Thursday, July 20, 2017

Building affordable, walkable, and transit-friendly neighbourhoods a priority for Metro Vancouver residents.

The Metro Vancouver Regional District recently released the results of their survey “Shaping Our Communities.” They surveyed a representative sample of people throughout the region to see what people thought about their neighbourhoods, and what attributes people think are important when selecting a neighbourhood to live in.

Even though there are 21 municipalities in our region, the survey results did not vary significantly from one municipality to the other. In Metro Vancouver, we have shared values when it comes to our neighbourhoods.

There was a difference in values between people who live in urban centres such as Langley City compared to people that live outside of urban centres.

In urban centres, walking, cycling, transit, and car sharing are more of a factor than outside of urban centres where driving is the transportation mode of choice.

What was interesting to see is that people in urban centres generally felt that their neighbourhoods were getting better over the last five to ten years, while people living outside of urban centres thought their neighbourhoods has not changed or had gotten worse over the last five to ten years.

Survey participants were asked what they considered important if they were moving to a new neighbourhood. The following chart ranks these attributes in order of importance:

Results of survey question: What do Metro Vancouver residents prioritize in their community? Select chart to enlarge.

It’s not surprising that housing affordability is the number one factor that people would consider. People also placed a high value on being close to daily essentials like grocery stores, pharmacies, and restaurants. People ranked being able to walk to shops, services, and amenities as more important than driving. In fact, driving and transit access were almost tied as important factors.

Building walkable, transit-friendly neighbourhoods is desired by people who live in Metro Vancouver. Local governments should ensure that their land-use plans and transportation networks support these kinds of neighbourhoods.

One of the interesting things about the survey is that it shows a cognitive dissonance among residents in our region. For example, survey participants prioritized affordable housing, but placed a low value on having different types of housing in a neighbourhood. A variety of housing types supports affordability.

There was also a disconnect between how improving cycling infrastructure is related to giving people a way out of congestion.

You can read the full survey results by looking at the July 14 Metro Vancouver Regional District Planning Committee agenda.

No comments: