If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you already know—I love to travel.
Exploring global cities, taking note of the way other major metropolitan areas have tackled complex planning issues, absorbing beautiful art and architecture…
…Ahhh. It fills my heart.
In recent years, I’ve made a point to plan more intentional time to travel, experience new places and ideas, and connect with other global leaders in the planning space.
One of my favorite recent-ish international trips was to Tokyo—a city famous for its brilliant fashion, bright culture, and mouth-wateringly delicious food.
While I thoroughly enjoyed exploring tons of amazing shops and restaurants, I was especially impressed by how well-planned Tokyo’s neighborhood public spaces are.
They’ve made massive investments in their transit systems, taking full advantage of the areas around transit to create gorgeous green spaces, plazas and playgrounds, and mixed land uses that promote 24-hour pedestrian-oriented urban spaces.
And even in a city packed with more than 13 million people, Tokyo boasts one of the lowest rates of homelessness in the world—in part thanks to the extremely high residential density.
Does any of this sound familiar? Yes. I thought so, too.
While Canada is in the early stages of creating high-density residential options to address our housing crisis, the reality is that many of the world’s leading cities have already been through this process and have come out ahead.
Looking to global hubs like Tokyo, there’s SO much that Canadian cities like Vancouver and Toronto can learn about how to leverage our transit-oriented spaces.
Thinking back to my time in Tokyo, here are just a few innovations Canada could borrow to create more efficient and effective solutions to our housing challenges:
1. Integrated Transit Systems:
Tokyo has invested significantly in transit systems that connect resident areas with employment centers, commercial districts, and recreational spaces. Dense developments, including residential, commercial, and retail spaces, are often clustered around transportation hubs, encouraging public transportation use and reducing reliance on cars.
2. Mixed-Use Developments:
Mixed-use spaces create vibrant, diverse neighborhoods. By integrating residential, commercial, and recreational spaces, we unlock housing, enhance walkability, and improve the overall quality of life for residents living in city centers.
3. High Density, High Livability:
Contrary to what many might assume, high-density doesn’t have to mean compromising on livability. Citizens of Tokyo have perfected the art of small-space living, creating beautiful, functional living spaces right in the heart of their bustling city.
4. Flexible Zoning Policies:
This is the cornerstone on which everything else rests. If we want to unlock massive housing supply through high-density development near transit, we MUST create policies that are flexible and adaptive. In many areas of Tokyo, regulations encourage denser development to accommodate population growth and demand for housing and commercial space.
5. Public-Private Partnerships:
Finally—in Tokyo, they are alive to relationship between the public and private sectors. Partnerships between public and private interests keep progress flowing and leverage resources for more sustainable and well-connected communities.
Long story short? By borrowing ideas from our global city partners. Canada can unlock a massive number of transit-oriented residential developments that enhance mobility, livability, and sustainability across the country.
Have you been to Tokyo—or to another global city that addressed these issues well? Are there other ideas you would add to this list?
One of my big goals for this year is to simply connect people and ideas globally, nationally and locally – to lead more conversations around transit-oriented development, high-density residential development, and creating smart solutions towards ending the housing crisis.
If you’re ready to get laser focussed on options to develop your land and make a plan that involves adaptive and creative solutions… I would love to speak with you.
I look forward to hearing from you,
PS – What to better understand specifically what transformation clients have experienced by working with me? Take a look at our client testimonials.
PPS – February only, we have a few Power Hour spots left to ‘pick my brain’ about solutions to develop your land.
Ready to get to the bottom of the new housing policies and the truth for your site? Want to tackle issues with community plan compliance, zoning, or infrastructure and servicing? I can help.
Book your one-hour session here, or reply to this email. For February only, these one-hour sessions are available for $597.