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Old 06-04-2013, 09:27 AM
 
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The Latest Urban Development Trend: Less Elbow Room - WSJ.com

good article in WSJ.
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Old 06-04-2013, 03:29 PM
 
Location: Laurentia
5,593 posts, read 6,382,089 times
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Well, I'm not a WSJ subscriber so I don't have access, but if by less elbow room they mean less space between dwellings I have personally observed that phenomenon, although from what I've seen I wouldn't label it a "latest trend". It strikes me as odd that there's less and less room in cars and homes and yards, and at the same time people are getting bigger in size . If anything I'd think the fattening up would prompt a trend of more elbow room.

I personally detest suburbs that pack people in like sardines, since it combines the disadvantages of owning your own home and being responsible for maintenance yet you're still up close and personal with neighbors. This especially goes for more expensive homes - if I were to spend upwards of $500 000 on a home, I'd at least want a big chunk of land to go with it; 1 acre at the very least, though ideally I'd go for 20-50 acres and custom-build a home. Then again, that's more rural than suburban - the population density of such a development would top out at 100 people per square mile, which is much less dense than what is thought of as a suburb. Anyway, I digress...
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Old 06-04-2013, 07:49 PM
 
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Interesting article. I too am not a WSJ subscriber, but I was able to access it through Google.

I somewhat like the idea of having a quaint little cottage in the middle of an urban neighborhood. You get the benefits of living close by to local amenities, but also you have your own private space. You have a little bit more breathing room than you would in a condo.It also means some extra income for the property owner.

But I'm skeptical that this will have any effect on Vancouver's insane housing prices. This is mostly caused thanks to the city's green zone (which basically serves as a ugb), poorly thought out land use controls, and an influx of migrants from Canada and from abroad.

In the future the high costs of living will most likely force the city to abandon the green zone idea and develop the farmland around the city.
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Old 06-04-2013, 08:44 PM
 
Location: Vancouver
12,694 posts, read 8,765,998 times
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You can watch it here.

Latest Urban Development Trend: Less Elbow Room - Bing Videos

The Agricultural Land Reserve ( green zone or more aptly farming zone ) is not run by the city of Vancouver. It's run by the province and is a bit more complicated to get land removed from it.
What Vancouver does well and continue to do is build densely. The outlying areas are starting to copy that with Metrotown in Burnaby and Surrey Centre.

Also I no one in Vancouver believed laneway housing was going to bring down prices. It was just another form of housing to offer a different choice. It is just one piece of the quest to build cheaper housing.
Here is one of the builders that are involved.

Lanefab: Custom Homes and Laneway Houses - Lanefab Design / Build: Custom Homes and Laneway Houses
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Old 06-05-2013, 02:53 PM
 
2,553 posts, read 2,006,584 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phoenixmike11 View Post
Quote:
...71 years old, was concerned it would lead to scant parking and noisier streets, reducing her home's value in the process.
Pretty much describes the average homeowner's fears to any kind of densification (of residences, residents, or jobs) in "their" neighborhood or "their" city. Also, sadly ironic train of thought, given that such densification would be a representation of the increase in the underlying land price; more people want to live there, even if it means living in an "in-law's cottage."

Anyway, even if any one program doesn't slow the growth in prices, it's the willingness to be innovative, even if it's only in small programs (instead of big re-dev "visions" that get diluted, corrupted, and never completed) and if thoughtfully so, that is really important to improving cities.
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Vancouver
12,694 posts, read 8,765,998 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
Pretty much describes the average homeowner's fears to any kind of densification (of residences, residents, or jobs) in "their" neighborhood or "their" city. Also, sadly ironic train of thought, given that such densification would be a representation of the increase in the underlying land price; more people want to live there, even if it means living in an "in-law's cottage."

Anyway, even if any one program doesn't slow the growth in prices, it's the willingness to be innovative, even if it's only in small programs (instead of big re-dev "visions" that get diluted, corrupted, and never completed) and if thoughtfully so, that is really important to improving cities.
It's balance. Too many lane-way houses would not work. The city of Vancouver now has a proposal for skinny streets. Taking a current road and narrowing it to create land for new housing.
People seem against this. Even though I am for density, I too am against this idea.
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Old 06-23-2013, 12:47 PM
 
3,836 posts, read 4,717,666 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Natnasci View Post
It's balance. Too many lane-way houses would not work. The city of Vancouver now has a proposal for skinny streets. Taking a current road and narrowing it to create land for new housing.
People seem against this. Even though I am for density, I too am against this idea.
traffic calming,
freeing up vast amounts of land for badly needed housing
increased density and vitality
vast amount of land put into usable tax base spreading tax burden more broadly
taking excessively wide and pedestrian un-friendly streets and turning them into gentler right of ways appropriate to a dense city,
more options to live and work in close proximity

I'm trying to find the downside to this other than the NIMBYs who think owning a plot of land is a license to own a corner lot for eternity.
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Old 06-23-2013, 01:16 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,072 posts, read 16,098,416 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Natnasci View Post
It's balance. Too many lane-way houses would not work. The city of Vancouver now has a proposal for skinny streets. Taking a current road and narrowing it to create land for new housing.
People seem against this. Even though I am for density, I too am against this idea.
Agreed. You could probably get the same land-use savings by using a better road design too. Grids use up a ton of land for roads. So rather than get streets so narrow you can't park on them, you could have regular narrow streets with room for two cars to pass easily with cars parked on both sides. You don't have to worry about traffic calming as much since no one cuts through neighborhoods. Traffic flows better on arterials with no houses facing them since there's fewer intersections rather than one every block.

Developers like them, buyers like them, urbanistas on forums... not so much.
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Old 06-23-2013, 02:20 PM
 
Location: Vancouver
12,694 posts, read 8,765,998 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Komeht View Post
traffic calming,
freeing up vast amounts of land for badly needed housing
increased density and vitality
vast amount of land put into usable tax base spreading tax burden more broadly
taking excessively wide and pedestrian un-friendly streets and turning them into gentler right of ways appropriate to a dense city,
more options to live and work in close proximity

I'm trying to find the downside to this other than the NIMBYs who think owning a plot of land is a license to own a corner lot for eternity.
"traffic calming,"

The proposals were in areas where traffic is already calm, on quiet residential streets. Increasing homes would increase traffic and make parking more difficult, not to mention service vehicles blocking the street.

"increased density and vitality"

Vancouver has plenty of vitality and density and one area proposed, the west end, is already one of the densest neighbourhoods in North America.

"vast amount of land put into usable tax base spreading tax burden more broadly"

Not sure how the tax burden would be lessened on existing homes, it would however bring in more taxes but the thin street projects would have to be on scores of streets to increase it to a level worth talking about.

"taking excessively wide and pedestrian un-friendly streets and turning them into gentler right of ways appropriate to a dense city,"

The areas proposed are not in pedestrian unfriendly areas and Vancouver has very, very few extremely wide streets, practically none in residential areas.

There are other ways to increase density without getting rid of existing green space, as would be the case on corner lots, by building on them. Lane-way housing to a point, building higher which already exists by leaps and bounds in Vancouver.

"more options to live and work in close proximity"

More options for who? Some estimate the cost of these new houses since it's a free market, would still be unaffordable to the average working stiff. The thousand of new condo's built over the years hasn't brought the price of housing down, so more may not be the answer.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for density and live in a very dense neighbourhood, Yaletown, in Vancouver. I just don't think packing more and more people into quiet, leafy neighbourhoods is a good idea.
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Old 06-23-2013, 03:31 PM
 
3,836 posts, read 4,717,666 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Natnasci View Post
"traffic calming,"

The proposals were in areas where traffic is already calm, on quiet residential streets. Increasing homes would increase traffic and make parking more difficult, not to mention service vehicles blocking the street.

"increased density and vitality"

Vancouver has plenty of vitality and density and one area proposed, the west end, is already one of the densest neighbourhoods in North America.

"vast amount of land put into usable tax base spreading tax burden more broadly"

Not sure how the tax burden would be lessened on existing homes, it would however bring in more taxes but the thin street projects would have to be on scores of streets to increase it to a level worth talking about.

"taking excessively wide and pedestrian un-friendly streets and turning them into gentler right of ways appropriate to a dense city,"

The areas proposed are not in pedestrian unfriendly areas and Vancouver has very, very few extremely wide streets, practically none in residential areas.

There are other ways to increase density without getting rid of existing green space, as would be the case on corner lots, by building on them. Lane-way housing to a point, building higher which already exists by leaps and bounds in Vancouver.

"more options to live and work in close proximity"

More options for who? Some estimate the cost of these new houses since it's a free market, would still be unaffordable to the average working stiff. The thousand of new condo's built over the years hasn't brought the price of housing down, so more may not be the answer.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for density and live in a very dense neighbourhood, Yaletown, in Vancouver. I just don't think packing more and more people into quiet, leafy neighbourhoods is a good idea.
My understanding is this was proposed on 65' wide ROW streets. That's not a family friendly street - that's highway width. Turning that into a sane 35' wide ROW street in a dense urban city makes perfect sense.

Tax burden is lessened because there is more property to tax, therefore more money coming in to coffers and less is needed from each individual parcel.

More options for the people who move into the spaces of course. Who did you think I mean?

Frankly the post smacks of NIMBYism (oh, I'm all for density, really, just, could you not do it near me)
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