Vancouver 101: Essential Readings

Commissioner Andy Yan created this list of essential readings on Architecture, planning, and design in Metro Vancouver for BTA Works:

With the help of the learned Twitter Followers of the Bing Thom Architects feed, here is a list of essential readings to understanding architecture, planning, design and city building in Vancouver and its region.

This list probably has some major gaps, but it is a try. We have focused on books that are still in print or somewhat still accessible through local booksellers.

If BTA Works inadvertently missed a favourite contemporary book about architecture, planning and design in Metro Vancouver, please feel free to send us an email and we’ll add it to the list.

Planning, Architecture, and Design

Berelowitz, Lance.  2005.  Dream City: Vancouver and the Global Imagination.  Douglas & McIntyre.

Cameron, Ken and Harcourt, Mike.  2007.  City Making in Paradise: Nine Decisions that Saved Vancouver. Douglas & McIntyre.

Campbell, Larry, Culbert, Lori, and Boyd, Neil.  2009.  A Thousand Dreams: Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and the Fight for its Future.  Greystone Books Ltd.

Coupland, Douglas.  2009.  City of Glass: Douglas Coupland’s Vancouver.  D&M Publishers’ Inc.

Delany, Paul.  1994.  Vancouver: Representing the Postmodern City.  Arsenal Pulp Press.

Design Centre for Sustainability.  2007.  Greater Vancouver GreenGuide: Seeding Sustainability.  New Society Publishers.

Enright, Robert.  2010.  Body Heat: The Story of the Woodward’s Redevelopment. Blueimprint.

Gutstein, Donald.  1975.  Vancouver Ltd.  James Lorimer & Company Ltd.

Hayes, Derek. 2005.  Historic Atlas of Vancouver.  Douglas & McIntyre.

Hern, Matt.  2010.  Common Ground in a Liquid City: Essays in Defense of an Urban Future.  Ak Press

Herzog, Fred.  2011.  Fred Herzog: Photographs. D&M Publishers Inc.

Hutton, Thomas.  2010.  The New Economy of the Inner City: Restructuring, Regeneration, and Dislocation in the 21st Century Metropolis. Routledge.

Itter, Carole and Marlatt, Daphne.  2011.  Opening Doors: In Vancouver’s East End: Strathcona.  Harbour Publishing.

Kluckner, Michael.  2006.  Vancouver Remembered.  Whitecap Books.

Kluckner, Michael. 2012. Vanishing Vancouver: The Last 25 Years.  Whitecap Books.

Kalman, Harold. 2012.  Exploring Vancouver: The Architectural Guide.  D&M Publishers Inc.

Kheraj, Sean. 2013.  Inventing Stanley Park: An Environmental History.  UBC Press.

Ley, David. 2010. Millionaire Migrants: Trans-Pacific Lifelines. Wiley.

Luxton, Donald.  Building the West: The Early Architects of British Columbia.  Talon Books.

MacDonald, Bruce.  1992.  Vancouver: Visual History.  Talon Books.

MacDonald, Christopher. 2010.  A Guidebook to Contemporary Architecture in Vancouver.  D&M Publishers Inc.

Mate, Gabor.  2009.  In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction.  Knopf Canada.

Metro Vancouver. 2011. Regional Growth Strategy: Vancouver 2040. Weblink.

Perez-Gomez, Alberto, Grabowski, Christopher, and Green, Jim.  2007.  Towards an Ethical Architecture: Issues within the Work of Gregory Henriquez. Simply Read Books.

Punter, John.  2004. The Vancouver Achievement. UBC Press.

Russwurm, Lani.  2013. Vancouver was Awesome. Arsenal Pulp Press.

Stouck, David.  2013.  Arthur Erickson: An Architect’s Life.  D&M Publishers Inc.

Soules, Matthew. 2013. The Livable Suburbanized City: Post Politics and a Vancouver Near You. Harvard Design Magazine (Weblink).

Walsh, Robert M. 2013.  The Origins of Vancouverism: A Historical Inquiry into the Architecture and Urban form of Vancouver, British Columbia.  University of Michigan Doctorate Dissertation (Weblink).

Winson Liscombe, Rhordri.  1997.  The New Spirit: Modern Architecture in Vancouver, 1938-1963.  The MIT Press.

Of course, in the spirit of pure transparency and disclosure, we think this book on another local architect is pretty cool too.

Social Histories of Metro Vancouver

Barman, Jean.  2007.  Stanley Park’s Secret: The Forgotten Families of Whoi Whoi, Kanaka Ranch, and Brockton Point.  Harbour Publishing.

Bown, Stephen.  2008.  Madness, Betrayal and the Lash: The Epic Voyage of Captain George Vancouver.  D&M Publishers Inc.

Barnholden, Michael.  2005.  Reading the Riot Act: A Brief History of Riots in Vancouver.  Anvil Press.

Cameron, Stevie.  2011.  On The Farm: Robert William Pickton and the Tragic Story of Vancouver’s Missing Women.  Knopf Canada.

Chong, Denise.  2006.  The Concubine’s Children: Portrait of a Family Divided.  Penguin Group Canada

City of Vancouver.  2014.  First Peoples: A Guide for Newcomers.  City of Vancouver. Web publication.

Davis, Chuck.  2011. The Chuck Davis History of Metropolitan Vancouver. Harbour Publishing.

Demers, Charles.  2009.  Vancouver Special.  Arsenal Pulp Press.

Gilmour, Julie.  2014.  Trouble on Main Street: Mackenzie King, Reason, Race and the 1907 Vancouver Riots.  Allen Lane Canada.

Kazimi, Ali.  (2011). Undesirables: White Canada and the Komagata Maru. D&M Publishers Inc.

Purvey, Diane and Belshaw, John.  2011. Vancouver Noir: 1930-1960. Anvil Press.

Vogel, Aynsley and Wyse, Dana.  2009. Vancouver: A History in Photographs. Heritage House Publishing.

Weyler, Rex.  2005.  Greenpeace: The Inside Story: How a Group of Ecologists, Journalists, and Visionaries Changed the World. Raincoast Books.

Yee, Paul.  Saltwater City: Story of Vancouver’s Chinese Community.  D&M Publishers Inc.



For access to the Harland Bartholomew documents, arguably the documents that started the contemporary planning era in 20th Century for the City of Vancouver and the region, please click here.

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