A Sustainable Region for 4 Million

In the project, we were to transform the Greater Vancouver area to cope with the rapidly expanding population of four million for the needs of housing and job placement. A 5km x 5km map tile was assigned to each group in the tutorials. There were in total 45 map tiles which accounted for 1125 km² reaching from Vancouver to Maple Ridge.

Map tile H4, (Click for the full solution of the map tile) covers the north of Fraser River, Colony Farm Regional Park, Community of Mary Hill in City of Port Coquitlam and the industrial area south of the train hub of Port Coquitlam, Douglas Island, the Agricultural Land Reserve in Pitt Meadow and Pitt River Regional Greenway and the most northern part of Community of Fraser Heights in City of Surrey. The goal of new housing and job placement were adding 8,000 new dwelling units and 9,000 jobs into the area.


First, we located housing, then we located jobs.

Adding housing has always been difficult, especially for an area with many restricted, no-develop land. No housing can be added on the Fraser River (except for floating homes, but this is beyond the scope for now). Development is strictly prohibited in First Nation Reserve in Colony Farm Regional Park, Agricultural Land Reserve and other designated green spaces. We decided to add housing units mainly in the lower density community.

  1. Renovation of buildings along main arterials Mary Hill, Port Coquitlam, single-family residential houses along Confederation Drive which connects Western Drive and Eastern Drive, and Pitt River Road will be transformed into multi-storey buildings and mixed-use commercial-residential buildings. The main inspiration of this plan was the bus routes running through. The existing bus routes can be utilized and enhanced to support a larger population and it can be a more sustainable transportation mode in the urban sprawl area. Introducing mixed-use buildings installs housing and jobs at the same time. Also along 112 Avenue in Fraser Height, Surrey, a similar plan can be carried out where the building of multi-storey and mixed-use served the same purpose. However, new bus routes need to be considered to support the increased population.
  2. Re-development of water-front low-density community. On the riverside, the community mainly composed of chic single-family residential houses. We proposed to change it to a community with more six-storey residential and mixed-use commercial-residential buildings that provide cafes, grocers and restaurants for the needs of the residents. Prior to the development, the connecting roads must be upgraded as traffic crossing Mary Hill Bypass will be a headache.

As mentioned, the increase in population requires an upgrade of bus service. The bus service should be connecting to the West Coast Express for the convenience of commuters. We believed that better bus service encourages more people to participate in the mass public transportation system. We estimated that more than 8700 dwelling units can be added to the area with a potential double of the number which I will explain at the end.

For our map tile, adding jobs were relatively easier, because of a large existing industrial area south of Port Coquitlam Station. Moreover, with the development of the neighbourhoods, a distinct increase in retail job opportunities will also be available.

  1. Adding office space in the industrial area
    • The area can support a mix of warehouses and office towers. With the addition of storey on warehouses, a substantial amount of office space will be available. Office towers will also be important in the provision of employment. We expected 60%, 8,000 jobs will be provided in the area south of the train station.
  2. Retail in mixed-use buildings
    • With the renovation of buildings along main arterials, employment of retail stores, restaurants, grocers will be in need. Small businesses in neighbourhood provide employment opportunities for people living around, which may considerably reduce the cost of commuting and transportation to city centres or other corridors. We expected 40%, 5,000 jobs will be provided.

For addressing the conservation and protection of the ecosystem, we agreed that all green spaces should not be disturbed. In addition, green belts will be installed, connecting Colony Farm Regional Park and other parks including Skyline Park, Eastern Drive Park and Settlers Park. It will link up the green space and we ultimately aimed to create more green spaces reaching from the regional park to Mary Hill Bypass and Broadway Street. The green belts will serve as a managed habitat for wildlife and a recreational purpose for residents.

In the area we focused on (mainly Mary Hill), it is a well-established dendritic suburb, which is extremely difficult for road expansion or the introduction of streetcar, tram or train. Residents depend heavily on automobiles. As a group, we thought that it will be great with the upgrade of buses from the small, seat-limited C-route bus to the regular bus for supporting the new residents.

The Possibility of Bike System

And after the revision of the project, I came up with an idea of introducing a bike routes network in the neighbourhood. Bike lanes can be installed as either separated bikeways or, for relatively quiet streets, local street bikeways where cyclists share the road with motor vehicles. With existing shared-use lanes on Broadway Street, cyclists may easily connect themselves from home to Port Coquitlam Station.

  1. Safety
    • Safety always comes first for cycling commuters. Even for avid cyclists, busy traffic is daunting. Mary Hill will be a good location for the promotion of cycling. With the availability of alternate routes for major roads, the quiet streets serve the best bikeways for cyclists. Also, building a dedicated lane along Kingsway Avenue is not problematic with ample space on the side.
  2. Connection
    • Another concern was the extensiveness of the network. Even for the furthest cul-de-sac in the neighbourhood, I do not see a problem if bike lanes are well-planned. Shaughnessy Street, then Mary Hill Road leads you directly to the station. Or get yourself on Broadway Street, then Kingsway Avenue, you will find the station just on your right.

With limited sustainable transportation mode, biking may be the only eco-friendly way for the residents in a dendritic suburb to commuting to work. In order to encourage it, resources must be allocated for building separated bikeways and planning a sophisticated system.

Additional Information

Douglas Island

The 184-hectare island where Fraser River and Pitt River meet will potentially be a new town for quite a size of the population. We did some research regarding the island and we found a town plan from Vaughan Hoy Studio.

This masterplan was conceived of as an island community of 1,200 people with complete municipal support services and facilities ranging from schools to community centre and theater, gulf course, equestrian centre and marina. Located in the Fraser River in Surrey, BC, this project supported a range of urban style townhouses and single-family residences. As part of the town core, the plan supported light water-front industrial studios for cottage industries along the marina water-front and provided preserved ecological wetland parks.

source: http://vaughanhoystudio.com/rural-and-town-planning/

Limited information for Douglas Island made it difficult for us to develop a suitable plan for it. Although we have already met the goal of housing units and jobs, we believed that Douglas Island will have the capability to support more population with reduced impact of re-development in the quiet suburb.


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