Case Studies

Re-Imagine Downtown Vancouver 2040

Type: Case Studies
Topic: Community and Customer Relations
By Maureen Healey, ABC
29 September 2016

gq-logoVancouver, British Columbia, is consistently ranked as one of the most liveable cities in the world (2015 Quality of Living and 2014 Mercer surveys: #1 in North America, 5th in the world). The city is also a major tourism destination with 9 million people visiting in 2015 – a new record – with international growth up 8.3% (Tourism Vancouver). The Conference Board of Canada rated Vancouver the top economic performer among Canadian cities in 2015.

Downtown Vancouver is at the heart of the city’s economic and human prosperity. It is home to 80,000 residents, 140,000 employees, 8,000 businesses, a major cruise ship terminal, an active goods port and over $16 billion in commercial properties contributing more than $150 million in property taxes. It is the preferred gathering place for year-round festivals and events, and home to major convention, retail, and entertainment venues in a 90-block catchment area in the city’s central business district.

The Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (DVBIA) represents all downtown businesses through a levy paid on their property taxes. Its advocacy activities are guided by a member-driven, board-approved five-year strategic plan in the key areas of access and mobility, safety and security, and place making and marketing. It has been an active civic partner in shaping the city’s current thriving state.

In fact, as a leader and influencer in shaping downtown, 86% of its members surveyed in 2014 in a series of post-event surveys (about 150 Engaged Members) had a high level of confidence in the association’s role.

As the DVBIA looked to celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2015, it was an opportunity to capitalize on our influence, leverage the city’s growing success, and create a legacy project that would set up downtown for continued prosperity over the next 25 years. It was an opportunity to engage with a wide spectrum of those who live, work, play, learn and do business in downtown to develop a collaborative and compelling story of the 2040 downtown Vancouver experience.

This narrative or vision would highlight how downtown Vancouver could enhance its reputation as a destination of choice for businesses, investors, residents, and visitors alike. The results would be turned back to the community for various groups or individuals to champion specific ideas. It would also serve as enhanced community engagement in the creation of the DVBIA’s next five-year strategic plan (2017 – 2022); enabling us to focus on big ideas within our wheelhouse.



Maureen Healey, ABC

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