Planned displacement

How can we ensure that densifying Vancouver won't be taken out on the backs of the most vulnerable?

Jens von Bergmann

9 minute read

When we (Denis and Jens) got together for coffee the other day, Denis showed off some maps of renter density in the frequent transit network that he was working on. The idea immediately clicked and we decided to work this out together. Motivated by the issue of renter demoviction caused by the 2017 Metrotown Plan, we set out to quantify how one could plan for displacement on a regional level, instead of treating it as an unwelcome consequence of development at the lot level.

Making Room

How is low-density housing currently used?

Jens von Bergmann

13 minute read

Recently the City of Vancouver pivoted their planning for RS (“single family”) and RT (“duplex”) neighbourhoods from downzoning, to slow the pace of teardowns to adding infill as an incentive to to keep older buildings through extensive renovations, to now proposing the Making Room program to allow stratification and higher unit density, and Mayor Robertson adding an amendment to direct staff to look into also allowing multiplexes. This change in policy grew out of a series of consultation processes, and it is quite interesting to browse through them chronologically and observe the shift in how participants talk about low density zoning.

Building Height Profiles

Building heights by distance from city centre.

Jens von Bergmann

2 minute read

Jim has been using the Copernicus building height data for select European cities to understand the height profiles of cities. Building heights by distance from city centre in London and Paris, from 2012 EU Copernicus data. On average, buildings in Paris are taller throughout. — Jim Gleeson (@geographyjim) May 11, 2018 We thought these were pretty cool. Sadly we don’t have a dataset like this for Canadian metro areas, but we can hack together something similar using LIDAR survey data.


Frontages for commercial zoned properties in Vancouver.

Jens von Bergmann

3 minute read

Over the past years several people have asked me questions about street frontage of city properties. When I needed similar data for a work project, and Scot Hein asked me a question about frontages of commercial properties for his Urbanarium debate, I decided to finally pull the numbers. The answer to that question is not as straight forward as it might seem, mostly because properties aren’t necessarily square. There are a couple of algorithm that can solve this problem, but in this case we can keep things reasonably simple as the City of Vancouver has property frontages listed on VanMap and make the data available on their Open Data Portal.


Thinking about density.

Jens von Bergmann

5 minute read

Density in Vancouver has been one of the recurring themese on this blog, and there are many different ways to come at it. We have looked at density in terms of land use to understand how much land is devoted to what purpose in Metro Vancouver and it’s municipalities. We have looked at density in terms of tax density to understand how property tax revenue depends on land use and zoning.