The City of Vancouver is certain to experience rapid population growth for many years to come. In recent decades Vancouver has found success accommodating growth and the demand for housing by converting derelict industrial land into high density mixed-use neighborhoods. Today this model no longer applies unless we plan to eliminate the industrial sector of the city altogether. Therefore the challenge for coming decades will be to accommodate population growth in Vancouver's existing residential fabric, all while at the mercy of non-local forces.
The problem of achieving livable density in Vancouver is deceptively challenging. Low density, single-family zoning makes up more than 60% of land area in Vancouver, yet this sector has remained largely unchanged for decades. On the contrary Vancouver's arterial corridors are in constant evolution primarily because they present little resistance to development density. Arterial corridors are already zoned for mixed-use, they already operate as walkable neighborhoods, they are strung with transit, and Vancouver has already adopted the podium tower model as the preferred density device. Single-family districts, on the other hand, present a greater challenge; they are inherently car oriented, they consume the most land area of any housing model, they are single-use districts and they carry the greatest political capital. For these reasons, Form Shift's residential site presents the greatest challenge toward creating sustainable development density.
The solution to increasing density in existing single dwelling districts cannot be found through new forms of architecture, but in new architectural relationships. Our proposal accepts the autonomous dwelling type but reconsiders its relationship to site, neighbor, environment, use and time. Therefore, the buildings are organized according to environmental and social possibilities and the architecture is strictly a instrument mediating these possibilities and their inhabitants. The result is new forms of relationships and a mechanism that receives dynamic forces rather than regulating them.
(From competitor's text)
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