Comment 68312

By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 21, 2011 at 07:24:34

From the Vancouver link in Mahesh's comment:

The environmental and social benefits of higher density development can be achieved through a variety of building forms (townhouses, mid-rise apartments, laneway housing, etc) that don’t drastically change the character of a neighbourhood. Equating density directly with height is a common misconception. Many European cities have densities much higher than downtown Vancouver without having any high-rises at all. Height limits exist for a reason; high-rises done poorly can have very dramatic livability impacts. There are also diminishing returns (in terms of environmental and social benefits) as you go higher. For example, wood-framed construction can now go as high as 6 storeys, avoiding GHG-intensive concrete.

The City’s current zoning bylaw allows them to get community amenities (parks, schools, community centres, etc) partially funded by development through the rezoning process and through density bonusing. This is an important funding source that would be lost if all restrictions were lifted. The City’s EcoDensity program and land use policies do advocate for increased densities and a lot has been done already. All single family zoned areas, for example, can now legally include basement suites or separate laneway housing for rent.

Being strategic about where we target higher densities is also important (around rapid transit stations, near high concentrations of jobs, etc.). Putting a bunch of highrises out in the middle of nowhere won’t have any environmental benefits since their residents will still end up driving everywhere.

Ensuring a mix of housing types and tenures in all neighbourhoods, with a focus on higher-density affordable housing and rental suites should be the focus, not just opening the flood gates on high-rise construction.

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-08-21 07:25:01

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