Despite Urban Building Binge, Canada Remains a Country of Suburbs

A high-rise residential building boom has transformed the skylines of Vancouver and Toronto over the past two decades. But despite the evident rise in the popularity of urban living, Canada's suburbs and exurbs continue to dominate growth trends.
JMacPherson / flickr

Even in metro Vancouver, Canada's emblem of livable density, a healthy increase in the population in the city's "active core" and "transit suburbs" of 50,000 residents between 2006 and 2011 was easily surpassed by the 150,000 residents added to the area's auto suburbs and exurban areas. And the authors of a new paper are warning that the country as a whole "will become even more suburban in the future."

"Indeed, a new national study suggests that despite the boom in construction of condo towers in Vancouver and Toronto, five times as many Canadians are opting for single-family homes, townhouses or apartments on 'the suburban edges' of those cities rather than downtown condo living," reports Kelly Sinoski. 

“'We have vastly overestimated the number of people who live in the downtown or inner city versus the number of people in the overall suburbs,' said David Gordon, a professor in the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Queen’s University who co-published the new paper, Urban Nation?: Estimating the size of Canada’s suburban population."

“Two-thirds of Canada’s total population live in the suburbs,” Gordon said. “We’re not an urban nation at all, not even close.”

Full Story: Canada: A suburban nation


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