Downtown buildings in Vancouver, BC, Canada

As of 2011, Vancouver is the most densely populated city in Canada. Urban planning in Vancouver is characterized by high-rise residential and mixed-use development in urban centres, as an alternative to sprawl. As part of the larger Metro Vancouver region, it is influenced by the policy direction of livability as illustrated in Metro Vancouver’s Regional Growth Strategy.


Vancouver has been ranked one of the most livable cities in the world for more than a decade. As of 2010, Vancouver has been ranked as having the fourth-highest quality of living of any city on Earth.[ In contrast, according to Forbes, Vancouver had the sixth-most overpriced real estate market in the world and was second-highest in North America after Los Angeles in 2007. Vancouver has also been ranked among Canada’s most expensive cities in which to live. Sales in February 2016 were 56.3% higher than the 10-year average for the month. Forbes has also ranked Vancouver as the tenth-cleanest city in the world.[

Vancouver’s characteristic approach to urban planning originated in the late 1950s, when city planners began to encourage the building of high-rise residential towers in Vancouver’s West End, subject to strict requirements for setbacks and open space to protect sight lines and preserve green space. The success of these dense but liveable neighbourhoods led to the redevelopment of urban industrial sites, such as North False Creek and Coal Harbour, beginning in the mid-1980s. The result is a compact urban core that has gained international recognition for its “high amenity and ‘livable’ development”. In 2006, the city launched a planning initiative entitled EcoDensity, with the stated goal of exploring ways in which “density, design, and land use can contribute to environmental sustainability, affordability, and livability”.

Coordinates: 49°15′N 123°6′WCoordinates49°15′N 123°6′W
ProvinceBritish Columbia
 • City114.97 km2 (44.39 sq mi)
 • Metro2,878.52 km2(1,111.40 sq mi)
Elevation0–152 m (0–501 ft)
 • City631,486 (8th)
 • Density5,492.6/km2 (14,226/sq mi)
 • Urban2,264,823[
 • Metro2,463,431