Urban Fringe Communities: Marpole

“In a metropolitan region where expansion from the core is still taking place, predominantly on a horizontal plane, older urban service centres on the metropolitan fringe demand consideration as foci for new urban growth, provided their suitability in terms of location vis-a-vis the core area, and general socio-physical environment can be demonstrated.”

– Dennis McLean, The expansion of urban fringe communities

Marpole is one of Vancouver’s oldest communities, split up into four sub-areas of Granville, Hudson, Oak, and Cambie. It’s a bustling gateway from the south that visitors first encounter via the international airport (YVR). The neighborhood has an eclectic mix of shopping, entertainment, and housing in the form of apartment buildings under 5 storeys (50.1%), newer mixed-use buildings up to 12 storeys (9.1%), single-family (20%), and detached duplex (11.7%) according to 2016 census data.

Recently, the area has seen an increase in new construction to meet rising demand, as developers and analysts say the lands of opportunity remain on the fringe. Last month’s sales for all property types in Marpole further validates the trend toward desirability for these transit-oriented urban communities.

Marpole April Stats

Marpole’s Community Plan details the City’s initiative to achieve a green, environmentally sustainable urban pattern with higher density, while respecting the neighborhood’s existing character. There is good access to bus and rapid transit, yet the high traffic volumes, congestion, and limited crossings along the five major arterials, make it less appealing for walking and cycling. The rendering below details plans to enhance the streetscape—creating plazas and connections between residential and commercial zones to improve walkability.

Marpole mid-block connections

There are a number of new projects coming to market in Marpole, such as 8655 Granville Street, 8795-8803 Granville Street, and 8725 French Street currently in the rezoning application stage. One project underway is W68 by Westland Living, which recently opened for registration and is slated for completion in 2024. W68 is a collection of 64 homes including studio, one, two, and three bedroom floorplans, with convenient retail and office space on the lower levels (view the preview kit and pricing sheet).

Mixed-use developments like W68 offer an intimate community vibe, and are becoming more prevalent in fringe neighborhoods like Marpole. The boutique development is located just north of Henriquez Partners’ designed Granville at 70th, and west of Marine Gateway at the foot of Cambie Street.

Even though I reside in the city, I often find myself spending more time in these purpose built communities. They offer all the staple amenities like movie theatres, grocery stores, and pubs (oh how I miss thee), yet you feel as though you have more space to yourself.

Taking a trip down memory lane, I came across this surprisingly high quality picture of Hudson Street in Marpole from 1910, courtesy of the Vancouver Archives. What real estate offices used to look like before they became virtual. When I visited the area to view some of the new developments, it appeared as though density and building design hadn’t deviated. Though with the rapid shift in rezoning, change appears to be on the horizon.

Marpole 1910s
Marpole in the 1910s
Marpole
Marpole now
Future Granville Street
Marpole in the future
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Adam Naamani
Entrepreneur, real estate specialist, and software developer, based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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