Urban planners from Seattle and Portland visited Vancouver's Olympic Village on Saturday to observe the community's much-lauded environmental sustainability.

They were taking part in this week's Cascadia Conference, which brings together developers and planners from B.C., Washington and Oregon.

Realtor Brian Owendoff came to see the billion-dollar project himself, and learn how his hometown of Portland can follow Vancouver's example.

"I think we're going to learn some new best-practices regarding how to make a neighbourhood that was underperforming as an industrial neighbourhood into a performing, multi-family, market-rate condominium location," he said.

The outside interest was encouraging to the village's design manager, Millenium Water's Roger Bayley, but he doesn't believe similar communities will become commonplace anytime soon.

"I think unfortunately it's going to take some time," he said. "I would think within the decade we're going to begin seeing buildings all designed in this framework."

The village was built with top-notch finishings and environmental certifications on prime real estate, putting the cost of the units out of reach for many buyers – but Saturday's visitors didn't see that as a long-term problem.

"With the economy the way it is and markets the way they are, banks and insurance companies are risk-averse," Owendoff said. "Some of these smaller half-block, full-block, wood-construction projects are a lot less risky."

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Penny Daflos