Vancouver urbanism: Walkability, bikability, the public square, district energy, and urban agriculture

False Creek, Vancouver’s industrial heartland for much of the 20th century, wears an urban form that incorporates art, nature, and people.

We’ve come a long way.

From piers, and mills, and canneries. In just 20 minutes of walking one can see the fruits of Vancouver urbanism.


The False Creek sea wall is now the recipient of a partly segregated bike path, with adjacent walking paths and parks. The area still retains the feeling of an industrial past, with a touch of modern art.

False Creek Vancouver

Habitat Island, joined to the False Creek sea wall with a land bridge, was created to form an urban park and ecological sanctuary. According to the Vancouver Park Board, “60,000 cubic metres of rock, cobble, gravel, sand and boulders were used.”

False Creek biking

Contemporary public art that doubles as seating invites social experiences.

The False Creek waterway provides transportation and recreation. Ecologically, it still has a long way to go before being considered rehabilitated.

Olympic Village

Dense mixed residential and commercial mean there’s always people about. Pubs, coffee shops, and restaurants abound. Architecture and public amenities draw people together.

Vancouver False Creek

Shaded by trees, the sea wall works for pedestrians, cyclists, and skateboarders.


Just outside False Creek, steps into Mount Pleasant, back alleys present hidden community gardens and an Urban Stream‘s “vertical growing system, designed to eliminate kitchen waste and produce restaurant-quality herbs and greens.”


Walking by the Cambie Bridge reveals another community garden and the City of Vancouver’s Southeast False Creek Neighbourhood Energy Utility, which serves 27 buildings and over 4,000 units with low-carbon heating services.

False Creek Cycling

False Creek still has industrial bones, but its clearly a future-facing place for people.

Images (Flickr): Me!

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