What does 'Vancouverism' and 'Manhattanization' Really Mean?

What does 'Vancouverism' and 'Manhattanization' Really Mean?

When you think of a major city your mind will often conjure up a city with the likes of New York, Toronto, or Los Angeles. You'll likely imagine the traffic congestion, crowded sidewalks,  and tall buildings polluting the skyline. Even though the image is not accurate for every city, it is the most common portrayal of how a city is imagined - or at least how it was imagined until Vancouverism took hold. 


image © Wiki Commons

image © Wiki Commons

In recent years, urban planners and developers have been demonstrating a shift from the iconic image of a city with tall skyscrapers and crowded streets, to a city with more green spaces. This idealized version of a city, could be said to be a result of Vancouverism which is mostly associated with combining deep respect for nature with enthusiasm for busy, engaging, active streets and dynamic urban life.

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Vancouverism is a result of careful, deliberate policies that help shape the city for what it is today. It is also about the protection of natural views. In Vancouver, there are 27 protected view corridors that have been established by the city. The zoning of these sections ensures that the view of the North Shore mountains, the Downtown skyline, and the surrounding water are not obstructed. 

image © Wiki Commons

image © Wiki Commons

Vancouverism is commonly thought of as a stark contrast to Manhattanization which is defined as congestion of an area by tall buildings.  Even though tall buildings exists in landscapes following the Vancouverism trend, you're not likely to find an abundance of them since the philosophy behind the trend involves considering ways to build urban environments while protecting the high quality of life for individuals. 

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So what's the main difference between the two? Well, traditionally, Manhattanization is seen negatively where as Vancouverism is put in a positive position. This is because people do not like the idea of congestion, heavy pollution, or unsightly views that are perceived from Manhattanization. Instead, they prefer the idea of greener cities, better bike lanes, and skylines that are regulated. We can expect to see an incline in the trend for greener, more sustainable cities that demonstrate more Vancouverism principles and less Manhattanization in the future.


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