This is a promising urban village in Metro Vancouver’s South-of-Fraser, with a wide array of locally owned businesses and housing choices. The arrival of Skytrain, connecting with Surrey and Vancouver, is anticipated sometime in the 2020s, and this will bring new population growth and business activity.
We reported on the City of Langley’s urban centre in September 2013, and scored it at a relatively high 76.0 as an urban village despite the presence of too many car-dependent strip malls. At that time, the City’s government was working to achieve a greener feel and continued housing development in the downtown area. I would say they have made some progress. City policies have also discouraged chain stores and restaurants from locating in the core.
However, the City has a major crime problem (from Maclean’s magazine, 2018, based on Statistics Canada figures.) It has the sixth-highest crime severity index in Canada, with a score of 195, compared with 99 in the Township of Langley next door, or 54 in the South-of-Fraser city of Delta.
Langley City is also a black spot for child poverty (2014). Why this municipality, deep in the suburbs, should have such high crime and poverty rates is not clear to me; except for anecdotal complaints that the Township of Langley (population 117,000) provides few social services, and effectively dumps its problems into the smaller City area (population 26,000.)
Surrey resident Robert Smarz and I recently toured downtown Langley on a day of unsettled weather. Outside of the short protected area along Fraser Highway, vehicle traffic is heavy, and the wide textured sidewalks on the commercial streets were mostly empty of pedestrians. We had lunch at the Rendezvous pub, a sports bar of adequate quality. We spotted some social services offices, but did not see obvious signs of drug use or people camped on the streets.