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#1 2019-04-17 23:55:04

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
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Terraced housing development

Here's a random thought. One reason Vancouver has such high real estate prices is lack of land. They're hemmed-in between mountain and ocean. What if a new major housing development was built up the side of a mountain? Would you live there? I'm thinking north of West Vancouver, between West Van and Cypress Provincial Park. This would require building terraces, like the Inca terraces of Peru. Using the hillside above High View Lookout, the land has a 20° slope. So with a yard 62 feet deep, and a single lane one-way street in front of your house (12 feet wide), and a sidewalk at the curb face (6 feet wide), that makes 80 feet. The next terrace would be 30 feet high. You could build a house into the terrace wall, so the road would actually be above your house. The road would be right up to the terrace edge, with a road railing. Sidewalk between road and your front lawn. With 30 feet height from your lawn to the road surface above your house, there's enough room for a 2-story home. Or would you rather a sidewalk between the road and terrace edge, so you could look out? With a sidewalk on both sides, that would take away 6 feet of lawn. But the mountain isn't consistent, there are steeper and shallower parts. The road would have to be built strong, like a bridge, so the weight of the road doesn't rest on your house.

Would you live there?

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methode%2Ftimes%2Fprod%2Fweb%2Fbin%2Fda277f00-7aac-11e7-a055-7c0a66949601.jpg?crop=6805%2C3828%2C156%2C459&resize=685
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#2 2019-04-18 00:02:18

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
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Re: Terraced housing development

Alternative: no road.

I posted before the idea of a residential suburb with no street, just rail taxis run in a subway beneath the back lane. You could build a terraced community with nothing but front lawns / gardens and sidewalk (walkway) on the terrace. Build the subway underground behind the homes. That would mean your neighbour's front lawn is your roof. With subway for rail taxis deep in the hill, that makes the transportation infrastructure entirely out of sight. And it allows building on a steeper slope. A rail taxi that runs downtown?

Would you live there?

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#3 2019-04-18 04:01:30

Terraformer
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From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
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Re: Terraced housing development

Would they be terraced houses?

Ditch the cars. Have a funicular railway running up and down like an elevator. If people want a car, they can keep it in a parking lot at the bottom.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#4 2019-04-18 06:02:46

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,712

Re: Terraced housing development

Even with your subway, still means you have to carry everything for your two infant children and if you're old it's a long way to carry a bag of compost you got from the garden centre.

What gradient are you thinking of?  Swansea in South Wales is built on a steep hillside and has roads with gradients at 20% or higher.The streets are effectively lateral terraces.  The steepest road is in NZ at 35% apparently. I can attest that driving up a road on wet cobbles at 20% gradient is rather scary, especially for a new driver. 

RobertDyck wrote:

Alternative: no road.

I posted before the idea of a residential suburb with no street, just rail taxis run in a subway beneath the back lane. You could build a terraced community with nothing but front lawns / gardens and sidewalk (walkway) on the terrace. Build the subway underground behind the homes. That would mean your neighbour's front lawn is your roof. With subway for rail taxis deep in the hill, that makes the transportation infrastructure entirely out of sight. And it allows building on a steeper slope. A rail taxi that runs downtown?

Would you live there?


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#5 2019-04-18 07:27:55

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 922

Re: Terraced housing development

For Terraformer #3 .... I like the suggestion of a cog wheel railway running between the terraces, for Earth situations.

A parking facility at the base of the hillside makes sense as well, because that is where the shopping center and entertainment facilities are likely to be.

However, I ** really ** like the entire concept for the slopes of Olympus, because the major part of the habitation will be inside, away from radiation, but the "front" room can provide a view of the terrain behind radiation absorbing glass. 

A definite advantage of the Mars location is absence of danger from landslides due to flooding.   

(th)

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#6 2019-04-18 14:06:55

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
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Posts: 5,748
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Re: Terraced housing development

Terraformer wrote:

Would they be terraced houses?

The British term "terraced houses" means what we in North America call townhouses. I was thinking of single detached homes but hurried in the retaining wall.

louis wrote:

Even with your subway, still means you have to carry everything for your two infant children and if you're old it's a long way to carry a bag of compost you got from the garden centre.

The subway I'm thinking of would have an underground station the size of a single car garage just for your house. If there are no cars on the mountain side, then a subway directly to your house.

louis wrote:

What gradient are you thinking of?  Swansea in South Wales is built on a steep hillside and has roads with gradients at 20% or higher.The streets are effectively lateral terraces.  The steepest road is in NZ at 35% apparently. I can attest that driving up a road on wet cobbles at 20% gradient is rather scary, especially for a new driver.

Image of "High View Lookout" north of West Vancouver has a slope of 20° from horizontal. Terraces would be flat and level with vertical retaining walls.

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#7 2019-04-18 15:00:30

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,712

Re: Terraced housing development

It's going to be a long ride home if it's stopping at every other house. Could turn a 10 min journey into an hour .

RobertDyck wrote:
Terraformer wrote:

Would they be terraced houses?

The British term "terraced houses" means what we in North America call townhouses. I was thinking of single detached homes but hurried in the retaining wall.

louis wrote:

Even with your subway, still means you have to carry everything for your two infant children and if you're old it's a long way to carry a bag of compost you got from the garden centre.

The subway I'm thinking of would have an underground station the size of a single car garage just for your house. If there are no cars on the mountain side, then a subway directly to your house.

louis wrote:

What gradient are you thinking of?  Swansea in South Wales is built on a steep hillside and has roads with gradients at 20% or higher.The streets are effectively lateral terraces.  The steepest road is in NZ at 35% apparently. I can attest that driving up a road on wet cobbles at 20% gradient is rather scary, especially for a new driver.

Image of "High View Lookout" north of West Vancouver has a slope of 20° from horizontal. Terraces would be flat and level with vertical retaining walls.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#8 2019-04-18 15:30:26

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
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Re: Terraced housing development

louis wrote:

It's going to be a long ride home if it's stopping at every other house. Could turn a 10 min journey into an hour.

Rail taxi. Direct to your home.

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#9 2019-04-18 18:52:10

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,832

Re: Terraced housing development

There is a home a few miles away that is built in the ground simular to the design shown in your post 1 Robert Dyck but I do not know much about it, other than its there.

The hill side plan would make the most out of the solar alignment for a clear dome and green life there in.

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#10 2019-04-19 02:45:53

elderflower
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Registered: 2016-06-19
Posts: 1,096

Re: Terraced housing development

For Robert.
There are houses, indeed whole streets, such as you describe in (former) mining towns in South Wales. Very steep sided valleys are incised into horizontal carboniferous limestone beds with coal seams exposed on the valley sides as well as beneath the valley floors. Streets were built  along the sides of the valleys with underhouses (backing directly onto the rock) and overhouses built above them and facing the next street up. Obviously the overhouses were more desirable! These were built to accommodate miners and their families during the explosive growth period of the South Wales coalfield.
My concern would relate to slope stability. If you can find a rock to build up to, on, or under which is half as competent as the limestone in South Wales that would be great, but I doubt that there is such material on Mars.

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#11 2019-04-19 09:15:34

RobertDyck
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Re: Terraced housing development

Yea, we could do it on Olympus Mons. I was thinking of applying technology to Earth today. There's a shortage of land to build in Vancouver. So doing it in Vancouver. The specific location I suggested is here...
2016_08_31_01_59_19_2016-07-12_c04.jpg
WestVan550x250.jpg

The next image requires explanation. This is a view from Vancouver looking north. The body of water is Burrard Inlet, off Straight of Georgia. The land mass across the water on the right half of the image is what I'm proposing. Office towers in the foreground are downtown Vancouver, just north is a green forested park called Stanley Park. Not shown is the Lions Gate Bridge, crossing the water to North Vancouver. You can see North Vancouver in the distance, a development part way up the mountain. West of North Vancouver is West Vancouver, directly across Burrard Inlet in this image. West Vancouver isn't built as far up the mountain. There's more land beyond in the image, but I'm proposing buiding north of North Vancouver and north of West Vancouver. That means building farther up the mountain.
r2108630_1.jpg

A view over the bridge, looking west... (still looking a little north, so west-north-west)
original.jpg

If we build using the "no road" option, and all homes are built into the retaining wall like Mars homes, then all of the flat level ground is either front lawn / garden, or public walkway. It isn't beside a road, so you can't call it a sidewalk. But there has to be some place for people to walk go get around the neighbourhood. If we build a deep subway tunnel for rail taxis, the tunnel would be as small as a back lane, or single lane of a street, with a station the size of a single car garage behind every house. That would require digging deep into the hillside. Is there enough dirt? The roof of your house would be the front lawn of your neighbour. Depending how deep your house is built into the hillside, subway could be beneath your neighbour's house. Your house could have a basement, a level below your front lawn terrace level. With 2 stories plus basement, you could have a nice size house.

Last edited by RobertDyck (2019-04-21 13:06:13)

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#12 2019-04-19 10:18:32

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
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Re: Terraced housing development

Housing cost is extreme in Vancouver right now. The city is popular because it's the only place in Canada that doesn't get snow in winter. A lot of rain, but no snow. Vancouver is hemmed in by the mountains to the north, US border to the south, ocean to the west, and a series of cities are developed east but the mountains extend south until there's not enough land between mountain and US border. So the solution is to build up the mountain.

When my parents were young, they bought a 4-year-old house in a new housing development. It was 1,037 square feet, 3 bedroom, 1 bath, full unfinished basement, pie shaped lot 54.6 front feet, land area 7,433 square feet. It didn't have a garage, but when I was in grade 3 we built a detached double garage. My mother worked for the telephone company, she advanced to supervisor of the business office in the city of Brandon (36,000 people) by age 22. When my mother became pregnant with their first child, me, she had to quit her job. There wasn't maturity leave in 1962. My father was a welder; he was a high steel construction worker before he met my mother, he built steel bridges, oil storage tanks at refineries, that sort of thing. Remote work sites: 6 weeks on, 2 weeks off (vacation). When his wife got pregnant, he quit the job he loved and got a job with the railroad so he could stay in town with his wife and family. His title was "boiler maker", which means he was certified to weld pressure vessels. With a single income they could afford that house. Try buying such a house, supporting a wife and 3 children, with one income today.

When I was in grade 8, my mother had gone back to work, got a job as an accountant. My parents sold that house and bought a new house in a bedroom community just outside Winnipeg. New development, they liked the display home but didn't like the colours and wanted the plan reversed (flipped left-right). The builder had several empty lots on the block, so built one to my parent's order. 3,000 square feet, 4 bedroom, 2 and a half baths, full unfinished basement, double attached garage, 1/2 acre lot. It had a "main" bathroom on the second floor with a bathtub, an "en-suite" bathroom with shower stall off the master bedroom, and a half bath at the back entrance / garage entrance with a toilet and sink. This cost $79,000 in 1975. According to the inflation calculator on the website of Bank of Canada (Canadian version of the Fed), that works out to $382,000 today. Similar houses in that neighbourhood are currently listed for $550,000 to $750,000 today.

I bought my house in 1990. Real estate document claimed it was 800 square feet, but when I measure outside the stucco I get 342 square feet, 2 story so 684 square feet total, built in 1907. 2 bedroom, 1 bath, single detached garage, part basement. The basement is large enough for the furnace, water heater, full size washer and dryer, and you can turn around. There's a dirt crawl space under the rest. Property is 25 feet wide by 107 feet deep (2,675 square feet). I paid $46,500. When I moved in a neighbour asked what I paid and laughed at me. She said the previous owner paid $36,000, the one before that paid $24,000. That same inflation calculator from what I paid, today would be $81,000. Similar houses in my neighbourhood are listed at $160,000 to $180,000. But when I applied for work in Toronto, I looked on a real estate website for a similar house; asking price was $600,000. The only similar house listed for Vancouver (not including surrounding communities) had an asking price of $1.4 million! That's insane!

I watched an online video of a townhall meeting with the Prime Minister. When he promised to do something about housing costs, one person from Vancouver asked if he was going to make more land. Ok, so this is a way to make available more land.

Last edited by RobertDyck (2019-04-19 13:48:55)

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#13 2019-04-19 12:55:57

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 922

Re: Terraced housing development

For RobertDyck ....

Thank you for providing this topic, and all the detail in recent posts!

You would have no way of knowing this, but I've been running a webcam (katkam.ca) for years, as a way of keeping track of the movement of the Sun throughout the year.  The pictures you provided of Vancouver are both familiar and fun to see because the perspective is different, and the picture quality is higher than the webcam.

I am intrigued by your concept, and hope these words will encourage you to pursue your vision.

Is the land you've identified as of interest owned by a government agency? 

I asked Mr. Google a question along those lines, and got this:

The majority of all lands in Canada are held by governments as public land and are known as Crown lands. About 89% of Canada's land area (8,886,356 km²) is Crown land, which may either be federal (41%) or provincial (48%); the remaining 11% is privately owned.

(th)

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#14 2019-04-21 03:51:29

elderflower
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Registered: 2016-06-19
Posts: 1,096

Re: Terraced housing development

I love Vancouver. A friendly city with a great situation. But "If you don't like the weather, wait an hour or so. It will get worse!" Incidentally the lake in Stanley Park was frozen over and people were skating there when I last visited. And there was a little disappearing snow at low level and plenty on the slopes.

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#15 2019-04-21 08:41:34

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,832

Re: Terraced housing development

I have the same issue in New Hampshire as the mountains tend to change what weather we will recieve changes are also caused by the sea shore being near by as well. Many a day driving to work I will cross through 2 additional temparture zones as it might be snowing when I start out but by time I get to work its all rain.

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#16 2019-04-21 13:33:55

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,748
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Re: Terraced housing development

tahanson43206 wrote:

Is the land you've identified as of interest owned by a government agency?

Good question. Found a website for BC land title survey. Much of the area north of West Vancouver is actually owned by the municipality (city of) West Vancouver, other parcels are privately owned, others "Crown Provincial", and some "Owner Type None". What does "None" mean?

The area north of North Vancouver is the same, but more privately owned property. Still find it interesting: surveyed parcels of property with no owner. There is land for parks, but there's also land not surveyed at all. That's really odd.

Last edited by RobertDyck (2019-04-21 13:46:35)

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#17 2019-04-21 17:59:07

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 922

Re: Terraced housing development

For RobertDyck #16 ...

If you decide to pursue the "random idea" that starts this topic, it would bring at least one topic from the realm of speculation to actual encounters with the "real world" of human interactions to shape the future.   I found a design for a terraced cityscape on Mars, while following links recently.  It was probably one of the many interesting links SpaceNut has published.  The presentation included professional quality graphics, showing floor plans and side views. 

This project appears (to me at least) to NOT involve development of new engineering, but instead, to consist almost entirely of solving the human relations problem of (as Adam Smith would say:)  "Putting people into motion" to complete the several stages from here to a completed, populated subdivision.

From my perspective, this project would appear to be a public-private partnership.

The community would benefit, and the individuals who buy the property would benefit, either directly as occupants, or indirectly as owners of leased or rented property.  The ways in which the community would benefit are multi-fold, and I look forward to ideas which might be offered by other forum members about what those would be.

Edit: Following up:

Years ago I joined a web site that is focused upon urban planning, but I've not been following it recently.

Out of curiosity, I dropped in and ran a search for Vancouver.
https://www.cyburbia.org/forums/

Two of the citations seemed worth showing you:

Where will you retire
I think you have to become a landed immigrant before a certain age in order to live permanently in Canada after retirement age. Otherwise, you have to return to the US every six months or something. I looked into it several years ago. The site is Immigration Canada or something like that...
Linda_D Post #25 Nov 9, 2017 Forum: Friday Afternoon Club

Where will you retire
...retire is northern Idaho, possibly Coeur D'Alene. Beautiful place and reasonable cost of living. I will say that Canada is looking more and more attractive, though. Most likely BC (but not ungodly expensive Vancouver). Maybe Kamloops or Kelowna? Really it depends on how much money I'll have.
Rygor Post #24 Nov 9, 2017 Forum: Friday Afternoon Club

Both of these contributions seem to be part of discussions about retirement.

Persons (or couples) thinking about retirement might be interested in Vancouver, if cost-of-living is not an issue, and sophistication of the culture is important.

The primary customer for a mountainside home would presumably be someone in the upper echelons of earnings capability.

Housing freed up by those who move into these new accommodations would become available to those earlier in the earnings cycle.

(th)

Last edited by tahanson43206 (2019-04-21 19:10:51)

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#18 2019-04-23 12:30:16

tahanson43206
Member
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 922

Re: Terraced housing development

For RobertDyck ...

The community structure that came to mind for your topic here is the condominium, largely due to the density, but also due to something you mentioned ... that your yard would stretch over your next-level-down neighbor's roof.

I wondered if condominium structures are available in Canada, and Mr. Google found this:

One in eight Canadian households lived in a residential condominium dwellings, mostly located in a few census metropolitan areas according to Statistics Canada Condominiums exist throughout Canada, although condominiums are most frequently found in the larger cities.
Condominiums in Canada - Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condominiums_in_Canada

(th)

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#19 2019-04-24 16:12:18

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
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Posts: 15,832

Re: Terraced housing development

The act to terrace a hillside has been around for centuries and while its due to limited ground space that is horizontal for gardening its also a way of life for those that could construct the habitats for one to own. Many a rich land owner would not think twice to construct such places to sell as they would appeal to like kind people for ownership.

The below ground designs have advantages and some detrimental aspects to living in them all depending on local. If the area is dry and hot the advantage is it will stay cooler in the summer but if its in a rainy area the chances of keeping the water out might not be very good under all weather conditions. Then there is the winter to contend with to which a double wall with insulation between them would help to keep the cold out.

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#20 2019-04-24 18:03:45

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
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Re: Terraced housing development

Vancouver is on the Pacific coast, it's very wet. However, an underground house on a hillside means drainage down the hill. I'm told the soil on that particular slope is shallow (someone today said 30 feet) with solid rock beneath. So it should be easy to secure houses on solid rock, secure subway tunnels to solid rock. It would probably be advantageous to replicate the Inca drainage system. They designed their terraces to drain rainwater, so soil remained moist for agriculture, but didn't flood. They have remained stable for over 500 years.
figure19.jpg

Last edited by RobertDyck (2019-04-24 18:34:31)

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#21 2019-04-24 18:30:16

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 922

Re: Terraced housing development

For RobertDyck #20 ...

Thank you for the reminder of Inca accomplishments!  The image you provided reminded me of a history/science program broadcast in recent years.  Mr. Google came up with this site, which contains enough text and imagery to give a sense of the architecture of Machu Picchu.

https://www.livescience.com/22869-machu-picchu.html

The terraces of that site seem (to me at least) very similar to the one you showed us.

***
That said ... the proposal you have offered is rich with opportunity to apply 21st technology to the ancient problem SpaceNut described in his recent post.   

The soil could be sculpted into yards/gardens, and the underpinnings of the community bonded to the rocks.

In other topics there is discussion (Louis and kbd512) of use of methane and ammonia as energy carriers for a (hypothetical) green energy economy.  It would seem (again, to me at least) that Vancouver has the culture that might support such a venture.

(th)

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#22 2019-04-24 18:32:03

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,748
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Re: Terraced housing development

tahanson43206 wrote:

I wondered if condominium structures are available in Canada

I always asked why anyone would buy one of those. You pay as much as a house, but just get an apartment. On top of that, condominium fees are as expensive as apartment rent. So what do you buy? What's the point?

However, on areas of sheer rock, you could build a condominium building. Or a fancy expensive cliff-side house, depending on demand. This picture is from Cypress Provincial Park, the area I'm talking about is up to that park. You can't develop in the park itself. But it's a nice picture of rock.
Saint%20Marks%20Summit%20008%20-S.jpg
Architects have come up with some interesting designs...
Nine-breathtaking-cliffside-houses-with-thrilling-views_1.jpg
images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTBb2kp1cuxFIvxie4iRUPvtLQt_cqR3G2myXcqYuO8xMy1cBL4
2a71cd0cb6ccfffae7c786f93f16a83b.jpg
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boats-pulled-up-below-steep-colored-hillside-village-buildings-manarola-italy-april-built-rock-cliff-face-cinque-terre-126058803.jpg
sepia-toned-vintage-effect-hillside-village-buildings-built-on-rock-picture-id1036244018

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#23 2019-04-24 18:46:17

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 922

Re: Terraced housing development

For RobertDyck #22 ...

In the spirit of inquiry, I was inspired by your observation about condominiums, to ask Mr. Google about why people buy them.

https://www.moneyunder30.com/buying-condo-vs-house

The article above appears (from a brief scan) to cover the three alternatives fairly well ... rent, buy home, or buy condo.

I like the freedom that comes with home ownership, but sometimes chafe at the responsibility that goes with it, especially in a dense city setting.  I proposed the condo structure for your (hypothetical-but-could-happen) hillside residences in Vancouver because the Association is responsible for the infrastructure, and the condo owner has the opportunity to grow capital as the value of the community increases, which is not the case with rental.

However, how the proposal would develop is very much to be determined by the community where it is pitched. 

(th)

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#24 2019-05-02 06:34:02

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,832

Re: Terraced housing development

This reminds me of the many discusions that contain a canyon or cravass settlement on mars where a roof of Ice or glass was designed in multi layers to protect the people within for short sleeve working on mars thats not in a space suit or MCP garment all the time.

Error on error - debunker debunked we are looking at the life support side that we are taking for granted.

Of course part of that lifesupport is the greenhouse as mars will not be the rich which go there. It will be filled with dreamers, explorers, scientists as well as many more types of people and work efforts that go with settling there for a permanent goal.

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