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Southeast False Creek and the 2010 Olympic Village

Dec 03, 2009

by guest blogger Jeff Olson, Urban Designer for VIA


We began our design work in 1998 after the Kyoto Protocol was published. We had the idea of a sustainable future; a new way to build that would benefit everyone’s quality of life, air quality, water quality, and soil quality, a way that would protect plants, insects, marine life, land animals and bird life. We started in the library, we reviewed the scientific literature on environmental issues, and then we thought about urban systems, urban design, architecture, material engineering, energy sources, environmental performance measures, and so forth.

We inherited an industrial site from the past century with derelict buildings and industrial machinery related to ship building, lumber products, and salt distribution. These lands have been transformed over time from inter tidal swamp, to land filled lots, to armour protected sea wall. Today the land is totally transformed; nothing remains the same except the feeling of timeless walking paths along the water’s edge.

Our collective dream of a better future became our 2010 Olympic Dream to host the winter games and to welcome the athletes to our village. Some twelve years later the Copenhagen Convention is about to convene and in another two months the games will open. Signs of life have appeared in the village and it’s environs, the riparian zone has re-established along the shoreline, the birds have returned to feed, a habitat island has been constructed and planted, spawning fish have returned to the area, the constructed wetland is hosting new life, the stacks from the new sewer heat recovery plant are venting steam for the first time.

Vancouver designers and builders have invented and built a village of high performance buildings and memorable public spaces. One of these buildings is a net zero building that will sell excess heat back to the new energy utility. The new district energy system utilizes up to 70% renewable fuel. Most of the buildings have roof top gardens, collect and use rainwater. The project has become a model of actions that can be taken elsewhere across the globe and so we warmly welcome all our visitors from near and afar to “Vancouver Green Capital” as they visit Winter Games.

For more information, visit the Challenge Series.

One Comment

  1. I have high hopes for this South East False Creek, especially once all the developments on the south side of W. 1st have filled in. It should be a great place to live, and play.