Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Urban Research

Preferences of Suburban Residents in Thunder Bay, Ontario towards Neighbourhood Intensification and Rediversification

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Urban Research

Preferences of Suburban Residents in Thunder Bay, Ontario towards Neighbourhood Intensification and Rediversification

Article excerpt


This research measured attitudes towards higher density housing and integrated land uses within a residential neighbourhood in light of recent Provincial government initiatives toward urban intensification. Residents in a Thunder Bay suburban neighbourhood were assessed using a two-part Visual Preference Survey. While the generalized response indicates commonly-observed preferences towards lower density forms, some respondent groups viewed intensification more favourably. Preferences towards intensification seem most related to the current housing and stage in life of the respondents and to the architecture and other design features of a given dwelling. Observed preferences towards the integration of land uses suggest a small but not insignificant proportion (one-fifth) of residents would trade-off to a denser urban form if some level of neighbourhood amenity were provided. These results present planners and developers with insight into how more intensive and multi-use neighbourhoods could be received. Not all suburban residents desire the suburban sprawl model built so ubiquitously over the past half-century or so.

Keywords: neighbourhood intensification, density, housing preferences, neighbourhood amenity, land use diversity


Cette recherche a mesure des attitudes vers de plus hauts types d'habitation de densite eta integre des utilisations de terrain dans un quartier residentiel dans la lumiere d'initiatives gouvernementales recentes vers l'intensification urbaine. Les residents dans un quartier de Baje de Tonnerre ont ete evalues en utilisant une Enquete Privilegiee Visuelle de deux parties. Pendant que la reponse generalisee indique des preferences communement observees vers les formes de densite plus basses, certains groupes repondants ont vu l'intensification plus favorablement. Les preferences vers l'intensification semblent les plus liees a l'habitation actuelle et au stade de la vie des defendeurs et a l'architecture et a d'autres caracteristiques de design d'une habitation donnee. Les preferences observees vers l'integration d'utilisations de terrain suggerent qu'une proportion petite mais assez significative (un cinquieme) des residents l'echange a une forme urbaine plus dense si un niveau d'agrement de quartier a ete fourni. Ces resultats presentent aux planificateurs et aux developpeurs avec la penetration dans comment plus intensif et multiutilisent des quartiers pourrait etre recu. Pas tous les residents desirent que les de banlieue s'affalent le modele construit si partout pendant le demi-siecle passe ou a peu pres.

Mots cles: l'intensification de quartier, la densite, les preferences d'habitation, l'agrement de quartier, pose la diversite d'utilisation


Growing consensus suggests that more sustainable communities consume less energy and resources, produce less waste and protect agricultural land (Rees and Roseland 1991 ; Owens 1992; Beatley 2000). They have numerous implications for built urban form and transportation networks include more compact designs, intensified and greater mixture of land uses, pedestrian-scale development and lessened automobile use (Breheny 1997; Ewing 1997; Kockelman 1997; Newman and Kenworthy 1999; van Diepen and Voogd 2001; Beatley 2000; Belmont 2002). Intensification will increase residential density to levels above those viewed as "unsustainable" in the sprawling neighbourhoods around many cities in North America (Van Vliet 1994). Such intensification towards moderate and high-density residential forms is widely unpopular with the public as shown by the continuing "marketing success" of conventional suburban sprawl (Gordon and Richardson 1997). Its "marketing success" is questioned by Talen (2004) and others (e.g., Kunstler 1996) who suggest little real alternative to the conventional sprawl model exists.

Intensification is not universally dismissed in Canada. In Vancouver, two-thirds of the population growth over the past two decades has been within existing "growth concentration areas" (i. …

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