Pushing Urban Density: The Answer to Global Warming?

Vancouver, Canada’s largest west coast city, is rethinking the way it handles urban density. For years, the metropolitan area benefited from its sprawling geography of valleys, coastal watersheds and lush deltas. As the city grew in size, smaller urban neighborhoods became suburbs: pockets of housing developments and culs-de-sac that would eventually soak up more population than the city that gives the Vancouver Metropolitan Region its name. The problem, urban planners point out, is that this type of development hasn’t necessarily taken community needs into account. Sure, there are stores, malls, restaurants and medical facilities, but what about jobs? According to recent studies, 43 percent of residents in Vancouver’s neighboring Fraser Valley Regional District commute outside of their cities for work, often drawn by jobs 15 to 25 miles away from their homes.