Shifting development to the urban village

Downtown Port Coquitlam

I subscribe to a news service called Better Cities & Towns.  I neglect most posts and feel guilty about it, but recently I tripped over an item by Geoff Dyer from July, 2012 [since deleted from Better Cities] that gathers some of this site’s musings on urban villages into a single list.

Waterfront walkway, Comox, B.C.His key point is an obvious one: the best customer base for business in an urban village is made up of the people who live within easy walking distance; and so housing is the basic ingredient in reviving an old downtown or a commercial dead zone.  The appetite for medium-density housing is limited in any market; city governments get maximum benefits, in terms of spin-off economic development, from focusing apartment development in urban villages. Continue reading

The “Urban Villages” index

This post marks the online launch of our “Urban Villages” project.

Fraseropolis, a notional two-county region on British Columbia’s Pacific coast,  is unique in Western Canada in the number of historic towns and villages that have been absorbed into the urban fabric.  Mission City, Maple Ridge, Chilliwack,  Cloverdale and others pre-date 1900.  A very few — Fort Langley, White Rock — have blossomed as regional tourist destinations.  Most struggle on as secondary shopping areas overshadowed by nearby malls. Continue reading