eparate entrances for condo and social-housing residents in the same development are not uncommon in Vancouver. In July, city council approved another rezoning for a development that has this segregated arrangement.
It’s a 30-storey high-rise in the West End. Condo residents have their lobby on Burnaby Street, but people in social housing have to access their homes from Thurlow Street.
Another similar development is coming up, this time on the northeast corner of Robson and Cardero streets. It’s a 28-storey tower that will have 153 condos and 24 social-housing units.
The project at 1555 Robson Street—by VKJ (Cardero) Investment Lp—will replace a two-storey commercial building.
The new development will include ground-floor commercial and office tenants whose entrances will be on Robson Street.
According to the design rationale submitted by the project’s consultant, IBI Group, as part of the development application, the “residential lobbies” will be located on Cardero Street.
Moreover, “entrances for each component of this development will be designed to be unique and easy to identify.”
The proposed Robson development was included in the agenda for the Wednesday (October 31) meeting of the City of Vancouver’s urban-design panel.
Separate entrances for social housing are often referred to as “poor doors”. Although they have become relatively common, the practice of having split entrances has been criticized.
Karen Hoese—the acting assistant director for downtown with the city’s planning, urban design, and sustainability department—acknowledged this issue in a report about the 30-storey West End tower (1068–1080 Burnaby Street and 1318 Thurlow Street) that was approved by city council last July.
She noted that the separate entrances for market and social-housing units caused uneasiness among some members of the public.
“There was concern that this would result in social isolation and stigmatization of the residents in the social housing units,” Hoese noted.