Neighbourhood Planning and Community Support for New Multi-Family Housing Projects in Vancouver

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This research study investigates community support and concerns for new multi-family housing projects in Vancouver. It examines the approaches that planners and developers use at the neighbourhood planning and development application stage to increase community support and mitigate concerns for new multi-family housing projects. The research also suggests new approaches and strategies that planners and developers could take to increase community support and mitigate concerns for new multi-family housing projects. The key findings of this study indicate that housing affordability, the height of buildings, community amenities, design, community character, and parking/traffic concerns are the main issues that arise in the discussions regarding support for and opposition towards new multi-family housing developments in Vancouver. This paper discusses the importance of early and frequent community engagement, Community Plans (neighbourhood planning), and developer contributions (community amenities) to achieving community support and mitigating concerns for new multi-family housing projects. However, this paper also reveals that policies related to improving housing affordability and providing community amenities can result in polarizing viewpoints within the community. Further clarity, accountability, and education regarding how community amenities and new housing are delivered is needed for both market housing and affordable housing. The study also finds that planners and developers should continue to enhance community engagement techniques to build community support and improve multi-family housing project outcomes. The lessons learned and recommendations provided in this paper add to the body of literature on smart growth and on the “barriers” to developing new housing in transit-oriented locations. The findings in this paper will be useful to planners and developers, as well as to other related stakeholders who work in the fields of housing policy and transit-oriented development.
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