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Vancouver lags behind comparable cities in population density: study

(NEWS 1130 File Photo)

Findings of study from right-leaning think tank, there's still lots of room for more housing spaces in Vancouver

Study suggests nearly 5,500 people crammed into every square kilometre in Vancouver

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Despite having the highest population density of Canada’s major cities, Vancouver is still far more spread out than comparable urban centres in other parts of the world, according to a study from the right-leaning Fraser Institute.

The findings suggest there’s still lots of room for more housing spaces in a city where rents and real estate costs are notoriously high.

“With rental vacancies really low, it’s important to underscore just how much room there is to boost the housing supply, and more supply is one of the best ways to stem rising housing costs,” says Josef Filipowicz, a senior policy analyst and author of the study.

“If density is the way that the city wants to grow, the good news is there’s plenty of room to do it,” he adds.

By examining 30 major urban areas with comparatively high living standards, Filipowicz found Vancouver ranks 13th overall, with 5,493 people crammed into every square kilometre. Other Canadian cities like Toronto and Calgary ranked lower on the list.

Filipowicz says in Vancouver’s case, it’s useful to examine San Francisco: another geographically-constrained port city with a similar land area, which has 140,000 more residents.

“If San Francisco’s already done it, there’s certainly a road map to Vancouver doing it if they would like to.”

Notably, San Francisco has been contending with a serious housing shortage for years, and rental costs there are among the highest in North America.

The city of Vancouver has announced a plan to build 72 thousand new housing units, with the majority of them being rental spaces.

Filipowicz adds a denser urban area doesn’t necessarily have to mean more skyscrapers, and that many of the cities he examined have found ways to increase density without building up.

Hong Kong has the highest population density of the cities examined, with 25,719 people per square kilometer.