Larry Beasley, former Co-Director of Planning, City of Vancouver: I
can think of no better way to think about the future than to dream
about it, and then to share those dreams; otherwise you stay within
very constrained limits. Either it’s the limits of the law, or the
limits of the past, or more often it’s the limits of your own
Marc Lee, Senior Economist, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives BC: My Vancouver dream is like those ones when you are there in your house and are doing stuff - but it is not really your house here on planet Earth. My Vancouver dream is a lucid dream; I am not passively watching but am an agent of change.
In my Vancouver, we are all still here. The Big One has not hit. Climate change has not levelled the city in a massive storm, or, as is perhaps more likely, Vancouver is not such a desired location to flee to that we turn into a mega-city of Sao Paulo proportions.
Brent Granby, President, West End Residents Association: My dream city is one where the health and happiness of all its citizens is the priority of its policies. A tall order for certain, but one that is possible if Vancouver's elected officials made this their mission.
This is how my dream city would look like. The built environment of the city would be built around people not cars. The sidewalks would be wide and visually interesting. There would be places to sit.
Carmen Mills, Co-founder, Car-Free Commercial Drive Festival and Gatewaysucks.org: My dream of Vancouver is daisychained neighbourhoods each with its own distinctive zocalo where people meet and hang out and celebrate, demonstrate, mourn, dance, and play together.
Wild art and guerrilla gardens. Crazy playgrounds and thickets, and mysterious wild spots to get lost in. Cafes and vegetable stores and workshops and studios, hives of small shops and shared office spaces. Freestores and swap shops, island style.
Gillian Maxwell, Chair, Keeping the Door Open: My dream for Vancouver is a place where each person is respected for their individuality, diversity, strengths, weaknesses, frailties and human beingness.
We are proud of our compassion and generosity towards each other. Love is an abundant choice.
Businesses moved their base here as they recognized ethical standards that match their own. Vancouver has become a hub for the new intellectual consciousness raised by the crisis of climate change, and is the home of the renaissance of the 21st century.
David Levi, Chair, Columbia Institute: I love Vancouver.
I was born here and I've known many sides of the city. I lived and went to school on the east side, later grew up on the west side, worked on the waterfront when I was a fishing boat captain.
Now I see the skyline from my downtown office.
Vancouver's greatest assets are the people who live here. We have wealth in diversity, creativity and a social conscience that complements our beautiful natural setting. Maybe that's what makes us so willing to be leaders in social and environmental sustainability.
Joy Kogawa, poet and novelist: The dream I have for this west-coast city on the edge of the peaceable ocean is the dream I have for the world - a dream of peace. What better time than this to abolish war as we face our common planetary fate?
We have choices - to continue blithely on our way, fighting and devouring one another for the rest of our dwindling days, or we can individually and collectively lay down our weapons and practice the ways of truth and reconciliation, cooperation and peace.
When I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, I marveled at the way Hawaiian culture was so ethnically diverse. Asian faces were on nightly newscasts, and Hawaiian culture was embraced by mainstream American culture. In Vancouver, there was still a sense of racial divisions, and ethnic marginalization. Chinese-Canadian and First Nations history were more likely relegated to sidebar stories and footnotes.
Dealing with the consumption and growth of cities is a fundamental 21st century dilemma in the era of climate change.
Mike Harcourt, Advisory Board Member, Centre for Civic Governance: Canada could become known as the country that got its cities and communities right first.
Our cities and communities may be on their way to becoming the most sustainable in the world - but we are facing significant choices. It is all about where we focus our attention and where we spend our resources.