The City of Langford hosted a presentation by urban planner and architecture professor Avi Friedman Saturday morning, where he shared his vision for the future of urban centres.
Speaking to an audience of around 100 people at the Westin Bear Mountain, Friedman outlined his vision for the future of city centres, based on examples he has seen in cities around the world.
Densification is key and while single-family homes will still have their place, the focus needs to be placed on apartment buildings, he said. But it is not enough to simply build large blocks of condos and apartments, he said their design must also address the need to respond to climate change and instil a sense of community in their residents.
Friedman said his ideal residential building is an architecturally beautiful apartment block with commercial space on the lower levels and dedicated green space throughout the surrounding property. Parking is relegated to common parking areas for all residents in a neighbourhood with walking paths and green space connecting to each building.
The increased role of interconnected green space and walking and biking paths would extend throughout the downtown core. Combined with the emphasis placed on mixing commercial and residential space, the goal would be to allow as many residents as possible to simply walk or bike for the vast majority of their day-to-day life, bringing benefits to the fight against climate change.
Over the years he has worked with Langford, Friedman said he has been impressed with the municipality’s resolve in acting on his vision with its current downtown core, and with the social and economic benefits it has already brought to the community.
Friedman’s expertise and vision have formed an important part of Langford’s overall vision for its own downtown core, and similar events have been held for the past 18 years, said Mayor Stew Young.
“I think the most significant thing Avi has helped us with is making a sustainable community, and that is really important for Langford,” said Young. “Part of our OCP and Strategic Plan is to bring Avi here today, and he is the number one guy in Canada for urban planning.”
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