Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sustainable Community Design in Abbotsford

On Saturday, I took a transit trip to visit my friend Daan van der Kroon to get a tour of some of the areas in Abbotsford that have potential to become mixed-use, transit-friendly, walkable, and all that good stuff. As you can see on the following map, the City of Abbotsford is planning for something they call the horseshoe which is a corridor that runs from the airport to the University of the Fraser Valley. Inside this corridor is where they plan on building an urban community.

The Core Horseshoe in Abbotsford. Yellow is single-use housing.

One of the first things I noticed was that there is lots of development potential in the corridor as many of the buildings are nearing the end of their useful lives and are in a state of disrepair. McCallum Road and Abbotsford’s Historic Downtown areas are probability the best examples of areas that are ripe for redevelopment. The good news is that they are starting to be redeveloped with quality projects though the main problem is that outside of the horseshoe corridor, it is suburban business as usual. In fact the whole eastern side of Abbotsford (which is almost half the city’s “urban” space) is complete unsustainable and requires an automobile to get around. I have to wonder if this kind of sprawl is slowing down development of the urban core of Abbotsford and is therefore affecting Abbotsford’s overall path to sustainability. With so much redevelopment potential in the core, why is Abbotsford so committed to developing up the Sumas mountainside unsustainably? The following slide-show outlines the development potential and examples of good projects in Abbotsford's core.

Abbotsford is a city in transition though I fear that the city’s eastern area is limiting its potential to be a truly sustainable community that balances urban and rural.

1 comment:

Dave Loewen said...

In the few years (6) that I have been actively involved in affairs related to Abbotsford development, the City has made huge strides in moving towards the redevelopment of the old Downtown and development around the "Horseshoe" area, thanks to forward-thinking city planners. It will come, but unfortunately, not as quickly as some would want it to come. Market demand plays a key role in this. Thanks for shining a light on this issue.