The Dunbar Southlands (DS) are located in the South-West of Vancouver and the neighborhood is connected to the Pacific Spirit National Park which is First Nation’s land. The Dunbar Street runs through the whole neighborhood and ends in the South. At the beginning of the street, there are many shops and also community spaces such as a recreational centre. However, there are also many shops that are currently closed or empty. Moreover, many houses and shops in the street look rather old and convey some sort of “vintage” feeling, with for example a very dated movie theater, which positively stood out. This cinema is called the Dunbar Theatre and started in 1935 as a one screen cinema and this has remained ever since (see picture below). This is one of the reasons why we have labeled the DS as a neighborhood “where time stood still”. If one moves further South in the neighborhood, the property gets bigger and the houses look more luxurious. Therefore, DS can be categorized as one of the richer neighborhoods as also further discussed in the “economic status” paragraph.
Description of the greenery
DS is rich of greenery. This neighbourhood contains eight parks in total. The most popular parks according to Tripadvisor are Chaldecott park, Balaclava park, Memorial park west and Musqueam Park. Next to this, the west side of this neighbourhood is connected to the pacific spirit national park. In the centre of the neighbourhood, where all the local shops were located, greenery was not really observed as most of the space was taken by the small shops directly neighbouring each other. However, moving to the south, the neighbourhood started to give a more green and flourishing impression. Observed was the relation between the economic status of the people living in the neighbourhood and the greenery. The houses were mostly single family residentials containing their own garden and greenery around the house, which were very well maintained, referring to the green and perfectly mowed grass (see picture below). During our stay in Dunbar Southlands, it was observed that even the off-property greenery is maintained, mainly by the adjacent living people. This made the neighbourhood look fairly clean with a lot of greenery giving it an impression of walking in a village instead of the suburbs of Vancouver. DS is known for its gardens and tree-lined streets according to discovervancouver.com and also shown in the picture taken by ourselves below. Moving further from Dunbar street into Soutlands, the properties people owned expanded, but still the greenery within the properties are very well maintained referring to the green and perfectly mowed grass. Further to the south, Dunbar is bordered with the Fraser River. Which borders also mainly consist of greenery and walking routes along the river through the woods. Many Golf club properties are integrates within the parks bordering the Fraser river.
- Diversity Economic statuses: 2/10
Seeing the multimillion dollar mansions including horse mansions, golf clubs and expensive cars, it is not expected that a lot of people living here are from low economic status. And therefore, this neighbourhood is not very inviting for people from low economic status to live here and exclusive.
- Diversity Ethnicity: 4/10
Great part of the people living in this neighbourhood are from asian and caucasian descent. Also all the people talked to were either asian or caucasian.
- Diversity age: 8/10
The age diversity within this neighbourhood is greatly seen. As foremost elderly and families live here, people from all different age categories were seen and also seen to include each other in activities. We had a nice conversation with an elderly woman playing cricket with her friends. She mentioned that they also had younger players and organized activities for all different age groups.
- Inclusion: 7/10
This rate is based on the fact that every shop had stickers on its window welcoming people from every gender, ethnicity etc. The community centre organizing workshop for different age categories with even a minecraft workshop for children. Fountains providing drink water for everyone, including dogs and other animals. During our visit, people were also inviting us to join them and were very eager to chat with us, without even knowing us. Therefore, we felt included within their community and not feeling as a tourist.
- Encounter spaces: 5/10
This neighbourhood contained parks, community centre, local stores and sports club which are important spaces where diverse people can encounter each other. However, as the streets are so quite, it is not a place where you can encounter a lot of people living in the neighbourhood. This could be due to the fact that people have their own property and garden to relax outside and therefore, do not need to go to for example parks or community centres.
Overall rating: 5/10
Dunbar Southland generally is a peaceful neighbourhood giving a relaxed vibe without the hectic often experienced in Vancouver centre. This neighbourhood is comparable to a small village containing only the most essential convenience store and small local shops. This neighbourhood is experienced to give a “vintage” feeling. As Dunbar Southland is located in the suburbs, the streets are quite empty, except for the main street where the shops are located. The community centre stood out during our visit, as a vibrant and central place for people in the neighbourhood for people to connect and organize activities and sports. The overload of well maintained greenery gives the visitor a more relaxed and happy feeling on a walk through.
The majority of the population of the DS is between 31 and 54 and highly educated. Statistics show that about 60% of the DS population has a university degree. Moreover, the average income is estimated to be $176,198. In contrast, the average income in Vancouver is about $65,000. Therefore, we can assume that the economic status in this neighborhood is rather high. Moreover, 80% of the inhabitants own houses instead of renting them. As DS mostly contains multi-million dollar properties, it can be concluded that most residents have a high economic status. Our observations within the neighbourhood match with the statistics. Especially in the Southland of the neighborhood, we saw large properties with a lot of horse stables. (Source: Government of the city of Vancouver, community profiles Dunbar Southlands Vancouver.ca)
This neighbourhood mainly contained single-family residences and therefore, people living here are mostly families with children and elderly. Great part are from Asian and Caucasian descent. We also observed mostly asian and caucasian people during a visit to the DS community centre, located in Memorial West Park. What we also observed during our visit, is that people living in this neighbourhood like to be outdoor spending their time doing games and sports.
You would fit in here best if you fit these criteria:
- Asian and Caucasian
- Want to escape from the hectic Vancouver centre, want to spend time in the outsides
- Have a family or are older in age (>30)