Industrial land intensification: what is it and how can it be measured

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Gilmore, Ryan
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The Metro Vancouver region is experiencing high levels of population and employment growth within a strictly limited land base. With increasing competition for land, industrial land in particular is under considerable pressure to be converted to other uses, such as residential and commercial, with the current supply of industrial land is expected to be exhausted within 15 years. Without the ability to expand the industrial land base to meet the region’s future industrial needs, more efficient use of existing industrial lands must be achieved. In recognition of this, the region is investigating intensification policies to encourage better utilization and intensification of industrial lands for industrial activities. The early work on industrial land intensification highlighted a gap in planning literature and practice with respect to how the intensity of industrial land use is defined and measured. A better understanding of intensification in the industrial land context is required for the region to develop industrial land intensification policies. This research practicum explores expanded definitions and measures of intensification. The inquiry develops a prototype analytical tool designed to communicate these definitions and measures and to facilitate the evaluation of industrial land intensification. The prototype tool is based on sustainability assessment tools used in sustainable development planning. Through semi-structured interviews with industrial land stakeholders, expanded definitions and measures of industrial intensification were considered and the prototype tool was refined. The project concludes with a discussion of future directions for the prototype tool, including the development of multiple versions of the tool at different scales and for different industrial sectors; the creation of an intensification rating system; and the adaptation of the tool into a checklist to be integrated into municipal development application processes. These evolutions of the prototype tool anticipate how it could be integrated into planning and development practices and inform industrial land intensification policies in areas such as the Metro Vancouver region.
City planning, Industrial land, Industrial intensification, Industrial densification, Sustainable development, Sustainability assessment tools, Metro Vancouver