Happy Neighbours: Promoting affordability and social wellbeing

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As cities densify, residents are living closer and closer together. While dense urban communities have the potential to support cohesive social networks, residents report key challenges. People living in multi-unit housing, like apartment buildings, feel both overcrowded and lonely. They also struggle to keep up with their city’s cost of living. Fortunately, good design and social programming can help address these problems.     Vancouver-based developers Tomo and Concert Properties have implemented… Continue reading

Rapid Placemaking to Bring Back Main Street

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Canada’s main streets are the hearts of our communities. They are the places we go to work, shop, gather, and play. Restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19 have hit main streets in cities and towns hard. Many small businesses have shuttered. Thousands more are grappling with an uncertain future. We need to act now to save these vital civic spaces. But if we want to make local commercial areas… Continue reading

Major Urban Parks Audit and Assessment

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Mexico City is home to two of the largest urban parks in the word: Chapultepec and San Juan de Aragon. Both parks offer green space, forested areas and amenities such as playgrounds and skate parks.  Happy City assessed the Ministry of Environment’s new vision for these major urban parks. We measured how the ministry’s investments in new infrastructure, landscaping and social programming impacted social wellbeing elements such as equity, safety,… Continue reading

Designing for Difference

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Public space isn’t always truly public: the way we look, sound and move affects our experiences in city space. Here in Vancouver, residents continue to face barriers to access, comfort and safety in public space based on their identities, from race, gender and sexual orientation to age, income and ability. When residents experience overlapping identities, these barriers can be even more challenging.  We envision a future where Vancouver’s public spaces… Continue reading

Designed to Engage: Policy recommendations for promoting sociability in multi-family housing

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Fostering strong social relationships is one of the most important ways to ensure community happiness, health, and resilience. Given that multi-family housing is a major source of rental and owner-occupied housing in most cities, how can we boost sociability in these places? A big challenge is that thoughtful, relationship-building design is often stymied by existing policies and old habits. With the support of the Real Estate Foundation of BC, and… Continue reading

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