Community planning: Happy cities = sense of community (1); land assembly trend (2)

Following are excerpts from two recent Vancouver Sun articles. You can click on the links for the full stories.

The first one suggests the happiest cities are connected with a sense of community, and tend to be smaller.

The second article is about the ramped up trend of residential land assembly. The article is about Vancouver, but applies to Port Moody and elsewhere.  MCCA has received comment suggesting that when land assembly is under consideration, signs be placed prominently in order to let neighbours know what may occur, as part of the Good Neighbour concept.

Daphne Bramham: Vancouver is Canada’s unhappiest city, says StatsCan
And if you don’t like it? Move to Quebec
By Daphne Bramham, Vancouver Sun, April 22, 2015

It is counterintuitive, and also not surprising, that Vancouver is Canada’s unhappiest city when it comes to its residents’ evaluation of life satisfaction.

It is last among 33 cities in Statistics Canada’s inaugural report on happiness released Monday.

Vancouver is consistently rated as one of the world’s most livable cities. It’s been praised for its urban design, natural beauty and the year-round outdoor lifestyle.

But when it comes to happiness, that beauty stuff doesn’t make much difference. Even affordability and wealth aren’t the best determinants of happiness.

What matters more, researchers say, are social connectedness and things like collaboration, generosity and having a sense of purpose.

Those are easier to achieve in smaller communities, which explains why top-ranked Saguenay, Trois- Rivieres, St. John’s and Sudbury do much better than Canada’s biggest cities.

For complete article, click on title above, or here.

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Barbara Yaffe: Vancouver looks to cool ‘land assembly’ real estate trend
By Barbara Yaffe, Vancouver Sun, April 22, 2015

The city is being extremely selective about which land parcels it is prepared to rezone.

If you happen to own a detached house on a busy street in Vancouver, you might be inclined to get friendly with your neighbours in the hopes that it could pay off, big time.

“Land assembly” has become all the rage in this city, with realtors and groups of homeowners luring developers to purchase groupings of residences along arterial roads.

Trouble is, the city is being extremely selective about which land parcels it is prepared to rezone.

On Wednesday, planning director Brian Jackson issued a warning to the home sellers and realtors who are jumping on the land-assembly bandwagon, to cool it.

Jackson’s message: Just because homeowners or realtors assemble a parcel of land, it does not mean the city will approve a higher density for that parcel.

To read full article, click on title above, or here.

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