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Notebook on Cities and Culture S3E29: That’s Livin’ with Gordon Price

Colin Marshall sits above Hastings Street in Vancouver, British Columbia with Gordon Price, Director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University, former Councillor for the City of Vancouver, and creator of the electronic magazine Price Tags. They discuss his personal definition of “Vancouverism”; his city as a mid-20th-century version of 19th-century city-building; the balance of trying to maintain the place’s Edenic qualities while shipping out its natural resources; the D-word of density, and whether Vancouver’s West End ever really had the highest density in North America; how built environments age in place, passing from horror to heritage;  how building for the car worked, until it didn’t; “stroads,” like Los Angeles’ La Cienega, which combine the worst of streets with the worst of roads; budgets as the sincerest form of rhetoric; the role technology plays in our newfound adoption of transit; whether Los Angeles could become “the Vancouver of 2020” — or maybe 2030; how New York came from the brink, and what he saw during its decline; whether the Utopian question of how to prevent dullness matters to Vancouver; the erotic power of the surreptitious, the illegal, and whatever you can’t regulate; the element of his personal life that got him interested in cities, where he used to find them emblems of what had gone wrong in society; gay men as urban pioneers; and how cities can do better with whatever they’ve already got.

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