Is Our Future Limited by Car-Friendly Urban Design?


There are many areas across the globe which face a difficult decision, more roads or more houses? North Vancouver tries to tackle them both, the need for more affordable houses and a desire for a proper transportation system.

North Vancouver, among other communities out there, is trying to solve these problems while also having to deal with the limitations of 20th-century urban infrastructure and how it focused mainly on getting more space for cars.

Which regions are affected by this?

In North Van you can come across the Maplewood region and you should know that it represents the last North Shore area that is still open for development. In the ‘70s, the area was known to inhabit numerous squatters and it managed to remain a patch of blackberries and woods surrounded by gravel and new development.

The industrial park present on the Dollarton Highway took a toll on some of the woods during these last years. However, commuters used the old Dollarton Road for 4 years without voicing concerns until the replacement was good to drive on.

Now Maplewood faces a new development project, the building of the North Shore Innovative District. It will be a mix of rental or marketing housing combined with businesses and stores, all in all over 1000 new buildings. Almost 4400 people will be employed in this project.

The main concern is how this vast project will take a toll on traffic. The North Shore already has big problems with traffic and with this project, many people and cars will arrive in an already crowded area. Besides traffic, some officials fear that the resulting houses will not be affordable for ordinary people. Plus, the project needs space, so about 18 hectares of forest will be removed, even though a growing population needs green spaces.

The construction of the Innovation District will start in 2025 and the Mayor plans that by 2023 new traffic infrastructure will be built in order to make these problems go away.


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