With the first of three mountain-view-penetrating proposed towers heading to Council for vote tomorrow, there's a lot of talk both for and against the context and importance of Vancouver's view cones. #SaveOurSkylineYVR
It's easy (cynical) to paint false dichotomy: It's just a view after all. The mountains will still be there even when obscured behind condo towers; meanwhile there's more important issues like housing crisis, opioid crisis, economic growth, right?
But the choice is a logical fallacy.
Incursion into our view cones represent the depth of an ongoing assault on the public commons: "the cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society" the commons are resources belonging to the people not owned privately.
The purported public benefit
(stadium upgrades) associated with this particular tower at 777 Pacific are arguably more a benefit to land speculators than the commons. In fact, increasing scrutiny of big city/big stadium projects raises questions about economic impacts
, let alone public benefits of these types of projects.
The only public free show at BC Place I recall: as a kid, watching the stadium inflate from the Connaught Street Bridge
. In years that followed, Expo 86, and on subsequent sale of site for redevelopment, a commitment to preserve a view for the commons, not the highest bidder. That was barely 30y ago.
Those commitments we compromise today: be it laundering blood money, letting the market determine housing affordability, or selling off our views, only continue to set one awful precedent after another — where seemingly almost anything (and everything) is for sale.
"The question haunting our urban success stories today is whether the prevailing conservative addiction to privately owned, government-subsidized mega-development is sustainable."