The Crescent), taken during a walking tour of Shaughnessy by Planning Department staff, ca. 1980. From file COV-S648-F0651

The records included in this large batch include additions to the principal records series for the Department (COV-S648 Planning operational records), as well as smaller additions to COV-S650 Civic and Urban Design Panels records and COV-S602 Zoning Secretary’s public hearings files. Continue reading

Early City heritage program records now available

We are pleased to announce the availability of additional records relating to the history of Vancouver’s built heritage.

Records of the Planning Department’s early heritage planning and beautification programs have been transferred to the Archives and are now available to researchers, as series COV-S682 Built heritage research files and COV-S684 Heritage planning subject files. These records complement the Archives’ existing holdings related to the City’s Heritage Inventories and other heritage planning activities.

Drawing of Gilford Court from file COV-S682-F206 Pendrell Street

Drawing of Gilford Court from file COV-S682-F206 Pendrell Street

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Over 2100 more maps are now online

Thanks to funding from the British Columbia History Digitization Program, we’ve recently completed a project to digitize over 2100 maps and plans and made them available online for you to use and re-use. We’ve tried to digitize these maps with enough resolution to support future types of re-use and processing, including optical character recognition and feature extraction.

These maps and plans hold quite a variety of information. We have put a small selection of images on flickr as a sample.

Want to see how the city was reshaped? You can see the before and after of a section of Point Grey in 1925, before it was part of the City of Vancouver.

Plan of government subdivision at Point Grey, B.C. Reference code AM1594-: MAP 359.

Plan of government subdivision at Point Grey, B.C. Reference code AM1594-: MAP 359.

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Our Researchers – Will Langford

Originally from Calgary, Will Langford has been pursuing his post-secondary education at UBC, where he completed a B.A. in history and is currently working on his M.A. thesis, the working title of which reads, “Is Sutton Brown God?” Planning, Expertise, and the Local State in Vancouver.” (Gerald Sutton Brown was Vancouver’s first Director of Planning.)

Will Langford

Ever interested in all things urban (as opposed to outdoorsy things like camping. . . ), Will became intrigued with the concept of urban planning during an undergraduate course on the history of Vancouver, taught by Professor Robert A. J. McDonald, where he was introduced to the notion of the relationship between the built environment and society. Curious about the underlying assumptions behind the claims of planners that only their expertise could result in better societies, and driven by his observation that things turned out quite differently, Will began to investigate. Continue reading

How did Harland Bartholomew’s Ideas Shape Vancouver?

Few cities possess such a combination of nearby natural resources, a splendid harbour, a terrain ideally suited for urban use, an equable climate and a setting of great natural beauty.

Vancouver is the most important Pacific port of a great country. Here, if anywhere, should develop a great city. Circumstances of such character call for a city plan of substantial scale.

A Plan for the City of Vancouver, Harland Bartholomew & Associates, 1928, p. 10

Detail from "Vancouver Town Planning Commission 1926, Ex-Officio Members and Town Planning Consultants, 1926, Item # LP 290

Founding his urban planning firm in 1919, Bartholomew was an experienced and respected planner by the time he was hired by the Vancouver Town Planning Commission in 1926.

Vancouver’s first comprehensive town plan was prepared by Harland Bartholomew and Associates in 1928 and revised in 1929 to include the newly added municipalities of South Vancouver and Point Grey.

Bartholomew’s firm wrote follow-up planning reports between 1944 and 1948.

We’d like to thank Bing Thom Architects for this 125th birthday gift to the City. The firm sponsored the digitization of all of the Harland Bartholomew reports held at the Archives. The reports are available now on the Internet Archive. Continue reading