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New Urban Agenda, UNESCO, View Corridors, Public Resources, Urban Commons


Majestic views of mountains, sky, and sea are essential components of the visual and experiential identity of Vancouver, Canada. The experience of these vistas supplements other urban realities, such as suffocating living expenses and inequality. This Article explores a recent example of urban contestation over Vancouver’s view corridors as a shared public resource and public asset. As this Article explores, exclusion from access to public assets that provide meaning to daily life — such as the mountain views in question — damage an urban citizen’s sense of identity and belonging in a city through a hierarchical experience of access and possession. Through the example of contestation over the management and preservation of Vancouver’s view corridors, and the digitally networked connective action and protest that resulted, this Article also engages the notion of the urban commons as a lens through which these urban contestations can be framed and situates the relevance of these questions of access of urban citizens to public views within the context of UN-Habitat’s New Urban Agenda and UNESCO’S “Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape.”