Today I saw a particlarly uninformed tweet claiming that “the most important areas to densify are near transit and are mostly upzoned already”. I tend to agree with the first part, but the notion that our frequent transit network is “mostly upzoned already” is plain wrong. I suspect that a lot of other casual observers share the misconception. So I decided to take this as an opportunity for a quick post to quantify zoning in our frequent transit network.
After our recent posts on multi-census comparisons I was pointed to a semi-custom tabulation for census timelines back to 1971 for Vancouver and Toronto. That’s data for the 1971, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011 censuses on a common 2016 DA geography for the two CMAs. This is really cool, not just that it eliminates the need to tongfen the geographies, but in particular because Statistics Canada does not even haven publicly available geographic boundary files for censuses before 2001.
Canadian census data is freely available, alas not in a very convenient format for older data. Census data back to 1991 are available from Statistics Canada with an open data licence, digital geographic data is only available back to 2001. Older census data is available in digital format via paid subscription services from private entities with restrictive licences. But all data is available for free as open data in paper format.
CensusMapper now has 2001 census data, the changes are live and functional and available for mapping and via the data API. We ran some basic verification of the import, and set the metadata for the variables. There may still be some quirks in need of getting ironed out, feedback is appreciated if anyone finds anything that does not look right. At the same time we finally updated my TongFen package to also include DA level TongFen out of the box, in addition to the CT level that has been working for a while.
A quick note following up on a discussion earlier today, where the question came up on how to compare single family with condo (or rental apartment) density. This point comes up a lot and becomes increasingly important as Vancouver densifies. In Vancouver, some single family homes are heavily suited. Legally a single family lot can have the main unit, a secondary suite and a laneway house. Roughly a half of single family homes have a suite, and a couple percent have laneway houses.