You say the 2011 Vancouver riots, we say a victory for modern 'urban place-making'

Some of you may remember, after Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, seeing this op-ed in the Globe and Mail:

Like many other suburban politicians, Ms. Rasode and her fellow councillors are grappling with a dilemma of urban place-making, brought home by the Stanley Cup playoffs: What spaces do we have for people to gather in public? Where is the heart of our city? And can we manufacture a heart if we have to?

As urban designers have long known, great cities provide the kinds of spaces that human beings seem to need as part of their pro-social wiring.

“When big things happen, people want to be able to engage with other folks,” says Andrew Pask of Vancouver Public Space Network, an organization that encourages the creation and preservation of the kind of non-assigned space that allows people to connect. “It's one of the few times when social barriers drop and people will engage with strangers.”

Typically, the best public spaces are somewhat enclosed spots that are already popular pedestrian areas, like Vancouver’s well-defined celebration street, Granville Mall.
When big things happen, eh? By now, everybody in the western hemisphere has seen the big thing that happened...
Angry, drunken fans ran wild Wednesday night after the Vancouver Canuks' 4-0 loss to Boston in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, setting cars and garbage cans on fire, smashing windows, showering giant TV screens with beer bottles and dancing atop overturned vehicles.

"We have a small number of hooligans on the streets of Vancouver causing problems," Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a statement. "It's absolutely disgraceful and shameful and by no means represents the city of Vancouver...We have had an extraordinary run in the playoff, great celebration. What's happened tonight is despicable."

Police said they had reports of four stabbings, though a spokeswoman for the city would not confirm them.

BCTV reported that at least 58 people were injured. CBC reported that at least 10 remain hospitalized Thursday morning and some may face surgery, reports CBS affiliate KIRO.

Officers from around the region flooded into downtown. It took about four hours before downtown was quiet again.

At the Bay store, a high-end department store, looters were seen grabbing T-shirts and young women were seen leaving the store with MAC cosmetics. The landmark building was filling with smoke as people continued to take anything else they could get their hands on.

The violence started when fans set fire to a stuffed bear decorated to symbolize the Boston Bruins.
Say, where is that Bay store downtown? Why, if it isn't Granville Mall! The very enclosed public space that apparently the suburbs are lamenting they don't have. So far the only advocate seems to be Barinder Rasode, a politician so far left she goes by "Ms". Sure Surrey spent millions on "Surrey Central Plaza", but city governments find ways to spend money on all sorts of silly ideas.

Edmonton, for example, has been blowing money into Churchill Square for a decade now. Where is the central party location in this city? Why, it's the corner of 104th and Whyte! Much like Vancouver's mall, it turns out that a wealth of private businesses people like to frequent to have a good time is the real secret to gathering the riotous crowds (as happened on Whyte in 2001 and 2006). Meanwhile, suburban BC planners spending huge sums of money for suburban party places may want to read this article...
The pictures and videos coming out of Vancouver since last night's Stanley Cup loss are sickening, pure and simple. There's no excuse for people turning a disappointment like that into a mass riot, and in the days and weeks ahead, we can expect a thorough analysis as to what happened, why, and perhaps a piece or two of blame thrown around.

Perhaps the first bit will go to the mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson, for actively courting tens of thousands of extra fans into the city during the games to watch on huge screens.

What could go wrong, right?