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Strategically planning for parking: An inquiry into parking requirements for laneway houses in Vancouver

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This study investigates the alignment between Vancouver’s strategic plans and the uniquely low parking requirement for its laneway housing policy. Parking requirements, a long-standing tool to create parking alongside housing, are purported to be a relic of automobile-centric, density-shy planning. But they remain a politically convenient and thus entrenched approach, offering a straightforward ‘bring-your-own-parking’ standard that shifts the responsibility for abundant street parking onto new residents. The perpetuation of parking minima in Vancouver is found to be politically motivated: ad hoc incrementalism and compromise are preferred as more pragmatic than implementing stated objectives boldly and without compromise. Officials speculate that this approach was necessary to make laneway housing acceptable to existing residents, suggesting that, paradoxically, parking requirements can present both opportunity and barriers for infill housing. The study recommends more data, public dialogue, and transparency in the translation of strategic policy into regulatory policy.
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