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City Making in Paradise

Nine Decisions that Saved Vancouver

by Michael Harcourt & Ken Cameron
with Sean Rossiter

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list price: $24.95
published: 2007
publisher: Douglas & McIntyre

This critical work explores the issues and citizen action that made Vancouver one of the world's most livable cities -- an international urban poster child -- and challenges policy-makers and the public to reinvigorate the debate for the next generation of successful sustainable city building.

Time and again, Vancouver is recognized internationally as one of the best places to live. It achieved that reputation by breaking rules and forging its own brand of North American urbanism. This compelling book details the nine most important decisions made in the Greater Vancouver region since the 1940s. Authors Mike Harcourt and Ken Cameron, themselves key players in several of these developments, reveal the political machinations, the ideological struggles and the personal commitment that lay behind each one. By tracing today's successes back to their roots, they illustrate their central theme: that cities are the result of the daily choices we make as leaders, activists and citizens.

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Editorial Reviews

"The book's value for anyone interested in the future of the west coast is indisputable. But the similarities in urban history between Vancouver and Toronto means there are lessons here for Torontonians...In this case we might do well to look west for guidance in city-making."

— Spacing Magazine

"[Vancouver's] livability is no accident, as City Making makes clear. The book...argues that choices at all levels of government have made our city unique...Harcourt is not unfamiliar with plannerese, but City Making is a civilian's book; think of it as a manual for the GVRD's operating system."

— Georgia Straight

"What makes City Making an interesting read...is the processes by which its leaders go about achieving their laudable goals. For Greater Vancouverites, City Making provides valuable insight into the decisions that shaped their region. Those who live in urban centres outside British Columbia, however, may find the book all the more compelling for the different models of governance it espouses."

— Building Magazine
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About the Authors

Michael Harcourt

Ken Cameron has held senior planning and management positions with the City of New Westminster and the Greater Vancouver Regional District since the late 1970s. He is CEO of the British Columbia Homeowner Protection Office.
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Ken Cameron

Mike Harcourt is a former premier of British Columbia (1991-96), mayor of Vancouver (1980-86) and city alderman (1972-80.) He is chair of the Prime Minister's Advisory Committee for Cities and Communities.
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Sean Rossiter

Sean Rossiter's hockey idol growing up was Glenn Hall, the original butterfly goaltender. He is the author of a dozen books, including The Immortal Beaver: The World's Greatest Bush Plane and The Chosen Ones: Test Pilots in Action and has written extensively about hockey, including nine Hockey the NHL Way books. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.
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