IN-BETWEEN DENSITY

DISTRIBUTING THE DOMESTIC IN SINGLE-FAMILY NEIGHBOURHOODS

JULIE SIKORA
M.ARCH


Within a North American context, ‘single-family’ neighbourhoods have set limits on urban centres, restricting their ability to densify and adapt to new urban conditions. While single-family housing development was a common form of accommodating a rapid increase in population, today’s extremely high land values, previous housing practices and it’s subsequent urban policies have created a divide between classes and generations. The single family home is facilitating this divide, and neglects the evolving cultural values and needs of urban places.

This project proposes a new strategy for the future development of Delamont park, a block of twenty-two city owned houses located along the Arbutus Greenway in Vancouver’s Kitsilano Neighbourhood.

A recent decision by city council to re-zone Vancouver’s single-family neighbourhoods (“RS One-Family Districts”) for duplexes is a small step in providing alternative forms of housing within the city’s lowest densified neighbourhoods. However, thinking beyond the division of lots, the future of single-family neighbourhoods needs to be re-considered in accordance with the complexities of everyday life, along with new emerging methods of home ownership and infill developments.

Connections to the household temporarily assign new meaning to outdoor space, “blurring boundaries of front lawn and sidewalk, public and private” life; rendering the yard as a room within the city. Conceptual investigations of semi-public household elements influenced the approach to this project, treating “the site as a house”. 

Through the proposed re-development of Delamont Park, this project intends to understand the ‘single-family’ home not simply as an object and an ideal, but rather as a dynamic element in the city that shifts expectations as to how we occupy neighbourhoods and co-exist as diverse groups of people.

Proposing a scheme of gradual change, this project investigates larger ideas about how we can continue to occupy existing neighbourhoods, while thinking about how they will develop in the future. Maintaining the existing neighbourhood fabric, while enhancing spaces between buildings - this proposal aims to allow the community of Delamont to evolve and change over time.

Creating a connection within the neighbourhood to the rest of the city, through proposed pathways and a focus on semi-public gradients of interstitial spaces, the range of design interventions investigates how citizens will continue to inhabit the house while making room for new forms of density.

committee:
Fernanda Hannah-Suarez
Darren Huebert
Sara Stevens [CHAIR]