“Youthification” of Vancouver : Redefining Accessibility and the Urban Form
by Victor Lam
On September 16th, I had the opportunity to listen to Markus Moos, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Planning of the Faculty of Environment from the University of Waterloo. Mr. Moos spoke at the ‘Rethinking Transportation: New Voices, New Ideas’ event by Translink and the SFU City Program, and examined how the millennial demographic and their values are initiating a phenomenon — dubbed ‘Youthification’ — which is shaping Vancouver’s overall development.
The millennial generation is young adults between 24 to 35 years of age. While they are generally better educated than their parents, they are earning less income and can afford less than their parents in their time. Of the three largest cities in Canada, approximately 38% of millennials allocated more than 30% of their income toward housing in 2006, compared to 32% in 1986 in Vancouver. Other factors such as livability, downsizing, convenience, and environmental sustainability are influencing millennials to live closer to their workplace and along major transit corridors. They are also choosing to walk, bike, or take public transit rather than drive.
With the growing number of condominiums constructed around Vancouver and the spur towards more high-density living, this ‘youthification’ process could have major policy and social implications. Millennials are more likely to seek housing closer to hubs of transportation, with greater access to public space and a diversity of goods and services within their neighborhoods, giving rise to new sets of infrastructure demands and social arrangements. This process is ultimately driving lasting changes that could reshape how millennials live, work, and commute. Stay tuned to the VPSN blog for future posts exploring the demographic transformation of our infrastructure and policies.