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.
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.
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.
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.
Last year we took a detailed look at Single Family teardowns in Vancouver, that is houses in RS or “Single Family” zoning that got torn down. We focused exclusively on those homes in RS zoning because these have to be replaced by another, often bigger, Single Family home. Using historical data we build a probabilistic model to predict future teardowns in Vancouver. If you haven’t taken the time yet to read through the data story, you probably should do that right now.