Vancouver East Housing Coop Illustrated Map.
The Vancouver East Housing Co-op recently asked me to join them on a walking tour and illustrate their co-op buildings. I was so surprised to learn some of the beautiful houses just off Commercial Drive aren’t actually owned by millionaires, but owned by co-op members.
The VEHC is a fascinating housing model: it’s houses “scattered” in a neighbourhood. There’s 5 sites. Since people don’t all live side by side, the Van East Housing Co-op had a get-to-know-your-co-op members event to tour each site and through some homes.
The event was as one-of-a-kind as their buildings. Our group – including kids, dogs, and accompanied by a violin player – toured each site and through some houses. I brought my sketchbook and paints with me. At each stop, there were snacks (delicious), people getting to know each other, and a place for me to sit and sketch as fast as I could. I also asked co-op members what was special about the architecture or places they lived.
At each place I looked for the details that you can’t get by researching Google Maps: the giant plum tree and accessible chair-lift, the hammock in the backyard, the details of the character houses, how the kids play together. We ended the afternoon with more snacks in a big shared backyard where there were 10 garden plots and huge trees.
When I got home, I re-painted the buildings and created the map using my notes.
Housing co-ops play an important role in providing affordable, long-term housing that builds community. Hope this maps shares some of that specialness.
Learn more about housing co-ops at the CHF BC, http://www.chf.bc.ca/.