This Is What TOD Looks Like

This is Collingwood Village, a 27-acre transit-oriented development (TOD) in Vancouver, B.C. Quoting from this pdf:

“Collingwood Village is a prime example of how the opportunity created by a new rapid transit system can be the impetus for co-ordinating land use planning with a large scale development. This co-ordination of land use and transportation planning initiatives has seen the transformation of an outdated industrial pocket surrounded by single family housing into a new high density neighbourhood. With the Joyce SkyTrain Station as its focus, Collingwood Village, at build out, will be home to about 4,500 new residents and is a major contributor to transit-oriented densification within the city.”

That’s what TOD is all about. And a great example of what we should be aiming for in Seattle, particularly in the SE Seattle light rail station areas. Not that it would have to be on such a grand scale — it’s the urban design that matters.

Collingwood balances density with amenities: it has seven acres of park, an elementary school, a “neighborhood house”, a community gymnasium, and a daycare. It offers a variety of housing types at both affordable and market rates, with 20% of the units designed for families with children. There are towers ranging from 17 to 20 stories mixed in among 4- and 6-story mid-rise. Lower buildings and a park face the single family zone to the south.

Much of the success Collingwood can be attributed to Vancouver’s strong government planning culture. But back here in the U.S., the balance of power tends to be more weighted toward individual property rights. It wouldn’t be hard to design and build a TOD as good as Collingwood here in Seattle. The hard part would be getting past all the cultural and institutional barriers.