Vancouver thrives by dispelling planning myths

Vancouver is often labeled as one of the most livable cities in North America, the latest honor being labeled as the world’s best city to live in by the Economic Intelligence Unit, as referenced by CNN yesterday.

What are its keys to success? Larry Beasley, the city’s highly regarded co-director of planning, says it’s because Vancouver is counterintuitive in this Smart City Radio interview. Here’s the myths of planning most cities follow, and how Vancouver innovates against them:

Myth – Cities need freeways to bring people to and from the downtown. Have you ever tried driving into Vancouver? There are no freeways. See myth #2…

Myth – City downtowns are for offices and workers. 85,000 people live downtown, that’s about ten times larger than city downtowns like Charlotte and St. Louis. This means less of a dependence on freeways for commuting – 10% of the city population walks to work.

Myth – Residents need cars. Over the last fifteen years, the downtown population more than doubled, yet there are now fewer cars coming into the city.

Myth – Density has negative impacts. The city encouraged well-designed ‘density’ to create a more walkable environment, infusing a greater amount of culture and diversity, and eliminating surface parking lots.

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