The conversion of Brentwood into a municipal town centre is really about the conversion of car-dependent development from post-war suburbia into the transit-oriented centres of today. It’s the fulfilment of the regional vision that began in the 1970s.
This is the Grand Bargain in action, concentrating development on the brownfields: the asphalt parking lots, the obsolete industrial sites, the empty lots, all within walking distance of a SkyTrain station. (Debate: Can the same thing happen along the Frequent Transit Network or even a light-rail line? Or is grade-separated rapid transit – concrete, trains! – a necessity?)
The success of these station areas is unquestioned. There is a lot more of them happening, a lot more to come, as evident at the next SkyTrain stop to the west – Gilmore:
The bargain so far has been a push to extremes: highrise sacrifice zones to protect the iconic single-family neighbourhoods (regardless of the number of units within those houses).
And it leaves untouched the vast stretches of Motordom in between the station areas:
Lougheed Highway at Gilmore, looking west
The City of Vancouver has taken the first steps to rezone the blocks just beyond the arterials and transit corridors for medium-density rental, and there are a few, but very few, examples where a whole single-family district has been rezoned, bulldozed and rebuilt (Moodyville) to offer the middle-missing choices for which there is general agreement of their necessity.
This region’s ability to plan, approve and build complexes on the scale of Brentwood makes us an urban leader, certainly in North America. By comparison, here is Miami Worldcenter, said to be the second largest real-estate development in the US, next to Hudson Yards:
More commercial, denser (and eventually underwater) – but not that different from what we do in our distant suburbs. Okay, way more jobs, highly desired in places like Coquitlam, but in form and size, it’s just another megaproject.
Just another version of Brentwood.
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