Episode 16: How Can We Revitalize Downtown Victoria? Roundtable Chat with Franc D'Ambrosio and Everest MacDonald


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How can we revitalize downtown Victoria and add to its built environment and design? In this episode, Matt and Jeremy welcome two of the leading architects and designers in Victoria to the podcast -- Franc D'Ambrosio of DAU and Everest MacDonald of Elevate Design Studio -- to discuss the following questions: 1) If you could change three things about the built environment or design of downtown Victoria, what would they be? And 2) What is one thing about downtown Victoria that you would *not* want to change? Matt and Jeremy add their ideas to the mix for an engaging and surprising roundtable discussion.

Here's a short summary of the ideas discussed:

Franc: 1) New system of squares and plazas, 2) Expansion of bike lane network, 3) Enforcement of speed limits and bylaws. One thing not to change: The scale of the streets.

Everest: 1) New public square dedicated to grief and loss, 2) Integrate east and west sides of Wharf Street and create better access to water, 3) More public murals [added after recording!]. One thing not to change: Maintain the historical and mid-rise character of downtown Victoria.

Matt: 1) Public spaces for kids including new building and rooftop playground in the parking lot below Bastion Square, 2) Municipally owned music venue, 3) Downtown dog park at Harris Green. One thing not to change: The historical, blue-collar, and Indigenous character of the city to ensure that Victoria is distinct as BC’s capital city.

Jeremy: 1) World-class waterfront building to house The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and the Maritime Museum of BC, 2) New aquarium and aquatic research centre, 3) Government street shut to traffic for pedestrian zone, patios, and food trucks. One thing not to change: The character of the Songhees Walkway.

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