VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – If you visit any major city in Canada, you’ll see more condos being developed; it’s all a part of urban densification.

Despite the push from city planners in metropolitan centres like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal to intensify downtown, one journalist is looking at research that suggests cramming people into the urban core is actually hurting our economy.  

Getting you to get rid of your car, and maybe even live and work in the same neighbourhood, may not be the best thing for your health, the environment, or even your pocketbook.

In her Maclean’s article “Urban Planning: A Dense Idea,” Tamsin McMahon says this trend is driving up land prices and “can actually backfire on cities that are trying to strengthen an economy.”

“When you put a hard urban boundary around a location and you say ‘We’ll have no more growth beyond here; we’ll locate no more people and no more businesses beyond this area,’ you really restrict the amount of land you can build on,” says McMahon.

“So that whole driving-up of prices of homes, of real estate for businesses as well, makes [people] less likely to actually locate in your cities,” she adds.

“[If you] intensify the growth in your downtown, you make it more expensive to live and work,” she argues.

McMahon points out another problem. “By pushing strongly for residential growth in the downtown, it will deplete the supply of land for industrial use.”

She notes that affects employment.

“In Vancouver, there’s been a big debate with the Port Authority over how much land should be safe-guarded for future industrial use. The port authority is quite strong in saying that these are high value jobs, these jobs impact the Canadian economy even beyond Vancouver,” adds McMahon.