“Fantasy City is solipsistic; isolated from surrounding neighborhoods physically, economically and culturally. As such, it is the epitome of what Christine Boyer has termed the ‘city of illusion’ -a metropolis which ignores the reality of homelessness, unemployment, social justice and crime, while eagerly transforming sites and channels of public expression into ‘promotional spaces.'”
John Hannigan, Fantasy City: Pleasure and Profit in the Postmodern Metropolis
That’s Entertainment (January 20, 2014) considered Vancouver’s historic function as an entertainment venue, a betotemed urban playground of bars and parks, vaudeville and mountains.
Almost four years on, with the city’s economy firmly attached to global capital flows, this role is taking on mass. The ground is buckling, deforming, and adapting: space and view turn private, trees are uprooted but live on as decoration and marketing, homes mutate into hotels -all in the service of a growing wave of short- and long-stay tourists sharing a taste for corporate-circumscribed distraction.
The $600 million Parq Vancouver casino is scheduled to come online in the Fall of 2017. “An international destination,” with an “architecture inspired by mountains, escarpments, gorges and valleys” and its own private park six stories above grade.
Vancouver-based Reviver Sport proposes CitySurf, a wave pool to be located in False Creek. Quarantined by a giant membrane, surfers nose ride their boards in peace, secure from “Shit” Creek’s notoriously E. coli-rich tides.
Vancouver City Council removes Park Board oversight of the PNE -and any hope of achieving the expansion of green space in Hastings Park- then approves $1.5 million for detailed designs of a $120 million, 10 year, expansion of Playland and its transformation into a “world class theme park.” Led by Forrec, developers for Universal Studios, Legoland and Six Flags, design elements will include a “Main Street,” graffiti stations and a “narrow green strip called ‘The Park.'”
So, a city-themed theme park -a corporate fantasy built on a civic illusion.