Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

How dense is Surrey?

with 2 comments

The BC Liberals excuse for not providing more transit south of the Fraser is that the population is not enough to support it.  But as usual that  interpretation depends very much on how you look at the statistics. For instance the Metro Vancouver area in general looks very low density – until you take out the Green Zone (the ALR, the closed watersheds, the parks, the water and so on) and other undeveloped and in, most senses, undevelopable areas. So there are empty places and low density places and high density places. Sounds kind of obvious? Well yes but when you look at density calculations the easiest way to do them is take  the population and divide it by the municipal area. But we know that is highly misleading.

So the good folks at the Surrey planning department did some more sensible sums and determined that the developed bits of Surrey are denser than the developed bits of Burnaby. The Valtac blog has the details. You should check it out.

Written by Stephen Rees

February 29, 2008 at 8:20 pm

Posted in transit, Urban Planning

2 Responses

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  1. Well how ’bout that, eh?

    Maybe the government would finally give in if we bribed them…? I wonder what would happen if these details made it onto the cover of 24 Hours and Metro. Not to mention the CBC!

    Erika Rathje

    March 1, 2008 at 12:46 am

  2. That’s not really all that surprising.
    Apart from Morgan Creek and is it Fleetwood?, Surrey isn’t really know for affluent areas associated with large lot sizes for single family homes. On top of that, the expansion of development of Surrey will have occurred later in time than Burnaby, so while Burnaby’s single family homes were built in the 60s and 70s’ days of the suburban dream, Surrey is building today at more compact single family densities than Burnaby did in the past.
    Where Burnaby seems to be denser is in its focus on transit oriented development along the Skytrain lines – but Surrey is also building towers in its town entres, albeit at a slower rate (probably due to geographic distance from Vancouver’s core).
    Burnaby also has a lot of parkspace (i.e Burnaby Mountain and Burnaby Lake) which could skew the figures.
    But I suppose the bottom line is that Surrey is not as sparse (i.e. farmland) as people may think (i.e. much of what I see of Surrey is from the TCH, and the buffer makes it all look pretty secluded).

    Ron C.

    March 3, 2008 at 1:30 pm


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