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Finding Middle Ground in the Density Debate

Writer Alex Marshall looks to Kitsilano, a Vancouver neighborhood, for urban infill done right. Skyscrapers and mid-rise developments aren't always necessary to achieve more people per square foot.
March 14, 2016, 1pm PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Outside planning circles, the prospect of dense development often conjures visions of high-rises, parking structures, and traffic: an end to tranquility. Alex Marshall discusses ways to compromise. 

In the Vancouver neighborhood of Kitsilano, "Developers and architects have gotten good at swelling these homes with additional rooms and floors without much altering their curb appearance. Along back alleys, new freestanding homes, locally called 'laneway houses,' have been added."

This kind of infill can radically increase density without changing how an area looks too much. "The one thing that hasn't come to Kitsilano, however, is new tall buildings. The scale and character of the neighborhood has stayed much the same as it was when artists and hippies rediscovered the rundown area in the 1960s."

Marshall suggests shared parking as a means to capitalize on square footage that now goes unused. "What is exciting is that technology, similar to that which is making Zipcars and Uber-style services possible, will probably make sharing a parking space easier."

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Published on Wednesday, February 17, 2016 in Governing
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