Vancouver, USA is a place that has one of the most diverse residential real estate markets in the entire region. The city proper lies on the shores of the mighty Columbia River where nearly 200,000 people reside within the incorporated boundary. But Vancouver also has another 140,000 or so people living in urban and suburban neighborhoods just outside the official "city."
This can make for some interesting transitions between various neighborhoods that have developed over the decades at different paces and under different county guidelines for development. When venturing outside the incorporated boundaries of the city, neighborhoods will take on a variety of different characteristics ranging from near rural to urban densities. Outside of the incorporated city one may find neighborhoods with streets that transition from fully developed suburbia to rural open culvert and back again. This is very rare inside the incorporated city but somewhat common in unincorporated neighborhoods. This is not a problem per se but for those that like a conforming neighborhood the incorporated city is the best bet.
It is mostly in the unincorporated neighborhoods that one can find a suburban home on a large 1/2 acre or even 1 acre lot with a bit of a country feel yet still "in town" with close proximity to suburban amenities like schools and shopping. But these are also neighborhoods where one might notice some quasi rural effects such as livestock, roosters, and other traditional rural and farming type ambiance for better or worse.
Most cities have a variety of transitional areas but Vancouver has 140,000 people living in these unincorporated neighborhoods. Vancouver has more people living in the neighborhoods outside the city than live in any of Portland's suburban cities including Gresham, Beaverton, and Hillsboro.
At some point over the next decade or so, the city will annex most of these areas and when that happens some conformity changes will occur which in general helps the overall aesthetic, but may cripple some of the charm.
|Rural 5 acres, in close to "town"|
People moving in from out of the area are often taken by surprise at the "size" of Vancouver and that is likely because they expected a city the size of the Vancouver described on the Wikipedia page and found the Vancouver of reality which is nearly twice as big. Vancouver has a robust downtown that has become very urban over the last 25 years yet remains notably more navigable than Portland's busier urban core. One can find high-rise condos and waterfront apartments in modern walk-able and sustainable neighborhoods. Vancouver has a large area of vintage classic homes in Norman Rockwell type neighborhoods such as Arnada, Shumway, Hough and Carter Park. The city has a wide swath of neighborhoods with homes dating to every decade of the 20th century. Vancouver is like a time machine of sorts offering a glimpse of neighborhood life across the decades.
For those that want a house on five acres with horses and such, Vancouver even has a fair bit of that to the east in the Proebstel area. Like the title says, it's an eclectic mix with something for everyone :)