|You are viewing a trimmed-down version of the SkyscraperPage.com discussion forum. For the full version follow the link below.|
View Full Version : Popular perceptions of density
Sep 25, 2007, 2:56 AM
There was a story in the Tyee a few days ago about the "EcoDensity backlash" (a.k.a. glorified NIMBYism): http://thetyee.ca/News/2007/09/21/EcoDensity/
Here are some choice quotes from the comments:
In Europe and the USA the massive high-rise apartments are being torn down for more user friendly 3 or 4 story garden style apartment.
We are not Hong Kong, but it is certainly Asian money behind our politicians drive to make Vancouver one of the most densely populated cities in north America and with that densification is more and more gang activity, depopulated schools, and increase [sic] poverty, [due] to the high cost of living. Of course let us not forget massive profits for shoddily built mega condos.
(Because everyone knows that sprawling, low-density cities like Atlanta and LA don't suffer from gang violence, right?) :koko:
Are today's urban forests and adjacent farmlands simply tomorrow's development projects held in reserve? Judging by how 'Eco-Density' and 'Smart-Growth' are unfolding in the Fraser Valley, one would think so.
I predict 'Eco-Doom' for agriculture, trees and wildlife.
I miss the trees, the green, the quiet of "low density" living areas every time I go into "high density" areas.
(Those low-density areas sure are beautiful (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/1/14/Markham-suburbs.id.jpg.jpg/800px-Markham-suburbs.id.jpg.jpg), hmmm?)
So, this is what we're up against. Apparently density is responsible for destruction of the environment as well as all our social ills.
I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but do people not understand that density is a good thing? Is this just an uninformed, but vocal, minority, or do people in general believe that density is some diabolical scheme dreamed up by developer-friendly politicians who want to destroy our natural areas by building high-rises? (And what do people think we're going to do instead of densifying? Are we just going to magically stop growing?)
Sep 25, 2007, 6:56 AM
I will admit to a mild schaedenfreude about this. In his typical style, Sullivan tried to take credit (and even develop a brand name) for policies he played at best a minimal role in helping to develop. And now that he's succeeded in getting people to identify urban densification with himself (the "Civil City" meme is taking a bit longer to stick), he's become the lightning rod for criticism of it.
Whether the Renfrew-Collingwood residents raise a serious concern is another question altogether. While they claim the city's densification plans seem to be inordinately targeting the East Side, and while they might be right in that there aren't likely to be the same sorts of large-scale redevelopments on the West Side, there is some smaller-scale densification going on in neighbourhoods like Dunbar.
I get the sense that some of my fellow NDPers (like Barsallo) are picking up on the issue simply as a way of going after Sullivan and the NPA, without much regard to the policy implications of it. And they'd better be careful trying to make it into an election issue -- they'll have to come up with a better critique of the city's densification policies than they have so far.
Sep 25, 2007, 7:22 AM
I don't know how anyone can walk through an established high density neighbourhood like the West End and say that there is no green, no trees, or peace and quiet. That's utterly absurd. It takes time for trees and other flora to grow and fill out in any new setting and the new high density areas of Coal Harbour and especially Yaletown are no exception. However I don't go into those places to check on the growth of the new street trees and rooftop gardens because of the rampant gang activity. The half-million dollar condo won't pay for themselves so give me your wallet!
As for emptying schools, the ones at risk of closure are in predominately single family home neighbourhoods, not higher density areas. In fact the elementary school in Yaletown is absolutely full with an enormous waiting list.
I call bullshit on those excuses. The lady from Dunbar quoted in the Georgia Straight this week at least gave a real, if mildly racist answer by saying that she liked things the way they were before and didn't want her neighbourhood turning into Hong Kong. (my emphasis). Was she talking about the scale of development or the ethnicity of the residents? The quote wasn't clear. However nobody is suggesting Hong Kong densities for Dunbar, Norquay, or any other ones. Kitsilano densities, sure. Fairview densities, why not. But not 50 storey walls of high rise apartments, which is what referring to Hong Kong densities implies.
I think the residents of Norquay village have a valid point of contention with the city when it comes to the major new development (the Hills) in their neighbourhood. The developer asked for 17 storeys and the city countered with 22. To scared locals those extra five storeys mean a lot.
We also have to remember that the people living in these single family neighbourhoods, by default, do not live in higher density neighbourhoods and do not have relevant first hand experience with what that represents. Surely some may but the vast, vast majority don't and I suspect it is this latter category who are most up in arms about increasing densities.
Lastly, those who object to additional densities in their neighbourhood are tacitly in favour of the continued encroachment of urban areas up the valley that abut against the green zones and the ALR. By saying not in my backyard they fail to do their part to make the city more sustainable and are precluding others from enjoying what the city has to offer.
Truly lastly, it is not as if these neighbourhoods will suddenly turn into the West End. It will take a century for that to happen. There just isn't enough pent up demand to put up 100,000 new mid- and high-rise residential buildings across every square metre of the city. Most of the 1,000 or so new buildings we are likely to see in the next few decades will be built where they are already welcome and organic outgrowths of towers, mid-rises, low-rises, and townhouses will creep across the city as single family homes once did.
It's what comes next. Nothing-something-more.
Sep 25, 2007, 7:59 AM
^ well said. and we're nowhere close being Hong Kong. not even the densest parts of Vancouver are comparable to Hong Kong.
It's amazing how many people can live in one building.....and if you think this is an ugly building, it's actually one of the nicer ones.
Sep 25, 2007, 9:22 AM
If EcoDensity could do this in a fortnight I'd actually be thrilled that the city had developed such a robust land-use planning policy!
Instead I fear that whatever EcoDensity will turn into will not go far enough to actually make Vancouver significantly more sustainable. It will make it more environmentally sustainable and more resilient to energy price shocks but it won't make us reach that apocryphal 1:1 ecological footprint goal by itself.
Sep 25, 2007, 1:18 PM
The arguments in that piece were laughable. Actually, there really wasn't any cold, hard evidence against density to even consider them an argument.
Mid to high density will continue to spread throughout Vancouver for the simple fact that there isn't enough land to build on.
Sep 25, 2007, 4:56 PM
NIMBYs in Victoria used to cry about density in very much the same way until we shut them down. All that's required are sensible counterarguments to their alarmist arguments. Individuals with half a brain will quickly realize that their vocal anti-development comrades are alienating all anti-development types and the moderates will either distance themselves or remove themselves from the fight completely leaving only the clowns with their tearful one-liners.
Sep 26, 2007, 10:24 PM
there are people who think Vancouver has gotten too big and would love to see all growth stop
they want it to be the hippie haven it was in the 70's
i suspect these people also never go further east than burnaby
vBulletin® v3.8.7, Copyright ©2000-2013, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.