Refreshing Vancouver's Density Debate

<p>As Vancouver weighs the importance of density in the city, some say the debate needs a refresh.</p>
February 9, 2008, 1pm PST | Nate Berg
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"An element of skepticism has entered the debate about the value of density. Given our urban trajectory over the past four decades, this is as startling as not liking snow on Grouse Mountain, or refusing an invitation to dim sum."

"What's worse, the grumbling is not coming from dwellers in downtown's condo forest who are about to lose their last remaining view to yet another tower, but from residents of long standing in some of our lowest density neighbourhoods, on both Eastside and Westside."

"EcoDensity is getting whacked as a mere developer's ploy, in part because of mischievous 11th hour add-ons to its draft policies, such as counselors Suzanne Anton's proposal to lift building height limits in Chinatown and the Downtown Eastside, permitting a calamitous march of towers through our most historic areas."

"Maybe Vancouver's pro-density urban ethos of the past few decades was too good to last."

"Almost monthly, I host architects and city planners from around the world on tours of our fast-changing city. My guests, especially the Americans, are amazed Vancouver has not seen more community resistance to our radical tests of how many people can live happily together on one city clock. My urbanist colleagues too often see their own residents (and opportunistic politicians) still advocating variations on suburbia - low-density, non-diverse, car-oriented neighbourhoods that waste land, energy and quality of life."

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Published on Friday, February 8, 2008 in The Globe & Mail
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