Comment 122645

By RobF (registered) | Posted March 20, 2018 at 15:57:47 in reply to Comment 122644

There is a debate about lot coverage vs height, and trade-offs with each approach.

Ideally, we'd be less binary and think about what they each achieve given the context. But I don't agree that open space between buildings is simply wasted space ... it often is, but it doesn't have to be. The reality is that most towers-in-park buildings from the 1960s could use the space around them better ... that moat of grass around them is seldom landscaped well or open to actual use, so it is really just a green roof for the underground parking it conceals.

I find this whole debate odd ... lower Manhattan in the late 19th century had some of the worst living conditions and highest densities in modern urban history, but no high-rises. The problem wasn't strictly scale, lot coverage, or height, but unit density and household density and how that related to access to light and ventilation (i.e. over-crowding and unhealthy conditions). See:

As an aside, the knee-jerk aversion to "density" is somewhat of a lingering effect of the "slum" tenement building and a creeping tendency toward environmental determinism in how we think about urban space and urban social problems.

Vancouverism ... especially the tower on a low-rise podium was intended to be a hybrid that gives you the best of both. Like all things it works as long as people are sensible and don't turn it into a mindless formula. The odd exception to a pattern enlivens things. Too many exceptions and you have a muddle. And not everywhere needs or can "fit" a tower. It depends on the context ...

Comment edited by RobF on 2018-03-20 16:01:32

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