MetroVancouver 2040 Plan

Vancouver, British Columbia

Photo Credit: Metro Vancouver

CASE STUDY

Initial Research by: Desiree Theriault

Edited by: Samantha Miller & Nicole Brekelmans

Case study compiled in 2017

 

 

 

Project:  Metro Vancouver 2040: Shaping our Future

Type of Urban StrategySustainable Design, Green Cities 

Type of ProjectRegional Planning / Regional Growth Strategy

LocationVancouver, British Columbia

Date Designed/Planned: 2011

Construction Completed 2015

DesignerMetro Vancouver

 

The Metro Vancouver 2040 Urban Growth Strategy is a collective vision brought together by the 21 municipalities which aims to respond to the challenges of urban growth by centring on five strategic pillars that would structure growth:

 

1. Create a Compact Urban Area

2. Support a Sustainable Economy

3. Protect the Environment and Respond to Climate Change Impacts

4. Develop Complete Communities

5. Support Sustainable Transportation Choices

(Greater Vancouver Regional District Board, 2011)

 

The plan was adopted in 2011 and has since been a significant contributor in the Greater Vancouver Area’s sustainability and regional planning practices. Today (2017), the Metro 2040 plan continues to be adopted and has allowed the Greater Vancouver Area to create a dynamic urban core with liveable communities, protected healthy environment, sustainable transportation services and a dynamic urban landscape. (Metro Vancouver, 2017).

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONTEXT


The Metro Vancouver 2040: Shaping our Future is a regional growth strategy that utilizes urban planning policies to achieve the highest quality of life while fostering a sustainable urban environment (Greater Vancouver Regional District Board, 2011). The plan was adopted in 2011 by the Greater Vancouver Area which included 21 municipalities, Vancouver’s regional transportation planning organization - TransLink, the Tsawwassen First Nation and adjacent regional districts. The plan was designed by Metro Vancouver, which is a federation of the Greater Vancouver area’s municipalities and one of the primary regional planning sources for the Vancouver region (Metro Vancouver, 2017).

The project looks to follow a Sustainability Framework that will respond to Vancouver’s rapid urban growth. The framework primarily consists of creating an Urban Containment Boundary that allocates regional land use designations for urban growth, while also establishing intended land uses for agriculture, industry and environmental protection (Greater Vancouver Regional District Board, 2011).

The Metro 2040 strategy is representative of a brighter, more sustainable future for the Vancouver Region. It is an urban strategy that strives to enhance the value of the region, improve cultural and social vitality, engage economic prosperity, bring social justice, promote transportation networks and protect the region’s productive natural environment for future generations (Greater Vancouver Regional District Board, 2011).




FUNDING


The Metro Vancouver 2040 Regional Growth Strategy is funded primarily through capital budgets, utility fees, and property taxes. The current budget for the year 2017 is $702.4 million – which will account for sustainable water treatment and supply, sewerage and management of solid waste, maintenance for regional parks, Housing Corporation, Air Quality Management and other regional planning activities. (Metro Vancouver, 2017)

Although the Metro 2040 project is still ongoing and will evolve throughout the next 25 years, the project maintains a steady budget and allows for the urban core to grow at a controlled rate.




SITE ANALYSIS


The Metro Vancouver 2040 Regional Growth Strategy encompasses a large parcel of land on the Southwest corner of British Columbia. This parcel of land has been designated under the Metro 2040 plan as an Urban Containment Boundary, providing an outline for the Vancouver region’s expected urban growth within the next 25 years (Greater Vancouver Regional District Board, 2011).

The bounds of the site are the Pacific Ocean and is bordered by the United States. Within it, is a composition of 21 municipalities, one Electoral Area, one Treaty First Nation, an exuberant diversity of ecology infrastructure, the Fraser River, agricultural lands, industrial lands, and extensive watersheds (Metro Vancouver, 2017). The 21 municipalities included in the Metro 2040 plan are Anmore, Belcarra, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Delta, University of British Columbia, Langley City, Langley Township, Lions Bay, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, North Vancouver City, North Vancouver District, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Richmond, Surrey, Vancouver, West Vancouver and White Rock (Metro Vancouver, 2017).

Alongside its diverse municipalities, the region also sits between the Coastal Douglas Fir Biogeoclimatic Zone 2 and the Coastal Western Hemlock Biogeoclimatic Zone – bearing extensive biodiversity and ecological framework (Diamond Head Consulting Ltd, 2017). The site contains coniferous forests of Douglas fir, Western Red Cedar, Grand Fir; the Rocky Mountains, Wetlands, Salt Marsh Lands, and prairies – all of which must be a consideration during the implementation of the Regional Growth Strategy (Bliss, 2001).




PROJECT BACKGROUND AND HISTORY


For the past 25 years, the Greater Vancouver region has grown by over a million people. With an average growth of 35,000 newcomers a year, the Greater Vancouver region can expect to rise another 1 million by the year 2040. To accommodate this growth, the Greater Vancouver Region required a sustainable framework to deduce proper regional land use planning that maintained the vitality of the region (Metro Vancouver, 2017).

In 2010, the Metro Vancouver Agency who is responsible for the Greater Vancouver Area’s long-range and regional land use planning designed the regional land use project Metro Vancouver 2040 in response to the expected urban growth of the year 2040 (Greater Vancouver Regional District Board, 2011). The Metro Vancouver 2040 Regional Growth Strategy was created under a collective vision brought together by the 21 municipalities of Metro Vancouver. The project aims to respond to the challenges of urban growth by centring on five strategic pillars to structure growth:

1. Create a Compact Urban Area

2. Support a Sustainable Economy

3. Protect the Environment and Respond to Climate Change Impacts

4. Develop Complete Communities

5. Support Sustainable Transportation Choices

(Greater Vancouver Regional District Board, 2011)

The plan was adopted in 2011 and has since been a significant contributor in the Greater Vancouver Area’s sustainability and regional planning practices (Friedman, 2017). Today (2017), the Metro 2040 plan continues to be adopted and has allowed the Greater Vancouver Area to create a dynamic urban core with liveable communities, protected healthy environment, sustainable transportation services and a vibrant urban landscape (Metro Vancouver, 2017).




THE CHALLENGE


With urban growth increasing in the near future, it is imperative that the Greater Vancouver Region accommodates this growth in a sustainable way that maintains an attractive and diverse urban environment, healthy social communities, space for industry and commerce, protection for the natural environment and agricultural lands, mitigation of natural hazards, and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (Greater Vancouver Regional District Board, 2011).

The response to this problem is the Regional Growth Strategy planned by Metro Vancouver. This plan looks to manage urban growth by aligning with the goals of the surrounding municipalities. These goals are the pillars of the long-term planning of the region and require the setting of targets and dates for Metro Vancouver to achieve the growth strategy and enhance their region.




GOAL OF THE PROJECT


Five key goals mitigate the Greater Vancouver Area’s future regional growth. These goals allow for urban development and regional planning to flourish both sustainably and dynamically. Metro 2040 has conditioned strategies and targets for each goal to become a success within the region (Greater Vancouver Regional District Board, 2011).

These goals include:

1. Create a Compact Urban Area

2. Support a Sustainable Economy

3. Protect the Environment and Respond to Climate Change Impacts

4. Develop Complete Communities

5. Support Sustainable Transportation Choices

(Greater Vancouver Regional District Board, 2011)

1. Create a Compact Urban Area

This goal looks at creating density within the Greater Vancouver area by identifying an Urban Containment Boundary. This boundary would delineate urban and non-urban areas – allowing for a commitment to compact density within urban cores and discouraging urban sprawl (Greater Vancouver Regional District Board, 2011).

The Metro 2040 plan has also included dwelling unit targets and employment targets to assess and monitor urban development throughout the years. By 2021, Unit Dwellings should be up approximately 43%, while employment should be up to an additional 39%. By 2031, the targets set for Unit Dwellings is a further increase of 41%, while employment should increase to 42%. Lastly, by 2041 – the Metro 2040 plan looks at targets for Unit Dwelling with 39% and employment by 43%. These targets allow preparation for the incoming population and focus growth within Urban Centers. (Greater Vancouver Regional District Board, 2011).

In addition to these targets for the municipalities and urban centres of the region, the Regional Growth Strategy also asks that Translink, the regional transportation planning organization, identifies frequent transit network nodes that have high density and frequency use across the region. These nodes would be referred to as ‘Frequent Transit Networks’ and should be intensified and redeveloped to encourage density, employment and retail use (Greater Vancouver Regional District Board, 2011).

Lastly, to encourage the intensification of urban cores – city planning development efforts would need to ensure that each neighbourhood is ‘within 800 metres of one or more rapid transit stations or within 400 metres of the intersection of two or more corridors on Translink Frequent Transit Network’ (Greater Vancouver Regional District Board, 2011).

2. Support a Sustainable Economy

Strategies:

-Promote land development patterns that support the diverse regional economy and employment close to where people live

-Protect the supply of industrial land

-Protect the supply of agricultural land and promote agricultural viability with an emphasis on food and production.

Allocating space to industrial, agricultural and commercial land use would allow for the Greater Vancouver Region to flourish both economically and environmentally. The Metro 2040 plan encourages compacting industry and agriculture closer to Urban Cores to help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions throughout the region (Greater Vancouver Regional District Board, 2011).

Additionally, the strategies to achieve Goal 2 involve actions from the municipal governments, such as encouraging the use of the port lands for industrial development as well as the airport lands for industrial activities. This would allow for better industrial development management and promote a more diverse land pattern for the region. Furthermore, monitoring supply and demand for industrial land and agricultural land would give a better estimate of preventing industrial vacancy and agricultural waste.

The Regional Growth Strategy also looks to accomplish this goal by asking the Provincial Government to include policies which help reduce environmental impacts and promote energy efficiency, in addition to an incentive and education programs to encourage new farmers.

To protect agricultural land, the Metro 2040 plan discusses strategies that include reducing barriers to the economic viability of agriculture activities, such as costs and land designation; discouraging farm fragmentation and monitoring actively farmed land.

3. Protect the Environment and Respond to Climate Change Impacts

Strategies:

-Protect Conservation and Recreation Lands

-Protect and Enhance natural features and their connectivity

-Encourage Land use and transportation infrastructure that reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, and improves air quality

-Encourage land use and transportation infrastructure that improves the ability to withstand climate change impacts and natural hazards risks

This goal focuses on enhancing the green corridors across the region while protecting natural environments and recreational areas. Greenhouse gas emission targets are set for each municipality to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 33% below 2007 levels by 2020 and 80% below 2007 levels by 2050. Additionally, the Metro2040 plan looks to secure and enhance habitat, parklands, and buffers by implementing the Metro Vancouver Regional Parks and Greenways Plan. This plan would identify Conservation zones and encourage green space connectivity throughout the region.

The Regional Growth Strategy looks to conserve habitats and green infrastructure by avoiding transportation infrastructure that may fragment Conservation and Recreation areas. This would also include working with the environment to enhance the Urban Cores. Strategies such as implementing stormwater management systems, passive design and ecological buffers to enhance the natural environment.

Another initiative that the Metro 2040 plan includes is coordinating cycling networks with the Metro Vancouver’s Regional Recreation Greenway Network, while also integrating the Climate Change Action Plan that looks at reducing vehicle kilometres travelled, introducing green infrastructure, work and encouraging growth in centres and transit corridors.

Lastly, to accomplish this goal – the Metro 2040 plan wants both the Provincial and Federal government to encourage land use, transportation, and utility infrastructure which improves the ability of the region to withstand climate change impacts and natural hazards (Greater Vancouver Regional District Board, 2011).

4. Develop Complete Communities

Strategy:

-Provide diverse and affordable housing choices

-Develop healthy and complete communities with access to a range of services and amenities

Entire communities should respond to the needs of residents across the Greater Vancouver region. They should be designed to “support walking, cycling, and transit and to foster a healthy lifestyle” (Greater Vancouver Regional District Board, 2011).

The Metro2040 plan looks to enforce the Housing Action plan that mentions neighbourhood planning should be conducted through the federal government and the province, their agencies and health authorities. The Metro 2040 plan mandates that communities’, arts, cultural, recreational, institutional, medical/health, social service, education facilities and affordable housing development in urban centres or areas with good access to transit.

5. Support Sustainable Transportation Choices

Strategies:

-Coordinate land use and transportation to encourage transit, multiple-occupancy vehicles, cycling and walking

-Coordinate land use and transportation to support the safe and efficient movement of vehicles for passengers, goods, and services.

This goal looks to increase sustainable transportation modes. Including integrating more compact transit-oriented development that encourages a healthier and more active lifestyle (Greater Vancouver Regional District Board, 2011).

The goal also involves targets to fulfill strategies such as connecting Lougheed municipal town centre, Inlet municipal town centre, and Coquitlam regional city centre before the end of 2020. The plan also asks that TransLink connects Surrey Metro Centre to one or more of the following urban centres of the south of the Fraser River: Fleetwood Municipal Town Centre, Guildford Municipal Town Centre, Newton Municipal Town Centre and Langley Regional City Centre. Also, TransLink must connect or extend the existing rapid transit network in the Broadway/Commercial Drive area to the central Broadway within a reasonable timeframe.

Lastly, to enhance active transportation modes and a more sustainable future for Metro Vancouver, this goal recognizes the needs of the environment. Enforcing objectives for energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and air quality will promote a healthier environment and encourage active transportation means.




DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT, AND DECISION MAKING PROCESS


The Metro Vancouver 2040 Regional Growth Strategy designed by Metro Vancouver Agency was created to overlay onto a sustainability framework established in 2002 (Greater Vancouver Regional District Board, 2011).

The Sustainability Framework (Sustainable Region Initiative), also designed by Metro Vancouver, identifies key strategies to put sustainability at the centre of its operating and planning philosophy (Metro Vancouver, 2010). The framework establishes three sets of sustainability principles for decision making across the region: Protect and Enhance the Natural Environment; Provide for ongoing prosperity; Build Community Capacity and Social Cohesion (Metro Vancouver, 2010).

The Metro 2040 plan overlaid this sustainability framework as a response to the overwhelming growth of the area. Adopted in 2011, the first phase of the project looked at creating the boundary for urban growth (Greater Vancouver Regional District Board, 2011). This boundary, named the Urban Containment Boundary, outlines the designated land to be utilized for future urban growth across the Greater Vancouver Area. Another process of this phase was identifying urban cores and non-urban cores – this would accommodate density mapping and regional planning priorities (Greater Vancouver Regional District Board, 2011). Urban centers identified throughout the plan were:

-Metropolitan Core

-The Region’s Downtown

-Downtown Vancouver and Central Broadway

-Surrey Metro Centre

-Centre of Activity South of the Fraser River

-Regional City Centre

-Major regional centres, serving Metro Vancouver’s subregions:

-Coquitlam, Langley, Lonsdale (North Vancouver), Maple Ridge, Metrotown (Burnaby), New Westminster, Richmond

(Greater Vancouver Regional District Board, 2011)

While the non-urban cores were represented as municipalities surrounding the area. These areas include:

-Municipal Town Centre

-Hubs of activity within municipalities:

-Aldergrove, Ambleside, Brentwood, Cloverdale, Edmonds, Guildford, Fleetwood, Inlet Centre, Ladner, Lougheed, Lynn Valley, Newton, Oakridge, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Semiahmoo, Willoughby

(Greater Vancouver Regional District Board, 2011)

Additionally, the first phase also involved the integration of Regional Context Statements from each municipality included in the Greater Vancouver Area. This would provide a framework for evaluating growth from year to year throughout the region (Greater Vancouver Regional District Board, 2011).

The second phase of the project involved implementing the five pillar goals of the Regional Growth Strategy. Each goal contains strategies, guidelines and decision-making framework to ensure cohesive planning across the region – the responsibilities of these strategies differ from municipality to municipality depending on the economic and urban growth status of that City (Greater Vancouver Regional District Board, 2011). Achieving these goals is imperative to the success of future development and provides a more sustainable and healthier Vancouver region.

Finally, at the end of each fiscal year – every municipality included under the Metro 2040 plan is subject to review. This review evaluates the urban growth of the area and examines the percentages gained or loss in each goal set out of by the Metro 2040 plan. This allows the Greater Vancouver Area to understand their growth and plan efficiently for the future (Greater Vancouver Regional District Board, 2011).




ROLE OF DESIGNERS


The role of Metro Vancouver involved creating a strategical outline for the Greater Vancouver region’s rapid urbanization and population growth. The process for this project included analyzing urban centres, economic factors, geographical and regional site analysis, environmental impact analysis, reviewing policy functions and negotiating sustainable practices. Metro Vancouver is responsible for delivering a regional planning strategy that would mitigate growth and contribute to a more prosperous, liveable and sustainable metropolitan region (Metro Vancouver, 2017).




PROJECT IMPACT


The Metro Vancouver 2040 Regional Growth Strategy is a significant aspect of the urban fabric of the bustling Vancouver region. The plan promotes a cohesive vision that enhances the areas natural environment while providing a future towards a more sustainable, liveable and healthier lifestyle, as well as bringing together over 21 municipalities. The plan has had significant effects on recent development such as Transit-Oriented Design, Waterfront Projects, and Housing complexes (Friedman, 2017).

From 2014 onward, the Greater Vancouver region has seen 98% of the region’s residential and employment within the Urban Containment Boundary (Metro Vancouver, 2017), Additionally, more than 47% of the region’s landscape is protected under the Conservation and Recreation goals of the Metro 2040 plan (Metro Vancouver, 2017), Lastly, the region has continued to improve active transportation lifestyle by ensuring that more than half the region’s population is within walking distance of a public transit network (Metro Vancouver, 2017).




GENESIS OF THE PROJECT


The plan was adopted in 2011 and has since been a significant contributor in the Greater Vancouver Area’s sustainability and regional planning practices. Today (2017), the Metro 2040 plan continues to be adopted and has allowed the Greater Vancouver Area to create a dynamic urban core with liveable communities, protected healthy environment, sustainable transportation services and a dynamic urban landscape (Metro Vancouver, 2017).




CITATIONS


Andrea Friedman. "Learning from other North American Regional Growth Plans - Urban Strategies." Urban Strategies. n.d. Web. 19 Jul. 2017. http://www.urbanstrategies.com/news/places-grow-regional-plan-greater-golden-horseshoe-growth-plan-comparison-regional-plans/ Metro Vancouver. "Main Highlights: Measuring Progress Annual Reporting" Metrovancouver.org. n.d. Web. 19 Jul. 2017. http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/regional-planning/metro-vancouver-2040/measuring-progress/Pages/main-highlights.aspx Metro Vancouver. "Financial Plans and Reports." Metrovancouver.org. n.d. Web. 19 Jul. 2017. http://www.metrovancouver.org/about/programs-budget/Pages/default.aspx Metro Vancouver. "About Us." Metrovancouver.org. n.d. Web. 19 Jul. 2017. http://www.metrovancouver.org/about/Pages/default.aspx Metro Vancouver. "Metro Vancouver Sustainability Framework: A Framework for Decision making and Moving Ideas into Action" Metrovancouver.org. 17 Jan. 2010. Web. 19 Jul. 2017. http://www.metrovancouver.org/about/aboutuspublications/MV-SustainabilityFramework.pdf Metro Vancouver. "About Metro 2040." Metrovancouver.org. n.d. Web. 18 Jul. 2017. http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/regional-planning/metro-vancouver-2040/about-metro-2040/Pages/default.aspx Metro Vancouver. "Metro Vancouver 2040 : Progress toward Shaping our Future 2015 Annual Report Metrovancouver.org. 29 Jul. 2016. Web. 18 Jul. 2017. http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/regional-planning/PlanningPublications/MV_2040_Progress_toward_Shaping_our_Future_2015_Annual_Report.pdf Metro Vancouver. "Financial Plans and Reports." Metrovancouver.org. n.d. Web. 18 Jul. 2017. http://www.metrovancouver.org/about/programs-budget/Pages/default.aspx Bliss, L.c.. "Vegetation Regions." The Canadian Encyclopedia. 31 Jan. 2001. Web. 18 Jul. 2017. http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/vegetation-regions/ Diamond Head Consulting Ltd. "Urban Forest Climate Adaptation Framework for Metro Vancouver: Tree Species Selection, Planting and Management" Metrovancouver.org. 17 May 2017. Web. 18 Jul. 2017. http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/regional-planning/PlanningPublications/UrbanForestClimateAdaptationFrameworkTreeSpeciesSelection.pdf Metro Vancouver. "Regional Context Statements." Metrovancouver.org. n.d. Web. 19 Jul. 2017. http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/regional-planning/metro-vancouver-2040/context-statements/Pages/default.aspx Metro Facts. "Green Infrastructure in Metro Vancouver" Metrovancouver.org. 1 Dec. 2015. Web. 18 Jul. 2017. http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/regional-planning/PlanningPublications/PolicyBackgrounder-GreenInfrastructure.pdf




MAINTENANCE AND MANAGEMENT


Due to the vast area designated under the Metro 2040 Regional Growth Strategy, it is imperative to find a consistent way to maintain and manage the regional plan. Metro Vancouver does so by creating an annual report on the progress of each municipality and measuring the efficiency of the Regional Growth Strategy (Metro Vancouver, 2017).

The annual report analyzes:

-the annual population

-dwelling unit and employment growth

-residential density

-new regional sewer connections outside urban containment boundary

-new employment near transit-oriented development

-number of dwelling in rural areas

-residential density in rural areas

-number of hectares added or removed from industry or agriculture

-value of gross annual farm receipts

-number of hectares in conservation and recreation areas

-greenhouse gas emissions produced by buildings and transportation

-number of kilometers frequented by transit network

-mean trip distances

(Metro Vancouver, 2017)

Through these analyses, Metro Vancouver can determine whether or not a municipality is hitting goal targets and adequately implementing the strategy guidelines for their area. If a municipality is unsuccessful in maintaining targets for a designated goal, the Metro2040 plan looks to re-evaluate the area and assess the needs of the community to better fit the strategies for achieving controlled Urban Growth.





 

EDITOR

 

Samantha Miller

Nicole Brekelmans

Zoe Goldman

Desiree Theriault

NAVIGATE 

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THIS WEBSITE WAS CREATED TO REPRESENT URBAN STRATEGIES BEING TAKEN ACROSS CANADA. COPYRIGHT. 2017.

Professor Richard Perron

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