Sunday, February 19, 2017

SFU Lecture: Higher density housing and new communities: Lessons from Europe February 15, 2017

     For the past few years, I have enjoyed presenting SFU evening lectures on topics that interest me, and are hopefully of interest to others.
In 2015 and 2016, I offered 12 affordable housing ideas and 12 new affordable housing ideas and
and I will be delivering another talk on this topic on April 4th 2017. (that will make 36 ideas!)
     A 2008 lecture presented lessons for Vancouver from around the world following my around-the-world sabbatical (Michael Geller's Planet)

Last year I also took the audience to Russia, where I have been working on a number of projects
     For the last five years I have travelled around Europe, looking at various housing developments and new communities. I have often been struck by the fact that while Vancouver tends to build high-rises, European cities tend to build more higher density low and mid-rise housing. This prompted last week's lecture that presented housing projects in Netherlands, Germany, France and Denmark. I can't watch this, but you might want to. Pour yourself a large drink first. Here's the link
     My key message was while I believe there is most definitely a place for high-rise development, Vancouver should learn from the Europeans and introduce more mid-rise development, similar to what we are now seeing along Cambie street and in some of the new 6 storey wood frame buildings. Hopefully municipal planners and politicians will rezone some of the single family properties along arterials, and just behind arterials so that we an increase the supply of this type of housing and in turn hopefully moderate house prices.
     In addition to smaller apartment buildings, we need to create more 'fee-simple' individually owned rowhouses. This is one of the most generic forms of housing in the world, but for some reason not being built in Vancouver, although some units are being built in Coquitlam and other suburban municipalities.
     A local on-line publication The Source did an interview with me about the talk.

     Prior to giving the lecture, CBC kindly invited me to chat with Rick Cluff on the Early Edition and following the interview posted a summary of our discussion and some pictures on their website. If you are interested, the 7 minute interview can be listened to here

Some of the images from the talk can be found below:

Hamburg's Hafencity comprises predominantly mid-rise building forms, framed by its new 26 storey philharmonic hall
Bjarke Ingels VM House is a striking mid-rise complex in Orestad Copenhagen
Ingels' 8 House is also in Orestad Copenhagen. A dramatic housing solution
Another Orestad development for those seeking something a little bit different
The Iceberg Project on the Aarhus waterfront (Denmark's second largest city)
Parc Marianne is a wonderful planned community in Montpellier France

Vancouver should be copying forms of development like these Dutch fee-simple row houses, with back lane mews homes. The resulting density is comparable to some high-rise buildings.
Outside of Almere Holland is this 'do-it-yourself' housing development for those who want to build their own homes without too much regulation to deal with

No comments: