Kitsilano’s tranquil, green streets hide the third highest population density in Vancouver, distantly trailing the West End but not far behind Fairview. Mount Pleasant is likely to climb as a dozen high-density developments populate the eastern end of South False Creek, but has not yet overtaken the many rambling wood-frame apartments and secondary suites west of Burrard.
Kitsilano Pool is, for many in the area, the apotheosis of high-amenity, medium-density living, an ideal that could never be properly realized among the towers of the downtown peninsula. Even Second Beach Pool, a great outdoor experience in its own right, is set amid the towering cedars of Stanley Park, not the towering glass or concrete seen a kilometre east. Could either pool work in David Lam or George Wainborn Park? Would Kitsilano Pool be the same without its seaside village charm, and would Second Beach Pool be so transporting were it removed from the forest?
A looming question for Kitsilano is whether and how the neighbourhood will densify. The gentle stroll or bike ride to Kitsilano Pool on a sunny weekend is a rare thing in our increasingly populated world, the sublime expression of a holiday at home without ribbons of cement or shadows of concrete. But the geographic and demographic fate of Kitsilano is to house many more people than it currently does. Can Elysium grow to accommodate more, or is lotusland a limited fragment in history, to be forever transformed by higher human density in decades ahead?