The Olympic Village in Vancouver, built for the 2010 Winter Olympics, is part of the larger, mixed-use community of Southeast False Creek, which has a total population of 13,000 people. The neighbourhood includes housing and jobs that are close to transit, and provides access to goods and services within walking distance. The development provides for a diverse range of uses, incorporating retail, offices and community facilities along with mixed-income housing. Open spaces, plazas, streets, lanes, and pathways connect the entire site and link with adjacent neighbourhoods. The Villageis designed to enhance the pedestrian and social experiences of residents and visitors through the incorporation of heritage, sustainability, and urban design. 


The development was driven by ambitious sustainability and social goals. The Olympic Village is Canada's first residential, multi-unit, net-zero community – generating as much energy as it uses. The project included the rehabilitation of the shoreline, along with a new habitat island, seawall, pedestrian bridge and intertidal marine habitat. By 2020, the Olympic Village will have 5,000 residential units with a focus on affordable housing, with the dwellings complemented by a community centre on the waterfront, three childcare centres, a newly expanded library, and 26 acres of open public space. 

Reasons for success

The Olympic Village has succeeded in achieving its sustainability goals primarily because of the strong institutions and policies underpinning the development. The City of Vancouver introduced general planning principles addressing ecological, social, and economic aspects as early as 1999. 

When/why a city might adopt an approach like this

The Olympic Village project in Vancouver may be of interest to cities looking to transform former industrial areas located near the city centre and/or close to transit. The opportunities provided by the planning and organisation of a global mega-event such as the Winter Olympics in Vancouver could be leveraged by other cities staging similar large-scale events. 

C40 Good Practice Guides

C40's Good Practice Guides offer mayors and urban policymakers roadmaps for tackling climate change, reducing climate risk and encouraging sustainable urban development. With 100 case studies taken from cities of every size, geography and stage of development around the world, the Good Practice Guides provide tangible examples of climate solutions that other cities can learn from. 

The Transit Oriented Development Good Practice Guide is available for download here.  The full collection of C40 Good Practice Guides is available for download here.  

All references can be found in the full guide.

  • Environmental
  • Social
Key Impact
Canada's first residential, multi-unit, net-zero community – generating as much energy as it uses
Share article

More Case Studies