Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC, has been named one of the world’s ten best public spaces by the Project for Public Spaces. They write:

Within walking distance from downtown in a high-rise residential neighborhood with a population density similar to Manhattan, [Stanley Park] is easily accessible by foot, bike and car. Once there, you can take in some of the most spectacular natural settings of any public park in North America.

Vancouver also got a plug in today’s P-I as a model for Seattle’s plan to encourage greater urban density. Sightline board member and former Vancouver City Councillor Gordon Price, quoted in the article, has done a fabulous job recording, both in prose and stunning photographs, the development of Vancouver as a "great place" in his electronic journal Price Tags. We have learned a lot from Gordon about how to build great urban neighborhoods.

In our parallel blog on the fundamentals of sustainability, we suggest that one of the key principles ought to be to Build Great Places. Vancouver, with Gordon’s help, has clearly taken this idea to heart.

What do you think? Is urban design a mere luxury, or does it go to the core of how we function as a society? Does it determine how cohesive our communities are, or how lightly we tread on the environment?

And, if so, how should we build our great places? What does this mean for the choices we make today and the way we plan for tomorrow?

Please comment on this principle here.