5 Principles for ‘Good’ Neighbourhood Urbanism

Cities should make policy at the macro level that can be fine-tuned as it is applied to specific places. A ‘menu of options’ is presented here meeting both criteria.

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jericho lands near ubc

JERICHO LANDS NEAR UBC

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1. Human Scale Urbanism

  1. Build Neighbourhoods… (not “downtowns” or “regional town centers” or skytrain hubs like Joyce Station, Brentwood and Metrotown).
  2. In neighborhoods where full build out has been achieved use Incremental Intensification and retrofitting as the Engine of Change .
  3. Reassess the need to Double local populations in Vancouver and elsewhere. Grow new small towns on the periphery of the region instead.
  4. Build modern tram instead of skytrain.

70th ave near oak street

70TH AVENUE NEAR OAK STREET

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2. Rebuild the Neighbourhood Cores

  1. Retrofit automobile-driven suburbia with human-scale, walking places
  2. Add new destinations @ easy walking distance
  3. Practice historic preservation
  4. Build people places
  5. Add tram nodes

commercial near 22nd ave

COMMERCIAL NEAR 22ND AVENUE

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3. Make Walkable Districts

  1. Build the hierarchies of Place: neighbourhood, district, street and square.
  2. Zone districts by building type: bungalow, row house, apartment.
  3. Integrate shopping & work place

 

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broadway near city hall

BROADWAY NEAR CITY HALL

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4. Revitalize Arterials as Livable Streets

  1. Improve transit by adding B-Lines & tram
  2. Pinch car commuter trips
  3. Green sink adding continuous rows of trees
  4. Widen the sidewalks to support higher levels of social functioning

 

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w boulevard at 46th ave

WEST BOULEVARD NEAR 46TH AVENUE

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5. Return Affordability

  1. Working families own their own houses
  2. Affordable rental = mortgage helper suites
  3. Build ground-oriented units with front doors on the street, door yards; rear yards; and roof-top decks
  4. Greet neighbours recycling waste lane-side

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nanaimo near 16th ave

NANAIMO STREET NEAR GRANDVIEW HIGHWAY

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A MENU OF CHOICES

These principles can function as a ‘menu of choices’ adopted by local governments for city-wide use, then applied on a neighborhood by neighborhood basis in consultation with local residents.

Local community groups meeting with their elected representatives can incorporate the ‘Principles for ‘Good’ Neighbourhood Urbanism’ in their presentations. 

Each principle can inflect in response to local conditions creating ‘the meaning of place’.

This process unfolds over time. Thus, a simple instruction set like the one provided here can serve as a checklist in the future ensuring that neighborhood projects stay laser-focused on their primary objective of making the meaning of place.

 

PHOTOS: BY GOOGLE STREET VIEW… NOT A TOWER IN SIGHT.

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