Photo: Ariana Gillrie
The DTES is easily misunderstood. Yes, it’s a socially fraught area—but it’s also a cooperative, resilient community. It’s chock full of upscale spaces, but hopscotching one’s way from a trendy restaurant to a hip lounge means missing so much in between. This is Vancouver’s original urban heart, and it is gritty drag revues at punk bars just as much as it is bootstrappy nanocafés in Railtown (the northernmost tip on and around Railway Street). It defies easy categorization, and it’s a palimpsest that defines this city better than anywhere else.
Real Estate: As the City Charges East…
A push to densify along the East Hastings corridor, along with the booming popularity of Gastown, Railtown, Crosstown and Strathcona, has put a squeeze on the Downtown Eastside, which has traditionally been home to many of the city’s poorest and most vulnerable. Now prices for everything from heritage conversions to new builds to “micro-suites” are shooting sky high as the area’s gentrification, which the Woodward’s development helped kick into high gear eight years ago, continues.
The controversy over a proposed Keefer Street development begs a big question: can we preserve our heritage and keep our neighbourhoods alive?