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Closer to home: complete communities from a local perspective : a case study of the Lynn Valley community… Grant, Charlene Marie Barabash 1997

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CLOSER TO HOME: COMPLETE COMMUNITIES FROM A LOCAL PERSPECTIVE A CASE STUDY OF THE LYNN VALLEY COMMUNITY PLANNING PROCESS IN THE DISTRICT OF NORTH VANCOUVER by CHARLENE MARIE BARABASH GRANT B.Com. (Honours), The University of Ottawa, 1983 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS (PLANNING) in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES School of Community and Regional Planning We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard y THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA April 1997 © Charlene Marie Barabash Grant, 1997 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. SCHOOL. Department of O A 4 K £ 6 \ » A - ' A l_ pUr\KJtO\KJ t>-The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date 16 A f f t \ L DE-6 (2/88) Abstract The Greater Vancouver Region is in an era of growth, fundamental change, and re-examination of regional and local quality of life. Within this context, the complete community policies of the Livable Region Strategic Plan have been developed to help achieve a region where human community flourishes within the built and natural environment. At the same time as these policies respond to change, they also demand significant alterations to community and regional priorities and practices. Accepting and pursuing complete community objectives of compactness, diversity and choice in existing suburban communities represents particular challenges. While regional policy reflects a general appreciation of this fact, understanding these challenges from a local perspective is essential to successfully weaving complete community goals into the existing regional fabric, and is the problem addressed by this thesis. Through both a literature review and case study approach, the research sought to identify the factors which support and constrain progress towards more complete communities through local planning in established neighbourhoods. The thesis focuses on the case study of the Lynn Valley community planning process in order to explore how the local perspective might modify inherently regional complete community goals and expectations. The study concludes that achieving a balance between regional goals and local interests is most critical in the Greater Vancouver metropolitan setting. The Lynn Valley case ii suggests that factors affecting community planning outlined in the literature are realistic and valid in practice. It further suggests that the prospects for achieving complete communities in established neighbourhoods will be influenced by local perspectives on: growth, change, aging in place, and a spirit of fairness in accepting change among local communities. The complete community vision resonates at the local level. Complete community objectives and strategies may be accepted locally to the degree they are seen as a means to achieve community aspirations and improve the quality of life of residents over their life cycle. iii TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract ii Table of Contents iv List of Tables vi List of Figures vii List of Maps viii Acknowledgment i x 10 INTRODUCTION 1 1.1 Context 2 1.2 Problem Statement 6 1.3 Purpose 7 1.4 Research Questions 7 1.5 Research Program g 1.6 Scope and Limitations 9 1.7 Organization 10 2.0 COMPLETE COMMUNITIES H 2.1 Background 13 2.2 The Complete Community Concept 21 2.3 Moving From Concept to Implementation 34 2.4 Opportunities and Barriers 40 2 5 The Greater Vancouver Context 48 2.6 Summary 52 3 0 COMPLETE COMMUNITIES FROM A LOCAL PERSPECTIVE - THE LYNN VALLEY COMMUNITY PLANNING PROCESS 53 3.1 Why Study Lynn Valley? 53 3.2 The Lynn Valley Context 54 3.3 The Lynn Valley Community Planning Process 60 3.4 Ongoing Progress Towards a Lynn Valley Community Plan 66 3.5 Highlights of the Lynn Valley Community Planning Experience To Date 79 3.6 Summary 8] I V 4.0 ANALYSIS OF LYNN VALLEY PLANNING FOR A 'MORE' COMPLETE COMMUNITY 8 3 4.0 Introduction 83 4 1 Opportunities for Complete Community Planning in Lynn Valley 84 4.2 Barriers to Complete Community Planning and the Lynn Valley Experience 85 4.3 Lessons From Lynn Valley 94 4.4 Summary 99 5 0 BALANCING REGIONAL GOALS AND LOCAL INTERESTS: IMPLICATIONS FOR 'MORE' COMPLETE COMMUNITIES 101 5.1 Conclusions 102 5.2 Implications 107 5.3 Closing Remarks 112 Bibliography 113 Appendix 1 The Participant Observer Methodology 119 Appendix 2 Lynn Valley Community Planning Team - Groups Represented 121 v List of Tables Table 1 Illustrative Summary of Common New Urbanist 19 Approaches Table 2 Lynn Valley Vision Statement 72 Table 3 Lynn Valley Community Plan Draft Planning Goals and 75 Objectives Table 4 Planning Goals and Objectives Shaping Core Area 78 Models Table 5 Factors Supporting Complete Communities Found in 84 Lynn Valley vi List of Figures Figure 1 Original Lynn Valley Community Planning Process 65 Figure 2 Revised Lynn Valley Community Planning Process 65 vii List of Maps Map 1 District of North Vancouver in a Regional Context 56 Map 2 Lynn Valley in the District of North Vancouver 56 viii Acknowledgment I would like to thank my advisors, Dr. Thomas Hutton and Dr. Alan Artibise for their support in completing this thesis. I must also acknowledge the always willing assistance of the staff at the District of North Vancouver. In particular, I thank Phil Chapman, Special Projects Planner for Lynn Valley, for generously sharing both time and thoughts over the course of this project. Finally, thanks to Benjamin, Isabelle, Alexandra, Natasha and Art, for being patient. ix Chapter One 1.0 INTRODUCTION In recent years planners, politicians and citizens have recognized the need for planning strategies to shape livable, complete communities which support local and regional quality of life, both for the present and the future. In an existing metropolitan context such as the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD), these approaches must be adaptable and relevant to various community scales and contexts. The particular challenge of re-shaping physically and socially established suburban communities and towns is the focus of the GVRD's 'Complete Community' concept. This set of policies is geared both towards redressing the negative consequences of past development patterns, and to meeting the challenges of growth and change. This thesis examines the experiences of one suburban community within the GVRD's 'inner suburbs' as it pursues a more complete community vision. The case study of the Lynn Valley Community Planning process is intended to highlight the practical considerations that emerge when planning to adopt more complete community goals and strategies at the local level. This experience may reflect a generalized set of considerations regarding the pursuit of more complete communities within the existing suburban framework. Moreover, local perspectives and experiences have implications beyond local borders, since achieving the 'livable region,' currently depends upon the policy decisions of individual communities and municipalities. 1 1.1 Context 1.1.1 The Legacy of Past Planning and Development Decisions As the millennium draws to a close, governments, professionals and citizens are taking stock of the metropolitan environment and perhaps more significantly, the quality of life within it. In particular, the low-density, automobile-dominated suburban development pattern defining much of the metropolitan landscape has become associated with unacceptable social, environmental and economic costs. These costs are felt at the individual level, within neighbourhood communities, and at the regional scale. For the individual, they include more expensive land and housing, increased time devoted to commuting at the expense of family and leisure time, and a generally heightened level of personal stress. At the community scale, an eroded sense of belonging and commitment is lamented. Beyond the local level to that of the region, land consumption for houses, offices and infrastructure needs taxes both economic and environmental capital. 1.1.2 Environment of Growth and Fundamental Change At the same time as communities begin to re-examine current suburban form and seek ways to ameliorate its negative effects, so too must they consider strategies with which to cope with impending growth and change. The nature of this change transcends notions of gradual, evolutionary or cyclical change. It is rooted in economic restructuring and shifts in world orientation, and encompasses social and physical transformations as well. Both the forces propelling change and its impacts are global, affecting metropolitan economies and societies at all levels of the urban hierarchy; from the largest "world cities" to the emerging, dynamic and increasingly significant medium-sized city-regions 1 These forces manifest themselves as 1 T. A. Hutton, The Transformation of Canada's Pacific Metropolis: A Study of Vancouver (Montreal: Institute for Research On Public Policy, 1996). A thorough examination of economic restructuring and urban (continued) 2 changes in population, demographic composition, occupational and income profiles, and in the spatial order and built form of the metropolitan region. Clear evidence of the fundamental restructuring of Vancouver's region exists in, for example: the growth of specialized services and exports, the emergence of a new entrepreneurial class, increasing ethnic diversity, growth of the metropolitan fringe and suburban town centers, the construction of megaprojects, gentrification and densification. Most significantly, Vancouver's reorientation from national markets to Pacific Rim markets, systems and cultures is likely to sustain growth and change.2 Ultimately, both existing and new communities will be challenged to adapt as the impacts of fundamental change affect the elements of daily life. Citizens may face new, information-based ways of doing business, altered shopping and transportation patterns, a visible 'change of face' in neighbourhoods, pressures on housing prices, changes in housing forms, shifting recreational, cultural and community options and services, and a change in or loss of familiar built and natural landscapes. 1.1.3 The Planning Era of Sustainability and the "New Urbanism" In this era of re-examination and transformation, new and renewed planning approaches, movements and policies have burgeoned. These range from a revival of interest in bioregional planning to neighbourhood planning, and from growth management legislation to ubiquitous transformation precedes the study of Vancouver that is the subject of this monograph. As a point of departure, the author discusses the study of urban transformation of "world cities" and introduces the notion of the increasing impact of medium sized cities (of 1 or 1.5 to 3 million population range) within the global urban hierarchy. 2 Hutton, 1996, 21. The author provides a full discussion of the evidence of Vancouver's transformation and explores the distinctive elements of this growth and change within the context of his "R 5" Framework. 3 public participation processes. Planning for sustainable communities, from the neighbourhood to bioregional scale, is becoming infused throughout evolving planning thought and practice. Along with the focus on sustainable development, "new urbanism" planning approaches have gained prominence. Traditional neighbourhood developments, transit-oriented developments, eco-villages, urban villages and complete communities are all a part of contemporary planning parlance. While many of these approaches are portrayed as relevant for both greenfield and infill scenarios, the most celebrated and well documented efforts have emphasized new suburban developments. To be sure, appropriate development of new communities is an important part of the response to the current metropolitan situation. The greater planning challenge however, is to identify ways to incorporate responsible and responsive development or redevelopment within established suburban settings. 1.1.4 Close to Home - The Call for 'More Complete Communities' in The Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) Within this broader context of re-examination, growth, fundamental change and the predominance of planning approaches aimed at sustaining quality of life, the GVRD has recently identified three critical trends. The first is a development pattern of suburban growth which has resulted in an incomplete city form. This pattern has lead to many of the difficulties of urban life without realizing the compensating benefits Second, the population has changed ~ in size and in demographic characteristics. Third, values have also changed, and the responses currently available in the region's development policies and practices are out of step with these changing needs and values.3 The policy response to this assessment includes the Complete Community policies of the Livable Region Strategic Plan. These policies call for existing communities to be made more complete in order to achieve a greater regional quality of life. The premise is that communities can be made more complete by increasing diversity and choice in housing, transportation, and within community cores, providing more opportunities to work, shop, recreate and socialize in proximity to home. It places priority for the attainment of more complete communities on: (a) the existing communities of the urbanized portion of the region and (b) the existing valley towns and their edges. Development in new subdivisions and beyond the existing urban fringe is explicitly identified as the least preferred direction for regional development. 1.1.5 The Policy Framework More complete communities will be pursued within a multi-faceted policy context encompassing provincial, regional and municipal levels of legislation, decision-making and public involvement practices. Planning for more complete communities is now framed within the Provincial Growth Strategies legislation. This development enhances the role of regional planning systems and in the case of the Greater Vancouver area, builds upon a tradition of planning regionally. None the less, planning for more complete communities within this framework is based upon regional influence founded on consensual persuasion, and not on authority. As a result, the ultimate 3 Greater Vancouver Regional District Strategic Planning Department (GVRD), Towards More Complete Communities for a Livable Region (Burnaby: GVRD, 1995a), 3. attainment of more complete communities (and the 'livable region') will depend upon the policy and implementation decisions of individual communities and municipalities. 1.2 Problem Statement 1.2.1 The Challenge of Completing the Existing Suburb The 'Complete Community' concept is a planning response to contemporary forces of metropolitan re-examination and transformation, and reflects many elements of current planning thought. At the same time as it responds to change, it also demands significant alterations to community and regional priorities and practices. Physically, the concept calls for compactness, and a mix and diversity of residential, commercial and transit uses never envisioned by the existing suburban pattern. Socially, it implies living, working, transit, and public/private realm choices vastly different from the daily practices of current suburban life. Accepting and pursuing such objectives may well be most challenging in the existing suburban communities of the GVRD. Many of these communities are well-established, and their decision-making flexibility is influenced by their prevailing context, in several respects. The physical pattern of the community is largely fixed. The legislative and regulatory framework is firmly in place. Work and shopping habits are ingrained. Social relations within the community and towards other communities have significant roots. These communities may have a certain 'sense of place' which may, from some perspectives, be in need of improvement, but which is nevertheless familiar and significant to residents. It is likely that citizens harbour expectations about how the community will look and function in the future. Moreover, they are likely to have 6 traditions of public involvement which would significantly influence any process aimed at dealing with change. Moving towards more 'complete communities' within such a context represents particular considerations and challenges. Understanding these challenges from a local, practical perspective is essential to successfully weaving complete community goals into the existing regional fabric, and is the problem being addressed by this thesis. 1.3 Purpose The purpose of this thesis is to explore the factors which influence the pursuit of more complete communities from a local perspective, by using a case study approach. In particular, it examines the ongoing planning experience of Lynn Valley — a well-established, community within the inner suburb of the District of North Vancouver - in order to highlight some practical considerations facing the adoption and pursuit of complete community goals in existing, suburban communities. 1.4 Research Questions In order to fulfill this purpose, the research will address the following preliminary and specific questions. 1. What are the factors which support progress towards more complete communities in established suburban neighbourhoods? 2. What are the constraints facing the pursuit of complete community goals in local suburban communities? 7 3. How does the local perspective suggested by the Lynn Valley case study modify inherently regional complete community goals and expectations? In particular, what does it reveal in terms of: a) the relevance of the complete community concept to existing suburban communities, b) the role of process and influence of the public in the development and adoption of complete community policies at the local level, c) local attitudes and perspectives affecting the adoption of a complete community plan and d) implications for Lynn Valley, other communities, the region, planning practice and further research? 1.5 Research Program Two main research strategies will be employed in order to address the questions outlined above. These are: 1. A Review of Literature and Documentation to provide a foundation for the exploration of the Lynn Valley case study. The review will include: an overview of complete community principles for existing suburban or infill settings, a discussion of the factors which promote and impede the process of moving towards a more complete communities, and an examination of the current policy and planning context for pursing more complete communities in the Greater Vancouver Regional District. 2. A Case Study of Lynn Valley in the District of North Vancouver which is the process of crafting an official community plan based on Complete Community goals and principles. 8 Based predominantly on a "participant-observer" approach4, the examination of this ongoing process is intended to reveal the most practical opportunities and constraints for adopting and acting upon complete community goals in an existing suburban setting. 1.6 Scope and Limitations This thesis adopts a fundamentally local, or community, perspective and focuses on the planning policy—application nexus. It explores the relevance of current planning thought and policy to community-based planning practice, by emphasizing the lessons revealed in an actual setting. As such, the research is tightly focused on Lynn Valley. Application of the conclusions and implications are most usefully limited to similar contexts — established, moderately scaled suburban settings within the Greater Vancouver region. The thesis does not attempt to assess the intrinsic merits of the complete community approach nor the theories it may derive from. It does not deal with the issue of building new 'complete communities.' Since the Lynn Valley Community Planning process is an ongoing one, the constraints, opportunities and other considerations it reveals relate primarily to the initial (and essential) pursuit of embodying complete community goals in an official community plan. Implications for the ultimate implementation of the goals may be suggested by the experience detailed herein, but are projections at best. 4 An overview of this approach is provided at Appendix 1. 9 1.7 Organization Following this introductory chapter, Chapter 2 provides the review of literature described above. Chapter 3 presents the Lynn Valley case study. An overview of Lynn Valley is provided, followed by a review of the community planning process to date. Analysis of the case study is presented in Chapter 4. Chapter 5 concludes with implications of the thesis findings for the Lynn Valley planning process, the municipality, the region, planning practice, and further research. 10 Chapter Two COMPLETE COMMUNITIES 2.0 INTRODUCTION As a foundation for the presentation of the Lynn Valley case study which follows in Chapter Three, this chapter provides a general background discussion about complete communities. The term 'complete community' is subject to different interpretations.1 Complete communities can be defined on several scales: at the neighbourhood level, across the City or District, and within the metropolitan or regional context. They have been equated with contemporary suburban planning and design approaches such as "The New Urbanism " and "Neo-Traditional Design," and associated with historical planning movements such as Howard's "garden city" and the early "street-car suburbs."2 To be sure, the complete community concept shares common elements with other planning models. Most notably, the impetus for developing the complete community strategy, and 1 It has been suggested in fact, that achieving agreement on the definition of complete communities may be one of the factors hindering progress towards its goals. See David Harper, Opening Address to Complete Communities II Conference (Whistler Centre for Business and the Arts, Nanaimo, BC: October 21, 1996). In this address, the speaker notes that an unresolved challenge to building complete communities is to agree on a definition of the term. See also, Charles Lockwood, "The New Urbanism's Call to Arms," Urban Land 53, No. 2 (February, 1994), 12. It is noted that a lack of common terminology and the related need for standards afflicts other contemporary efforts regarding New Urbanism planning and development. 2Alexander Christoforidis, "Neotraditional Developments, The New Urbanism," The Canadian Planning Librarians Bibliography, No.322 (1995), 1. See also: Christoforidis, "New Alternatives to the Suburb: Neo-traditional Developments," Journal of Planning Literature 8, No. 4 (May, 1994), 432; Cherie Enns in collaboration with Alan F. J. Artibise, Complete Communities: Achieving a New Way of Living in the Lower Mainland. Background Papers (Whistler Centre for Business and the Arts: [not published] November, 1994), 6 & 20; Margret Landucci, et al., Complete Communities II: Pathways to Design and Implementation Background Papers (Whistler Center for Business and the Arts and Council for Sustainability: [not published], October 1996), 4. 11 the motivation behind the range of New Urbanist approaches, stem from the common assessment of the shortcomings of the current metropolitan form. The complete community concept differs from many more celebrated contemporary planning approaches however, in its perspective, aim and application. The central distinction between it and other new urbanist approaches is the complete community focus on existing communities. The substantial and growing body of literature regarding the New Urbanism is predominantly concerned with concepts, applications and critiques as they apply to new suburban development. Lacking a significant body of literature explicitly addressing the existing context, this chapter draws on universal, transferable principles and observations evident in or inferred from the literature, to build the discussion around these themes: • The origins and development of the complete community concept, and its relationship to contemporary planning problems, theories and approaches; the why of complete communities • What is meant by the term 'complete community' • Moving from concept to implementation, or how to create a complete community • Apparent opportunities and barriers to achieving complete communities, and • The context for complete community planning in the Greater Vancouver Regional District. 12 2.1 The Background The complete community concept is a planning approach intended as a response to contemporary planning challenges. Evident in metropolitan areas across North America, these challenges include the need to manage growth and fundamental change originating at the global scale, in order to maintain and enhance the quality of life in the communities where people live and work. To achieve this goal for current and future generations, the models employed today must recognize and mitigate the costs of past development choices and more wisely and affordably integrate social, economic and environmental imperatives. 2.1.1 The Planning Problem and Response In the Greater Vancouver Regional District, the complete community strategy was conceived as a response to three fundamental changes in the region and its residents. First, the development pattern which has emerged through successive waves of suburbanization has resulted in an fragmented, incomplete metropolitan form. As people and houses, then shopping, jobs and commercial activity have spread across the region, suburban areas have acquired many urban disadvantages—traffic congestion, air pollution, strained public services and increased personal stress—without many compensating urban advantages—good local transit, lively pedestrian retail areas, a rich, stable social fabric and cultural or entertainment opportunities. 13 Secondly, the population of the region is beginning to reflect significant quantitative and qualitative changes. It is both larger and more diverse. With smaller families, aging residents and different cultural backgrounds, individual and community needs have changed significantly. The current suburban form of single-detached homes and auto-dominated lifestyle is out of step with these changes. Thirdly, within this context of change, values are also shifting. People exhibit a keen appreciation for the environment, including a growing awareness of the degradation caused by past land use and transportation choices. At the same time, a widespread reassessment of the practical, daily experiences of working and living in the region is apparent. People recognize the need for and desire change in: the use of the auto, housing alternatives, proximity of services, shopping and employment, and an increased sense of community. At the same time, they continue to drive their cars, resist smaller "starter" homes within their neighbourhoods and oppose attempts to increase diversity of local shopping and service areas. This inconsistency between values and actions may be due to skepticism that the planning and development system can deliver sensitive, quality housing and commercial buildings suitable to established neighbourhoods. It may also reflect the fact that there is insufficient choice and opportunity within the current suburban form to allow people to live according to their values/ 3Greater Vancouver Regional District Strategic Planning Department (GVRD). Towards More Complete Communities for a Livable Region (Burnaby: GVRD, 1995a), 3-5. 14 The assessment of the Greater Vancouver situation mirrors the widespread conclusion of numerous writers that the suburbs are simply not working. The fragmented suburban/urban hybrid form is out of step with today's realties, and does not support individual and regional goals for quality of life. Suburbs fail in the realms of time, costliness and the fragmentation of community, harming individuals and society. People have begun to question the tradeoff between the standard of living offered by the suburbs, and quality of life, which has been segregated away. While they are happy with the private realm they have won for themselves, they have become anxious about the physical, emotional and financial deterioration of public life. For many, the current metropolitan development pattern has destroyed the characteristics which the suburbs were meant to deliver in the first place.4 Some go so far as to suggest that "...what we've created for ourselves is not the place where we'd live if we had the choice." 5 Still others believe that the present development mode has reached a point of diminishing returns, where "...each new subdivision subtracts more from the quality of life than the new inhabitants will contribute to the economy..."6 Nelessen refers to the "built form evolutionary spiral" which moves from growth (a positive force), to optimization (moving from positive to 4Lloyd Bookout, "Neotraditional Town Planning. A New Vision for the Suburbs?" Urban Land 51. No. 1, (January 1992a), 21. See also: James M. Carrol, ed., Yaphank Long Island. Can the Town be Saved? Counterproiect Advocating New Urbanism on Long Island, (Port Washington NY: Housing AllAmericans Inc., 1993), 8; Anthony Downs, New Visions for Metropolitan America. (Washington DC: Brookings Institute, 1994), 123; Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, "The Second Coming of the American Small Town," Plan Canada (May 1992), 6, 8; Philip Langdon, A Better Place to Live: Reshaping the American Suburb (Amerhurst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1994), 1-26; Anton Clarence Nelessen, Visions for a New American Dream. Process. Principles, and an Ordinance to Plan and Design Small Communities (Chicago: Planners Press, 1994), 40; Carolann Rule, "What's Wrong With This Picture?" Western Living, (December 1992), 86. 5 Lois E. Nesbitt, "Suburbia On Edge," The Intensification Report. No. 7 (March-April 1994), 5. 6 Jerry Adler, "15 Ways to Fix the Suburbs," Newsweek (May 1995), 42. 15 negative), to decline (negative), to rebuilding or redevelopment (positive). This image is consistent with the observed phenomenon of the urbanization of the suburbs and the unequal distribution of disadvantages and advantages that has resulted.7 Nelessen also points out however, that good planning can intervene to balance the course of this cycle. 2.1.2 A New Urbanism Framework A broad range of planning approaches grouped under the heading of the "New Urbanism" attempt to effect just such an intervention. Recently, the literature concerning the New Urbanism has burgeoned — from descriptions of hallmark projects, to analysis and comparison of models, to critiques of the theory and application of new urbanist principles.8 However assembled or labeled, all these approaches share the assessment that the sprawl that has characterized metropolitan growth in the last half-century has been catastrophic.9 They assert that communities must be built on valid, contemporary, human and ecological considerations, rather than on out-dated social and economic policies. As such, while these approaches look to durable qualities of traditional communities for 7 Lloyd Bookout, "Neotraditonal Town Planning: The Test of the Marketplace," Urban Land 51, No. 6 (June 1992b), 13. See also: Greater Vancouver Regional District Strategic Planning Department (GVRD), Livable Region Strategic Plan Growth Management: A Compact Metropolitan Vancouver Region Option (Burnaby: GVRD, 1993), 10; GVRD, 1995a, 3; Nelessen, 1994, I. 8 Quite comprehensive reviews can be found in: Bookout, 1992a, 20-26. See also: Bookout, 1992b, 12-17; Bookout, "Neotraditional Town Planning: Cars, Pedestrians and Transit," Urban Land 51, No. 2 (February 1992c), 10-15; Bookout/'Neotraditional Town Planning: Bucking Conventional Codes and Standards," Urban Land 51, No. 4 (April 1992d), 18-25; Bookout, "Neotraditional Town Planning: Toward a Blending of Design Approaches," Urban Land, 51, No.8 (August 1992e), 14-19; Donald Canty, "Defining 'The New Urbanism,'" Builder (January 1995), 219-222; Christoforidis, 1995; Christoforidis, 1994, 429-440; Marc Hochstein, "A New Urbanist Library," Urban Land 53, No. 10 (October 1994), 79-81; Peter Katz, The New Urbanism: Toward an Architecture of Community (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1994). 9 Hochstein, 1994, 79. 16 guidance, they attempt to reflect the impending realities of the twenty-first century.10 The key planning and design principles shared by new urbanist approaches can be described as follows. • More dense, more compact and clearly defined communities that preserve open space, agriculture, natural systems and habits. • A spatially coherent and cohesive sense of place, neighbourhood and community that builds on what is locally unique and enduring. • A more diverse and finer-grained mix of land uses, household and building types and socio-economic groups. • Walking, bicycling and public transit sharing an interconnected network of streets alleys and paths to enhance mobility, connectivity, efficiency and health. • A renewed emphasis on the public realm, to promote human interaction and sense of community. • Sustainable environmental, economic and socio-cultural practices, traditions and mythologies to replace commodification and consumption of resources. • Conserving, revitalizing and infilling existing urban centers and towns,, with their social, physical and institutional infrastructure in place, as a priority over building new communities.11 Specific new urbanist approaches can be differentiated by their focus and combination of these principles; some emphasize design, others ecological concerns, regionalism or the 1 0 Nelessen, 1994, 41. 1 1 Adapted from: Bookout, 1992a, 23; Christoforidis, 1995, 1; Doug Kelbaugh, "Urban Design Teaching and Practice: A Quiet Revolution?" Places 9, No. 1 (Winter 1994), 73. 17 planning process. The last characteristic in the foregoing list however, is pivotal, and serves to separate new urbanist practices into two fundamental philosophical camps. The first contends that economic and social realities dictate that an improved suburban form should be pursued on a clean slate, unencumbered by existing conditions. The second philosophical orientation is grounded in the belief that to avoid replacing suburban sprawl with "new urbanism sprawl," new or greenfield, development should not occur until infill and redevelopment opportunities are exhausted. A summary of several new urbanist approaches, organized by this distinguishing orientation, is provided in Table 1. 18 Table 1: Illustrative Summary of Common New Urbanist Approaches "New " Development Approaches Name Proponents Distinguishing Features12 Examples Nec-traditional design (NTD)/Traditional Neighbourhood Development (TND) Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater Zyberk • controlled and comprehensive • neighbourhood as basic unit of organization • public focus, higher density, mixed use center • strict but simple zoning and design ordinances • foster community through design • Seaside, Florida • Kentlands, Maryland • Mackenzie Town, Calgary, Alberta Eco-Village • model eco-community founded on community, economic development and environmental principles • Bamberton, BC Metropolitan Purlieu Ian MacBurnie • hybrid of TND, Pedestrian Pocket, Garden City models • basic module is the mixed density pocket • large scale residential and employment components • comprehensive guidelines for design and placement of buildings, not use • communities separated by greenbelts • transit intended • Churchill Meadows, Mississauga, Ont. Hamlets Anton Nelessen • design by democracy using 10 design principles • based on visual preference survey • moderate density • small community design to respect human scale • New Jersey State "Centers" concept "Infill" Development Approaches Transit-Oriented Development (TOD)1 3 Peter Calthorpe • focus on transit to define region and community • regional perspective • incorporation of large scale employment centers • Laguna West • Portland Urban Village City of Seattle • intensifies and diversifies within existing context/neighbourhoods • integrates land use and transportation planning • regional growth management framework based on shared vision and goals • highlights role of neighbourhood planning to link regional goals and development activity Sources: Peter Calthorpe, The Next American Metropolis. Ecology. Community and the American Dream (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1993). See also: Christoforidis, 1994, 433-435; Frank A. Clayton and Kathleen Mancer, "Bamberton: A Dream in Need of Rethinking," The Intensification Report. No. 10 (September-October 1994), 28-32; Hygeia Consulting Services and Reic Ltd. for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Changing Values - Changing Communities. A Guide to the Development of Healthy. Sustainable Communities (Ottawa: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 1995); Ian MacBurnie, "Reconsidering the Dream: Alternative Design for Sustainable Suburban Development," Plan Canada (September 1992), 19-23. 1 2 Exclusive of the distinctive "New Urbanist" elements common to the range of approaches. 13Given the scale and nature of Calthorpe's projects to date, the argument could be made to include this as a "new" development approach. It is aligned with "infill" approaches here because of its strong regional orientation which renders even new pockets regional infill. 19 2.1.3 Theoretical Relationship Between the New Urbanism and Complete Communities The complete community concept and the range of New Urbanism approaches could each be considered a response to the unacceptable results of past suburban development. Like new urbanist models, the complete community approach looks to prior experience to identify the fundamental qualities of functional, livable, responsible human places applicable to a vision of a more sustainable future. In short, the complete community concept and other new urbanist models share the following: • the same assessment of the problem to be addressed, • the same purpose and motivation to redress the costs and consequences of past planning and development practices and • a vision of a better type of community, which reflects both the qualities of the most enduring human settlements, as well as the challenges and context of the twenty-first century. From this point, the complete community concept departs from the majority of new urbanist approaches, as it is clearly aligned with the "infill" or redevelopment orientation of the new urbanist framework provided above. 20 2.2 The Complete Community Concept The complete community concept is defined by several key characteristics. It is a policy and strategy, aimed at goals for growth management and quality of life. It is shaped by and applied to the existing metropolitan context. The complete community concept adopts a regional perspective, yet is flexible, performance-oriented and evolving. It is characterized by the key attributes of diversity, choice and compact form. The complete community concept is not an idealized theory, design template, new development approach, nor self-sufficient enclave. 2.2.1 A Planning and Development Policy and Strategy In this discussion, the 'complete community' concept is fundamentally defined as a planning and development policy and strategy; in essence, a tool for achieving broader social goals. The implication of defining complete communities as a policy and strategy is to emphasis the critical influence of context, decision-making processes, and implementation considerations in planning for and achieving complete communities. Context — including local and regional policy, attitudes, politics, economics and physical considerations — will both shape the complete community concept and determine how successfully it is realized. Complete community policies and strategies are not static. From conception to implementation they will be shaped and re-shaped by a complex web of decision making 21 processes operating within a diverse environment. Complete communities are regarded here not as a theoretical construct of an ideal community, but as the manifestation of policy choices in an evolving setting. The nature of the complete community concept as a policy and strategy is reflected in the GVRD Livable Region Strategic Plan, which portrays complete communities as "...intended to support the public's strong desire for communities with a wider range of opportunities for day-to-day life."15 The strategy will be implemented by the GVRD (through its Regional District Board of Directors) through actions related to the delivery of regional services, and a process of numerous voluntary partnerships. Through partnerships with the federal and provincial governments, other regional districts, organizations and GVRD member municipalities, complete community policies seek: • a better balance in jobs and labour force location throughout the region; • a diversity of housing types, tenures and costs in each part of the region in balance with job distribution; o an equitable distribution of public social and cultural services and facilities; • development of a network of high-quality, mixed activity urban centres supported by an appropriate level of public transit and a range of community services and cultural facilities for residents and employees; • development of telecommunications services and infrastructure that facilitate a reduction in travel demand, remove barriers to job location within the region, and support growth of a modern economy; • promotion of private sector investment in the business growth of centres; 1 4 Christopher Ham and Michael J. Hill, The Policy Process in the Modern Capitalist State (London: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1990), 1-21. See also: Alan Artibise, " Implementing Complete Community Planning and Design: A Checklist for Politicians, Planners and Citizens," Presentation to Complete Communities II Conference (Whistler Center for Business and the Arts, Nanaimo, BC, October 21, 1996). It was emphasized that policy ~ including complete community policy - is about making choices among complex alternatives. 1 5 Greater Vancouver Regional District Strategic Planning Department (GVRD), Livable Region Strategic Plan (Burnaby: GVRD, 1995b), 2. 22 • development of transportation services and facilities that support local access to centres.16 These policy objectives are not ends in themselves, but rather means to achieving even greater regional goals. 2.2.2 Aimed at Growth Management and Quality of Life Goals The Livable Region Strategic Plan articulates this vision: Greater Vancouver can become the first urban region in the world to combine in one place the things to which humanity aspires on a global basis: a place where human activities enhance rather than degrade the natural environment, where the quality of the built environment approaches that of the natural setting, where the diversity of origins and religions is a source of social strength rather than strife, where people control the destiny of their community, and where the basics of food, clothing, shelter, security and useful activity are accessible to all.17 To achieve this vision, the GVRD has adopted four primary and inter-related policy goals: protecting the Green Zone, increasing transportation choice, achieving a compact metropolitan region, and building complete communities.18 Taken together, these policy initiatives form the foundation of an integrated land use and transportation plan aimed at managing growth, and maintaining and enhancing quality of life. Importantly, these goals are shared goals. Both the vision and strategy are the result of a four year consultation process which rejected a "business as usual" approach to 1 6 GVRD, 1995b, 5. 1 7 Ibid, 1 1 8 Ibid., 2. The Livable Region Strategic Plan was approved in principle by the Greater Vancouver Regional District Board of Directors in December, 1994. 23 development. That process yielded the common assessment that current development trends would inevitably lead to further encroachment on farmland and valued land resources, increased dependence on the automobile, greater costs in terms of air quality, commuting, public infrastructure, and a reduction in the livability of the region so valued by residents. 1 9 Furthermore, as the first Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) under the Provincial Growth Strategies Act,20 the Livable Region Strategic Plan commits municipalities and the Regional District to a course of action to meet common social, economic and environmental objectives for managing growth.21 In doing so, a clear objective of the policies is to preserve the elements of existing communities that current residents value, and to find ways to make the transition to more complete communities as beneficial and unobtrusive as possible. 2.2.3 Defined By and Applied to the Existing Context Implicit in the complete community policy statements is an emphasis on relative change within the prevailing metropolitan environment. Geographical constraints, human desires and past decisions have shaped the development pattern evident today, and will no less continue to shape future development. Established communities cannot simply be replaced in an improved form and any complete community strategy must be pursued 1 9 Hugh Kellas, "Greater Vancouver's Livable Region Strategy Relies on Intensification," The Intensification Report. No. 9 (July-August 1994), 21. 2 0 Growth Strategies Statutes Amendment Act. 1995 (Bill 11) 2 1 Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Taking Action. Growth Strategies in B.C. (Victoria: Queen's Printer, September 1996a), 7. The Livable Regional Plan was approved as a Regional Growth Strategy under the Growth Strategies Act on February 10, 1996. See also: Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Taking Action. Growth Strategies in B.C. (Victoria: Queen's Printer, October 1995a), 1. 24 within the context of the existing regional fabric. Indeed, related discussions of the compact metropolitan region and complete community policies emphasize that the strategy is geared towards making "...existing urban and suburban communities that are more complete than they are now."22 The resulting and explicit regional priorities for achieving this are: (a) the existing communities of the urbanized portion of the region and (b) the existing valley towns and their edges. The lowest priority is for development in new subdivisions beyond the existing urban fringe.23 Clearly, the complete community concept is inherently an 'infill'24 development strategy, as opposed to a 'new' development alternative. In this age of the "New Urbanism," relatively more attention has focused on the efforts of practitioners such as Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Peter Calthorpe, Elizabeth Moule and others as they fashion new suburban environments. Katz refers to this as "establishing the urban pattern."25 Less attention has attended the efforts directed at re-shaping the existing metropolitan milieu, although there is evidence of an increasing awareness of this challenge. Katz provides the counterpoint term, "reconstructing the urban fabric."26 Langdon notes that there is both need and opportunity for working within the existing setting in these remarks: 2 2 GVRD, 1995a, 1. Also: GVRD, 1993, 3. 2 3 GVRD, 1995a, 6. 2 4 The term 'infill' is used here in a general sense, to mean development or planning within an existing built and natural framework. This could include new development to fill gaps in the urban pattern, or redevelopment to improve existing form. Others have more precise definitions. Calthorpe (1993,61) refers to 'infill' as development of vacant land within the existing urban fabric and uses the term 'redevelopment' for replacement approaches. 2 5 Katz, 1994, 1. 2 6 Ibid., 117. 25 We shouldn't be going farther out, spreading our metropolitan development. We should work on existing urban areas. We should try to fill in and heighten the quality of the places that are already in existence.27 Currently, New Urbanist opportunities are greatest in three kinds of places: in cities (both large and small), in very expensive metropolitan areas (where the cost of real estate makes dense forms of development inevitable), and in states that press their municipalities to rein in leapfrog and low density development.28 Participants at the first conference of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), expressed the hope that their planning principles would influence not only single-family residential development at the metropolitan fringe, but also higher density and mixed used developments in cities and existing suburbs.29 At an operational scale, the City of Seattle has adopted the "urban village strategy" - an approach to growth management and comprehensive plan implementation which looks to Seattle's existing urban form to provide the framework for future growth and development.30 2.2.4 A Regional Perspective A strategic, regional perspective is intrinsic to the complete community concept. Past growth and related pressures lead to development demands and choices resulting in the present metropolitan shape. To manage future growth necessitates a perspective which is equally metropolitan, or regional, in scope. 2 7 Langdon, 1994, 219. Quoting Alex Krieger. 2 S Philip Langdon, "The Urbanist's Reward," Progressive Architecture, No. 8 (August 1995), 84. 29Lockwood, 1994, 11. 3 0 City of Seattle Planning Department, Toward a Sustainable Seattle. Seattle's Plan for Managing Growth ( Seattle: City of Seattle, 1993), 16. 26 Local governments cannot effectively address growth and related issues — the jobs-housing balance, air quality, transit, open space and traffic ~ which are fundamentally regional phenomena/1 To direct growth and make new development, infill and infrastructure decisions intelligently requires an appreciation of the total landscape of the region — its assets, constraints, social fabric, economic patterns, natural systems, infrastructure and growth implications. Integrated, coherent land use patterns must guide investment and direct growth in a way that makes communities more compact, affordable, walkable and transit-oriented.32 This pursuit is facilitated by the presence of complementary urban growth legislation and boundaries. This encourages infill within the existing metropolitan frame, while preventing "leapfrog," low density development at the urban fringe.33 An additional reason for a regional perspective is provided by Peter Calthorpe. He suggests that the integration of naturalism and urbanism - to protect both natural systems and urban vitality — could realistically be achieved at a regional scale, but not necessarily in each block and neighbourhood.34 He also emphasizes the regional relationship between "the pieces and the whole," and recognizes the need for balance in accommodating regional interests and local concerns or fears.35 Langdon also cautions 3 1 Urban Development Institute Pacific Region (UDI), Back to the Future: Re-Designing Our Landscapes With Form. Place, and Density (Vancouver. Urban Development Institute, 1993), 19. See also. Calthorpe, 1993, 35. 32Calthorpe, 1993, 35. Seealso: Carrol, 1993, 14; Langdon, 1994,211; UDI, 1993, 79. 3 3 Adler, 1995, 49. See also: Calthorpe, "The Region," in The New Urbanism. Katz, 1994, xi; Langdon, 1995, 88. 3 4 Calthorpe, 1993, 44. 3 5 Ibid., 32. Also: Calthorpe, "The Region" in The New Urbanism, Katz, 1994, xi. 27 that the regional perspective must be tempered by regard for community. He does not underestimate the effort required to strike the right balance between regionalism and local power, and to engage in "place-responsive" planning that accounts for the distinctive features of the individual communities making up the region/ 6 Consistent with these notions, the Livable Region Strategic Plan promotes changes to the large scale structure of the region through the pursuit of a compact metropolitan form, with centers linked by transit, framed within the Green Zone urban growth boundary. At the same time, it recognizes that change at the regional level will require changes at the local level ~ both to adapt to large scale alterations and to solve existing land use and transportation problems. J ? 2.2.5 Flexible, Performance Oriented and Evolving Meeting regional goals through change in the local setting calls for sensitivity and flexibility. As a complete community strategy seeks the enhancement and diversification of existing communities, it is to be expected that the specifics of this social and physical infrastructure will influence the amount and rate of change experienced.''8 Calthorpe notes that there is no absolute template for creating his compact community concept, the 36Langdon, 1994, 213. 3 7 Kellas. 1994, 21. See also: Ralph Perkins, "Vancouver: Complete Communities for the Liveable Region." The Intensification Report, No. 12 (January-February 1995), 16. 3 8 City of Seattle, 1993,21. 28 Transit-Oriented Development (TOD). Instead, the "specifics of place, economics and politics" will always color and balance the direction it takes.39 This need for responsiveness to individual community differences is acknowledged in the GVRD, where it is recognized that: To be successful, any regional policy must be based on more than good principles — it must be practical and adaptable to the many different viewpoints and different circumstances found in a complex metropolitan area.... There is a wide variety of urban and suburban environments in Greater Vancouver.... There is no single model of a more complete community that would be applicable in all circumstances. Each municipality and each community within each municipality, must determine its own needs in this regard.40 Clearly, what works in one community may not achieve the same result in another. Besides being flexible, the complete community approach cannot be prescriptive. Current discussion emphasizes that complete community planning must be performance-based. Compliance with rigid, quantitative standards will have to yield to more qualitative and comprehensive measures. Questions of density, form and composition should be judged by the degree to which the community functions successfully to meet regional goals and the needs of everyday life.41 Central to this success is the reciprocal relationship between population and the size and composition of a community core.42 A large and diverse core 3 9 Calthorpe, 1993, 11. 4 0 GVRD, 1995a, 21. 4 1 David Harper, Closing Plenary: "Where Do We Go From Here?," Presentation to Complete Communities II Conference (Whistler Centre for Business and the Arts, Nanaimo. BC. October 21 1996). See also: Michael Y. Seelig and Julie H. Seelig, "Bringing Housing Back into the Urban Equation: Home, the Heart and Some Practical Considerations," Home Remedies: Rethinking Canadian Housing Policy (Toronto: C D . Howe Institute, 1995), 202. 4 2 GVRD, 1995a, 15. 29 can serve a large surrounding population and make alternative travel choices feasible. At the same time, such a core would require a sufficient surrounding population to make services viable. This population-service balance is not easily quantifiable however, and will most naturally be determined in an iterative way at the neighbouhood level. Complete community planning acknowledges this basic unit of metropolitan organization, and demonstrates an appreciation for the evolutionary nature of change. Communities or neighbourhoods are living organisms — they will adapt to secure their survival and success. To do so, will require distinctive adaptations of complete community principles.4'' 2.2.6 Key Attributes of Complete Communities-Diversity. Choice and a Compact Form Calthorpe's Transit-Oriented Development, the Urban Village model and the GVRD strategy are faithful to the defining parameters of complete communities outlined above. These concepts are explicitly relevant to the existing metropolitan context, portray a regional perspective aimed at quality of life and growth management goals, and exhibit several common and fundamental attributes. 4 3 Alan Artibise, Presentation to Complete Communities II Conference, 1996. See Also: Darlene Marzari, Keynote Address: "Politics, Policy and Planning," Presentation to Complete Communities II Conference (Whistler Center for Business and the Arts, Nanaimo, BC, October 22, 1996). The evolutionary nature of communities is emphasized in this address: complete communities are labeled an oxymoron, with the phrase completing communities being preferred. 30 Calthorpe states that his TOD guidelines "...define an integrated strategy for growth in our cities, suburbs and towns,"44 with the broad objective of integrating and balancing urbanism and environmentalism at a regional scale. The TOD's defining theme, the "ecology of communities," is: ...how the ecological principles of diversity, interdependence, scale and decentralization can play a role in the concept of suburb, city and region. It is about communities more diverse and integrated in use and population, more walkable and human-scaled; communities which openly acknowledge and formalize the decentralization at work in our times.45 The Urban Village strategy in the City of Seattle is a response both to current metropolitan realities and legislative requirements to plan for growth management. It is a planning and development tool which encompasses and integrates: land-use and transportation planning, economic viability, clear demographic trends towards more and smaller households, the desire to age in place, housing options, affordability, the need to meet regional responsibilities and to make growth work for Seattle. Echoing the principles embodied in the TOD, the Urban Village concept is described as "...single, simple version [which] demonstrates how the complex systems which support urban life are inter-related and prioritized."46 The GVRD describes a "more complete community" as one which "...provides people with broader diversity in the physical and social elements of community: houses, travel, shops workplaces, services, and social 4 4 Calthorpe, 1993, 41. 4 5 Ibid., 9. 4 6 City of Seattle Planning Department, An Issues Guide to the Mayor's Recommended Comprehensive Plan ( Seattle: City of Seattle, March 1994), 19. Like the TOD, the urban village can be deployed at various scales and functions. The four principle variations of the urban village are: the Urban Center Village, the Hub Urban Village, the Residential Urban Village and the Neighbourhood Village. 31 contacts."47 This involves "...brining urban choices, amenities and services closer to the people's homes and people's homes closer to urban choices, amenities and services."48 Apparent in these concepts are the fundamental attributes of complete communities within a regional setting: diversity, choice and a compact form. The diversity-choice dynamic operating within a compact setting has implications for a range of more specific characteristics of complete communities. For example, creating greater diversity in housing may ultimately foster a richer social mix. As new housing forms may allow atypical residents to move in, so to may they also save current residents who become atypical (widowers, divorces, newlyweds) from having to move out.49 Accommodating a greater mix in land use may foster opportunities for local shopping or employment. Increasing these choices within a compact configuration enables and supports transit, services, commerce, walking and cycling. This in turn, implies a more human scaled community. By fostering diversity within a compact form, people will have a greater range of choice in conducting their daily lives. From these newly available choices, can flow impacts on auto use, air quality, transit and infrastructure efficiencies, and individual and public affordability. Overall, complete communities can be seen to: • organize growth on a regional level to be compact and transit supportive • have a recognizable focus and community identity GVRD, 1995a, 6. GVRD, 1993, 10. Charles Oberdorf, "A New Way of Living," Report on Business Magazine ("April. 1994), 30. 32 • be well defined but flexible, of varying size and specialization depending on regional and local roles • promote quality design, shaped by the local natural and built environment • emphasize and reflect investment in the public realm (whether natural or built) • be human-scaled, pedestrian and transit-oriented, with commerce, housing, jobs, parks and civic uses centrally located within walking distance of transit • focus on linkages, including physical, social and communication connections • support a mix and diversity of uses and people • be ecological and resource efficient, preserving habitat and high quality open space and promoting effective, efficient and conservationist design approaches • encourage infill and redevelopment within existing neighborhoods, especially where transit exists • be affordable, but reflect the full costs of the choices made within them50 Complete communities pursue greater diversity and choice as the prerequisites to regional, local and individual quality of life. Diversity and choice are of course, defining characteristics and benefits of a metropolitan society. Complete community thinking acknowledges this reality and does not aspire to creating self sufficient enclaves which contain everything they need within their own boundaries, as may have earlier been conceived.51 Rather, the aim is a flexible, complementary, regional ensemble of 50Calthorpe, 1993,41-55. See Also: Harper, Opening Address: Complete Communities II Conference, Nanaimo, BC, October 21, 1996; Harper, Closing Plenary: "Where Do We Go From Here?" Complete Communities II Conference. 33 communities which are relatively more compact and complete than they are now. While the complete community goal is tempered by realism, the challenge it represents is not trivial. Planning for and building diversity, choice and compactness into the existing suburban context represents an approach very different from the practices and thinking of the past half century of suburban and metropolitan development. It reflects a fundamental redirection of thought regarding urban planning and design, from: ...the quantitative to the qualitative, from the hierarchical to the participatory, from the individual to the community, from competitive to co-operative, from absolute to relative, from uniformity to diversity and from knowing to feeling.52 2.3 Moving From Complete Community Concept to Implementation Progress towards complete communities will require certain conditions, actionable policies and an appropriate process. Calthorpe offers these broad requirements for achieving a compact regional form: • the regional structure of growth should be guided by the expansion of transit and a more compact urban form • ubiquitous single-use zoning should be replaced with standards for mixed-use, walkable neighborhoods and • urban design policies should create an architecture oriented toward the public domain and human dimension, not the private domain and auto scale.33 • an integrated and sequential process — beginning with broad based community support for alternatives to sprawl, and progressing to the revision of regional plans, comprehensive plans, specific area plans and zoning ordinances.54 Enns, 1994, 1. See also: Perkins, 1995, 16. Ray Spaxman, "What's New in Urban Design?" Plan Canada (September 1994), 7. Calthorpe, 1993, 41. Calthorpe, 1993, 52. 34 These criteria are reflected in the approaches being pursued in both Greater Vancouver and Seattle, where more specific policy development is evident. Taken together, all these approaches suggest these critical elements for "how to" achieve complete communities. 1. Begin with: • communities to work with • a regional strategic plan and framework • broad based support for alternatives to sprawl and a regional vision 2. Develop actionable policies which integrate land use and transportation planning, .and encompass related policy areas. Revise comprehensive or Official Community Plans, adjust specific area or neighbourhood plans and support policies with appropriate zoning and regulations. 3. Engage in a process which highlights neighbourhood planning and supports ongoing involvement and partnerships — community, municipal, regional, provincial and private — to balance local and regional needs. 2.3.1 The Prerequisites: Communities, Broad Support, and a Regional Strategic Plan In both Seattle and Greater Vancouver, existing metropolitan communities provide the starting point for the complete community vision and strategies. Both areas relied upon comprehensive public processes to create a vision to manages growth and change, in order to protect and enhance that which residents value. In both instances, the imperative for a regional level plan is supported by State and Provincial legislation to plan for growth. 2.3.2 Comprehensive Policies Integrating Land Use, Transportation and a Community Focus In both Seattle and the GVRD, a compact configuration -- the urban village and community core focus, respectively — is used as the vehicle by which to integrate land use and transportation planning and development. According to the GVRD, more complete communities will be achieved by increasing diversity in three key areas: housing alternatives in the middle range between apartments and single-detached houses, transportation alternatives to the automobile, and community cores of varying sizes, to provide people with more opportunities to shop, work and enjoy life closer to home.55 The community core is seen as the essential focus for integrating land use and transportation options in a more complete community. It is necessary to make transit, walking and cycling options feasible and to accommodate more diverse housing forms without increasing car travel and negatively impacting on existing neighbourhoods. To create an effective core requires shopping and personal services, public services and facilities and other workplaces. It also requires public, as opposed to private space, to create vitality, security and appealing reasons for people to use it.56 5 5 GVRD, 1995a, i. 5 6 Ibid., 15-20. Options for fostering complete community cores include: developing a regional system of major centres and smaller community cores, increasing the amount of residential development near existing cores, seeking ways to adapt malls to more community-oriented public use of space, exploring integrated public service delivery options, adding public services, continuing to develop new jobs and intensifying community economic development with realistic expectations for increasing the jobs to housing ratio. 36 GVRD housing policy statements call for increasing medium density options ~ townhouses, duplexes, and small lot homes — that use land, energy and public utilities more efficiently than single family home, yet retain its desired features. These housing options should be provided throughout the region to improve opportunities to choose an appropriate form of housing closer to regular travel destinations. Recommended first steps to creating this increased housing diversity include: acquiring a preliminary understanding of the preferences of the region's residents, the range of housing forms applicable to these needs, a reassessment of current land use regulations, and a more in-depth understanding of neighbourhood resistance.57 GVRD policy for increasing diversity in travel options represents a realignment of thought regarding the purpose of transportation. It attempts to shift the perception that transportation is fundamentally to move vehicles around, to a more comprehensive notion that its role is to provide people with access to the goods, services and activities which satisfy their needs. From this perspective, the first priority becomes achieving access through proximity. This involves ensuring that goods, services and opportunities are close to the neighbourhoods of those who use them. For those trips which cannot be made by foot or cycle, convenient alternatives to the car, such as a community shuttle bus are contemplated. The second priority is access through transmission. This includes the physical transmission of goods and services through delivery and other commercial travel, as well as the electronic transmission of information. The third priority is access through GVRD, 1995a, 7-9. 37 travel. The policies recognize that an efficient arterial road system will always be required in the region, but suggest that if alternative forms of travel are made available, individual travel by car need not be the predominant use of this system. As well, priority for access to this network - from automobiles to bicycles, transit and high-occupancy automobiles — can shift. Where the choice to travel across the region by car continues to be made, the full economic, environmental and social costs of that choice should be reflected in tolls, insurance and other fees. Since changing established, regional infrastructure patterns will be difficult and expensive, the move to complete communities should begin with a focus on local public transit solutions in the suburbs, and improved cycle and pedestrian access 58 to urban activity centers. In Seattle, integrated, detailed policies for implementing the urban village strategy encompass six key areas: land use, transportation, housing, capital facilities and utilities, economic development and neighbourhood planning. The following are some examples of policy statements intended move the urban village concept closer to reality. Land use policies begin by identifying areas suitable for growth as those with: high accessibility to transportation (especially transit), the presence of public and private facilities supporting community life, conditions conducive to pedestrian and non-motorized circulation, conditions allowing a better integration of new development with established development, adequate infrastructure, and potential to improve conditions through redevelopment. Modest changes to existing zoning ordinances are included, in order to: GVRD, 1995a, 10-14. 38 l)distribute growth to preferred locations; 2)promote the preferred uses and desired development pattern within various Urban Center Villages; 3)accommodate the amount of household and/or employment growth targeted; and 4)provide incentives for affordable housing and public open space. More extensive changes, including a greater emphasis on mixed use zones, are contemplated in later phases and will require a neighborhood planning process.59 A range of detailed housing and transportation policies support the urban village strategy.60 2.3.3 Community-Based Processes to Move Ahead GVRD policy is to pursue complete communities through partnerships with various levels of government and numerous agencies. The policy also recognizes that each community must determine the appropriate approach to achieving a more complete future based on its own circumstances. In Seattle, the neighbourhood planning process is seen as central to policy implementation decisions. Ultimately, successful implementation of the urban village strategy and comprehensive plan will depend upon finding the right balance between broad goals and responsibilities, and neighborhood discretion to develop their own plans.61 ' City of Seattle, 1993, 103-156. 1 See City of Seattle, 1993, 315-325, 357-359, 343-406,463-465, 233-260. Ibid., 469. 39 2.4 Opportunities and Barriers 2.4.1 Opportunities for Complete Communities It can be inferred that the best opportunities for developing complete communities within an established context exist where: • effective, responsive regional, municipal and neighbourhood planning is practiced • a regional strategy for managing growth, including a growth boundary, is in place • some form of core configuration exists, and can be enhanced • existing or planned transit serves the area effectively • a range of housing forms exists or can be accommodated through redevelopment • there is broad acceptance of the need and opportunity for diversification and intensification in order to foster complete communities 2.4.2 Barriers to Complete Communities Underlying the numerous practical barriers to implementation, are fundamental conceptual beliefs at odds with complete, compact community policies and principles. Among these are: viewing land as a commodity instead of as an irreplaceable, shared resource; the notion that unrestricted automobility is a right; pervasive social ideals which convey the message that the largest possible house on the largest possible lot is the only dwelling fit to aspire to, and that there is something demeaning about living in a neighbourhood with people of different appearance or wealth.62 Canty, 1995, 219. 40 Essential to achieving more complete communities is a shift in these attitudes to create certain conditions. First, economic restructuring that reintegrates working and living. Although this is emerging for some professions, it is still far from common. Second, a radical shift in consumer preference to create a new social ideal for housing. While certain elite segments of the home-buying public show some inclination towards higher density living in more urban communities, it is not clear that this will become an aspiration for most of the population. Finally, commitment requiring individuals to forego some freedoms for the common good of a more complete community.6' Beyond such a conceptual realignment, practical impediments must also be addressed.64 These factors can be summarized as: public, political and professional resistance; the market and the availability of suitable land; planning law (including Official Community Plans, zoning bylaws, regulations and standards); financial constraints; identifying, quantifying and sharing costs, and realistic limits to infill potential.63 2.4.2.1 Public Attitudes, Political Will and Professional Inertia Creating more complete communities demands intensification, or increased density of commercial and residential land uses. The pervasive evidence of the "Not-in-my-6 3 Hok-Lin Leung, "Limits to Intensification: A Lesson From China," The Intensification Report. No.3 (July-August 1993), 5. 6 4 Oberdorf, 1994, 30. 65Adapted from: Bookout, 1992b, 13, 15, 17. Also: Bookout, 1992d, 19, 21, 24; RonKanter, "Legal and Financial Constraints Impede Intensification." The Intensification Report. No. 3 (July-August 1993), 6-8; Planning Institute of British Columbia (PIBC), "CHBA-BC Conference Highlights 'Looking Ahead: Making Housing More Affordable,'" PIBC News 38, No. 2 (May 1996), 21; Ray Simpson, "Residential Intensification: The Wrong Planning Debate," The Intensification Report, No. 1 (March 1993), 6-8; UDI, 1993, 20. 41 backyard" (NIMBY) response to proposals for community change in general and increased density in particular, suggests that the public at large does not share planners' desire for living in intensified communities.66 To move ahead with complete communities, the NIMBY characterization must be explored and understood. Community resistance is complex, motivated by both fear and rational thought, and often grounded in a loss of trust in the planning and development system. It involves expectations about property values, individual rights, responsibilities and privileges. It is also rooted in concerns for privacy, security and livability ~ a central goal of complete communities ~ in the face of increased density.67 Public attitudes, leadership, decision making and public involvement are intertwined in the local political arena. It has been suggested that the greatest impediment to complete communities is not technical knowledge, but political will. In a planning system which still places great emphasis on the public hearing format, it is often not the will of the majority which scuttles intensification and diversification, but the vocal opposition of the few. Community- and interest-based approaches are necessary to simultaneously promote neighbourhood values and build acceptance of complete community principles. At the same time, political leadership and top-down support of governments and agencies are 6 6 Bookout, 1992b, 15. See also: Todd Bressi, "Cautionary Notes on the New Urban Vision," Places 9, No. 1 (Winter 1994), 76; Simpson, 1993, 6. 6 7 GVRD. 1995b. 23. See also: Hok-Lin Leung, "Density and Quality of Life," The Intensification Report, No. 12 (January-February 1995), 13. This issue of the complexity of NIMBYism and its impact on the pursuit of complete communities was widely discussed at the Complete Communities II Conference in Nanaimo. It was raised in a workshop entitled "Addressing NIMBYism," and in the remarks of numerous speakers. 42 necessary to secure decisions reached locally. This vertical integration must be accompanied by horizontal integration across jurisdictions. Given the comprehensive nature of complete community issues, professional commitment within the planning and development field and across related disciplines must also be fostered.68 2.4.2.2 The Market and Land for Intensification Diversifying and intensifying communities through redevelopment requires the meeting of several interests. The Urban Development Institute notes that: "Even with sound planning it is private investment and capital responding to the consumer that acts as the catalyst for new development."69 Changes in the size and demographics of the population indicate that the demand for medium density housing forms will grow. To supply this demand requires several factors to be present simultaneously: the availability of physical sites within the existing community, property owners' willingness to participate, supportive planning policy and the presence of surplus service capacity. A strict lack of physical sites is not normally as great a challenge as having landowners perceive sufficient economic benefit to participate in redevelopment. This is particularly true where ownership patterns are fragmented and 6 8 The public/political/professional dynamic as a barrier to complete community goals is a theme which surfaced repeatedly in these Complete Communities II Conference (Whistler Center for Business and the Arts, Nanaimo BC, October 21-22 1996) presentations from both professional and political perspectives. For example in the addresses of: Alan Artibise, Luncheon Address "Implementing Complete Community Planning and Design: A Check List for Politicians, Planners and Citizens;" Diana Butler, Mayor of Oak Bay, Opening Remarks "Regional Context and Overview;" Darlene Marzari, Keynote Address, "Politics, Policy, and Planning." Workshop: "Addressing NIMBYism;" Perry Perry. Plenary Session III Address, "Will the Public Accept New Designs?" and Workshop: "Standards of Livability" 6 9 UDI, 1993, 20. A comprehensive discussion of fourteen 'development realities' is provided. 43 land assembly becomes an issue. In addition, any planning policy perceived as being supportive of intensification to an owner's or developer's benefit is controversial. Generally, intensified residential development will only be appealing to suppliers and consumers (not to mention existing residents) if sufficient service capacity — in terms of physical infrastructure and social services — exists to serve all residents.71 2.4.2.3 Planning Law Planning law - framed by the Municipal Act7 2 and expressed through Official Community Plans, zoning regulations, subdivision bylaws, development regulations and standards — has an extensive impact on efforts to develop more complete communities. Because these regulatory devices are both ingrained and inter-related, they perpetuate the status quo of suburban patterns. Many Official Community Plans, for example, require that new development be compatible with existing neighbourhoods. Zoning regulations, founded on the notion of segregation of uses, are fundamentally at odds with principles of compact and diverse community development. Bylaws and development standards are also highly interrelated. It is difficult to embark on changing an aspect of a jurisdiction's code because other provisions will not accommodate the change.73 70Simpson, 1995,7. See also: UDI, 1993, 23. 71Simpson, 1995, 7. "Municipal Act. Part 29, Management of Development. "Bookout, 1992d, 19. See also: Kanter, 1993,6; UDI, 1993,34. 44 Certainly it is possible to pursue different development forms within the current regulatory framework by applying for changes to bylaws though development variance mechanisms. This process however, is uncertain, time-consuming, and expensive for landowners and the community, leaving developers willing to consider intensified development on land already zoned for it, but unwilling to incur the expense of re-zoning.74 With a general lack of medium zoned sites throughout Greater Vancouver, this represents a significant barrier to complete communities.75 Streamlining the planning and approvals process within the existing framework is one way to enable the development of complete communities. Developing alternative development standards - for roads, lot sizes, rights-of-way, and other aspects of urban infrastructure — is another comprehensive approach gaining prominence.76 2.4.2.4 Financial Considerations Land prices in metropolitan areas and the potential costs of altering or fitting into an existing pattern are direct costs associated with intensification efforts. Directly or indirectly, current zoning, the development approval process, local exercise of discretion and servicing requirements are also price mechanisms affecting more compact 7 4 Kanter, 1993, 7. 7 5 GVRD, 1995a, 8. See also: PIBC, 1996, 21. 76Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Website article, "Alternative Development Standards. B.C.'s Communities Move into the Future," Taking Action: Growth Strategies in B.C. (Victoria: Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, November 1996b). See also: Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, 1996a, 10; Ontario Ministry of Housing and Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Making Choices: Alternative Development Standards Guidelines (Ontario: Queen's Printer, 1995). For the seminal and comprehensive discussion regarding alternative development standards. 45 development. Cumulatively, these factors can render innovation highly expensive. Financing complete community development is also an issue of risk ~ developers, buyers and lenders are averse to development forms with which they have no previous experience and for which the timing and magnitude of the return is uncertain. This is even more true of retail/commercial development than of residential development.78 Development cost charges for the different housing forms envisioned by complete communities are an additional cost subject to uncertainty. It is a point of debate even now whether new development pays a fair or excessive share of costs for new physical and social infrastructure. How development cost charges will be levied against medium density and mixed use development relative to single family and multi-family homes raises additional questions. This extends to the issue of taxation assessments, for which there is relatively little experience with medium density or mixed use properties.79 2.4.2.5 Determining Full Costs and Considering Tradeoffs Since experience with intensification is limited, it is a challenge to identify and measure all the costs and benefits associated with it. On the one hand, savings in utilizing existing infrastructure and in developing more compact forms are apparent. On the other hand, cost factors are interrelated, and savings in one area may be counter-balanced by higher costs in another. As well, factors such as upward pressure on the affordabiltiy of existing 7 7 UDI, 1993,42. 78Bookout, 1992d, 21, 24. 79Kanter, 1993, 7-8. See also: Landucci, 1996,25. 46 homes, effects on adjacent districts, and variable physical and social impacts on different portions of the existing community, are largely unknown.80 To achieve a performance-based complete community, the formidable challenge must be undertaken to identify, quantify and allocate the full costs of complete community development. 2.4.2.6 Realistic Limits to the Potential of Intensification for Complete Communities Overcoming barriers inherent in the land use planning system alone will not be enough to achieve complete communities. Attention must be given to barriers regarding residential, commercial, retail, industrial and public use intensification as well. This is especially challenging in the metropolitan setting characterized by a wide choice for locating homes, businesses and jobs. Other policies beyond the planning and development sphere may also work against complete community development, such as: a taxation scheme which encourage Canadians to live in the most expensive home they can afford, relatively lower property taxes on single detached housing, subsidies enabling seniors to remain in their homes, mortgage insurance and Registered Retirement Savings Provisions which encourage ambitious home ownership goals.81 80Hygeia Consulting Services and Reic Ltd., 1995, 19. See also: Frank Lewinberg, "Some Thoughts About Intensification," The Intensification Report, No. 1 (March 1993), 4; Simpson, 1993, 8; UDI, 1993, 35. 8 1 Frank A. Clayton, "Is the Neotraditional 'Revolution' Likely to Occur?" The Intensification Report, No. 7 (March-April 1994), 15. See also: Simpson, 1993, 8. 47 2.5 Context: The Specifics of Time, Place, Politics and Economics The complete community goals embodied in the Greater Vancouver Regional District's Livable Region Strategic Plan are supported and challenged by the general opportunities and barriers noted above. Progress will also be shaped by the specific characteristics of the GVRD setting 2.5.1 The Greater Vancouver Regional District The GVRD is comprised of twenty municipalities on British Columbia's southeastern coast, ranging from the Village of Anmore with less than 900 residents, to the rapidly growing city of Surrey, to Vancouver, the economic and cultural focus of the region. As the home of Canada's premier western coastal port, the GVRD serves as the gateway to the Pacific Rim. Its role in the international economy and as a regional service centre, its power to attract and hold population and a skilled labour force, and continued international and interprovincial migration, all support projections for continued growth.8 The GVRD is now home to 1.7 million residents of diverse backgrounds representing forty-six percent of the provincial population. Over the period of the Livable Region Strategic Plan, this population is expected to exceed 3 million people.83 The growth in population, households, jobs and economic activity results in demand for residential, commercial and industrial stock, implying physical changes in the landscape. Since 1980, 82Greater Vancouver Regional District Strategic Planning (GVRD), Greater Vancouver Key Facts. A Statistical Profile of Greater Vancouver, Canada. 1995 Edition (Burnaby: GVRD, 1995c), 3, 9. 8 3 GVRD, 1995c, 50. See also: Ministry of Municipal Affairs, 1995a, 2. 48 more than half of all housing starts in British Columbia were within the Greater Vancouver 84 area. 2.5.2 The Policy Framework Recent revisions to the Municipal Act in British Columbia have resulted in a planning system which is framed provincially, integrated regionally and executed locally. This system is not hierarchical, but cooperative. Local governments maintain strong independence in land use planning, while the regional district operates as a confederation of municipal governments to fulfill service roles which local governments agree they cannot do themselves.85 The authority to implement regional plans abolished in 1983 has not been reinstated, but the regional planning function has been revitalized through the interactive planning framework of the Growth Strategies Act. 8 6 This framework is structured upon the following key components Regional Growth Strategies (RGS), Regional Context Statements (RCS), Implementation Agreements (IA) and dispute resolution mechanisms. 1. Regional Growth Strategies are sometimes voluntary, but may be required in areas facing challenges related to growth or significant change. They are a general service of the regional district, initiated by a regional board (through resolution of its municipal members) and subject to acceptance by affected local and adjacent regional 8 4 GVRD, 1995c, 42. 8 5 Ministry of Municipal Affairs, 1995a, 3. 8 6 Ministry of Municipal Affairs, An Explanatory Guide to B.C.'s Growth Strategies Act (Victoria: Queen's Printer, 1995b), 2. 49 governments. An RGS is intended to focus on key issues that must be managed at the regional scale including: housing, transportation, regional district services, parks and natural areas, and economic development. The strategy must be comprehensive; covering social, economic and environmental concerns, and spanning 20 years.87 2. Regional Context Statements complete regional/local integration by identifying the relationship between the local Official Community Plan (OCP) and the RGS, and specifying how the OCP and RGS would be made consistent over time. Balancing the acceptance procedure for the RGS, a Regional Context Statement is drafted by the municipal government and submitted to the regional district for acceptance within two years of the adoption of the RGS. The RCS highlights the essential role of community plans in implementing a regional growth strategy and underscores the cooperative, non-hierarchical relationship between municipalities and regional districts. At the same time, it is intended to make OCPs more meaningful vis-a-vis regional and provincial goals.88 3. Implementation Agreements formalize partnerships between regional districts, their municipalities, the province and other key agencies, in order to implement the provisions of the RGS. 8 9 4. Dispute Resolution Mechanisms: cover a range of options, from non-binding facilitation to full arbitration. They have been included in the Growth Strategies Act in order to ensure closure on RGS efforts. 8 7 Ministry of Municipal Affairs, 1995b, 5. 88Ibid., 1995b, 30. 89Ministry of Municipal Affairs, 1995b, 14. 50 Although the Livable Region Strategic Plan pre-dates the Growth Strategies Act, it has been adopted by GVRD member municipalities and accepted by the Province as a Regional Growth Strategy. The GVRD is currently in the process of developing Implementation Agreements with groups such as the Agricultural Land Commission and Tourism Vancouver. Transportation infrastructure projects will have a high priority, and the Ten-Year Development Plan recently released by BC Transit appears to strongly support the transportation objectives contained in the plan. Currently, the GVRD's twenty municipalities are working to adopt regional context statements over the next two 90 years. The ultimate success of adopting and implementing the Livable Region Strategic Plan within the Growth Strategies Framework is far from certain, as this process continues to evolve. Challenges are anticipated in: the adoption of Regional Context Statements (especially in a two year time frame and where local opposition exists); the extent and nature of the Province's participation in implementing the strategy, the role of politics, bargaining and consensus-building, and in resolving the regional-local tug-of-war between structure and governance.91 9 0 Ministry of Municipal Affairs, 1996a, 7. See also: Ministry of Municipal Affairs, 1995a, 7; Graham Stallard, "Chapter Event: Lower Mainland Regional Growth Strategies," PIBC News 38, No. 2 (May 1996), 18. 9 1 Stallard, 1996, 18-19. 51 2.5 Summary This discussion has presented the why, what and how of complete communities. It has attempted to highlight the nature of the complete community approach as a policy and strategy aimed at goals for growth management and quality life. It has been stressed throughout that truly complete communities will only be achieved with a regional perspective and within an existing built and social setting, which presents both opportunities and challenges. Within the evolving policy environment of the Greater Vancouver Regional District, complete communities will ultimately be realized through local commitment, planning policy development and implementation. 52 Chapter Three COMPLETE COMMUNITIES FROM A L O C A L PERSPECTIVE: THE LYNN VALLEY COMMUNITY PLANNING PROCESS 3.0 INTRODUCTION This chapter introduces a local perspective to the complete community discussion by presenting the planning efforts and experiences of Lynn Valley, an established community in the District of North Vancouver. 3.1 Why Study Lynn Valley? The Growth Strategies Act and related legislative initiatives in this Province have resulted in a planning system which, broadly speaking, is framed provincially, integrated regionally, and executed locally. The complete community concept calls for neighbourhood involvement and direction in the pursuit of regional goals. Indeed, it is the actions of municipal governments as they attempt to balance regional goals and local interests which will ultimately determine whether or not the Livable Region Strategic Plan of the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) is realized. As expressed by the GVRD itself: To be successful, any regional policy must be based on more than good principles — it must be practical and adaptable to the many different viewpoints and different circumstances found in a complex metropolitan area.... There is a wide variety of urban and suburban environments in Greater Vancouver... There is no single model of a more complete community that would be applicable in all circumstances. Each municipality and each community within each municipality, must determine its own needs in this regard.1 Clearly, a closer look at the complete community policy—application nexus is warranted. 1 Greater Vancouver Regional District Strategic Planning Department (GVRD), The Livable Region Strategic Plan (Burnaby: GVRD, 1995b), 21. 53 With Greater Vancouver municipalities in the process of creating Regional Context Statements — the regional policy/local plan link — Lynn Valley provides a timely example of local planning for more complete communities in an existing setting. As a typical, mid-century suburb, Lynn Valley was not laid out with compactness in mind. A number of factors however — physical constraints, early industry, settlement, development and a pattern of underutilized space — suggest some potential for Lynn Valley to foster development around a core configuration, a key element of the complete community concept. Within this context, the Lynn Valley Community Planning Team is currently drafting policies for a plan to carry Lynn Valley into the next century. 3.2 The Lynn Valley Context 3.2.1 A Profile of Lynn Valley in the Greater Vancouver Regional District Lynn Valley is a neighbourhood in the heart of the District of North Vancouver on the North Shore of Burrard Inlet. As one of the "inner suburbs" of the Greater Vancouver Region, the District of North Vancouver is considered a highly desirable residential location within easy commuting access to downtown Vancouver, Burnaby and suburban municipalities beyond. (See Maps 1 and 2). Lynn Valley plays a central role in the history of the District of North Vancouver ("the District." ) From its earliest position as an economic and commercial hub, it has grown along with the District. Industrial growth associated with the waterfront, transportation improvements in the form of the First and Second Narrows Bridges, and the baby boom 54 following World War II, brought increased residential development to the area through the 1980s.2 The District of North Vancouver Planning Department estimates that almost 22,000 of the District's 78,000 residents live in Lynn Valley, making it the largest of all District communities in terms of population.3 A modest increase in this number is anticipated, with a total of 23,110 to 23,770 residents (of a District total of 93,000) projected for the year 2011. In fact, compared with other municipalities in the region, recent population growth here has been gradual and is expected to remain so.4 Like the rest of the region however, trends suggest that the household composition of the population is changing. Currently, of the almost 6,000 families living in Lynn Valley, a large majority (68%) have children at home. A recent study conducted for the District suggests that the population aged 65 and over could increase from 9% of the population (1991 figures) to 25% of the population within 25 years time.5 The phenomenon of aging in place can include young adults staying in the family home longer and seniors hoping to remain in their homes and communities for as long as possible. This could have a significant impact on the demographic profile, housing and service needs of the Lynn Valley community. 2 North Shore Economic Development Commission (EDC), Lynn Valley Retail and Commercial Neighbourhood Study (North Vancouver: North Shore EDC, 1995), 13-16. 3District of North Vancouver (DNV) Planning Department, "Population by Community Area," Community Profiles. 1995 (District of North Vancouver: DNV Planning Department, 1995), 9. 4 The Corporation of the District of North Vancouver, Official Community Plan Review. Housing (District of North Vancouver: DNV Planning Department, February 1996). Population increases to the year 2021 are projected to average no more than 1% annually, compared to an average rate of 2.2% between 1961 and 1991. This figure is also much lower than the 2.5% annual growth rate predicted for the region as a whole. 5 Ibid 55 Map 1 North Vancouver District in a Regional Context Source: Greater Vancouver Regional District(GVRD), Key Facts. 1995 Edition (Bumaby: GVRD, 1995),101. Map 2 Lynn Valley in the District of North Vancouver Source: District of North Vancouver (DNV) Planning Dept., Community Profiles, 1995 (North Vancouver: District of North Vancouver), 29. 56 According to the 1991 census, the District has a labour force of approximately 44,000 people. Less than one-quarter of this work force is employed in the District, with most commuting to Vancouver's Central Business District or to other municipalities in the region. While about 60% of the jobs on the North Shore are filled by non-residents, 43% of resident licensed businesses in the District itself are home-based. Recent estimates put the number of home-based businesses in Lynn Valley at 300 or more.6 Incomes in Lynn Valley are high relative to the rest of the region and province, but are slightly lower than those found in the rest of the District. A range of industrial, office, commercial and retail activity is found among the three municipalities of the North Shore, which operate as an integrated trading area. At the same time, apart from the distinction of the City of North Vancouver's Lonsdale Street and Quay as a Regional Town Centre, a true single commercial centre for the North Shore does not exist. Instead, retail and commercial activity is dispersed among a number of "village" centres of varying size. In Lynn Valley, the Lynn Valley Centre, along with several other stores and services, form a commercial core for the community. 3.2.2 The Policy Framework Like other municipalities throughout the GVRD, the District of North Vancouver has adopted an Official Community Plan (OCP) pursuant to section 947 of the Municipal Act.8 6 North Shore EDC, 1995, 103. 7 Ibid., 29. Average Household Incomes (1991) in: Lynn Valley - $60,609; District of North Vancouver - $66,068; Vancouver (City) - $45,583; Vancouver (Region) - $50,363; BC - $46,909. 8 Bylaw 6300 was adopted by Council on October 22, 1990 57 The OCP expresses the council's social, economic and environmental objectives and policies respecting the general form and character of future land use patterns for the entire municipality, and serves as the principle reference for planning and other policy decisions. The guiding objectives of the OCP are: ENVIRONMENTAL GOAL To develop an attractive community in harmony with nature SOCIAL GOAL To provide housing opportunities, community facilities, and services to meet the changing needs of District residents at all stages of their lives and income levels. ECONOMIC GOAL To encourage a strong local economy with expanded opportunities for employment with emphasis on labour intensive, non-hazardous, non-polluting industries.9 Objectives, policies and implementation strategies are expressed for these major themes: development in harmony with the natural environment; the built environment as a factor in the overall quality of life of the community; population and housing; housing for seniors, community facilities and services; parks and recreation, neighbourhood centres; economic development and employment; transportation (including pedestrian systems), utilities; the central role of and access to the Port of Vancouver, and identification of areas important to the District's unique identity. A review of the current plan began in 1996 and is proceeding concurrently with the Lynn Valley Community Planning process. While the review is still underway (with a draft for public review expected in the spring of 1997), the pillars of the OCP are expected to remain intact. Specifically, a population projection of 93,000 residents in 2011 will 9 The Corporation of the District of North Vancouver, The District Official Community Plan (District of North Vancouver, November 1991), 2-2. 58 continue to form the basis of OCP provisions, although recent growth rate analysis revealing a .96% growth rate over the past five years suggests even this figure may be high. Building on the directions set in the current OCP, attention is expected to focus on providing more detail in the areas of economic development, housing choice and affordability. The OCP seeks to integrate land use and transportation planning, protect the natural environment while promoting quality of the built environment, and promote the development of neighbourhood centers. In addition, it acknowledges the importance of sharing plan information among municipalities, native bands and other jurisdictions, in order to work towards common regional goals. It is expected that existing and emerging plan policies will shape a Regional Context Statement that will be compatible with the Livable Region Strategic Plan and acceptable under the provisions of the Growth Strategies Act. The policies and objectives of the Lynn Valley Community Plan will ultimately form one chapter of the District Official Community Plan. The rationale, illustrations, maps and other details of the Lynn Valley Plan will be contained in a schedule to the District OCP. By this mechanism, the policies and objectives expressed through the local planning process are captured in the municipal OCP bylaw.10 1 0 The Corporation of the District of North Vancouver, District OCP Process and Schedule. File 6480-00 (May 29, 1995). Currently, numerous "Local Area OCPs" (including one for the core area of Lynn Valley) co-exist with the District OCP. It has been concluded that this approach has diminished the stature and effectiveness of the overall OCP, leading to confusion and duplication. The anticipated results of the approach described above are: greater consistency between and among local area and District-wide goals, greater relevance of the District OCP to neighbourhood interests, primacy of the District OCP and a streamlined OCP process permitting more time spent on policy implementation. 59 3.3 The Lynn Valley Community Planning Process The purpose of the Lynn Valley Community Planning process is to produce a land use and community development plan to guide growth and development over the next 10 years in Lynn Valley. While the process was launched publicly in the spring of 1995, the groundwork for the Lynn Valley approach was being laid well beforehand. 3.3.1 Origins, Principles and Approach Three key observations regarding OCP processes in the municipality initially shaped the development of the Lynn Valley program. These observations were: • limited ownership of Official Community Plans created difficulties in implementation, • citizen demand for more meaningful involvement in decisions affecting their quality of life, and • the re-organization of Council and staff with a work team approach to improve municipal service delivery. These observations led to these municipal objectives for future plan development: increased plan ownership by both civic staff and the community, improved opportunities for public involvement in the OCP process, and a reduction in the length of time and amount of controversy usually associated with these planning processes. The Lynn Valley program was developed in light of these objectives and reflects the findings of recent major policy initiatives from various District departments, such as the Corporate Business Plan and the Neighbourhood Task Force. Its design was also 60 significantly influenced by the efforts and experiences of the Round Tables of British Columbia and Canada, as well as by the visioning principles arising from the Oregon Visions Project.11 The resulting Lynn Valley planning process is therefore based on the fundamental principles of multi-disciplinary teamwork and partnerships, value-based planning, and decision making based on consensus building with community and staff representatives. Supported by the directors of municipal departments and endorsed by Council, the defining features of the Lynn Valley Community planning approach are: • the Community Planning Team (CPT) • shared responsibility • community representation • the Lynn Valley site office • the plan monitoring committee 3.3.2 The Community Planning Team (CPT), Community Representation and Shared Responsibility 3.3.2.1 Membership and Participation Guiding the Lynn Valley planning process is the Community Planning Team (CPT). The CPT is made up of representatives from three types of groups active in Lynn Valley, formal and informal community groups, municipal staff, and representatives of agencies, 1 1 See: National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy(Canada), Building Consensus for a Sustainable Future. Guiding Principles: An Initiative Undertaken by the Round Tables of Canada (Ottawa: National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, 1993); BC Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, Public Involvement in Government Decision-Making: Choosing the Right Model (June 1994); Oregon Visions Project, A Guide to Community Visioning: Hands On Information for Local Communities ([Oregon]: Oregon Chapter of the American Planning Association, 1993). 61 organizations or other levels of government providing services or facilities in Lynn Valley. There is no fixed number of members. All members of the CPT represent a larger group with an interest in Lynn Valley, unless their participation is based upon a unique qualification, expertise or interest that would contribute to the CPT's purpose. To establish the community-based components of the team, a broad range of interests were initially identified and invited to participate in the process. One result of this extensive effort was also the realization that certain segments of the Lynn Valley public -such as small business owners and tenants — were not organized within the community. Different approaches were explored to enable these and other interests to find representation at the table. As well, it was acknowledged from the outset that new participants could be identified over time, and that the nature of the participation of groups and agencies could change from consultative to more active forms. This has proven to be the case, as groups have both left and joined the table. Selection of individuals to act as representatives is, of course, the decision of the participating group. The CPT approach is meant to balance local and District-wide interests through accountable representation. It requires increased commitment by municipal departments and community representatives, but offers the possibility of concurrent policy development and assured representation. Public participation on an individual basis is accommodated through the reporting of group representatives, complementary opportunities for public input and workshops held in conjunction with regular CPT meetings. 62 3.3.2.2. Consensus Building, Procedures and Protocol All members of the CPT are considered equal and are expected to actively contribute to the development of Lynn Valley Community Plan. All decisions are made by consensus, which is taken to mean that all parties with a stake in the matter agree to a decision. It is not required that all parties agree to everything about a decision, rather that there is no substantial disagreement which renders any member unwilling to subscribe to it. Motions and votes are not a part of the decision making process. The consensus approach effectively ensures that any and all parties can exert equal influence over a decision, including preventing an outcome through their "veto." CPT meetings are conducted with the Chair being rotated among designated representatives of the three types of participant groups (community, municipal staff and other agencies or organizations.) Over the course of the plan program, concern for balancing opportunities for public input with continued progress towards process objectives lead to the expression of revised public attendance protocols. Currently, all meetings begin with a 15 minute period in which non-members can address the CPT to express views and concerns. Outside the 15 minute period, any member of the public has observer status and may not address the meeting directly as the CPT conducts its business; however, any non-CPT member may submit a written request to have a particular matter considered on the meeting agenda. As always, any group of individuals which perceives an on-going interest in Lynn Valley planning issues may join the CPT at any time. In order to maintain the momentum of the process, any such group is responsible to become 63 knowledgeable about the program and the materials and decisions previously dealt with by the CPT, and to nominate a regular representative to participate at the CPT table.12 3.3.3 Lynn Valley Site Office and Plan Monitoring Committee Through partnership with the North Vancouver Recreation Commission, the Lynn Valley Community Planning Office was established at a recreation center located in Lynn Valley. This has allowed direct contact by interested individuals within the community itself, a regular and convenient office, meeting and display venue, and a sense of creating the Lynn Valley plan within Lynn Valley. The approved Lynn Valley planning approach foresees the formation of a plan monitoring committee comprised of municipal staff and community representatives. This committee is to report annually on progress made in implementing the plan after it is adopted. 3.3.4 Process Overview and Timeline When the Lynn Valley planning process was launched, the CPT was charged with developing these products: • a survey of community values, • a shared vision statement, • plan choices, and • a preferred plan The planning process was represented by the following illustration. 1 2 District of North Vancouver (DNV) Planning Department, Lynn Valley Community Planning Program. Terms of Reference for the Community Planning Team. See also. DNV Planning Department, Public Attendance Protocols for Community Planning Team Meetings (October 1, 1996). 64 Figure 1: Original Lynn Valley Community Planning Process Shared Goals X Planning Preferred Vision Objectives Choices Plan Source: Community Planning Team, Lynn Valley Planning. Valley Vision. Bulletin No. 2 (DNV Planning Department, Fall 1995). It was originally anticipated that plan choices would have been crafted for public consideration by the summer of 1996, with a preferred plan emerging by the fall of that year. In moving from the vision stage to the development of community goals and objectives, it became clear that the commercial core and the outlying residential areas of Lynn Valley presented different needs, challenges and opportunities. The plan process was revised to better address this fact, by focusing first on the core area and then on the outlying residential neighbourhoods, before producing an integrated plan. By the spring of 1996, with goals and objectives developed, the plan process looked like this: Figure 2: Revised Lynn Valley Community Planning Process Valley Centre Objectives Planning Choices Preferred Plan Approved Plan April '96 June/October '96 Jar. '97 Source: Community Planning Team, Valley Dialogue. Shaping the Future of Valley Centre. Bulletin No. 3. (DNV Planning Department, Spring/Summer 1996). AtTNN / — • / YALUT / / f u l < / Approved Plan 65 Two models were developed to explore how growth, change, and community objectives could be accommodated in the core area over the next 25 years. These models evoked a strong public reaction. Currently, plan goals and objectives are being revisited in light of the new directions prompted by public review, and the issues related to the outlying residential areas are being considered. Policy statements regarding a range of plan issues for the core and outlying areas - housing, parks, commercial issues, transportation and community services - are emerging. The completion of a draft Lynn Valley plan is expected by May, 1997. 3.4 Ongoing Progress Towards a Lynn Valley Community Plan Although they are addressed sequentially, the following process elements are inter-related. Like all public policy processes, the Lynn Valley community planning process is complex and iterative. Experience in any area of the program continually informs the developing plan policy. 3.4.1 Team Building Building the foundations of the community planning team approach was a prerequisite of the entire Lynn Valley process, and continues to be of ongoing critical importance. A preliminary step in planning for planning in Lynn Valley was to secure internal support from the municipal team of directors for the multi-disciplinary work team approach. Commitment to this process must be continually renewed through the ongoing adjustment of work priorities from various departments, allocation of resources and a willingness to 66 share decision making power with community, other department and agency representatives. The ongoing support of District Council is of equal importance. Since the initial endorsement of the Lynn Valley program by Council, continued efforts have been made to maintain support for both the process and its outcomes. Key among these efforts are "shirtsleeves sessions" with Council at regular or critical intervals in the process. In general, shirtsleeves sessions are considered useful in instances of lengthy and/or complex processes where in-depth understanding and regular information sharing is considered important to effective policy development. Informal sessions among Councillors and CPT designates allow Council to explore issues more fully outside the public forum. As well, Councillors share their assessments of the process, its results, and public sentiment towards both, to help direct next steps in the process. From the outset, wide participation in the CPT from community groups and other agencies was actively solicited. Over the course of the process, some groups have reduced or ceased participating, while others have joined the CPT table. Overall, it can be said that any group with a stake in the planning process has found a vacant seat at the table and that participation of a range of groups has been sustained. A sample of these groups include: the Lynn Valley Community Association, Boundary Ratepayers Association, Lynn Valley Centre Mall management, local developers, realtors, 67 community and family service providers, school parent advisory councils, seniors planning groups, local high school representatives, and various municipal advisory boards. Sustaining volunteer interest to achieve consistent representation for a process now entering its third year is an obvious challenge. The fact that at any given weekly meeting of the CPT, a dozen or more interests are regularly represented — exclusive of civic departments and the general public ~ is evidence of the ability of the Lynn Valley process to hold community interest. It also indicates the level of civic commitment of the Lynn Valley community and degree of ownership of the process achieved among CPT members.13 3.4.2 Identifying Community Values A "Town Hall" meeting with residents, Council and District staff in March, 1995 announced the Lynn Valley Planning Program. The opportunity was also used to solicit views of what Lynn Valley residents liked, disliked and thought should be retained or changed as they envisioned their community 20 years into the future. Following this event, a survey was conducted by an independent research firm, which identified the community values, goals and priorities of over 450 Lynn Valley residents. The survey results indicated that eleven factors are considered important to very important elements in the quality of life of Lynn Valley. The most important of these are a safe, secure place to live and the natural setting. The factors of least importance revealed at this point were a variety of housing types and sense of history. Variety of housing type 1 3 A current listing of CPT member representatives is provided in Appendix 2. 68 and affordable housing were the most controversial issues among residents. Of fourteen issues ranked for level of concern, crime, personal safety and youth violence emerged as issues of greatest concern. Availability of child care and loss of separate identity for neighbourhoods were the two issues of least concern, which also most divided respondents' opinions. Crime, personal safety, environmental protection and activities for youth ranked most highly as areas needing improvement. Activities for seniors, local shopping and services and cultural and entertainment opportunities were considered to be least in need of improvement. Thirteen topics were surveyed with respect to their importance for inclusion in the official plan. All were ranked as important, although the items of greatest importance were better protection of the environment and better traffic and pedestrian routes. Cultural opportunities and more variety in housing were at the bottom of the listing. Of ten "value statements" surveyed, respondents clearly agreed on only three things: that the forested character of the community should be preserved over view corridors, that youth need a separate community facility, and that new single family housing should be sited and controlled better. They were neutral about: improving the commercial core, encouraging multi-family housing around the core area and about child care being affordable and accessible. Respondents were not unified in their opinions on: providing for people of all ages and incomes to live in Lynn Valley, the provision of affordable and alternative housing, and on retaining the single-family character of Lynn Valley at the expense of options such as townhouses and duplexes. This synopsis does not reveal the analysis of these variations in opinion along demographic lines; for example 69 the division between owners and renters regarding the issue of affordable housing alternatives.14 This question will be discussed further in the case study analysis. Besides serving as preliminary public input to the development of the Lynn Valley plan, the community values survey was specifically employed (along with trend and statistical analyses and individual ideas) in a facilitated exercise to draft a vision statement to anchor the Lynn Valley planning process. 1 4 Complete analysis is provided in: Context Research Ltd., District of North Vancouver Lynn Valley Community Plan Survey. Submitted to the District of North Vancouver on June 23, 1995. 70 3.4.3 Creating a Shared Vision In the summer of 1995, the Community Planning Team drafted a vision statement which, through a series of public meetings, displays and advertised invitations for feedback, became this shared vision: Drawing on our spectacular natural forest and mountain setting and our pioneer roots, we will create a diverse community which combines the warmth of small town living with the convenience of city life. Distinct, livable neighbourhoods will surround and be linked to a vibrant attractive town centre which will include residential, commercial and mixed use buildings. With a keen sense of community identity and pride, our active, involved citizens welcome people from all walks of life, supporting them through life's transitions, working in partnership to provide lifelong learning and recreation.15 Table 2 provides the full text of the vision document, which expands on themes of: a vibrant yet stable core area, livable residential neighbourhoods, protection of the natural environment, effective transportation, an enhanced sense of community, and integrated public services. An examination of the text of the vision reveals concepts concerning, diversity in population, housing and activity, the central importance of the core to the community; transportation options which accommodate the automobile but also highlight access via foot, cycle and locally appropriate transit; attention to safeguarding and enhancing both physical and social infrastructure, and a perspective of accommodating change while respecting existing neighbourhoods. 1 5 Lynn Valley Community Planning Team, "Valley Vision 2025," Lynn Valley Planning. Bulletin No. 2 (DNV Planning Department, Fall 1995). 71 Table 2: Lynn Valley Vision Statement Drawing on our spectacular natural forest and mountain setting and our pioneer roots, we will create a diverse community which combines the warmth of small town living with the convenience of city life. Distinct, livable neighbourhoods will surround and he linked to a vibrant attractive town centre which will include residential, commercial and mixed use buildings. With a keen sense of community identity and pride, our active, involved citizens welcome people from all walks of life, supporting them through life's transitions, working in partnership to provide lifelong learning and recreation Consistent with the above vision statement, we the citizens of Lynn Valley, wish to create a Community Plan which focuses on achieving the following: 1. A Vibrant Yet Stable Core Area roughly the size of the existing identified core, with a mixture of layered uses, integrated into a town centre atmosphere which is pedestrian and automobile friendly (perhaps on different levels), a transit hub and increasingly dense to its centre with a clearly identified perimeter. We see this core as a safe meeting place which helps to define our sense of community. It must be visually attractive, accessible and inviting to all, and celebrate the natural setting of Lynn Valley. We see sensitively designed dense areas within the core, as one way of accommodating more people in Lynn Valley without altering unduly the single family nature of our residential neighbourhoods. 2. Livable Residential Neighbourhoods which have a rich variety of housing options, innovatively designed to accommodate all types of people and incorporating flexible design and universal access principles so that residents can stay in their neighbourhood throughout their lives regardless of their changing needs. We would like to sensitively accommodate some change in our neighbourhoods while respecting and protecting their unique character and the overall ratio of building space to open space. We want to increase rental accommodations and appropriate, affordable housing options for seniors and first time buyers such as young adults and families with young children in our community. 3. Protect our Natural Environment and improve opportunities to use our forests and open areas for recreation and quiet enjoyment in a sustainable fashion. We want to secure and maintain the areas that have already been set aside as parkland and identify new relatively flat areas for sports. Small, pleasant, restful enclaves are needed along linear corridors. We need to restrict development at high elevations and limit tree cutting in new developments. Aesthetically pleasing entrances to the community are required. 4. Effective Transportation options which make it easy to get around in our community and from our community to others. Multi-use of corridors and pathways is desirable although potential conflicts need to be managed. Pathways must link our major parks and public use areas. Local scale transit from the neighbourhoods to the core area needs to be enhanced. From the core, which will act as a transit hub, we need effective transit connections to other hubs and communities. Al l forms of transportation must be environmentally sensitive and accommodate people with special needs. 5. Enhanced Sense of Community will help to celebrate our natural assets, our identity and our heritage. Active, involved citizens of all ages will take pride in and feel a sense of belonging in our community and take responsibility for making others feel welcome and comfortable. We want opportunities for intergenerational and intercultural exchange, support for community groups and special events which increase pride. This will happen through a mix of private, non-profit and public agencies working together for the health of our neighbourhoods and our community. We will also use physical gateways to Lynn Valley, communications systems, a community theme and meeting places to foster our sense of community. 6. Integrated Public Services will make optimum use of available resources and ensure the viability of the assets and services we have, before embarking on new or expanded services. More specifically, we see a need to encourage more partnerships and community self reliance, to make better use of schools and churches, protect our basic infrastructure, foster use of community volunteers and generally look for new uses of existing buildings. We have identified a need for more out-of-school time activities for youth, improvements to our library, more arts and cultural opportunities, and to support "Active Living" and lifelong learning. We have also identified a need to accommodate decentralization of community services to the community level in integrated multiservice centres. Source: Lynn " i l l ° y ^™™""i<y Pennine. Team. Lynn Valley Vision Statement - Final Version (DNV Planning Department, 1995). 72 3.4.4 Expressing the Vision as Plan Goals and Objectives Translating the shared vision into plan goals and objectives entailed months of Community Planning Team effort. As with all stages of plan development, the goals and objectives were reviewed by community groups (or their representatives) as well as by the general public in the spring of 1996. The goals and objectives will serve as the basis for all subsequent plan policy and implementation decisions. Revisions to the goals and objectives arose due to identified omissions, consideration of represented groups concerns or interests, and assessment of which issues are more appropriately covered in a local plan or in the District-wide Official Community Plan. As noted earlier, the development of the Lynn Valley plan, like any public policy, is iterative and not linear. Indeed, the goals and objectives summarized in Table 3 are further refined as the planning process continues. The detailed objectives for a vibrant and stable core area include provisions for: creating a well-defined core area, supporting more high density residential development in the core, intensifying, mixing and layering uses, creating a greater street presence in new or re-development, improving connections, increasing pedestrian safety and mobility options, and using the natural mountain setting of the core for community focus and identity. The objectives relating to the goal of livable residential neighbourhoods range from the restriction of residential development at higher elevations, to numerous provisions concerning a wider range of affordable, accessible, adaptable multi- family housing forms. There is some recognition of the need to accept increased density and new housing forms in order to accommodate a fair share of population growth. The greater motivation 73 behind the willingness to support different housing forms however, is to enable existing residents to stay in the community. The objectives emphasize that increased density would be supported to the extent that it contributed to attaining community objectives and brought sufficient resources to meet the demands of any increased population. The protection of existing single family neighbourhoods is stressed, as new housing forms and densities are contemplated almost exclusively for the core area. The value of the forested character of Lynn Valley is emphasized in the open space objectives, which focus on current and future local community needs, stewardship and partnerships to preserve and enhance recreational open space. The transportation goals continue to accommodate the automobile as a necessary option for travel to the core and adjacent communities. They also encourage improved connections within neighbourhoods and to the core in order to: accommodate a variety of users, improve the life of the pedestrian in Lynn Valley, and to de-emphasize the car. Meeting local transit needs with a mini-bus system is contemplated. Encouraging the development of gathering places, increasing attention to heritage resources, emphasizing the natural endowment of Lynn Valley, and pursuing opportunities for civic involvement and partnerships, are all elements of the community identity goals. Objectives concerning the integration of public services highlight the importance of: community and neighbourhood based services, full use of existing local facilities, and partnerships with schools, community groups and others, in order to satisfy the cultural, educational, recreational and service needs of Lynn Valley residents. 74 Table 3: Lynn Valley Community Plan - Draft Planning Goals and Objectives Theme A - A Vibrant Yet Stable Core Goal 1 - Create a Compact Core Area Goal 2 - Develop a Town Centre Within the Core Area Goal 3 - Use the Core Area to Develop Community Identity Goal 4 - Encourage Local Employment and Commercial Development Opportunities Which A re More Sustainable and Benefit the Community Goal 5 - Create a Safer Public Environment in the Core Area Theme B - Livable Residential Neighbourhoods Goal 1 - Enable Existing Residents to Stay in Their Community as Their Housing Needs Change Goal 2 - Protect and Enhance the Character of Residential Neighbourhoods Goal 3 - Create a Safe and Secure Community Goal 4 - Increase the Types of Housing Options Available in the Community Goal 5 - Create a More Complete Community Goal 6 - Integrate the Natural and Built Environments in Sustainable Ways Theme C - Parks, Recreation and Open Space Goal I - Protect and Preserve Key Natural Areas and Features and Ensure Their Recreational Use Respects Their Role as Essential Elements of the Ecosystem Goal 2 - Maintain, Secure and Preserve Parkland for Future Community Recreational Needs Goal 3 - Develop Parkland to Provide a Balanced Range of Active and Passive Recreation Opportunities and Amenities Goal 4 - Support and Encourage the Commitment to a Sense of Community Ownership and Investment in Lynn Valley's Leisure and Open Space System Theme D - Effective Transportation Goal 1 - Improve and Expand Development of Multi-Use Pathways Goal 2 - Promote Effective Transit Goal 3 - Create a More Balanced Transportation Network Goal 4 - Ensure Long Term Transportation Needs of the Community are Provided For Goal 5 - Ensure the Provision of Necessary Public Utilities Theme E - Enhanced Sense of Community Goal I - Create an Identity for the Lynn Valley Community Goal 2 - Increase the Number of Clearly Identifiable Community and Neighbourhood Gathering Places Goal 3 - Create a Sense of Belonging Among Residents of Lynn Valley-Goal 4 - Promote Local Partnerships to Meet Needs and Enhance Community Well Being Theme F - Integrated Public Services Goal 1 - Optimize Use of Local Public Resources Goal 2 - Preserve and Enhance Existing Public Facilities Goal 3 - Make Better Use of Public Facilities Goal 4 - Meet the Cultural, Educational and Recreational Needs of All Residents Goal 5 - Promote "Active Living " and Lifelong Learning Goal 6 - Support Decentralization of Services to the Community and Neighbourhood Levels Source: Lynn Valley Community Planning Team, Final Working Draft - Planning Goals and Objectives forrthel Lynn Valley Plan (DNV Planning Department, July 1996). 75 The Lynn Valley Plan goals and objectives reflect key complete community concepts. Diversity in housing, transportation and the forms and functions of the Lynn Valley core are addressed in a number of objectives. These are consistent with the regional perspective of a "more complete community" earlier described as one which "...provides people with broader diversity in the physical and social elements of community: houses, travel, shops, workplaces, services, and social contacts."16 At the same time, the Lynn Valley goals and objectives add community-focused planning objectives. Expressed both as individual goal statements and woven throughout the range of plan objectives, the following themes are reiterated, and frame 'complete community' considerations with a local perspective. • Development decisions, including issues of diversity and density, should be driven by community based needs, particularly the desire to remain in the community. • Lynn Valley's identity flows from its heritage, forested mountain setting and existing core configuration surrounded by single family neighbourhoods. Recognizing, preserving and enhancing this sense of community identity is elusive, yet equal in significance to other complete community goals. • The physical, ecological and social fabric of existing single family neighbourhoods must be protected as individual and community lifestyle options are pursued through choice and diversity in housing, travel, work, shopping and other core area services. 1 6 GVRD, 1993,10. 76 3.4.5 Applying Goals and Objectives to the Lynn Valley Core To test plan goals and visualize their implications, two models of the core area were developed through a series of workshops in the spring of 1996. The principle goals and objectives used to shape this exercise are presented in Table 4. In addition to the goals and objectives, the models were based on certain premises regarding population growth and related housing need. Dubbed "View From the Park" and "Life on the Square," the models attempted to identify development sites, allocate density and determine basic building types in order to show how possible future changes could be shaped and directed to meet community goals. The models sought to illustrate two possible future scenarios within a twenty-five year timeframe. The "Aging in Place" scenario portrayed the extent of re-development necessary to continue housing existing residents in appropriate accommodation. The "Regional Low Growth" future demonstrated the extent of re-development that would be needed to accommodate a portion of overall District growth.17 1 7 David Baxter, Population and Housing in the District of North Vancouver: An Introduction to Demographic Trends and Supply Alternatives (Vancouver: Daedalus Futures Inc., 1996). Drawn from this study, the Aging in Place scenario results in an approximate 0.7% population increase and a net increase of 2,230 housing units of various forms. The Low Growth option accommodates an approximate 1.1% population increase and net increase of 3,960 single family, row/townhouse, low and high-rise apartment units. 77 Table 4: Planning Goals & Objectives Shaping the Core Area Models Create a Compact Central Area by: • directing highest densities at or to the commercial core and encouraging infill development • maintaining the core at roughly its current boundaries • putting most new multi-family development in the central area Develop as a Town Centre by: • improving the range and quality of commercial and entertainment services • providing a mix of density, tenures and housing styles • building new developments closer to the street • focusing of the needs of the pedestrian Build Community Identity by: • providing a new, prominent, public gathering place or square • creating a distinctive character based on the Valley's natural and built heritage Ensure a Safer Public Environment by: • designing the community with safety and security in mind Enable Residents to Stay in Their Community by: • allowing more housing choices in multi-family developments • increasing density where rental accommodation is provided or retained • developing smaller, more affordable single and multi-family housing types Provide for New Residents by: • providing sufficient housing to accommodate a share of increased District population • maintaining current levels of service provision Be a More Complete Community by: • using re-development to improve existing community service deficiencies, attain identified community development objectives and provide for new service demands as a result of any increase in population • supporting local commercial development and employment opportunities Maintain. Provide and Preserve Parkland and the Environment by: • providing park and recreation opportunities to meet present and future needs • adding to the supply of active sport fields and facilities • extending and improving the trail and pathway system • promoting stream stewardship and reclamation • protecting groundwater quality and providing buffer strips along streams Promote Effective Transit & A Balanced Transportation Network by: • using mini-buses to meet local transit needs • linking local and long distance transit through a central facility • building multi-user pathways, preserving lanes and alleys, and adding to the grid system Improve Local Cultural. Educational and Recreational Opportunities by: • improving library and arts services • creating a community heritage facility expanding use of public school facilities to better meet broad community needs Source: Community Planning Team, Valley Dialogue. Shaping the Future of Valley Centre. Bulletin No 3, ( D N V Planning Department, Spring/Summer 1996). 78 3.5 Highlights of the Lynn Valley Community Planning Experience To Date 3.5.1 Public Participation and Input Giving physical shape to the results of Community Planning Team deliberations in the form of the core area models evoked strong and vocal public reaction to the Lynn Valley planning process. Although notable, this was by no means the first opportunity for public review and input to the plan process and its products. Through various techniques, thousands of residents have had some form of contact with the program. Hundreds of residents responded to the community values survey, thousands viewed the goals, objectives and models at Lynn Valley Centre Mall and other venues, and thousands of Valley Dialogue bulletins have been delivered to households. The Lynn Valley Site office continues to operate, and in addition to public review meetings associated with plan milestones, public workshops held in conjunction with CPT meetings continue to be an avenue for involvement in ongoing policy development. Despite this range of effort, a perennial concern for the team appears to be the adequacy and effectiveness of involving the "general" public in the Lynn Valley planning process and reflecting their opinions in the plan products. 3.5.2 Significant Decisions, Current Plan Directions and Outlook Policies and implementation strategies currently being drafted for both the core and outlying residential areas are following these directions: • Balancing low growth with changing community needs; • Ensuring all new development contributes to community development objectives; 79 Limiting most future re-development to low-rise buildings in or near the existing commercial area until most of that area is re-developed; Restricting any possibility of future high rise buildings to those very few locations where a significant community benefit such as providing seniors housing, increasing public park space or retaining existing rental housing could result; Coordinating any new development with the ability of roads and schools to handle that change; Creating a new community centre which might contain a new library, community services and a public square near the historic crossroads of Lynn Valley Road and Mountain Highway; Ensuring better and earlier involvement of adjacent neighbours in any proposed development of properties bordering the Lynn Valley core area, and assessing the appropriateness of the existing boundary; Locating any new community services in the Core area and any new transit centre at the Lynn Valley Centre mall; Considering both formal and natural green spaces in designing any new park for the core area; Improving the safety and convenience of pedestrian crossings on major roads, Developing a new street front shopping area to the west of Mountain Highway; and Encouraging heritage preservation and the retention or replacement of existing rental housing. 80 In terms of plan content, it is significant that a community based planning team has adopted a range of 'more complete community' principles. It is equally significant that the refinement of these principles in a local setting has led to planning directions which focus on low growth, community driven need for redevelopment, and the importance of maintaining and enhancing the existing natural, social and built context, particularly of existing single family neighbourhoods. Such decisions regarding the contents of the plan have been enabled by fundamental choices regarding the plan process. In this regard, the original decision to proceed with a value-based, consensus decision making approach has had implications for both the conduct and length of the process itself, and has ensured the community focused character of the plan directions. With two years passed since the inception of the program, it is apparent that the ongoing decision of all plan participants to continually renew their commitment to the process will be most significant to its final outcome. 3.6 Summary This chapter has described the ongoing community planning process in Lynn Valley. Grounded in community-based values and advanced through teamwork and a consensus building approach, the vision, goals, objectives and emerging policy statements point to a Lynn Valley plan based on complete community principles of diversity and choice in a compact form. This chapter has attempted to illustrate how these general principles have 81 been further defined for meaningful application in an existing setting by the local perspective of Lynn Valley. 82 Chapter Four ANALYSIS OF LYNN VALLEY PLANNING FOR A MORE' COMPLETE ~~ " COMMUNITY 4.0 INTRODUCTION This chapter looks more closely at the Lynn Valley Community Planning process for what it reveals about the challenges of creating a local plan based on complete community goals. "No Plan Yet --" is the opening line of the most recent Lynn Valley Community Planning newsletter.1 This statement underscores the fact that the Lynn Valley case study is an ongoing one, and serves as a reminder that the scope of this analysis focuses on the achievements and challenges associated with the process of creating local planning policy, but limits predictions concerning steps to implementation. The analysis which follows is qualitative. It is based on a review of documents associated with the Lynn Valley process, as well as on participant observation and interaction with Community Planning Team representatives. It begins with an assessment of the degree to which the Lynn Valley case exhibits evidence of the opportunities and constraints to complete community planning reflected in the literature and outlined in Chapter 2. It goes on to more fully discuss the key lessons of the Lynn Valley experience. 1 Lynn Valley Community Planing Team, "Plan Update," Valley Dialogue. Bulletin No. 4 (North Vancouver: District of North Vancouver Planning Department, Fall/Winter 1996/97). 83 4.1 Opportunities for Complete Community Planning in Lynn Valley The Lynn Valley situation reflects several opportunities for achieving complete communities found in the literature. These are summarized in Table 5, below. Table 5: Factors Supporting Complete Communities in Existing Settings Found in Lynn Valley Factor Lynn Valley • Some form of core configuration exists, and can be enhanced Lynn Valley displays a basic core configuration. • A range of housing forms exist or can be accommodated through redevelopment A range of housing exists in the core area, and greater variety is contemplated through redevelopment • Existing or planned transit serves the area effectively Frequency is an issue but the entire area is served. • There is broad acceptance of the need and opportunity for diversification and intensification in order to foster complete communities An encouraging level of acceptance is evident among some segments of the public. The opportunity to enrich personal lives through diversity and choice is perhaps even more widely accepted. • Effective, responsive regional, municipal and neighbourhood planning is practiced The Lynn Valley Community Planning approach and District OCP efforts are aimed at increasing community plan ownership through meaningful involvement while reducing conflict. • A regional strategy for managing growth, including a growth boundary, is in place. The Livable Region Strategic Plan which integrates policies for: the Green Zone boundary, transportation alternatives, a compact metropolitan region and complete community development has been accepted by all GVRD municipalities and the Provincial government. Lynn Valley displays the basic physical configuration characterizing a more complete community; namely, a commercial core surrounded by residential neighbourhoods. While the majority of housing within these neighbourhoods is single-family, rental and owner-occupied townhomes and apartments, including lower-cost rentals and seniors accommodations, do exist. The under-developed nature of the core area could 84 conceivably accommodate even greater diversity in housing and services. While there are some concerns regarding frequency, the entire community is served by transit and there is a growing appreciation of the need for greater options in this realm. In fact, the Lynn Valley case displays an encouraging degree of acceptance of the need for diversification in housing choice, transit and core area options. The process also reflects a municipal and local disposition towards involvement and responsive planning approaches. Finally, like other GVRD communities, Lynn Valley's complete community planning efforts are framed within the context of the Livable Region Strategic Plan growth strategy and its Green Zone "growth boundary." 4.2 Barriers to Complete Community Planning and the Lynn Valley Experience 4.2.1 Public. Political and Professional Resistance The Lynn Valley planning process has revealed some measure of public resistance to proceeding with a complete community vision and set of goals. While the vision, goals and objectives themselves met with limited resistance outside the Community Planning Team (CPT), the models displaying physical plan options for the core area based on these goals sparked vocal, and predominantly negative, reaction. This would seem to indicate that agreement is more easily reached on the question of what the community wants, than on how it might go about satisfying its needs and desires. 85 Indeed, the models displayed a profile quite different from that of Lynn Valley's core today, and the amount of change represented - particularly in the amount and form of increased density housing — was more than could be accepted by many residents. Although some were prepared to discuss issues of focus, form and distribution of housing and services, many were also prompted to question the goals and assumptions underlying the models, particularly as they related to the issue of growth. While form and density became the focus for disapproval, the more basic concern seemed to be the implications of growth for the livability of Lynn Valley. Feedback also revealed concern with the planning process and level of public involvement. Confusion arose regarding whether or not a model option was the Community Plan — completed by a select group and directing the form, location and quantity of future development. The message that the models were simply a tool by which to consider options was not effectively communicated. To date, the Lynn Valley Community Planning process has enjoyed the support of the District Council. The most recent shirtsleeves session held at the end of October dealt with progress of the plan to the point of the public feedback on the core area models, and the revised directions that resulted. Several themes were emphasized from the political perspective. These following points can be seen to inject local interests into complete community considerations. • A new perspective on the nature of growth is becoming generally accepted. From a presumption that growth is intrinsically good, the emerging assessment has become that growth is good only if it achieves community objectives. 86 • Growth and change should be driven by community based needs and not by targets or directions set by senior governments or other interests. • The concept of "aging in place" has come to influence professionals, the public and their elected representatives. • An appropriate community planning approach focuses on people, not physical plans. The necessary and appropriate shape of the community will be determined by serving the needs of residents. • From a local and District-wide perspective, it will be necessary to grapple with the issue of "fair share"— as this notion relates to accepting growth, types of housing, affordable housing and other services — to ensure that this community and others are healthy and balanced. Outstanding concerns that were brought forth included the question of mobility and transit in conjunction with other objectives. The importance of local context in defining the community plan was emphasized. It was suggested, for example, that the generic term "town center" does not reflect the small scale, suburban nature of this community, and would not be meaningful to local residents. As well, there is a need to foster trust and greater understanding among the general public of the community planning process and its decisions. It was noted that the success of a local growth strategy would depend on its fit and comfort within the community. As such, a locally designed and appropriate plan may differ from a strategy designed elsewhere or through another process. 87 Overall, the Lynn Valley process has not met with significant political resistance thus far; however ultimate support for the resulting plan cannot be presumed. One message heard through the shirtsleeve session was that Council never has a problem with a proposed plan and its implications, if community acceptance exists. This could imply both support for, and resistance to, completing and adopting the Lynn Valley Community Plan. First, it can be inferred that if community resistance to the plan is voiced ~ despite the strength and legitimacy of its process and principles ~ ultimate endorsement by Council may be jeopardized. A second and not insignificant point, is that the composition of District Council has changed substantially since the November municipal election. To date, the Community Planning Team has not had an opportunity to interact with the new Council, and unknown issues from the political perspective may well exist. There is greater continuity in the realm of ongoing professional support from other municipal departments. Social planning, parks, recreation, engineering and other departments have all participated in the development of the vision, goals, objectives and emerging policy statements. Despite this involvement, issues of jurisdiction concerning transit or health for example, may impede implementation strategies, if not plan development. Existing infrastructure and the feasibility and costs associated with potential alterations, could have the same effect. Less direct, but with more potential to impair plan policy development itself, are vestiges of a rational, technical approach to planning and engineering which may be at odds with the goal of a more complete, compact community emerging within this existing setting. There is evidence from some departments of a 88 tendency to adopt a position of "what can't be done" when considering complete community goals within existing capital and physical parameters, as opposed to assuming a creative problem solving approach. 4.2.2 The Market and Land for Intensification It has been noted earlier that to diversify, intensify and move towards a more complete community through redevelopment requires several conditions. These include not only the availability of physical sites; but also, property owners' willingness to participate, supportive planning policy and the presence of excess service capacity. In Lynn Valley's case, the availability of sites for redevelopment in single family neighborhoods outside the core area is negligible. Within the core area, there is a definite pattern of under-development which could accommodate community objectives for public gathering space, street front commercial development, and a greater variety of housing forms. In the design of the planning process, an explicit objective was to include participants, such as property owners and developers, who would ultimately be responsible for realizing plan goals. In this way, both the planning process and its policies attempt to be supportive of redevelopment to create a more compact core area. Indeed, representatives of the Lynn Valley Centre property owners have actively participated in the planning process from the outset, and apparently perceive potential mutual benefit in redevelopment. Other core area property owners have not been engaged in planning team 89 activities, and the fact that their properties could figure prominently in achieving planning objectives has not escaped planning team members. Clearly, this factor has serious implications for implementing the Lynn Valley plan and realizing its vision. Of itself, the uncertainty of land availability and related market considerations need not restrict progress of policy development and plan adoption. This issue however, serves to illustrate the need for an appreciation of the connection between process design, policy development and implementation. Awareness of this relationship throughout the planning stages also validates the plan vision and goals with a measure of realism, which may support its general acceptance. 4.2.3 Planning Law The interaction of complete community planning and planning law provisions is illustrated in two ways by Lynn Valley's experience to date. Firstly, it demonstrates the challenge of continuing to administer current zoning and development regulations during the process of developing a new community plan. Tension and frustration have been experienced on the part of team members, property owners with development plans, District Hall and residents. In one particular case, with property owners attempting to proceed with development at this time, skepticism, mistrust and misunderstanding on the part of both owners and residents came to the fore. While some opportunities for dialogue have emerged, the issue remains unresolved. This experience has likely shaped the directions in zoning and development control currently being considered for inclusion in the plan. 90 Secondly, the Lynn Valley example reveals some possible approaches for adapting regulations to meet local needs. Consistent with the objective of retaining the character of existing single-family neighborhoods, the plan contemplates a neighbourhood zoning approach, organized on a basis of fairly small, sub-neighbourhood units. Controlling new housing development through neighbourhood involvement in siting, massing and other factors is being considered. To achieve envisioned benefits in the core area while addressing concerns for low, managed growth, current plan directions do not include pre-zoning. Instead, opportunities for suitable redevelopment — including possible density increases and high-rise or other housing forms — will be identified on a site-by-site basis. Lynn Valley's experience has revealed that contemplating intensification and redevelopment in a core area abutted by single family neighbourhoods, renders the issue of "transition" to be of great importance. At this point, the site-by-site approach is seen as the best mechanism by which to encourage neighbourhood/developer co-operation in arriving at compatible transition strategies respecting use, design and impact. Overall, Lynn Valley's experience highlights the issue of balancing certainty and timeliness for the property owner with community interests. The zoning and development approaches being contemplated appear to be facilitating progress towards drafting policies and completing the plan. The final impact of these measures on realizing community driven redevelopment in Lynn Valley is uncertain. 91 4.2.4 Financial Considerations The issue of the feasibility of realizing plan goals through private or public investment has surfaced repeatedly in Community Planning Team meetings. There now seems to be general agreement that while it is important to be mindful of the potential economic barriers to realizing the plan, more detailed deliberations are not possible at this stage of policy development. What is apparent even now and is reflected in the vision, goals and objectives, is that new approaches will need to be identified and pursued. These include public/private partnerships, ensuring full use of existing buildings and resources, and the use of a range of tools — including heritage conservation and density bonusing legislative provisions ~ to make redevelopment attractive to all interests. 4.2.5 Identifying Full Costs and Considering Tradeoffs In Lynn Valley, much thought has been given to the type of community residents want to live in both now and in the future. Much less consideration has been directed towards the specific means and costs associated with achieving this. The planning process thus far has lead to a generally held perspective of accommodating growth in an amount and of a form which meets community needs. While for many residents, this results in a low growth, "low-rise" scenario, levels of tolerance differ regarding the amount, form and location of growth. Represented seniors opinion for example, indicates a greater willingness to see higher densities, and to have the District employ legislative tools, such as density bonusing, to achieve community benefits. 92 A basic question then becomes whether the community as a whole will tolerate sufficient change in order to win community benefits which might otherwise not be attainable. The Lynn Valley experience draws attention to the relationship between resistance to change and community aspirations, and highlights the significant challenge of identifying, measuring and balancing tradeoffs. To a degree, this will be considered as plan policies are drafted. The planning role of negotiation - facilitating the identification of tradeoffs and the reconciliation of community interests ~ is likely to figure even more prominently in future stages of complete community planning. 4.2.6 Realistic Limits to the Potential of Intensification for Achieving Complete Communities The Lynn Valley process makes it clear that there are physical, financial and public/political limits to the degree of intensification likely to occur in support of a more complete community. The jobs/housing balance component of complete communities has also surfaced in Lynn Valley discussions. In this existing setting, there are significant limits to creating meaningful local employment opportunities, including: zoning, appropriate population levels, and a match between occupations and jobs resident in the community. As well, the role of the community in the greater metropolitan scheme has been well established and is unlikely to accommodate significant alteration. A practical approach reflected in the developing plan policies, is increased and explicit support of home based business activity. 93 Taken together, local planning policy directions which support residential, commercial and even employment intensification in Lynn Valley are limited by scale and context. This indicates that increasing diversity in housing forms, services, mobility and employment within Lynn Valley may not have a great impact on regional goals for more complete communities. These local planning efforts may however, create a more complete, more livable community from the perspective of its residents. 4.3 Lessons from Lynn Valley As it relates to growth targets, Lynn Valley's efforts alone may not have a highly strategic impact on complete community planning for the Greater Vancouver region. None the less, its example of neighbourhood planning with a complete community perspective is timely in these early days of the growth strategies era in the GVRD. Key considerations revealed by the Lynn Valley case study and discussed in the following paragraphs include: the relevance of the complete community concept to local neighbourhoods; the importance of local context in creating an appropriate planning process; public involvement, influence and acceptance issues; time factors in complete community planning; the magnitude of the end result, and the policy distance between local planning and regional growth strategies. 4.3.1 Relevance of the Complete Community Concept to an Established Neighbourhood As a preliminary consideration, the Lynn Valley case demonstrates that the complete community approach is relevant at a local scale. Like the Livable Region Strategic Plan 94 statements, the Lynn Valley vision and objectives presented in Chapter 3 reflect basic values of: development within ecological parameters, respect for human community and a proactive approach to managing change. Moreover, the fundamental strategy of creating livable, sustainable communities by fostering diversity and choice in housing, mobility and core area composition, is also reflected in neighbourhood generated goals and objectives. It is critical that regional goals and strategies resonate at the local level if the complete community concept is to be regarded as a planning policy and strategy, and not as a theory or abstract notion. The concepts must be meaningful to the real communities where people live and work. Only then, will public and political motivation be sufficient to drive professional and technical solutions for achieving complete communities. Put bluntly, if the local public doesn't accept it, politicians won't support it, and civic professionals and staff cannot make it happen - for the community or the region. 4.3.2 Local Flavour: The Importance of a Process for the People The Lynn Valley community planning exercise illustrates clearly that weaving local values into complete community goals requires more than a spontaneous attraction to complete community principles. It requires a well considered planning process which works for the people who are going to be a part of it. There is not one "right way" to design and engage in a community planning process to pursue more complete community goals. Lynn Valley's experience is in many ways defined by the value-based, consensus decision making approach that was chosen, and other communities may find specific lessons in this. 95 Perhaps most useful however, is the general wisdom that the planning process will ultimately only be as successful as it is relevant to the community it is meant to serve. In Lynn Valley, there is a tradition of community involvement and vigilance regarding planning and development decisions. An approach which was not (or which was perceived as not) designed by participant-representatives would not have enjoyed great legitimacy. Clearly, this would jeopardize any community plan at public hearing, regardless of the strength of its underlying planning principles. At the same time, the Lynn Valley process demanded levels of commitment which might prove not to be sustainable in other communities The Lynn Valley case demonstrates that in general, the planning process must be determined by local neighbourhood conditions and characteristics. 4.3.3 Planners, The "Public" and Complete Communities Lynn Valley's experience also suggests that the process will depend in particular on the individuals involved. The origins and development of the Lynn Valley process were no doubt influenced by this period of planning for sustainability, and the currency of several planning and public participation concepts associated with it. It was also shaped however, by the planning values of the professionals responsible for the process, as well as by the principles and characteristics of the more constant participants at the planning table. The Lynn Valley Community Planning Team experience also raises a public participation question regarding degrees of involvement and influence on a policy outcome. At one end of the scale, the Community Planning Team represents a component of the "public," 96 which due to the length and intensity of their involvement, have developed a measure of ownership in the community plan. Their understanding of the issues and considerations underlying plan policy is inevitably richer than that of other members of the public. As the plan is communicated to community groups and residents at large, a variable response from the "involved" public and the "general" public is likely. At the opposite end of the scale is the phenomenon of the ubiquitous yet unidentifiable "silent majority" — referred to throughout the planning process by both politicians and planning team members. The relative influence of these groups of the "public" on the adoption of the Lynn Valley plan and the degree to which the community planning team representative approach ultimately impacts this, is unclear. The accepted vision and planning goals reflect issues not given great weight in the initial community survey. As a result of public input, the final draft plan may alter community objectives yet again. Awareness of this factor is an important prerequisite to balancing issues of public influence and acceptance. 4.3.4 A Matter of Time; A Question of Degree Lynn Valley's community planning experience illustrates two general issues with both local and regional implications. First and obviously, value-based community planning takes time. Allowing sufficient time to reach consensus decisions and promote ownership must be balanced with concern for meeting objectives, including deadlines, for producing a plan. Maintaining commitment over this period of time is a clear challenge. If G V R D regional objectives for complete community planning are to include neighbourhood 97 processes to balance regional goals, the cumulative effect of planning time spent in individual communities must be accounted for in regional timelines. Secondly, it is apparent that Lynn Valley's complete community planning efforts, considered individually, will not significantly impact regional growth considerations. It is equally apparent however, that the application of complete community concepts and strategies is expected to create a more livable community in the face of change from the local, Lynn Valley perspective. This is a significant consideration from a regional perspective, if an objective of the Livable Region Strategy is the creation of a complementary ensemble of more complete communities of various scales across the region. This point also underscores the fact that regional goals will be achieved by the cumulative result of numerous efforts in a range of settings across the region. 4.3.5 Negotiating the Policy Landscape: Will Local Values and Regional Growth Strategies Converge in the Municipal OCP? As a final point, the Lynn Valley case study draws attention to the fact that while the complete community concept calls for a regional perspective guided by neighbourhood direction, the policy interface between regional goals and local values is not the local community plan. Rather, it is the municipal Official Community Plan (OCP), and its Regional Context Statement, now required by growth strategies legislation. Whatever plan is achieved in Lynn Valley will have to be incorporated into municipal policy along with the plans of numerous other communities. Further time and effort will 98 be expended to ensure consistency between and among local plans, OCP policies and the Regional Context Statement. Extensive processes surround both the adoption of the OCP and regional acceptance of the Regional Context Statement. Although a full consideration of these factors is beyond the scope of this paper, the Lynn Valley study prompts a realistic assessment of the distance between local plans and regional growth strategies; from regional planning policy to local implementation. Even if complete community concepts are relevant, accepted and adopted at the local level, numerous barriers remain to be negotiated between neighbourhoods, municipal governments, regional boards, and the landowners and developers who will ultimately participate in creating more complete communities across the region. 4.4 Summary The Lynn Valley case study reflects several of the opportunities and constraints to achieving more complete communities reflected in the literature. Lynn Valley's complete community goals are supported by its basic physical configuration, and the level of community and municipal commitment brought to the planning process. Diversity, choice, a compact form and the implications of these tenets are quite readily endorsed by the segment of the public represented by the Community Planning Team, which has pondered the future of their community in the Vancouver metropolis and recognizes the need to explicitly consider tradeoffs in these realms. Ultimate success in adopting a plan reflecting complete community principles however, is still subject to political support derived from broad public acceptance. At this stage of policy development in Lynn Valley, the 99 fundamental question is whether the community at large will accommodate sufficient change to meet the objectives and attain the benefits reflected in its vision, goals and objectives. Beyond Lynn Valley, the question becomes to what degree complete community planning with a local perspective will contribute to municipal and regional goals and responsibilities. These implications are discussed more fully in the following, final chapter. 100 Chapter Five BALANCING REGIONAL GOALS AND LOCAL INTERESTS: IMPLICATIONS FOR MORE7 COMPLETE COMMUNITIES 5.0 OVERVIEW This thesis set out to explore the factors affecting the creation of more complete communities within established suburbs, from a local perspective. Through both a literature review and case study, it sought answers to these questions: 1. What are the factors affecting progress towards more complete communities in established suburban neighbourhoods? 2. What are the constraints or considerations facing the pursuit of complete community goals in local suburban communities? 3. How does the local perspective suggested by the Lynn Valley case study modify inherently regional complete community goals and expectations? In particular, what does Lynn Valley's experience suggest in terms of a) the relevance of the concept to existing suburban communities, b) the role of process and influence of the public in the development and adoption of complete community policies, c) local attitudes affecting adoption of a complete community plan and d) implications for Lynn Valley, the municipality, the region, planning practice and further research? 101 5.1 Conclusions The research disclosed that complete communities within an established metropolitan setting can be defined by several key characteristics. Fundamentally, the complete community concept is a strategy aimed at broader goals for growth management and quality of life. Complete communities must be flexible, performance-oriented and evolving. Pursued within the existing metropolitan context, they are inherently an 'infill' approach to accommodating growth and development. The complete community goal is part of an integrated land use and transportation strategy reflecting themes of diversity, choice and compact form. This strategy demands a regional perspective, but must be balanced by the local values and concerns of existing communities. The study of the Lynn Valley community planning process presented in this paper draws particular attention to this facet of the complete community strategy; namely the challenge of reconciling regional imperatives with local priorities. 5.1.1 Opportunities and Challenges in Pursuing Complete Communities Through Local Plans The research also identified opportunities and defined criteria for developing more complete communities within established neighbourhoods. A number of challenges or considerations were also presented. From the review and analysis of Lynn Valley's complete community planning efforts, it can be concluded that many of these factors do emerge in an actual setting and continuing planning process. 102 The factors which indicate complete community potential are evident in Lynn Valley and have positively influenced early progress towards developing a more complete community plan. The physical core configuration, supportive policy framework, local planning process and acceptance of the need and opportunity for diversification, have enabled a realistic and meaningful consideration of complete community objectives. The Lynn Valley study also suggests that the barriers to complete community planning outlined in the literature are realistic and valid. Public resistance to certain complete community goals and their implications has been experienced from the earliest stages, and may yet constrain adoption of a complete community plan. Professional support from various municipal departments has been fostered, although potential pockets of resistance remain. While political support for the planning process and its outputs has been sustained thus far, ultimate endorsement of the recently-elected District Council cannot be presumed. The ongoing operation of existing planning law provisions as new approaches are considered has been a factor frustrating policy development. Other barriers to complete community development in the form of: land availability, financial feasibility, identifying and reconciling full costs, and realistic limits to intensification will have greater impact in implementation phases. The Lynn Valley case demonstrates however, that considering these barriers in the policy development stage is critical, because they shape choices regarding the planning process and the content of plan policies. 103 5.1.2 The Local Perspective on a Regional Concept Most significantly, the case study component of the research reveals additional considerations — not reflected in literature and policy documents — affecting the pursuit of complete community goals. These factors add a distinctly local dimension to the complete community discussion. They will undoubtedly impact Lynn Valley's prospects for a more complete community. Furthermore, they raise implications for others involved in the complete community pursuit — municipal governments, regional boards and professional planners in general. In these early days of complete community planning in the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD), consideration of these factors can enrich the complete community discussion, particularly as it relates to the prospects for successfully balancing regional goals and local interests. 5.1.2.1 Relevance The Lynn Valley case tests the relevance of an intrinsically regional concept to an established local community where policy must be realized. Lynn Valley's vision statement reflects values similar to those expressed in the Livable Region Strategic Plan ~ development within ecological parameters, respect for human community and a proactive approach to change. A number of Lynn Valley's goals and objectives deal with diversity in housing, transportation, and the form and function of the community core area. These notions are consistent with basic regional strategy of pursuing more complete communities through diversity, choice and development of compact community cores. It is encouraging that Lynn Valley's local planning efforts reflect elements of a regional 104 perspective. Relevance however, is only a preliminary step towards a locally accepted and adopted policy. Further research findings emphasize the influence of local planning process and public input on complete community outcomes. 5.1.2.2 The Community Planning Process and the Public Examination of the process chosen by Lynn Valley leads to several conclusions. The community planning team (CPT) approach — representative, value-based, consensus driven and intensive ~ is a useful and appropriate method for considering the complexity and scope of issues surrounding complete community development in the GVRD. It also has inherent potential to balance issues of legitimate representation with timely progress towards planning objectives. This process however, demands a level of commitment that may be difficult to sustain, and which may not accommodate the level of direct and individual public input expected in this or other neighbourhoods. Overall, the local process by which regional goals and community aspirations are considered and reconciled must be shaped by the specific characteristics of time and place. Despite its merits, the CPT approach may not succeed in reconciling the variable influence of distinct segments of the "public" - from community planning team representatives to the "silent majority"-- to enable a political decision to adopt the plan. 105 5.1.2.3 Local Perspectives On : Growth, "Aging in Place," Change and "Fair Share" The Lynn Valley study shows that certain concepts are exerting significant influence on the directions of the community plan. Perhaps the most significant of these is a distinctly local perspective which judges the desirability of growth and change by the benefit these bring to the existing community. Influenced by the widespread concept of "aging in place," this community appears willing to accommodate complete community principles of choice and diversity because of their potential to contribute to the quality of life of today's residents. As aging in place concerns today's youth, this concept includes a concern for local jobs. The issue of "fair share" is raised when the possibility of accommodating a portion of regionally-based growth and change is considered. Grappling with this subjective notion — between municipal neighbourhoods and beyond — is likely to be a major challenge. Like Lynn Valley, other local communities may well be influenced by these concepts when faced with planning for change 5.1.2.4 Expected Outcomes and General Lessons Given the local perspectives identified above, it can be expected that the Lynn Valley version of a complete community will accommodate relatively modest change, focused on the core area. Redevelopment over the next 10-25 years will be based on low growth, community driven redevelopment, and on maintaining and enhancing the existing natural, social and built context, particularly of existing single-family neighbourhoods. 106 The relevance of the complete community concept to Lynn Valley's planning vision is encouraging. It must be recognized however, that the direction emerging in Lynn Valley is motivated more by the desire to promote choices and quality of life over the life cycle of today's residents, than it is by any sense of regional responsibility. The likely outcome of Lynn Valley's effort — a "localized version" of complete community — has been extremely time consuming and is far from being fully realized. That this process will have to be repeated across the GVRD at various scales, in different settings and within the context of an untested, and potentially complex regional growth strategies system, leads to the conclusion that complete communities will not be achieved easily nor quickly. This locally-focused research confirms that achieving complete communities is a matter of time, a question of degree and, ultimately, an act of political will derived from public support. Given these conclusions, can a balance between regional and local interests be achieved? Considering how these interests might be reconciled raises implications for the various players involved in advancing the complete community vision. 5.2 Implications 5.2.1 Lynn Valley To discharge its mandate, the Lynn Valley Community Planning Team must reconcile ongoing public and political input with accepted planning objectives and the collective judgment of the team, to produce a complete plan by the spring of 1997. Given the conclusions drawn above, this implies a need to shift focus from the details of policy 107 development to planning for communicating with the public and politicians. To foster acceptance and adoption of the plan, these key messages must be communicated: • The plan is a strategy for managing change ~ if and when it occurs ~ over the next 10 years. It is not an invitation for growth, nor a development plan. • The process underlying the development of the plan is truly an example of community or neighbourhood planning. The results are a legitimate and informed expression of public values and interests in Lynn Valley. The Lynn Valley community, as a whole, must consider the question of whether the amount of change it is willing to accommodate is sufficient to meet the goals it has set for itself, and to attain the benefits it considers important for creating a more complete, livable community. 5.2.2 The Municipality As the interface between individual communities and the region, the District of North Vancouver (like other municipalities across the GVRD), will be the focal point for balancing regional goals and local interests. This has implications for work loads and practices, expenditures, politics and the prospects for creating more complete communities. For the District, Lynn Valley's experience will test the multidisciplinary approach recently adopted, and may affect the way planning is practiced in the future. It is at this level that the issue of "fair share" in accommodating change and meeting local, district-wide and regional goals will have to be grappled with. Given the contentious nature of the growth debate, representation of regional considerations in local planning is 108 not likely to be provided by elected officials. Municipal planners will face the task of reconciling numerous local community plans with District-wide objectives and regional responsibilities. Time and resources will have to be spent to conduct appropriate planning processes in all District neighbourhoods and to meet the requirements imposed by Growth Strategies legislation. In a period of decreased funding and the possibility of limited local political support, increased demands on municipal civil servants are inevitable. 5.2.3 The Region The conclusions drawn here clearly suggest that the region and its planners will experience significant frustration in meeting goals for adopting Regional Context Statements (RCS) and advancing the development of more complete communities in established neighbourhoods. Having acknowledged the need for individual communities to determine their own needs in the complete community pursuit, the region and province must re-evaluate the time lines provided for in the growth strategies framework. Given the limited resources of municipal planners, an examination of the role of regional planning is also implied. The region must actively explore practical ways to support municipalities in: • representing a regional perspective, • identifying locally acceptable and realistic contributions to regional goals, and • drafting Regional Context Statements acceptable to the Region with a minimum expenditure of limited municipal resources. 109 This effort could begin with regional planners gaining greater exposure to the public and neighbourhood based processes which clearly impact complete community development. It could include regional support for economic development - a threatened planning function in some municipalities, including the District of North Vancouver. Faced with the prospect of modest progress towards complete communities, consideration must also be given to mechanisms to encourage or demand specific local commitments and results. This brings the usefulness and effect of the Regional Context Statement into question. Unless local plans are evaluated against broader objectives and specific, explicit connections are drawn between local actions, municipal plans and regional obligations, the RCS process will be time-consuming but ineffective. 5 24 The Planning Role The fundamental role of the planner as the interface between broad forces of change and life in communities is clearly illustrated by the complete community example. Complete community development will be enhanced by planners who can perform both traditional and emerging planning roles. A renewed emphasis on design, infrastructure and the regulatory tools of zoning and related provisions is demanded by complete community planning. Expanding the role of planners as: communicators, negotiators, mediators, community advocates and professional leaders able to navigate political issues and considerations is also called for. 110 5.2.5 Further Research Continuing with a local perspective, these findings could be tested and augmented by case study analyses of other communities of different scales and contexts. This study also raises the possibility of more in-depth analysis from the following different perspectives. • Governance — how will the dissonance between local authority and regional policy and responsibility affect complete communities and growth strategies? • The Planning Function ~ What does complete community planning demand of planners and what planning skills and values can promote complete community goals? • Implementation Tools Available to Municipalities — How can existing Municipal Act provisions and recent amendments concerning zoning, density bonusing, heritage protection and related policy such as a revised building code, be employed to implement more complete communities? • The Politics of Community Planning and Complete Communities - does the local political and electoral system aid or hinder comprehensive planning for more complete communities? • Local Economic Development ~ its changing status across the GVRD and its role in complete community development. • Growth Strategies Policy Analysis ~ as examples of planning for complete communities emerge, analysis of the Regional Context Statement and Implementation Agreement provisions of the legislation would be valuable. Ill 5.3 Closing Remarks The Greater Vancouver Region is facing an era of growth, fundamental change and re-examination of regional and local quality of life. Within this context, the complete community policies of the Livable Region Strategic Plan have been developed to achieve a region where human community flourishes within the built and natural environment. This vision and related concepts resonate at the local level; however, regional and local perspectives of how best to achieve the vision differ. Since regional policy must be implemented through local action, reconciling this difference and balancing regional and local interests is essential. While regional policy is highly developed, it reflects only a general appreciation of local considerations. Understanding the local perspective towards growth, change and the implications of more complete communities is necessary to successfully weave regional goals into the established metropolitan setting. 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Vancouver: Urban Development Institute, 1993. 118 Appendix 1 THE PARTICIPANT OBSERVER METHODOLOGY Introduction The participant observer approach to data collection is a method of observational research, a qualitative style of research usually employed with case study design. Observational research attempts to see the social world through the eyes of the research subjects by taking on a role (ranging from pure observer to participant observer to pure participant) that places the researcher as close as possible to the thinking and behaviours of the research subjects. The participant observer method seeks to balance the extremes of pure observer and pure participant in order to maximize opportunities to establish rapport, facilitate deep understanding and yet not sacrifice observation to participation. The assumptions behind observation methodology see reality as nebulous and subjective, the construction of researchers and respondents, and not as objective, orderly and waiting to be discovered. The way to "know" this subjective reality is through a qualitative approach.1 Considerations and Challenges Associated With the Participant Observer Approach 1. Gaining Access is the preliminary consideration in conducting participant observer research. Related issues concern the mutual benefit of the research to the researcher and the subjects, and progressing along the continuum from pure observer or pure participant to a balanced participant-observer role. 2. Quality Control of Data is of primary concern and encompasses several related concepts, all of which relate to the objectivity and validity of the data collected. First, researcher judgment and sentiments can undermine the data if the researcher begins to relate too closely to the subjects or "goes native." This is defined by Hessler as the researcher losing sight of the research role and becoming a full-fledged member of the group being studied. Second is the issue of reactivity. Reactivity occurs when the very act of measuring something changes the object being measured. It arises in participant observation situations if the subjects and/or setting are changed because of the actions of the researcher. Third, the quality of data is enhanced if the many observations that arise in participant observer research can be corroborated by various subjects, documentation and other sources. 3. Managing Data is a practical challenge due to the volume of observations and field notes generated by this approach. Organization of data in terms of "factual" observations, researcher thoughts, methods and categories of observations is critical. 1 Bruce L. Berg, Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences . Second Edition (Needham Heights Mass: Allyn & Bacon, 1995), 251 pages. See also: Richard M. Hessler, Social Research Methods (St. Paul MN: West Publishing Co., 1992), 379 pages. 119 4. Analyzing Qualitative Data can be made more difficult if the observation has gone on for a long time. Dangers are that the analysis assumes the dominant view or perspective of the other participants, and that the wealth of detail gathered can cause the researcher to think microscopically. The challenge is to rise above the details to see patterns and themes relevant to the research. Analyzing data gathered through participant observer methods requires a balance and interaction between data and researcher analysis and should be part description, part interpretation. 5. Ethical Issues are not more prevalent in qualitative research than in quantitative research, but the more personal involvement of the researcher in the participant observer approach may heighten awareness of them. The most common ethical dilemma in observational research is the conflict between objective recording and reporting versus the sensibilities and perceptions of the subjects of the research. The Participant Observer Approach to the Lynn Valley Case Study To understand a community perspective demands a qualitative approach to research. In studying the Lynn Valley case, gaining access to the process was not an issue. As a participant in the process and community member, issues of researcher sentiment and reactivity do arise. Managing these concerns is helped by several opportunities to validate the data collected. These include: the existence of substantial amounts of documentation concerning the process, minutes of meetings against which observations can be verified, and ready access to other participants to check data and findings. 120 Appendix 2 LYNN VALLEY COMMUNITY PLANNING T E A M ~ GROUPS REPRESENTED Lynn Valley Community Association North Shore Keep Well Society North Shore Health Boundary Ratepayers Association Lionsview Seniors Planning North Shore Community Services Lynn Valley Link Seniors Planning for Lynn Valley Family Services of the North Shore Concerned Citizens of Lynn Valley Argyle Student Council North Vancouver Recreation Commission Small Business Owners Group Hillside Baptist Church Social Planning Department Save Lynn Canyon Society North Vancouver Branch, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver Engineering Department Kiwanis Seniors Homes North Shore Neighbourhood House DNV Communications Officer Penreal Advisors (Lynn Valley Centre Mall) Advisory Committee on Disability Issues Parks Department Ross Road Parent Advisory Advisory Committee on Community Services DNV Environmental Protection Officer Sutherland Parent Advisory North Vancouver District Library Planning Department Westover Parent Advisory Community Policing Office Fromme Parent Advisory North Vancouver Community Sport and Recreation Advisory Argyle Parent Advisory District of North Vancouver Advisory Design Panel 27th and Mountain Highway Owners Group Park Advisory Committee Waldorf School North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce Eastview Parent Advisory District of North Vancouver Advisory Planning Commission Upper Lynn Parent Advisory North Shore Disability Resource Centre Ross Road School 121 

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