What makes a great place to live? 


Increased density alone does not make a great neighbourhood. We identified 6 'Drivers of Complete Communities', which work with density, to create vibrant, inclusive, desirable places for people to live and work.  For each Driver, we selected several Measures, for understanding its presence in a community.  The Drivers and Measures were used as a basis for analyzing the 5 case studies




Density is a measure of how many people live and work in a particular area.  Building more compact, higher density communities is key to accommodating growth while making efficient use of existing infrastructure, preserving natural areas, and protecting farm land and drinking water. The province uses density targets as a measure of how municipalities and regions in the GGH are planning to achieve the goals of the Growth Plan.


• Population by area (hectares)
• # of jobs by area
• People + jobs by area


Drivers and Measures of a Complete Community 



Good design of streets, such as the use of a grid network and pedestrian pathways (as opposed to cul-de-sacs) can optimize pedestrian movement. Connectivity between places and having destinations (parks, shopping, schools) to walk to are also key. Many people refer to 400m being a “reasonable” distance for people to walk.


• Walking distance to destinations
• Street connectivity and block size
• Sidewalks


A variety of building types can help to ensure a neighbourhood can accommodate diverse residents and support life long living. Policy and zoning that supports infill means a neighbourhood can utilize development potential and easily evolve over time. 


• Diverse range of building types
• Supportive policy and zoning for growth
• Area of parking lots (hectares)


Green & Open Spaces

Access to green & open space, whether it's parks, playgrounds, or trails, is strongly connected to neighbourhood livability, health and quality of life.  The average green space provision rate in Canadian cities is 9.2 hectares/1,000 people.


 • Park space (hectares)



Retail and services, recreational and community centres, schools and child  care are all types of amenities. They are one of most important things that people look for when choosing a place to live.  


• Retail and services
• Community facilities
• # of jobs 


Access to transit is critical for creating sustainable and healthy communities.  It reduces reliance on the car, lowers greenhouse gases, and increases walkability.  Some sources suggest that 50 people and jobs per hectare is a 'transit-supportive' density, while other suggest it is much higher. 


• Transit stops
• Transit 'technology'



The look and feel of a community, the scale and character of the buildings and the design of the public realm, make a big impact on how a liveable a place is.  How the built form is organized - and whether it primarily supports the circulation and storage of cars or people, also makes an impact on liveability.


• Scale, height, and character of buildings
• Attractive and vibrant public realm