From The Tyee, by Patrick Condon:



Vancouver’s future is dimming due to unaffordable housing and overloaded public transit. How the University of British Columbia builds student housing could make a major dent in both problems.

But not if the university sticks to its current plans.

For starters, not only is UBC building too few units on campus, the new projects it proposes will force students to pay more than top dollar, even by Vancouver standards. …

Ponderosa-Yale610pxPutting far more students on campus could be done in the “street and courtyard” style found in cities like Paris, Berlin, Oslo and Barcelona — and in university settings like those at Yale and Oxford. The design allows students to circulate on active, energizing streets, or find rest and contemplation in quiet courtyards only a few steps away. Trips to classes or other on-campus destinations would be shorter if housing were mixed throughout campus instead of distilled into a few high-rise hubs. Female students might feel safer after dark because a more densely inhabited campus creates more “eyes on the street” and fewer hidden, lonely pathways. …

Build enough housing on campus the right way, and UBC will reap another great reward. The campus which now often feels like a glorified office park, would finally reflect its stated aspirations. UBC would become a true community of learning — one worthy of joining the ranks of other great mixed use university towns like Oxford, Cambridge, Heidelberg and Bologna. All are mid-rise, all are vital, walkable, safe, and sustainable.


Full column here.