Friday, October 30, 2009

Suburban versus urban land use

This is a pair of land-use maps I did in planning school back in 2003, based on GIS data from McGill University. They illustrate the land-use pattern on an old, pre-WWII urban neighbourhood (the Plateau Mont-Royal, left) and the pattern in post-war suburban development (the West Island, and more specifically the area around the Fairview Mall, where Pointe-Claire and Dollard Des Ormeaux meet.)

Both maps are at the same scale. They really illustrate the finer grain of land uses in old urban neighbourhoods. (It's worth noting that the actual residential density of the residential parts of the Plateau--i.e. the yellow bits on the map on the left) is much higher than in the 'burbs.

One of the results of this is that the Plateau is much more walkable, and much less dependent on cars.

I'm not going to get into theories of urban design and form here; there's a lot of good stuff out there on the topic. I'm just posting this 'cause you might find it illustrative. (Even though I've stated a copyright on the above image, feel free to use it for non-profit purposes e.g. education, advocacy, or otherwise persuading the powers-that-be to quit building suburban sprawl. All I ask is that you credit me and let me know you'vre used the image. I do have an ego that needs stroking from time to time...)

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