Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: May 04, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412973816 | Print ISBN: 9781412996822 | Online ISBN: 9781412973816| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
North American cities are often characterized by sprawled, low-density development patterns that result in congestion and the loss of agricultural land, among other environmental impacts. The evolution of low-density urban form is commonly associated with the ascendancy of the automobile, facilitated by government investment in transport infrastructure. In contrast, the Canadian west coast city of Vancouver is widely portrayed as having overcome the dominant paradigm of automobile-based planning, instead promoting more green or sustainable development patterns that emphasize denser, walkable, and transit-oriented urban form. Vancouver is celebrated in the planning community as a model green city because of its large population living downtown, the absence of highways in the central city, and strong emphasis on investment in public transit. Despite the positive reputation, Vancouver faces many of the urban problems afflicting other major cities, such as homelessness and housing affordability, and most growth still occurs in low-density suburbs, where the ...