Rowan Arundel


GEOG 471
GEOGRAPHY DEPARTMENT

  

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ABSTRACT

 


M
any cities in North America have been finding ways to combat urban sprawl. The theories of Smart Growth promote the ideas of creating dense communities which concentrate growth in already developed urban centres and nodes, while preserving green space and other land-uses. As of 2006, the EcoDensity Initiative in the City of Vancouver has been proposing a major plan to densify the city and according to proponents therefore improve "sustainability, liveability and affordability."  There has been some recent opposition to densification plans in Vancouver and, that even if density is needed,
many have also questioned how one decides where it should be added. There has been opposition in some neighbourhoods which have been prioritized for densification, such as the Norquay area in East Vancouver, and residents have claimed that these areas do not represent the logical choice of location to densify.

This project, firstly, examines the current density distributions in the City of Vancouver using GIS, basing the data on available residential land capacity, and looking at population as well as structural dwelling and bedroom densities. Secondly, the project selects various 'amenities' that are determined to be beneficial to an area planning densification. These factors are chosen based on principles and goals of Smart Growth and EcoDensity. The amenities selected were: transit accessibility to the CBD, local commercial nodes, parks, community centres and schools, and proximity rasters were then created for each of the amenities. Lastly, a Multi-Criteria Evaluation was conducted examining which areas matched the amenity requirements best based on determined weightings. The amenity MCE were also combined with current density data and therefore areas currently lacking density compared to their 'amenity' provision were able to be  identified.

The results showed several areas of the city had potential for densification, especially areas around East False Creek and also in neighbourhoods such as Shaughnessy, South Cambie, Oakridge and Riley-Park, where the new Canada Line will provide increased accessibility, other amenities are readily available, and the current densities are low. In terms of structural density, it was noted that many areas have 'bedroom surpluses' which could potentially be converted into suites and increase density without redevelopment, especially in Shaughnessy. Finally, it appears, according to the analysis' criteria, that the Norquay Area in East Vancouver that had been planned for imminent densification does not prove to be the logical area to prioritize redevelopment.