Monday, August 15, 2016

Metro Vancouver's Regional Growth Strategy. Are we supporting a sustainable economy?

Last week, I posted about Metro Vancouver’s annual performance report for our regional growth strategy. In the first post, I shared some of the key performance measures on how we are doing creating a compact urban area.

The second goal of the regional growth strategy is to support a sustainable economy. This goal is broken down into three strategies: prompting land development patterns that support a diverse regional economy, and employment close to where people live; protecting the supply of industrial land; and, protecting the supply of agricultural land and promoting agricultural viability with an emphasis on food production.

I posted about urban centres and frequent transit areas last week. These places are meant to be focus areas for both housing and office space. In 2011, 67% of office space was located in these centre, with 21% of office space located near rapid transit or the frequent bus network. 12% of office space was not located near high-quality transit service. Unfortunately, the percent total of office space in urban centres or serviced by high-quality transit has decreased.

Change in office space located in centres and near high-quality transit between 2011 and 2015. Select graphic to enlarge.

This year's progress report is missing information on the total number of jobs in each sub-region, as that information will only be available after the current census is completed.

2011 total number of jobs by sub-region. Select map to enlarge.

The region is trying to protect industrial land from conversation to other uses. Industrial land is important to maintaining our role as a gateway port city, and to support manufacturing jobs. Between 2011 and 2015, there was a slight decrease in the total industrial land base.

Changes to the industrial and mixed-employment land-use designations in Metro Vancouver between 2011 and 2015. Select graphic to enlarge.

Protecting agricultural land for food production in our region is critically important. In 2011, 55,314 hectares of land was designated agricultural in our region. Between 2011 and 2015, 71 hectares of land was converted to other uses. The single reason for this loss was due to the Southlands development in Delta.

Changes to the agricultural land-use designation in Metro Vancouver between 2011 and 2015. Select chart to enlarge.

Updated information about the value and amount of land used for food production will be available in future performance reports.

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