Here is a topical criticism of zoning in Vancouver, especially in relation to our glut of single-family housing. For a region on the cusp of absorbing a million more people, placing picturesque Dunbar streetscapes beside immense CD-1 towers makes less and less sense. When will we see more multiple-family zoning in Vancouver? Indeed, does our system of zoning hinder the long-term livability (and affordability) of our city more than it helps?
Vancouver has a complex set of zoning measures, a legacy of zoning rules that shaped the cities of North America during the time of the industrial revolution, a period of rapid growth and social instability.
Zoning was originally implemented to keep crowds, noise, and industry separate from single family homes; to ensure the continuity of urban spaces by obliging developers to follow the guidelines of an established community plan. These plans were a crucial step forward during the industrial 19th and 20th centuries, a period of rapid growth, disease, and conflict (1).
Nowadays we live in a world of declining employment and stagnant wages, land is expensive, automobiles are pricey, and public transit is costly. The risk of pandemics and global conflict is reduced – no one of sound mind wants to send the civilized world back to 1917. So why then is the largest chunk of land in Vancouver reserved for the automobile and large…
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