As transportation (bike lanes!!) appears to be receding as a hot cultural change issue, housing density’s noise level is rising.  This arguement won’t likely get quite so hot, and may take much longer to resolve. What with the Provincial Gov’t (and all its allies, stooges and agents) continuing to argue the case for (and massively fund) sprawl, strip malls, freeways and paving farmland for cheesy suburbs. After all, it worked just fine in the case of the Burrard Bridge (Kits and Dunbar become suburbs), Lions Gate Bridge (opened up North and West Vancouver to car-oriented development); Oak Street Bridge (thousands of acres of Richmond farmland), the Massey Tunnel and so on.

Here’s a few things going on.

lausterFirst, this from UBC Professor Nathanael Lauster Abandon the Dream Home… You’ll Be Happier“.  He argues along a familiar track — too much land is devoted to housing too few people. He discusses Vancouver as a city pointing to the future of more diverse development, with a long way to go. And he’s not one to cloak his thoughts in fluffy words:

He calls the single-family house an “invasive parasite.”

“I’m not opposed to the house as part of a set of broader, diverse ways of living in the city,” Lauster insists, “but I am opposed to regulations that set aside land for houses and houses alone.” Too many houses, he argues, are bad for cities, bad for urban dwellers, and bad for diversity. . .

. . .Before policy can open those areas to more diversity in housing, Lauster says, a cultural shift is needed, “redefining what it means to be a success.” Today’s parents, he says, need to accept that kids can grow up healthy and happy without doing it in a house.

“Making that culture shift is trickier than making policy shifts,” he said. “But I think policy shifts help us move towards that culture shift.”

With thanks to Christopher Cheung in The Tyee.

Prof Lauster has a book on the subject “The Death and Life of the Single-Family House“.  It’s introduction is HERE.

Next, the City of Lougheed:  your local, friendly $7 B transit-oriented development: a 40-acre site in Burnaby being turned into a neighbourhood of 23 high-rise dwellings (25-65 stories), walkable central galleria cum boulevards, major mall and so on.  Eventually to deliver 11,000 residential units, over a period of 30 years.

lougheed-aerial

Thanks to Kenneth Chan at VanCity Buzz for this overview of the City of Lougheed. And to Michael Kluckner for his thoughts on it earlier this year in Price Tags.

It’s a big dollar vote by Shape Living in favour of compact and dense development, that makes me happy to see, along with its focus on transportation alternatives.  This in stark contrast to the Tsawassen Mills car-dependent sprawl-oriented mall and adjacent car suburb, which in my mind are at serious risk of failure. And I’m hoping that the Jericho and Heather developments will go dense and transit-oriented, and not follow in the Tsawassen mold.

Fueled by infrastructure investments and improved transportation access, Shape Living’s master-planned City Centres are strategically located on SkyTrain’s rapid transit lines, providing residents with unsurpassed connections to Vancouver’s downtown core, YVR and beyond. Our bold developments will thrive from the success of SkyTrain’s $1.6 billion Millennium Line as well as the construction of the $1.4 billion Evergreen Line. By positioning homes directly on transit, we offer a sustainable way to live and freedom from car ownership.

lougheed

And last, thoughts from elsewhere on density and reshaping the city continue to pop up. “Waking Up to Shorter Commutes” in the New York Times discusses transportation funding in the USA.

On Nov. 8, there will be about 45 ballot proposals across the country that could raise nearly $200 billion for transportation improvements.

Many local officials say they have no choice but to raise taxes to invest in transportation, especially in mass transit, because their highways are clogged and more people are moving to cities.