Public Space Series

The essays in these series responds to three current needs in Metro Vancouver and in British Columbia, which are to densify existing single-detached (Vancouver’s Housing Reset Strategy), to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, and to create more areas for public space.

This series will challenge the planning model of Transit-Oriented Development (TOD). TOD aims to limit the use of personal vehicles and developing densely near transit stations to limit sprawl. TOD has been relatively unchallenged until recently where researchers, planners, and residents have seen the effects of extremely high land values resulting in housing that is not affordable. The development of the high-density towers is also a result of high-land values and misses the goal of building compact neighbourhoods which are welcoming and walkable. High-Density housing is often sterile. The same storefronts seem to repeat, the buildings look similar, and the public space is not inviting or comfortable. The High-Density housing is often a compensation for many cities inability to densify single-family neighbourhoods. This model is being used globally in many developed western cities, but the criticism in the essays is aimed at Metro Vancouver.

Vancouver’s Housing Action Plan aims to add upwards of 70,000 housing units, and has identified the need to change existing single-detached neighbourhoods, and tackle extreme land values.  The essays presented here examine how to better build compact neighbourhoods with public space as an amenity to develop around, to promote walking, and as an amenity where neighbours stay within their neighbourhood for social events. The essays will often refer to examples in Spain and Montreal where compact neighbourhoods that favor public space are common.


Why is TOD an incomplete idea in Metro Vancouver
By Terry Sidhu
July 13th, 2018

Video: A Review of Public Space in Spain
By Terry Sidhu
July 23, 2018

Courtyard Housing in Cordoba, Spain: An Infill Strategy
By Terry Sidhu
August 3, 2018

How Planning Departments are Biased against Missing-Middle Housing (Part-1)
By Terry Sidhu
August 14, 2018