In the next 30 years Metro Vancouver is projected to grow by about 1.1 million people.[1] To understand the impact of this growth we will use the West End as an illustration. Pictured below, the West End is a residential area primarily consisting of mid-rise and high-rise apartment buildings. Before the 6-story building cap was lifted in 1957 the West End mostly consisted of detached housing.[2]

West End Outline

Note: Outline showing boundary of West End Neighborhood

Using the population growth projections for Metro Vancouver, we can determine the size of the neighborhoods that would need to transition from single family residential to West End equivalent densities in order to accommodate this growth.

Table 1. Metro Vancouver population growth projections
SUBREGION POP. 2011 POP. 2041 +POP.  2011 – 2041 +%POP. 2011 – 2041
1. North Shore[3] 176,600 244,000 67,400 38%
2.Vancouver, UBC[4] 616,500 770,000 153,500 25%
3. Burnaby, New Westminster 289,200 447,000 157,800 55%
4. Tri-Cities[5] 218,500 364,400 145,900 67%
5. Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows 93,800 156,000 62,200 66%
6. Richmond 198,600 283,500 84,900 43%
7. Surrey, White Rock, Delta 587,500 890,000 279,400 48%
8. Langley[6] 129,300 249,000 119,700 93%
METRO VANCOUVER TOTAL 2,310,000 3,400,000 1,090,000 47%

For the baseline density in this calculation we will use Hastings-Sunrise, a neighborhood in Vancouver that primarily consists of detached housing. Using the difference in population density between Hastings-Sunrise and the West End we can determine the size of the densified residential areas required to accommodate the population growth.

West end population density: 21,830 / km2 [7]
Hastings-Sunrise population density: 4,190 / km2 [7]

The results are calculated in Table 2 below. To give a sense of proportion the results are compared to the 2.0 km2 [8] area of the West End and the 5.8 km2 [9] area of the downtown Vancouver peninsula from Main Street to Stanley park.

Table 2. Size of densified residential areas required to absorb population growth over the next 30 years
SUBREGION DENSIFIED AREA (km2) TIMES SIZE OF WEST END TIMES SIZE OF DOWNTOWN PENINSULA
1. North Shore[3] 3.8[10] 1.9 0.7
2.Vancouver, UBC[4] 8.7 4.3 1.5
3. Burnaby, New Westminster 8.9 4.4 1.5
4. Tri-Cities[5] 8.3 4.1 1.4
5. Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows 3.5 1.7 0.6
6. Richmond 4.8 2.4 0.8
7. Surrey, White Rock, Delta 15.8 7.8 2.7
8. Langley[6] 8.7 4.3 1.2
METRO VANCOUVER TOTAL 61.8 30.3 10.7

The image below shows the size of the densified areas required in the sub-regions of Metro Vancouver. The locations selected are primarily single family detached residential, but are otherwise arbitrary. The areas are intended only to give a sense of the scale of residential redevelopment that will need to occur.

West End Density Areas

Note: West end shown in green. Scale of densified residential areas required to accommodate the population growth are shown in red. These areas only represent residential growth and do not take into account the additional space required for other uses (ie. commercial, office).


NOTES AND REFERENCES
1. Greater Vancouver Regional District Board (2013). Metro Vancouver 2040: Shaping Our Future. p. 68.
2. City of Vancouver 2012 (2012). West End Community Profile 2012. p. 7.
3. Includes City and District of North Vancouver, West Vancouver, and Lions Bay
4. Also includes remainder of Electoral Area A
5. Includes Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore, and Belcarra
6. Includes Langley City and Township
7. Eyeonnorquay (2013). Vancouver’s 22 Local Areas Over Time.
8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_End,_Vancouver
9. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downtown_Vancouver
10. 67,400 / (21,830 – 4,190) = 3.8

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