Monday, March 22, 2010

Amenities are important

Why do people move to downtown Vancouver? What drives people to pay a quarter-million dollars for 400 square feet? It not to be close to work: recent trends show that more people now live in Vancouver than work in Vancouver. The city’s downtown core experiences a reverse commute. It’s good public space. People want to be close to cultural amenities, great shopping, and beautiful parks. How many times have you heard someone say that they want to live in Vancouver, but can’t afford to?

What does this mean for Langley? Well as you know, both the City and the Township have plans to up the densities in their communities (Downtown Langley and 200th Street). For these plans to be successful, good public space needs to be part of the package. The fact is that people will give up private space (the back yard) if the public space if appealing.

The Township of Langley has gone through great lengths to provide great green space within the community. With ample parks and greenways, the Township gets an A+. The Langley Events Centre is another example of investing in public space. I know that some criticize when governments invest in amenities. I remember the fuss about the band shell in Douglas Park and even the Langley Events Centre. But the fact is that in order for Langley to become the place to be, governments will have to take the lead in providing good public space. How the public space is setup is also important. People clearly prefer the walkability of areas like Downtown Langley and Fort Langley. If not, Langley will become a place where people live because they can’t afford to live elsewhere.

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