Rowan Arundel

GEOG 471







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is various information that can be gathered from the maps created, however, a central point is that these spatial layers do not provide a final result in creating decisions about the future of the city or of specific neighbourhoods but are rather useful as tools in the process of deciding future urban planning initiatives.

In terms of the information to be gathered from the maps, there are various principal points which were revealed in the projects' GIS analysis and these can be summarized as follows:

  • Using 'Residential Land Area' makes for a more accurate depiction of density per actual land capacity
  • Many areas of the inner residential 'suburbs' within the city seem to meet the criteria chosen for potential future densification
  • The future Canada Line Skytrain provides a lot of potential for densification in currently low density neighbourhoods
  • Several Westside neighbourhoods had a strong population 'deficit' according to how well they matched the amenity criteria
  • The Norquay neighbourhood in East Vancouver does not in fact appear to be the logical area to prioritize densification

The maps created in this project reveal in-depth and useful information about the built form of Vancouver and the distribution of land-use intensity. Guiding the urban built form is undoubtedly an important tool, not only in managing the structural functions of a large concentration of people but also in affecting and improving people's actual interaction with their urban environment. Densification does perhaps provide a great opportunity in meeting some ecological, social and economic goals but it is also an issue that has the potential of negatively impacting current successes if done poorly. Changes to established neighbourhoods have often been met with resistance, and in many cases rightfully so, as can be demonstrated by the protests against the highway construction through Strathcona in the 1960s. It is the role of a community to protect those aspects that make it significant and to
critically scrutinize changes imposed on by an outside or governmental force. Whereas there are definitely some potential improvements through densification, legitimate questions have been raised about changes being proposed in municipally imposed initiatives such as EcoDensity where political and business interests might come into conflict with neighbourhood residents' goals.

This project provided a useful look at the spatial data behind a densification of Vancouver and revealed the importance of creating a-political tools to aide the unbiased examination of controversial issues. As this project exemplifies, GIS definitely provides the potential of creating these useful tools and, although these maps do not advocate densifying any particular part of Vancouver without taking into account the myriad of other social and communal factors that are involved, they are useful steps at looking at the underlying patterns that exist in the city in order to formalize proper planning decisions.

Future Research

As previously discussed, the primary function of the layers and data created is as a tool in examining the density distribution and future potential and not for any immediate action. The data created is extensive within the specific criteria examined but there are numerous other factors that could be investigated in future comprehensive research. One point that was mentioned in the discussion of results is the fact that the Multi-Criteria Evaluation weightings can significantly affect the results. Future research could look at different weightings of MCE criteria and more importantly could add other factors and data, whether more amenity based data or census information. It is with this in mind that the important final data layers have been provided for public download on the Data page.