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Density, quality and farsightedness

TheCityPlan goes once again to Canada, this time to the famous city of Vancouver on the Pacific coast in the province of British Colombia. Vancouver is renowned worldwide for three characteristics: its density, language mix, and movie industry. In Vancouver - the most populous city of North America after New York, San Francisco and Mexico City - around 50% of the inhabitants don't speak English as their mother tongue; thanks to its movie production, the city has earned the nickname of "Hollywood of the North". As always, we look at the city with the help of six maps - based on GIS data readily available on the Internet - providing a snapshot of as many essential features. As can be seen from the contour map, Vancouver lies on an essentially flat stretch of land bordered to the north by a series of fjords - the most famous being the Burrard Inlet - and to the south by the river Fraser. The whole area boasts many different, highly characteristic geographical features: the ocean, fjords, rivers and a luxuriantly forested mountain range to the north-east, a famous tourist and winter skiing destination. The Metro Vancouver Regional District encompassing the whole metropolitan area has a population of around 2.5 million spread over an enormous territory that extends beyond our standard 40 km analysis grid. The actual city of Vancouver, however, counts only about 650,000 residents. Comparing the population and worker maps shows residents to be evenly spread throughout the city while workers coming into the city concentrate prevalently in the CBD (Central Business District), and to a lesser extent in other urban nodes south of the city. Both residents and workers distribute clearly along the public transit system, especially along the extraordinary Broadway Corridor running in an east-west direction south of the Burrard Inlet. The public transit map also shows another quite singular characteristic of Vancouver: the absence of urban highways, usually a...

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