Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The South of Fraser is the key to Metro Vancouver's success as a livable region

Last week, I posted about Metro Vancouver Regional District staff's first look at information from the most recent census. As noted by the regional district, the South of Fraser is where 45% of population growth occurred between 2011 and 2016.

New presentations from Metro Vancouver get into more detail about population numbers, and how it relates to the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS). The following graph shows the projected share of population growth according to the RGS, and where population growth actually occurred. Growth in the South of Fraser has exceeded the projections.

Projected and Actual Growth – Regional Shares. Source: Metro Vancouver. Select graph to enlarge.

One of the major goals of the RGS is to have 40% of new dwelling units (housing) be built within urban centres by 2021. Between 2011 and 2016, Metro Vancouver estimates that 39% of new housing units were built in urban centres. When looking at the numbers closer, it appears that while Downtown Vancouver has accommodated significantly more housing units than envisioned in the RGS, the same isn’t true about Surrey City Centre or other smaller municipal centres. There is work to be done.

Growth in Urban Centres between 2011 and 2016. Rough estimates. Source: Metro Vancouver. Select table to enlarge.

The following map shows where new housing units were built.

Map of Net Dwelling Unit Growth between 2011 and 2016. Source: Metro Vancouver. Select map to enlarge.

One of the interesting slides from the presentation on long-term growth in the region shows that in the next 100 years, the South of Fraser will become the most populated part of the region.

Draft Scenario Population Growth by Sub-regions. Source: Metro Vancouver. Select graph to enlarge.

The final slide I wanted to share from the presentations shows the origin of people that immigrated to Metro Vancouver over the last decade.

Immigration to Metro Vancouver by Origin. Source: Metro Vancouver. Select graph to enlarge.

Now and into the future, the success of our region is tied to the success of how we grow and develop in the South of Fraser. Will we be able to built walkable urban centres connected by high-quality transit, or will we make the same mistakes as other regions throughout North America by locking people into forced auto-dependence, congestion, and sprawl?

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