Mosaic’s Tatton project in Coquitlam brings the Georgian housing style to an area more accustomed to isolationist tract housing.

(Source: The Globe and Mail)

The Vancouver suburb of Coquitlam has many charms. The Pitt River runs through it, the North Shore Mountains nestle around it and greenery abounds. But edgy urban planning is not yet one of the bucolic community’s strong points.

This is still very much a commuter’s hub, where the mall is the retail option of choice and single-family housing is the norm. But there are signs of a slow sea change. The neighbourhood around city hall boasts a new café and a fledgling pedestrian area amidst new high rises and shopping centres. And the old Riverview mental hospital that runs along the highway next to the CPR line is poised between new condo development and a return to a residential facility, because let’s face it, the suburbs can be calming.

But depending on how well planned they are, they can also pose a challenge to one’s mental health. The ugly isolationist model is well represented along a stretch of the Lougheed Highway, where planners have erected a huge concrete barrier in front of cookie cutter suburban tract housing complete with plywood siding and faux hacienda-style tile roofing. Blink and you could be in a kinder, gentler Baghdad.

But hope is on the horizon. There is a better way, and it’s cloaked in a Georgian row house exterior. That’s right, Georgian row houses have come to Coquitlam, in a project called “Tatton,” developed by Mosaic and designed by architect Bob Worden of Ramsay Worden Architects.

Read Hadani Ditmars’ full article “A new take on suburbia: high density” in the Globe and Mail (September 12, 2009).

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