When you buy a house the first thing your eye goes to is the sticker price. But buying a home comes with a major hidden cost that doesn't show up in the MLS report: Transportation costs could more than eat up the savings of a lower-priced home in the suburbs. The concept is called location efficiency and it's the amount of time, energy and greenhouse gas emissions you spend getting from where you live to the workplace as well as your other frequent trips. And location efficiency may be the secret sauce to saving money and getting that house in the neighborhood you never thought you could afford.
When I mentioned to my New York real estate broker that I had relocated from Toronto he had one thing to say about the Big Smoke: "I've never seen so much construction in one place." Statistically, he's right. Few cities in North America rival the sheer amount of high-rises that are currently under construction in Toronto.
SHAPE was hired by the Heather Street building's owner, who had converted the apartment into dual units for his two daughters
For such a real estate rich city, Vancouverites have some fairly backwards attitudes, witnessed most recently in the vehement and emotional outbursts opposing high-density developments along transit lines. But what's wrong with a 20-storey tower? We need to think bigger and higher because in 20 years, we'll be standing outside the station on Cambie and looking at little 4-storey buildings and asking why we didn't.
Density can be the most controversial aspect of how cities and communities are planned. But smart and successful cities worldwide are now tackling "the D-Word" head on, and looking to model cities who have learned how to do density well, often with the scars to show for it. Vancouver is such a city.