When you think of density, you might think of blockbusting towers and land assembly projects. Two urban design experts want to let you know density doesn’t always have to be that way; density can be gentle.
Neighbourhoods of single-family houses take up one-third of Vancouver’s land area, but house only nine per cent of its residents. The City of Vancouver would like to raise that second number by embracing structures that aren’t “single family” — but aren’t high-rise towers either.
Several examples of such so-called “missing middle” projects are here already. You just may not have noticed them because of how well they nestle into existing streetscapes. There’s room for creativity too. One project repurposes a car repair shop. Another clones a heritage house.
Collectively, they show that it is possible to welcome new residents without disrupting the neighbourhoods that Vancouverites love.
Patrick Condon, chair of the urban design program at UBC’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, and Scot Hein, UBC’s urban designer and former senior planner at the City of Vancouver, took The Tyee on a tour of some of the inspired — and inspiring — projects.