The proponents of Metropolitan governance believe it to offer the most feasible means to managing growth and developments that transcend jurisdictional boundaries. Regional governance structures, infused with the new regionalism approach of treating the region as a hub for economic development, are characteristic of modern regional planning efforts. My study examines the role of regional planning, particularly regarding the role of Metro Vancouver's Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) of 2011 in the increase of density for the Metrotown regional town centre. My research also examines the effects of the compacted urban development form, which the RGS promotes, on the Metrotown regional town centre. Regional planning under the new regionalist approach advocates for governance rather than government structures for planning development across the region. The implications of such an approach for the direction that the City of Burnaby takes towards compact development at Metrotown are examined in this paper. My research examines the effects of an intra-metropolitan transfer of policies (between regional government and the municipalities) rather than the well-known inter-metropolitan transfer process between cities in different countries. Policy mobilities enable regional planning to influence the direction of municipal planning through cooperation, consolidation, and policy sharing amongst municipalities. Increasing density through compact developments around transit lines are intended to combat sprawl, preserve agricultural lands, and reduce pollution through reduced vehicle use and travel. This urban core densification idea can also be viewed as a double-edged sword with negative consequences and benefits. My research highlights how and why regional governance on its own may not be sufficient for handling issues such as housing (un)affordability that may result from urban core densification. This paper calls for support from higher levels of government to ensure that the regional governance of Metro Vancouver can handle the costs associated with using high-density to support housing affordability and manage regional growth.
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Thesis advisor: Hall, Peter
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