Monday, February 21, 2011

the suburbs project

Our board member, Michael Thorne, found a great report from the School of Planning at Dalhousie University. It is titled Township of Langley, BC: An Overview of Development Trends. The report notes that the Township is a "community of communities" because of the agricultural land reserve which acts as a de facto urban growth boundary and without it Langley would not have its strong rural character.
The Brookswood/Fernridge community in the south of the Township developed in the 1970s with split-level bungalows and rancher homes on quarter acre lots. Murrayville and Walnut Grove both experienced residential development in the 1980s and 1990s with cul de sac layouts and garage-filled street fronts. Gated developments are common in both communities as a niche trend of the same era.
With the development of Willoughby, the report talks about how smart growth principles are embedded into the planning for the area, but "elements of a model town centre are yet to be demonstrated on the ground." And as we know there are people who recently moved to the Township from Vancouver that are trying to block the critical mixed-used centres around areas like 208th and 80th. There has also been pressure from some developers to build large format retail along 200th.

The report indirectly points to the Township being at a turning-point. It can either become a mixed-use community that can stand on its own feet or become the "Burnaby" of Surrey.

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