Growth in a metropolitan region can be shaped in many ways. We can look to Los Angeles, which shares similarities with Metro Vancouver, to see what accommodating nearly three and half million people can look like.
Growth is limited in Metro Vancouver and the City of Los Angeles by geography, namely mountains and water. And, both regions sit within a landscape of rich natural features – not to mention having statistically similar hockey teams. While the Canucks may not have won the latest battle on the ice, Metro Vancouver seems to be ahead of the game when it comes to planning for growth, and for getting home easily and quickly after the game! Even a former Canucks star thinks so.
Images of Development
In population, Los Angeles is a few years ahead of Metro Vancouver with 3.8 million residents in 2013. Metro Vancouver isn’t expected to reach 3.4 million – one million more people than our current population – until 2040.
The land use and transportation decisions we make today will inevitably shape that growth and our region.
The Google Earth images below show what Metro Vancouver (left side image) and Los Angeles look like today from 31 kilometres (20 miles) above.
The first strategy in Metro Vancouver 2040: Shaping our Future (our regional growth strategy) is to contain development within the Urban Containment Boundary (the black line on the Metro Vancouver image). The Urban Containment Boundary is expected to accommodate 98 percent of our growth over the next 25 years. This boundary will help protect our rich agricultural lands and pristine natural resources as well as make urban infrastructure more affordable because we won’t have to service sprawling development. The Los Angeles image tells a somewhat different growth story.
In the future, our region will look significantly different than Los Angeles today not only because we will contain growth in a compact urban area, but because we will continue to shape it in a way that creates great, livable communities. Our regional growth strategy ensures that we will focus growth in our network of Urban Centres and other transit-oriented locations.
The same 20-mile high views of the two areas are shown below with Google Earth traffic data from a weekday evening.
The image of Los Angeles (on the right) not only illustrates the extensive freeway network required to support a population of over 3.5 million when development sprawls, but also the daily impact this type of development has on people’s lives.
A recent ridership portrait created by Bing Thom Architects shows that 20 percent of Metro Vancouver workers – the highest percent of all major West Coast cities evaluated – take transit to work, minimizing the stress on our major road networks.
In only 25 years, Metro Vancouver will need to accommodate almost the same number of citizens that the City of Los Angeles accommodates today. The goals in our regional growth strategy provide the framework for a livable region tomorrow, but that framework is dependent on investments being made today. The 10-year Mayors’ Council Transportation and Transit Plan demonstrates how we can improve transit accessibility and reduce congestion across the region. This plan aligns with the Metro 2040 vision for how our region will grow over the next quarter century. (Learn more about the regional growth strategy with this short video)
The timelines are clear – we must invest today to ensure livability tomorrow.
This is part of a series to highlight the connection between investing in transit and achieving the goals of our regional growth strategy. These stories will demonstrate the long-term benefits of planning for growth and investing in transit for communities across our region.
Chair – Metro Vancouver