This paper investigates the housing form and neighbourhood design preferences of residents of North Cowichan, a small community in the peri-urban zone between Victoria and Nanaimo, BC, Canada. Using a mixed methods approach, residential preferences among residents were documented in order to establish the degree to which they are consistent with the principles of smart growth and, thus, supportive of urban containment.The research finds that in general residents value privacy, separation from neighbours and independence above other residential characteristics, characteristics that are not consistent with traditional smart growth residential forms. However, there is a subset of the population, particularly among residents over fifty years of age, who want to live in more urbanized environments. This paper concludes that residential forms need to reflect the values of privacy and independence in order draw more people into denser forms of housing and toward urban cores.
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