Study Tour Report - Alderman Reynolds November 2017 ________________________________________________________________________
This report provides an overview of things I learned on a professional development study tour undertaken in September 2017. The trip to three cities in North America gave me the opportunity to gather ideas and know-how on issues important for Hobart's future development. The trip took me to: >> Learn how local government leadership in planning Portland has built a great public transport system and a more economically vibrant, accessible and sustainable city; >> Connect with the global network that is making cities more 'walkable', by attending and chairing a session at the International Walk 21 conference in Calgary, Canada; >> Join local government discussions at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities conference in Vancouver. Here I also met with city officials to learn about their innovative strategic planning practises to create more affordable and greenhouse gas emission-friendly residential developments. The following report provides an overview of the learnings from the tour. Photos and some links to further information are also included. I am giving two verbal reports at Town Hall that everyone is welcome to attend: Thursday 18 November – 12.30 – 1.30pm, Elizabeth Street conference room Friday 1 December – 5pm, Alderman’s Lounge I would also be happy to come and speak about this report at the invitation of any organisation.
PORTLAND Portland, Oregon is a city sometimes compared to Hobart. It sits at latitude 45 degrees north and Hobart at 42 degrees south - so both are great for growing roses, berries and hops (and brewing beer). Like us, many Portlanders love their local food and farmers’ markets. Both cities look up to an iconic mountain - kunanyi/Mt Wellington for us, Mt Hood for Portland. Like Hobart, Portland has a reputation for being laid back and creative. But there are differences: the most obvious is Portland's 30 year history of in innovative in land-use planning and public transport.
Meetings in Portland Name Nathan Howard Policy Advisor to Mayor, Ted Wheeler
Topic of meeting
100% Renewables policy and city business development opportunities Green Loop project (like High Line) Portland Fossil Fuel ban
Linda Castillo New Portlander Programs
Portland United Against Hate Attended New Portlanders Policy Commission meeting
Jon Williams Senior Development Project Manager METRO Transit Oriented Development
Transit Oriented Development program
Bob Hastings Agency Architect, Trimet
Tour or the Yellow Line and history of its development
Kathryn Doherty-Chapman & Hope Estes, Go Lloyd
Travel Demand Management programs
Todd Borkowitz Urban Planner/Designer City of Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability
Major Transit Oriented Development projects where the City has provided transit in order to attract new development
Sarah Iannarone First Stop Portland
Transport policy and housing affordability in Portland
Chido Dhliwayo City of Portland, Office of Government Relations
How City of Portland manages State / Federal relations
Portland is a public transport (transit) city Portland has an international reputation for considering land use and public transport together. Their emphasis on using rail to attract development has become a model for transit planning in cities across the USA and the world. Most cities that are looking to begin or expand light rail look at Portland first. I spent a day with First Stop Portland, an agency based at Portland State University who organise study tours for national and international delegations to learn about the city’s innovative policies. My host Sarah Innarone organised a tour to meet key people, ride on light rail and see transit oriented developments. Portland residents drive 20% less than the national average, which means that consumers save more than $1 billion annually on the cost of petrol and cars. These savings along with calculations of the time savings saved by Portland residents using public transport (calculated to be worth an additional $1.5 billion) has been identified as Portland’s ‘Green Dividend’ – a dividend of $2.6 billion per annum that stimulates the local economy because this money is able to be spent on other activities, services and products. Light rail has become a permanent and deeply ingrained part of Portland’s civic DNA - a critical piece of how the city lives, works, shops and plays. Good transit and Portland’s ‘liveability’ is now leading to population and economic growth. The transport agency, TriMet, estimates that $13.6 billion worth of development has occurred around their light rail stations. Oregon’s Business Magazine says, “It has spurred new commercial development, created thousands of jobs and helped ease traffic congestion. In addition, transit delivers customers to businesses and employees to jobs, as well as connections to educational opportunities.” TriMet is proving what research has suggested for years: Public transit systems built with economic development as a strategic deliverable can add billions of dollars’ worth of value to the region while creating liveable communities.” Oregon Buisness Magazine, Article link In 2016 Portland’s transit agency celebrated 30 years since the first light rail development, with this video and a web feature that explains the wide range of benefits that good public transport injects into the city.
Programs to incentivise Transit Oriented Development Metro is the regional governing body for the greater Portland area that was established in 1973 with a state-wide planning bill and an urban growth boundary set for the city. The legislated urban growth boundary has been recognised and maintained by successive governments as important for containing urban sprawl and assisting with regional transportation planning. Metro has been running a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) program since 2001 to incentivise mixed use and residential development around bus and rail public transport corridors. Their current $3 million program is funded by the federal government to increase in ridership or higher density near public transport. Metro uses these funds to leverage development by helping to offset costs in strategic locations. Increasingly they are focusing these limited funds on tying gap financing to the inclusion of affordable housing units in new developments. The TOD Program is a highly effective and strategic use of a relatively small budget â€“ since 2000 just $12 million of incentives has leveraged 37 housing / mixed use projects (worth more than $600 million). The 37 projects have delivered 3,353 residential units near public transport, of which 729 are set aside for households earning less than 60% of the areaâ€™s median income.
Light Rail to catalyse urban renewal and economic development I travelled the MAX Yellow Line with Bob Hastings, Agency Architect with Trimet (the Regional Transit Authority) and Sarah Innarone, Associate Director of First Stop Portland (pictured).
The Yellow Line opened in 2004 and runs between Portland State University in the city and the suburbs to the north, with 10 stops in the service. This 9.3 km line is just one part of the MAX light rail network â€“ the entire network includes 5 lines, 97 stations and covers close to 100 kms.
Development of the Yellow Line was driven by a goal to bolster economic development and housing opportunities in what is sometimes described as a "downtrodden corridor" of Portland. This part of the city is more ethnically diverse and also has a lower socio-economic profile than other areas do. There are 100,000 people in the area that the Yellow Line services, with a population density of 3,000 persons per sq. km – not a particularly high density and comparable to areas in the catchment of the Hobart rail corridor such as West Moonah and parts of Glenorchy (2,200 people per sq km) and Moonah (1,900). The densities in both this part of Portland and Hobart are less than places such as Melbourne’s inner city suburbs with densities of 5000 – 7000 persons per square km. While density is a factor in determining the likely success of public transport services, it should not be the only consideration in examining the benefits of transit oriented development.
Photos - the region around Yellow Line is not high density and resembles Hobart’s northern suburbs
The development of the Yellow Line had a shaky start with a city-wide vote rejecting the use of Council funds to develop the project. However TriMet learned that a majority of residents of the northern suburbs voted in favour of plan, so convinced the City of Portland to create an urban renewal district along the proposed line. This then made the project eligible for federal funds which funded 70% of the $350 million project.
Bob Hastings was involved in the development and worked with communities and businesses along the corridor to design the project. TriMet hired 22 community outreach representatives to engage directly with residents and businesses rather than relying on people to attend meetings. Since opening the line has:
been a catalyst for more than 50 new businesses and more medium density housing opening along the line,
revitalised neighbourhoods with new footpaths, trees, public art, paved roads, bike lanes,
ridership of 14,000 passengers per day has far exceeded the ridership on the former bus line serving the same route.
The economic and urban renewal benefits came from a willingness to invest public funds without turning a profit. When the service opened the fare recovery ratio for the operational costs was 42% and this climbed to 61% in 2014. Trimet’s real estate arm invested in development of apartments on the corridor and put the funds earned from this back into the public facilities.
Recommendation - Hobart’s Northern Suburbs rail corridor presents a unique opportunity for urban renewal, developing affordable medium density housing and boosting the city’s economic development. Hobart and Glenorchy Councils are already working together to promote this opportunity. Development of the corridor needs to be advanced as part of the City Deal with the state government working with Councils to establish a project development agency. This agency should be empowered to draw on lessons learned from Portland. It should work with residents and businesses along the corridor to create incentives for transit oriented development and urban renewal of the area, along with the roll out of a light rail service.
Travel Demand Management is practised everywhere I spent time with the three staff at 'Go Lloyd', a travel demand management agency in the Lloyd district in Portland (an area with 25,000 employees, 2,500 residents and 550 business in an area about the same size as the Hobart CBD). Go Lloyd’s mission is to change the travel behaviour of employees in the area – and as they do this, they also reduce congestion and pollution and help lower the out-of-pocket costs for people travelling alone in their cars to work. Who funds this work? The annual budget for Go Lloyd is $450,000 and is half funded by car park meter revenue and half by the Lloyd District Business Association. The small team do lots of practical things like designing individual commute plans for people, creating maps, organising employee sponsored public transport passes and organising new infrastructure like bike share programs.
Impact - in the 20 years they have been operating they have seen the number of people driving to work alone in their car drop by 25% (1,000 daily car trips), public transport use has increased by 35%, and cycling to work increase by 6%. The traders are attracted to freeing up the car park spaces for visitors and people shopping rather than being used by commuters. Money is saved by agencies and businesses by not needing to build more carparks.
Recommendation – the City of Hobart could establish a travel demand management agency – Go Hobart! - with contributions from our parking revenue and also from other big CBD employees like the State Government, Hydro, UTAS, the Hospital and the city traders. Money invested in travel demand management and subsequent reductions in single occupancy cars at peak times is a clever, low-cost way to reduce the impact of congestion on the city.
The Oregon State Government’s Employee Commute Options (ECO) rules / program, requires employers with more than 100 employees to provide commute options to employees designed to reduce the number of cars driven to work in Portland and surrounding areas. Portland employers must provide incentives for employee use of commute options like taking the bus or carpooling and the incentives must have the potential to reduce commute trips to the work site by 10 percent from an established baseline. It requires employers to: Survey employees to determine current commute methods Prepare a plan to meet the target reduction and submit the plan to DEQ for approval Perform follow-up surveys every two years to measure progress toward the 10 percent trip reduction goal
Recommendation – the City of Hobart could lobby the state government to introduce similar legislation to the Employee Commute Options rules / program.
CALGARY Calgary was the host for the 2017 Walk 21 Conference – an annual international conference promoting the policies needed for and the benefits from, creating walkable communities. The Mayor of Calgary, Naheed Nenshi, (pictured) led a city walk to explain that while Calgary is a cardominated city, the Council is implementing change informed by an award winning walking strategy. The Mayor also signed the International Charter for Walking signalling his commitment to creating a more walkable city.
Meetings in Calgary (sessions attended) Name
Topic of meeting
Celia Wade-Brown Former Mayor of Wellington and founder of Living Streets Aotearoa
Mayor Neheed Nenshi City of Calgary
Clagary’s efforts to promote walking in a car dominated culture
Charles Brown Senior Researcher, Edward Bloustien School of Planning and Public Policy
Improving Safety and Walkability in low income and minority communities
Professo Billie Giles-Corti Urban Futures, RMIT
Urban Design Policy to achieving walkable cities – importance of compliance
Andre Picard The Globe and Mail
Health and walking
Jonathan Chapman Liveable Streets Division, City of Calgary
Calgary’s Pedestrian Strategy Community tactical urbanism grants Neighbour Day
‘Walking on the Political Agenda’ a panel session that we both spoke at Strategies, Plans and Budgets OR Topography, Culture, Advocacy and Attitude – which has the biggest impact?
Provision of alternatives to parking spaces
Bronwen Thornton Walk 21
FLOW: EU Project to give walking and cycling equal footing in transport modelling
Celia Lee Sustainable Calgary
Active Neighbourhoods Project
Jennifer Black City of Calgary, Transport Planner
Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper Infrastructure for community traffic calming and pedestrian safety
Kerry Murray Ever Active Schools, Alberta
Walk to School programs
Walk21 provided a feast of ideas and initiatives to create more walkable and connected communities. The showcased projects used innovative public engagement tools and easy to implement infrastructure because the constraints on local government budgets was a common concern. 1. The Active Neighborhoods Project produced well researched and designed profiles of Calgary neighbourhoods and circulated them to households. The project then hosted a design event and instructed the group that only 3 - 5 design schemes could be produced, invited people to champion their own idea and run their own mini-workshop on it. The next step was the voting stage undertaken at popular community places / events. 2. FLOW is a European Union funded project coordinated by the Walk 21 Team. It provides a methodology that has been developed to assess the effectiveness of walking and cycling measures in addressing urban road congestion. It integrates the FLOW methodology and congestion assessment tools into the current standard transport impact analysis process. The project training is only for EU cities at this stage, but some of the tools are useful for planning the impact of wider footpaths and bike paths on congestion. 3. City of Calgary, Transport Planner opened her talk by thanking activists and said she encourages them to get community support for traffic calming. In her view harnessing the energy of activists is the best and fastest way to advance strategies. She runs “Cone-versations'' to experiment traffic calming options with the community, using cones and discussing the impact there on the spot. They have also found that a reusable traffic calming curb (cast in bright yellow concrete) is a cheap and fast intervention that can be bolted down to change behaviour and fix issues of immediate concern. It has allowed the city to calm traffic in areas where previously there was no budget for it. 4. City of Calgary Parking Strategies – since the mid-1980s developers of inner city buildings were restricted to the number of parking spaces and a payment needed to be paid into the City’s parking fund to gain more spaces. This fund was then used to fund free car parking facilities next to transit stations on the outskirts of the city. There are a number of new developments where parking is not provided, as long as the developer pays for an approved transportation demand management plan.
5. Safe and Active Routes to School projects are a significant part of the preventative health sector in Canada. Funding for projects comes from Teachers Unions and Departments of Education and Health for 'school travel planning'. 6. Calgary Walking Strategy - one of the main initiatives is outsourced to a not-for-profit group, the Federation of Calgary Communities who administer a micro grants program for tactical urbanism projects. The small grants fund temporary projects and events that motivate Calgarians to walk, play and be neighbourly. Grants of between $600 - $800 drive creative local interventions such as intersection paint projects like the one pictured, which helps traffic calming in local streets. Program details are here - https://calgarycommunities.com/activateyyc/stories/
A pavement painting project supported by the Activate Calgary Program
Recommendation â€“ the City of Hobart could: -
Establish a small grants program for tactical urbanism projects in Hobart neighbourhoods to encourage traffic calming and a culture of walking. Actively seek partners in contributing to a Safe Routes to School program, targeting State Government agencies and the teachers union. Explore Councilâ€™s ability to condition active transport and travel demand management initiatives where a developer is providing a small number of parking spaces.
VANCOUVER The focus of my meetings in Vancouver was on how strategic land-use planning delivers city wide benefits such as reductions of greenhouse gas emissions and increased affordable housing supply. The City of Vancouver is the biggest Council in the Greater Vancouver area servicing 630,000 people. It is seen to benefit from the Vancouver Charter, a state law that governs how the City operates, what bylaws they can create, and how budgets are set. I also met with smaller Councils including North Vancouver Council which services a population of about 50,000 people. All of the 23 Councils in the Greater Vancouver area appoint representatives (from elected Councillors) to sit on Metro Vancouver - a regional planning body that meets once a month, regulates urban growth boundaries and creates programs delivered across the region. The Mayors of the largest Councils in Vancouver also sit on the Board of Translink, the cityâ€™s public transport agency (which is a state government agency). Vancouver is a rapidly growing city that is known for its liveability, green credentials, and access to national parks and outdoor recreation. A lack of affordable housing was the major issue of political concern, including the dominance and influence of property speculators.
Meetings in Vancouver Name Anita Molaro Assistant Director, City of Vancouver Planning Department
Topic of meeting
Lisa Brideau Senior Sustainability Specialist, City of Vancouver Councillor Adriane Carr City of Vancouver Karis Hiebert Senior Planner, Planning, Urban Design & Sustainability - City of Vancouver Union of British Columbian Municipalities Congress - 2000 delegates - 189 Councils - Whole of state Cabinet attended Alex Boston Boston Consulting
Planning approach and operations Development of ‘view cones’ Historic area height restrictions and Historic Area Planning Committees Use of rezoning to drive public benefits and city shaping strategies
Greenest City Action Plan 2010 experience, updates and lessons learned
Similarities and differences of being a councillor in Vancouver and Hobart
Tour of False Creek sustainable urban development
Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Selina Robinson Passive House Canada presentation Climate and Energy Action Awards
Density, affordable housing and greenhouse gas emissions
Planning issues - overview The Vancouver planning system shares many similarities with Hobart and the state-wide planning scheme, with zoning rules that set out types of development that are automatically allowed and some discretionary zones (such as single family dwelling and historic zones). The planners I met with talked about the use of rezoning policies to capture public benefits, which is a feature of Vancouver planning policies and a significant source of funding for public infrastructure and affordable housing. There are also critics of Vancouver’s use of ‘spot rezoning’ with a view that it is driven by developers, and has resulted in Vancouver having more high rises per capita than any other city in the world. However when changing circumstances justify intervention to rezone an entire area, it makes sense to capture some of the private profit gained by that change and direct it towards public benefits. I saw a great example of ‘upzoning’ with a development plan that created a new medium density area with affordable housing and high quality public amenities (outlined later). While the city is known for areas of high-rise residential there are strict rules to maintain the singlefamily residential character of certain districts. In these areas site coverage of all buildings is limited to 40% of the land area. While bulky ‘McMansion’ scale houses are restricted by these site coverage rules, there is allowance for secondary suite or additional dwelling unit in a single-family residence, under certain circumstances.
Councillors are not involved in development approvals, but there are a number of advisory bodies and mechanisms for citizen involvement in the process including: -
Neighborhood Planning Projects Heritage Area Planning Committees (for Gas Town and China Town) Development Permit Board Advisory Panel
Neighbourhood Planning page, City of Vancouver website
Vancouver is a newer city than Hobart and has a limited number of heritage buildings, but the city values what they call ‘character houses’ built before 1940 and recently approved a by-law to provide incentives for their retention following a crisis of demolition. With high rise and character homes at either end of the spectrum, the big discussion in Vancouver was about the need for ‘the missing middle’ – medium density housing that is affordable and suitable for young families. With a number of tall buildings, Vancouver has created ‘view cones’ to protect a range of views around the city. They were developed in consultation with the community.
The Cityâ€™s Development Assessment Planners are trained architects who understand building design and do a significant amount of negotiation on design before a DA is submitted. City Planning specialists are not involved in individual development assessments but are instead focused on longer term, strategic city-wide and neighbourhood planning. Residents do not have the right to appeal a decision of the Development Permit Board (only applicants). However there is effort made by the City to be open and transparent about development applications and explain the process to the interested public, including: ď‚ˇ
Large and informative DA signs (pictured below) provide a visual image of the project and clear details of the steps in the process.
Good quality website information to explain the development approval process and a glossary of frequently used planning jargon.
Example of a DA notification sign in Vancouver
Big, bold goals - Greenest City Action Plan – sustainability and economic outcomes While more mainstream now, Vancouver’s ambitious pledge to be the world’s ‘Greenest City’ by 2020 was ahead of its time when the process began in 2009. The Council believes that the pledge and the work to achieve it has made Vancouver a more liveable city and provided a ‘Green Brand’ dividend which has helped to attract economic development. In 2015, the Council and the Vancouver Economic Commission commissioned a study to determine the monetary value of the Vancouver “green” brand, which found it is worth $31 billion. The city uses the brand to attract companies and organisations to the city, the most recent example of this was Amazon’s decision to establish its second office in Vancouver. The focus on the Green Economy goes well beyond branding and is a core part of the Vancouver economic development strategy – links to Green Economy research papers http://www.vancouvereconomic.com/focus/green-economy/ and http://www.vancouvereconomic.com/wpcontent/uploads/2015/04/VEC_GreenJobsReport_2014_web.pdf In 2009 a Greenest City Action Team was established and included high profile sustainability experts who were also Vancouver residents, such as David Suzuki. The Action Team working with the Mayor established 10 goals:
Green Economy: double the number of green jobs and businesses with green operations Climate Leadership: require all new buildings built after 2020 to be carbon neutral Green buildings: reduce CO2 emissions in existing buildings by 20% over 2007 levels Green transportation: reduce driving and make the majority of trips by foot, bicycle, and public transit traffic Zero waste: reduce solid waste going to landfills to 50% of 2008 levels Access to nature: increase accessibility of green parks, greenways, and other green space, so that all Vancouver residents live within 5 minutes of these spaces Lighter footprint: reduce Vancouver's ecological footprint by 33% over 2006 levels Clean water: increase water quality and reduce water consumption per capita by 33% from 2006 levels Clean air: increase air quality, measured against Metro Vancouver and World Health Organization guidelines Local food: increase amount of locally grown food
With the goals agreed, public engagement was undertaken over a year to create an Action Plan by getting ideas from residents, businesses and organisations on the ways to implement them. Lisa Brideau (who I met with about the Plan) said that “we had to build a constituency behind the goals, because we knew that alone couldn't achieve them.” The Greenest City Action Plan was finalised in 2011 and annual monitoring reports are produced on achievements and challenges faced in meeting the goals. One of the biggest success has been the development of green buildings with a 43% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions per square foot in new buildings achieved since 2007. A tool used to get better energy efficiency in large new buildings has been through the rezoning process. When developers apply to change the use allowed on the land, secure increased density and more revenue, city staff negotiate that the project must be built to a higher energy standard.
Under the Green Building Policy for Rezonings projects must cut carbon pollution by 50% or more and meet new limits for insulation and air-tightness testing. The next step for new buildings is the Zero Emissions Building plan which the city created with the development industry. Because British Columbia has a high percentage of renewable energy in its grid (from hydro power) this goal, while ambitious is achievable. The most challenging goal for the City to work on has been the lighter footprint strategy and do this through funding the Project Green Bloc program which helps neighbourhood groups take action collectively to measure their footprint, address climate change and resource consumption.
City Shaping Planning Projects - vision and a focus on the public interest I toured the False Creek Sustainable Urban Neighbourhood with City of Vancouver Planner, Karis Hiebert, who has been working on the development for a number of years. The 36 hectare area is a great example of the city creating a vision to â€˜upzoneâ€™ an industrial area and using the process to negotiate significant Community Amenity Contributions. In 1999 Vancouver Council approved a vision and policy statement for the Southeast False Creek area. The policy set urban design and sustainability principles, and strategies to enable the development of the area, and also serve as a learning experience for application at a city-wide scale. In 2007 the City finalised an Official Development Plan for the area.
The 1999 Vision and Policy Statement started the development process
The plan for the area was designed to develop a mixed use neighbourhood with a diversity of residential types to accommodate all incomes, and best practise building and urban design. The Council did this by working with multiple strategic planning tools over a number of years, including zoning changes and by-laws, community housing programs and leases, public facilities
agreements, subdivision plans, servicing agreements, design guidelines, development conditions, restrictive covenants, and other instruments, to regulate and guide the development. The Council employed real estate experts to work with planning staff to understand the potential capital gain to be realised in the process of turning an area from industrial / commercial to residential. In 2006 the Council set an area-specific Development Cost Levy at a rate of $32 per sq. ft. which provided about $242 million or roughly 95% of the current costs of the public amenities and projects. They then negotiated these fees with land owners and developers based on an assessment of the â€˜value upliftâ€™ and private profit that had been created by the rezoning process. While this was a quite new and ambitious agenda for the Council to take up with the property industry at the time, the developers have over time come to accept the model as they see that the process creates more liveable neighbourhoods which in turn seeâ€™s quicker sale times and increased property values. The Official Development Plan mandated the following public benefits: - 25.8 acres of park space; - Greenway walkways and bikeways; - Public infrastructure to accommodate long-term servicing requirements; - Public realm improvements (e.g. street trees, lighting fixtures, other street furniture); - Three 69 space childcare facilities; - A 30,000 sq. ft. community centre and non-motorized boating centre; - 20% affordable housing units in sub-areas 1A, 2A, and 3A (City Lands only)
95% of all of these public benefits were funded by the development contributions, with no funding contributed by the Council and ratepayers funds. Council staff however designed and project managed the development of the public spaces.
The vision of the prime location having a mix of housing types was implemented by requiring that 20% of units had to be set aside for affordable housing, administered by community housing coops with long term leases. The Official Development Plan also set standards for energy efficient buildings which were best practise at the time.
Development contributions Central to the success of this development was the use of developer contributions to deliver high quality public facilities. The collection and use of development contributions in Vancouver and other parts of British Columbia is significantly different to local government’s approach to development in Tasmania. Development contributions are seen as an essential element of making the city liveable, which then in turn makes the city more economically successful. Vancouver as a city with its own state legislation has the right to collect both the ‘Development Cost Levies’ that all local governments are empowered to collect and their additional program of Community Amenity Contributions, linked to rezoning applications. Over the past 10 years, the City with assistance from development contributions has funded: • 4,200 affordable housing units • 3,400 licensed childcare spaces • 100 kilometres of bikeways
Images - Vancouverâ€™s approach to development contributions and level of funding secured
Community Benefits from Development Report, City of Vancouver, 2015
Win-win – more affordable housing and lower greenhouse gas emissions From the City of North Vancouver I learned about advancing an affordability and carbon management agenda in single family home neighbourhoods. North Vancouver is more like Hobart, servicing a population of just 50,000 people and with a lower population density than ‘big city Vancouver’ across the Bay. I met with an expert based in North Vancouver who works with Councils across Canada and the United States. Many of the demographic trends and issues that he briefed me on are very similar to those in Hobart and across Australia. The problem
Due to demographic change and inadequate housing diversity, occupancy in single detached homes is dropping rapidly.
More than half of single detached homes – ¼ of BC’s housing stock – is occupied by 1 or 2 person households. Most are seniors and empty nesters. A large number want to downsize but are not attracted to high rise apartments.
Single detached homes are the most greenhouse gas intensive.
Housing affordability is a major issue for cities, particularly in established inner city areas Housing type and greenhouse gas emissions
A solution Across British Columbia, Councils are responding to these multiple issues by creating strategies and incentives to advance what they refer to as sensitive urban infill. Central to this is encouraging the development of ‘laneway housing’ and ‘secondary suites’.
A laneway house / coach house is a smaller, detached home located where the garage would normally go on a single-family lot.
A secondary suite is a second dwelling unit (self-contained living quarters including cooking equipment and a bathroom), located within the structure of an owner-occupied single family dwelling.
The City of Vancouver, the City of North Vancouver and the City of Surrey (2nd largest Council in Greater Vancouver) permit up to 3 units per single family parcel in most single detached zones – a principle residence, a secondary suite and a laneway home. The City of Victoria (capital of BC) has made the creation of secondary suites a key part of its affordable housing strategy. They relaxed the regulation of secondary suites in single-family zones by eliminating the requirement that homeowners provide extra parking for a suite. This Council also offers financial incentives to construct suites with grants to cover 25% per cent of the construction costs up to a maximum of $5,000. The owner enters into a partnership agreement with the City that guarantees the suite will be used as rental accommodation for at least five years. What does Sensitive Urban Infill look like?
From the City of Surrey, Sensitive Urban Infill Project
Greenhouse and affordable housing benefits of the 4 R’s This diagram illustrates the greenhouse gas and affordability benefits of encouraging sensitive urban infill in established detached home areas.
Benefits of this strategy
Increases affordable housing supply Provides revenue to home owners, notably young families and seniors Build generational bridges between seniors and young people and reduces social isolation Cuts greenhouse emissions by curbing growth in floor area per capita in single family homes Eases demand for high carbon residential development on urban fringe A cost effective and relatively easy to implement climate change and affordability agenda Creates affordable housing options with low cost, low carbon transport options because of proximity to CBDs and existing transport services.
Recommendations - the City of Hobart could: -Improve the design of its Development Application signs and online materials to create more transparency and a better understanding of nature of development proposals, the process, key dates and develop a glossary to explain planning scheme jargon. -Develop a strategic vision for the future development of the area between the city and north Hobart as a model of high quality, sustainable medium density development -Continue to work closely with Glenorchy City Council, the state and federal government on the urban renewal and development of the rail corridor to the north of the city. -Undertake research on new models for development contributions suitable for special development area and rezonings and discuss these options with the state government -Drawing on examples from British Columbia develop a strategy for Sensitive Urban Infill in Hobartâ€™s established residential zone areas as a way to encourage affordable housing and greenhouse gas reductions in a way that is suitable to retaining the character of these areas.
An overview of things I learned about public transport and urban development from Portland, Calgary and Vancouver
Published on Nov 17, 2017
An overview of things I learned about public transport and urban development from Portland, Calgary and Vancouver