Wesbrook Place: A Case Study

Wesbrook Place, a new development at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada is notable for bringing a residential neighborhood to a commuter campus and concurrently committing to developing a sustainable community. This post-occupancy study looks at Wesbrook Place nine years after construction began and six years after the first residents moved in.

In this study, we evaluated Wesbrook Place against its own goals and targets related to land use planning, urban form, transportation and environmental sustainability. We also employed some common indicators of sustainable development, derived from literature, to evaluate aspects of the development such as network density, completeness, connectivity, and quality of habitat. We then compared the pre-development site to post development on matters of land use/cover, impervious surfaces and tree canopy cover.

By August, 2014, the neighbourhood was 25% built. It performs very well relative to measures of population diversity, land use mix, density, walkability, accessibility (to parks, services and good transit). A buffer of forest was preserved around the perimeter of the neighbourhoood, however few mature trees were saved on site. Several important indicators could not evaluated due to a lack of data, such as: building energy performance; transportation mode share by residents; stormwater runoff quantity and quality; and residents’ satisfaction with quality of life.