Mixing in Mid-Rise: An Analysis of the Key Factors in the Redevelopment of Vancouver's Neighbourhood Shopping Streets

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Pradinuk, Jonathan
Urban Planning , Redevelopment , Smart Growth , Vancouver
The challenge of housing a growing population on limited land has forced the City of Vancouver to densify its low-rise residential neighbourhoods outside the downtown. One strategy involves encouraging the development of intensification corridors by redeveloping all transit accessible arterials with mid-rise buildings. Large stretches on many of Vancouver’s arterials have long functioned as neighbourhood shopping streets with a fine-grain fabric of older one and two-storey commercial buildings. Many view these sites as Vancouver’s ‘unused zoned capacity’ since they are close to transit and other services. However, there are many challenges confronting redevelopment despite as-of-right zoning to build at least four storeys high. While there have been a number of projects built recently that have overcome these challenges, not all completed projects contribute equally to the public realm. Therefore, the outcome of this report is a set of recommendations to improve the viability of redevelopment projects on these neighbourhood shopping streets while also improving their quality. There are many benefits of redevelopment that stand to not be fully realized if there is not a greater understanding of these crucial development factors.
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