10/30/08

Changing Downtown


Although not immediately related to any one piece of architecture, these news forecast changes to the way downtown will be shaping up.

Vancouver is changing various zoning restrictions in an attempt to densify the downtown further. Per Province:

This week, council agreed to let buildings in Downtown South, a strip along Granville between Burrard and False Creek North, be built higher than 100 metres, which was the prior restriction.

Council also decided to review view corridors and all downtown height limits -- and to "recommend changes, if appropriate, to achieve additional development."

I , for one, could never understand the view corridors - there is such obscure reasoning behind these, divination rather than planning somehow. Another snag is also forcing the city to review its options; the heritage density transfer bonus, responsible for so many +1, +2 FSRs, is no longer an option:
[] the city has now run out of downtown sites where the bonuses can be used -- and taller buildings would be the answer to this problem.
Typically, I am concerned that fairly low-density neighbourhoods across the water from downtown stay low at its expense. As such I am glad to read that some of these are well on their way. Darrell Mussatto, mayor of North Vancouver has been crusading for lane-way housing in his city. Bereft of EcoDensity, North Van might just become the first to get the necessary zoning and regulations set up before Vancouver proper does.

Update:
At roughly the same time that I wrote this post, Vancouver city council approved a pilot laneway housing project consisting of 100 garages being converted to secondary units. Owners would need to apply for rezoning to be able to do so. Although some are concerned with imminent slum-lording, I would like to see this pushed further - land severance, anyone?

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