Little Mountain Redevelopment: Meeting #1 // The Stanley King Experience

Meeting #1
The Stanley King Experience
Originally Experienced: Feb 3, 2010

In the words of the immortal Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein ll: “Let’s start at the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start…”

In recent meetings of the Advisory Committee I’ve heard a tone that mixes exhaustion and authority in the voice of architect James Cheng, when he proclaims that: “We’ve been meeting for a year and half…!” And he’s right. The community knows that – they’ve attended all of them, unpaid. The community also attended both Open Houses in June of this year, and the reaction to the density models was unanimously negative. I’ll link to the charts in the next posting. But let’s get back to the beginning…

In February of 2010, the community of Little Mountain came out on mass, put aside preconceptions or prejudices, and 3 hours of their time to engage in a workshop led by Stanley King. The ideas generated were fresh and inspiring. 20% of those ideas were incorporated into the architects current (July 2011) plans. The other 80% vanished. What was the point of that exercise?

Right Here. I’ve provided a link to the City of Vancouver website: Little Mountain Site Design Workshop hosted by Stanley King
You just won’t see most of these images and comments mentioned anywhere else. That’s why I’ve subtitled the short clip “the feel-good exercise”.

The exercise was one of documenting “community values” which were to become the “performance criteria” of the developer’s vision as reflected through the work of the architect. Stanley King urged us to: Look at OUR drawings, compare them to the ones James Cheng is NOW showing us and ask, “how did he incorporate our drawings into his housing plan?”

To take one example: Where are the community gardens? Even the Olympic Village now has a community garden.

Below, is the 2 short minute clip. You can access the longer 20 minute version of Meeting #1 by clicking on this link.

Little Mountain Redevelopment: Meeting #1 The Stanley King Experience! from David Vaisbord on Vimeo.

David Vaisbord
Little Mountain Housing

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2 thoughts on “Little Mountain Redevelopment: Meeting #1 // The Stanley King Experience

  1. I had an interesting experience the other day before attending a friend’s
    dinner party at a condo in the Olympic Village. I explored the shoreline
    just west of their building, where there is an experimental garden. In this
    garden at the water’s edge they are growing veggies in recycled things,
    like pallets, burlap sacks, various found objects. It is a complete contrast to
    the Olympic Village condos. It made me think that that is what is missing
    in these large high-end developments – there is no sense of some sort of
    organic tactile relationship with place and community. I think people were
    trying to get at some of these ideas in the first design process at Little
    I don’t know enough about the design and economics of these large urban
    developments but I wonder if there is a way to create a more vibrant
    community and allow for a more creative, interactive, tactile relationship to
    place. If not, I think (from what I see in the architect’s recent drawings) the
    development at the Little Mountain site could easily turn out to be a repeat
    of what exists at the Olympic Village.

  2. your documentation of the little mountain project is fascinating and so important. You have captured the co-design process accurately. Co-design artists work hard to be the hand for the mind’s eye of the participants. I observe that the citizens feel an ownership of the images they created. Thank you for continuing to remind people of the designs that emerged that day.

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