Metro VANCOUVER is a beauty. No question. Period. Its splendid setting and temperate climate make those of us in other regions green with envy. The city is near the top on the worldwide livability scale. But living there comes with a hefty price tag, especially for young commuters, university educated, 18 to 54 years old. These, according to an Angus Reid poll, are Les Misérables.
VANCOUVER, where a bungalow can sell for $1.175-million, makes 85% of those in the miserable camp seriously think about moving on. Angus Reid polled 821 residents in June and found there are four main groups living in the region. Those who are happy 21%; comfortable 34%; uncomfortable 27%; and miserable 18%.
If a similar poll were conducted in TORONTO, no doubt the results would be somewhat the same. Both cities are now housing market hotspots.
TORONTO, the ugly ducking in this trio, is – nonetheless – a leader when it comes to densification. Globe and Mail columnist Doug Saunders writes: “In September, I returned to Canada after living abroad for almost a decade, and was struck by the disappearance of those acres of cement emptiness (i.e. surface parking lots). TORONTO’s waterfront had become a wall of elegant glass housing towers, their tens of thousands of residents turning this former lonely wasteland into a thriving human community.”
VANCOUVER has succeeded in preserving its liveability while rebuilding itself into a “thickly vertical city jammed with people and activity. Its combination of high population density in cozy downtown neighbourhoods, intimate street life and popular public transit has become one of Canada’s leading exports.”
This city has become so successful that “Vancouverism” is now a synonym for rebuilding and intensifying city cores, as a way of fighting urban sprawl.
MELBOURNE, one of the planet’s most desirable places to live, has just released a report recommending more Vancouverism in suburbia as a way to improve liveability. A parliamentary committee visited Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, London and Zurich, before recommending “a marketing campaign to encourage people to live near infrastructure, and financial incentives to spur on the building of higher-density housing in areas that are currently low-density.”
All three cities have compact, pricey, vertical centres with good public transport. In some parts of the suburbs, it’s a different story.