Post-industrialism, Post-modernism and the Reproduction of Vancouver's Central Area: Retheorising the 21st-century City

TitlePost-industrialism, Post-modernism and the Reproduction of Vancouver's Central Area: Retheorising the 21st-century City
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsHutton, TA
JournalUrban Studies
Volume41
Pagination1953–1982
Abstract

Planning and local policies, informed recurrently by theories of transformative urban development, have represented influential (and at times decisive) agencies of change in Vancouver's metropolitan core. A commitment to principles of post-industrialism in the 1970s, realised through the conversion of False Creek South from an obsolescent industrial site to a medium-density, mixed-income residential landscape, effectively broke the mould of the mid-century urban core. The seminal Central Area Plan (approved 1991) enabled the comprehensive reordering of inner-city space, exemplified by a post-modern diversity, complexity and interdependency of territory and land use, and a strategic reversal of the employment-housing imbalance in the core. The city has broadly succeeded in asserting public interests as contingencies of change within the core, but these processes have created new social conflicts, tensions and displacements, as well as a glittering and paradigmatic 21st-century central city. In theoretical terms, the Vancouver experience marks a clear break from the classic model of the post-industrial city, the latter typified by a monocultural, office-based economy, extreme spatial asymmetries of investment and development and modernist form and imagery. At the same time, emergent production clusters, residential mega-projects and spaces of consumption and spectacle in the central area present marked contrasts to the spatial disorder and chaotic patterns of `incipient' post-modernism, underscoring an exigent need for innovative and integrative retheorisation.