Westbank has built a practice around long-term commitments to artistry, sustainability and city-building. These commitments underlie an orientation towards projects like Woodwards, Vancouver House, Mirvish Village, Telus Garden and Oakridge – catalysts for larger change that go beyond the borders of the projects themselves. We are here to create. To provoke. To ignite. We are the vehicle for a new movement of cultural expression.

As the practice matures, we have become more ambitious. With every new project reflecting our commitment to the philosophy behind Gesamkunstwerk, or in our recent work the Japanese philosophy behind layering, the net effect is that our work becomes much more complex and far-reaching.

The core of Westbank’s mission is to create a body of work with a high degree of artistry that helps foster more equitable and beautiful cities. Westbank is active across Canada and in the United States, with projects including luxury residential, Five Star hotels, retail, office, rental, district energy systems, affordable housing initiatives and public art. Established in 1992, we are one of North America’s leading developers, with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Seattle, Shanghai, Beijing, Taiwan, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shenzhen and over 25 billion dollars of projects completed or under development.

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May 13, 2014

Westbank Salon Series: Andy Yan Recap

It was our pleasure to welcome Andy Yan, a senior urban planner at Bing Thom Architects and researcher at BTworks, as the latest Westbank Salon Series guest speaker. On the evening’s agenda was “Figuring Out Vancouver: Trends to Consider in City-Building”, presented by Andy in a series of graphs with insightful data and images on the state of Vancouver.

He kicked off his salon by talking about our exceptional social infrastructure, and that being reason enough for him to come back after studying at UCLA and wanting to give back to his home city. Interesting data placed Vancouver on par more with Calgary than Toronto or Montreal in terms of density and single family home dwellings, while another study showed that 52% – 61% of places in Vancouver are investor-owned.


In addition, other data showed people over 55 coming into Vancouver to settle, while the younger demographic is either leaving or moving out of the downtown core to areas where housing is much more affordable. This begged the question of how Vancouver can keep the young and youthful in the downtown core, to push boundaries and keep up vital city energy. For Andy, human connection and human usability need serious consideration when designing buildings, especially with an aging population.


Andy ended his talk with a poignant statement on the ethics of city-building: “It isn’t about what we do. It is about why we do it.”

We couldn’t agree more.

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