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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Street-facing Dwelling Units and Livability: The Impacts of Emerging Building Types in Vancouver's New High-density Residential Neighbourhoods


The city of Vancouver, British Columbia, is building new high-density residential neighborhoods around its downtown. Working within the context of large-scale corporate development projects, public sector planners are proactively shaping development to be dense but also conform to notions of livability that derive from traditional urbanism, such as ‘eyes on the street’ and pedestrian scale. Design guidelines have resulted in new building types that integrate ground-floor townhouses into very large buildings. This study analyzed how the new embedded townhouse forms are contributing to life on the street and neighborhood livability, using environmental measurements, behavior observations, and surveys. The findings conclude that the embedded townhouses do contribute to livability, although other aspects of the building types and neighborhoods may pose concerns.

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