By Gord Price
I’ve been wondering how Trumpism will manifest itself when it comes to ‘urbanism’ – especially the values with which we use to plan and develop cities and urban regions. My guess: regardless of their merits and successes, there will be a rejection of contemporary urban ideas – notably mixed-use, transit-oriented communities with an emphasis on safe and beautiful public realms not dependent on the car.  More particularly, there will be a defunding of those transportation choices that move us away from Motordom, especially cycling infrastructure.  Oh yeah, especially bike lanes.
Why?  Because those are the ideas and choices of the ‘urban elites.’  It matters not whether such urban environments can benefit all parts of the community, and actually enhance affordability for those squeezed out of the 20th-century version of the American Dream.  It certainly doesn’t matter whether they help make our environments more sustainable. Those people lost; their ideas and actions must be rejected – indeed, reversed.
One of the ways, for instance, that those who deny climate change can express their confident disbelief is to double down on the production and use of carbon-based fuels, and to promote consumption of the urban forms and lifestyles that are dependent on them.  Or better yet, in the win-lose game of polarized politics, actually discourage, even prevent, those alternatives to the way of life glamorized in the extreme by those places branded with garish gold signs of the name of the President to be.


  1. But this is yet another opinion piece by an urban elite. Who decides what is a benefit to the community? Hopefully it will be the residents, and not planners who want to enforce their visions at any cost (Dale Bracewell et al.).
    The arrogance is incredible.
    When we have to debate concerns such as VGH parking being lost to bike lanes, or shill corporate advertising on Mobi bikes right outside your door in an area you used to have access to, you can very clearly see how this line of thought has gone too far. It has actually become abusive towards anyone who is not capable of economically or physically partaking in it.

    1. Hi John, when you are willing to pay the market price for the land used by parking, we can talk. As long as you expect free or subsidized parking, it’s in the taxpayer’s best interest to evaluate other uses for the land.
      If anything, demanding that other people pay for your parking is the height of arrogance and entitlement.

    2. John – Don’t you see any benefits in having more mobility choices and a more vibrant and livable city? As to Mobi, you still have access to the space outside our door. Instead of room for one or two cars, you now have access to 10 or 15 Mobi bikes. Is this not a great improvement?

      1. And as to 10th Ave improvements, some of the street parking is being upgraded to make the street safer for ALL users. Why focus on the bike lanes? Street will be safer for pedestrians, drivers and access will be improved for those with disabilities. This is a win for everyone with the exception of able bodied people who are annoyed about having a fewer on street parking spots. Would you prefer that this road remain in it’s current unsafe state? I am glad that our city is committed to safer streets and to a reduction in the road violence which we see almost every day.

      2. Others have access to 10 or 15 Mobi bikes (unused lol). Those who have kids to transport, mobility issues or a myriad of other concerns are now just out of curbside access that in many cases they had purchased permits to use. And now with advertising by Shaw to add “vibrancy” I suppose.
        It would seem that this is part of the arrogance you see exhibited by “urban elites” and associated civic planners in that there is a particular vision that you must adapt to fit, rather than a civic government that serves its people.
        To my eyes it’s quite easy to see that this sort of planning has moved to where it is certainly excluding the needs of middle class families, if not actually being outright anti family and/or classist in nature.

        1. When you say “purchase” I think you mean “were given access to at rates far below market rate for parking and further still below market rates for land” If people want to actually purchase the right to park, I’m all for it, but the rate for renting 200-300 sqft of land in downtown Vancouver is not $50/year

        2. @John: As we know, children can be cruel. Nasty remarks to elderly people is something that properly abhors us. Nowadays it’s not just children that shout these epithets. The elderly and the infirm are clearly not being considered or wanted in the sporty active resort that Vancouver is now being designed as. In the new world of Lycra fashion and toned bodies we now have sporty fashion merging with trendy urban design and the reference point is more bike warrior than cycle user. The workplaces are all being fitted out with showers because the warrior arrives all sweaty.
          This is more Alpine course endurance on a carbon fibre speed machine rather than Amsterdam or Copenhagen commuting or shopping.
          This is from a Dutch blog remarking on San Francisco’s rushing and speeding bikers.

          Promoting bikes is so gloriously wonderful that the demonization and hatred of the car, and anyone that stubbornly gives any reason to manipulate such a violent and disgusting contraption, is naturally done together. If they move to somewhere else then so much the better. If they are frail and elderly then so be it, they must make way for the strong and the young.

          Bike to your doctor or move out to pasture.

        3. One thing I noticed while cycling in Europe is the high numbers of very old people who ride bicycles. North Americans have become sissies. The constant promotion of convenience and comfort has created many of the health problems that are now being singled out as a reason to discourage cycling. It’s a vicious circle.

        4. John: Your on-street parking spot is probably being subsidized by me to the tune of about $5000 per year. How fair is that? City policy is simply promoting fairness as well as finding the best use for our public space. As Thomas says, why should the priority of our public space be free storage for cars? Shouldn’t improved mobility be a priority?

        5. Eric, what does the speed of bikers in San Francisco have to do with anything? i am sure that there are a lot of fast moving cars in San Francisco and that would be very concerning since they create almost all of the carnage on he roads. Why does the promotion of cycling have to have anything to do with a war on cars except in media articles which try desperately to attract readers? Why can’t we agree that the promotion of cycling simply encourages more people to ride bikes and that this has huge benefits for society – not the least of which is reduced motor vehicle congestion?

    3. Re: arrogant planners who enforce their visions at any cost.
      Last time I checked we have a civic voting structure that elects councillors to limited terms, and who possess the only power to approve large budgets for city infrastructure. This is accomplished through three public readings at council chambers before being passed in the form of a bylaw.
      So much for the power of planners.

        1. Can you articulate what you mean by the mandate? I could take that any number of ways and argue both ends of several issues.

        2. Mandate in this sense is that given directly to planners. This comes 1) directly by NIMBY type complaint, 2) from a political desire to appeal to those who live in neighbourhoods which stereotypically show a NIMBY mindset, who interpret this indirect mandate as a behind the scenes direction given planners, and 3) from council directly passing bylaw.
          (I was mostly being cheeky with my dig at Vision because it created a wordplay on the previous comment, this works for any political party … the cost though is real, no matter who is elected)

  2. We live in Canada, not in the USA. Canadian values are different that American values.
    If you are going to coin a new word “trumpism” then it needs to be defined.
    We should not necessarily assume a future that includes Donald Trump. Self-fulfilling prophesies are not helpful.
    We should all stop using the phrase “double down” because we are immediately disenfranchised by its use. We are not playing poker.
    We know what the best practices are for land use and transportation planning.
    The future of cities depends as always on the economy.

    1. I commend you on your insight that “The future of cities depends as always on the economy.”. Bravo. Perhaps some of my blogging does sink in ?
      However, enlighten us that “We know what the best practices are for land use and transportation planning.”. Do we ? I think there is quite a bit of debate here, for example charging for parking (or not or how much), how to pay for rapid transit (property taxes ? user fees ? higher income taxes ? higher PST ? lower civil servants salaries ?) or what fuel to use to propel buses (diesel ? hydrogen ? electricity ? ethanol ? ) or what roles AVs might play within cities (allowed ? augmenting public transit ? heavily regulated ? tolled ?) or how to reduce car dependency (tolls ? per km charges ? higher parking fees ? more buses ? more subways ? more bike lanes ? higher density ? ) or if or how to create more land from ocean or river flats or ALR ? Plenty of debate !

      1. Parking charges, pay, property tax, user fee(s), provincial sales tax, salaries, tolled, tolls, km charges, higher fees, more, more, more, more obsessive money insanity language complete with delusional features.

  3. I think one element of Trumpism has existed for some time – the response to any change to any Character neighbourhood is reacted to as an affront to a cherished past way of living.
    There is little to separate garden variety NIMBY from someone shouting Make Vancouver [look] Great Again!

  4. Urban design by and large is decided locally. That is why San Francisco looks so much different than New York or Dallas. Unlike Canadian cities US cities have more taxation power, some have city consumption taxes and very high property taxes. The US has no GST equivalent (although they should) and very low federal gasoline taxes.
    The bigger issue here with Trump is NOT urban design but the topic of “sanctuary cities” ie the stated desire of the new federal government to be tough on illegal immigration i.e. deport some, incl. many of the most criminal elements vs many campuses and cities that harbor those illegals and that are now setting up defense funds to fight deportation, for example. I think we will see some massive protests as early as 2Q 2017, likely riots and possibly arrests of high profile mayors or university presidents, in addition to funding cuts. It will be a massive media spectacle with fire, rock throwing, broken windows, much blood, arrests by the thousands and likely a few death. It will play in the media for weeks as (old) conservatives, you know, the racist, deplorable white trash that elected this administration clash with young, mixed race, liberal, educated, under-employed, non-tax paying coddled sub 25 year olds. it will be ugly.

    1. You sound positively pleased that Trump’s election will lead to bloodshed. No doubt you’ll be sitting in the bleachers cheering on the gun-toting, hummer-driving coal miners as they pulverize those aiming for a less brutal world.
      But then brute force has always been the main theme in your posts. 20 subway lines trumps smart planning that reduces the need for so many to travel so far.

      1. I am merely commenting on what in my opinion will happen in the US due to the existing immigration law being enforced now – and the ever widening gulf between academia / left / students / urban folks vs the incoming administration. If the US wants more immigration or give amnesty to a large portion of their existing illegal immigrant population that is fine, but this state of lawlessness with over 10M illegal immigrants will not continue with the new administration that was voted in by a majority, fair and square. The result will likely be mass protests in a variety of cities, likely with violence.
        As to subways, that is clearly a requirement in a dense, already busy and developing corridor like Broadway with immense construction at UBC, soon UEL’s block F and Jericho all along the envisioned path from Commercial to UBC. More bike lanes are fine but won’t be sufficient. More car tolls are fine too but won’t improve capacity ! Missing in the debate of course is public sector wage & benefit constraint as well as Vancouver’s ability to co-fund it with increased parking fees, increased CACs, increased property taxes and increased user fees all within the control of local councils.

        1. Car tolls, public sector wage, co-fund, parking fees, CACs, property taxes, user fees, more obsessive money insanity language complete with lies; President Elect Trump received 25% support from the population, the lowest support of any President Elect ever while Hilary beat the crap out of him with the popular vote by over 3 million votes. President Elect Trump is a case of Kleptocracy cyber action by Putin. When the deplorables such as yourself wake up they are going to be angry.

        2. Last time I checked he won the VAST MAJORITY of the electoral colleges. That is all that matters. Republican house & senate too. Get used to it. Campaigning in large states such as NY, CA etc is thus avoided and as such “popular vote” is then somewhat meaningless. Justin Trudeau too was elected with nary 40%. Or Stephen Harper. Or Rachel Notley. So ?
          We can debate the usefulness or appropriateness of the current US presidential election system in the internet, TV, radio & air plane age, i.e. how useful a system is that was invented when the horse was the main long distance transportation system – pre-railway, pre-car, pre-plane, pre-TV, pre-radio, pre-internet.

        3. @Jolson. You might be interested in this list of countries that use the same system of voting as that won by Trump. Of course, this was the rules used in the competition and we all know that if the rules of any game cannot be changed after the game has been won.
          The following is a list of the countries currently following the first-past-the-post voting system.
          Antigua and Barbuda
          Cayman Islands
          Cote d’Ivoire
          Cook Islands
          Lao People’s Democratic Republic
          Saint Lucia
          Marshall Islands
          Myanmar (Burma)
          North Korea
          Saint Kitts and Nevis
          Saint Lucia
          Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
          Sierra Leone
          Solomon Islands
          Trinidad and Tobago
          United Kingdom
          United States (California, Louisiana, and the state of Washington use a two-round system for non-presidential elections)
          Virgin Islands

        4. The following is a list of countries currently [using] the first-past-the-post [electoral] system with an archaic remnant of colonialism called the Electoral College:

        5. The result of the recent election in the USA would have been the same, with or without the electoral college, in all countries on the list I copied over from Wikipedia.

    2. More taxation power, consumption taxes, property taxes, GST, gasoline taxes, defense funds, funding cuts, money.cnn., funding, non-tax paying, more obsessive money insanity language complete with nightmare features.

  5. Thomas,
    I am watching you, and if you don’t stop causing trouble on the internet,
    then you are going to end up with a lump of coal in your stocking!

    1. Is this coal lump still legal in the green, climate change infused, anti-coal age ? Maybe Santa hands out a battery or a liter of hydrogen in lieu of a lump of coal ?
      Trouble on the internet ? Merely debating issues, and defending theses against cyber bullies.
      Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Holidays to all !

  6. Really when sneering tones are used to describe those who don’t wish to cram their families into an over prices shoebox downtown, one should expect to get trumped. If we didn’t have the absurd carving of our connurbation into little fiefdoms the majority would have trumped Gregor long ago for promoting a narrow agenda that has little to do with the daily issues they face. Ivory tower dwellers who don’t blink when tax increases double the rate of inflation get pushed through to fund pet causes would have been tossed out on their ear faster than you can say boo.

    1. Thankfully we haven’t amalgamated and elected a clown like Rob Ford.
      What I always find fascinating about conservative types is their reliance on the extreme to make a point – usually while pretending they have a well-rounded view. Bob says “cram their families into an overpriced shoebox” as if that is what we’re aiming for. If we reduce fossil fuels we’ll all be living in caves. Gregor wants to force everyone to ride a bike. etc.
      Bob doesn’t seem to understand that the majority in Vancouver are reasonably happy with Vision’s policies (obviously), but his disdain for urban approaches to urban issues means he wants to impose his favoured suburban solutions on Vancouver. How blatantly ridiculous! If you don’t like the way we do things in Vancouver you’re welcome to move to Langley. But don’t be surprised when the suburbs start mimicking Vancouver’s lead. I already see high density mixed use neighbourhoods popping up around transit stations and other appropriate (and sometimes inappropriate) places. I see bike lanes – even protected bike lanes – being built. I hear suburban councilors and planners talking about constraining the car.
      The big house and the multiple cars still works in small towns. It doesn’t work in the city. It increasingly doesn’t work in the suburbs. Get over it!

      1. Funny, historic amalgamation let New York elect “clowns” like Michael Bloomberg. Keeping the population balkanized by totally artificial lines is ridiculous, but it suits the municipal politicians who can build their petty little kingdoms and their cossetted, out of touch workforce who never sees a layoff or paycut.

        1. That’s why we have Metro Vancouver to iron out regional concerns.
          But if we let the suburban car-dependent masses overpower Vancouver’s initiatives we’d have freeways running right into the city, fewer if any protected bike lanes, fewer walkable neighbourhoods – nobody to lead the way because everything would get watered down to the dull monotony of sprawling suburban lifestyle. In other words, there would be less choice and less ability to examine what works and what doesn’t in a broad variety of development approaches. Urban concepts of development would always lose to the larger suburban vote.
          Maybe one day when the suburbs have matured we might discuss the idea of amalgamation. But as long as we have a regional majority who favour cars amalgamation would be a very very bad idea.

        2. “But if we let the suburban car-dependent masses overpower Vancouver’s initiatives…”
          And there we have your Marie Antionette moment. The suburbanites are revolting! Totally worthy of being trumped.

    2. We’ve had the suburban dream — SFDs freezing 80% of the land — since forever in Vancouver, and look where it’s gotten us. Prices far beyond median family incomes. Not all of that can be conveniently placed at the feet of stinking rich foreigners.

      1. Land was cheap 30, 50 or certainly 100 years ago. So what was built and zoned then was a reflection of that. Land today is far more expensive and as such re-zoning, densification and re-building is happening. That will take some time. Much time. Decades.
        Vancouver, like most NA cities grew initially with the railway then with the car. Europe’s big cities grew before the car and the elevator was invented, i.e. had to build denser with the horse or pedestrian in mind, as such at most 6 or 7 story buildings, built walkable 150-200+ years ago. London’s first subway was opened over 150 years ago as the roads were already so clogged. What was happening in Vancouver 150 years ago ? Not much. A few hundred folks sitting in wooden houses trading with the locals. The odd boat in and out with weeks in between another boat. The railway changed things as you could now get here faster, rather than taking a boat to San Francisco and then a multi-week coach ride east.
        Vancouver could have chose to clone Paris, London, Berlin, Barcelona in the 20th century but it chose not to because people preferred a house over a condo on the 5th floor if the price is the same. That is why Europeans moved here by the millions. Then PET opened up Canada to non-European, and then Expo 1986 opened the floodgates to Asia. Much rebuilding / rezoning ever since.
        Reducing our car dependency or even eliminating the car will take some time. Even downtown has zero true pedestrian zones.

        1. Do people move here in droves from NYC?
          NYC used to be all SFH (and still is in many boroughs) … but then time happened and density happened and no-one tried sufficiently hard to keep all the SFH in Manhattan that any really remained.
          In Vancouver many are still trying hard.

      2. Prices are far beyond local family incomes because we let senior levels of government sell off vast chunks of our residential real estate to foreign interests.
        Of course that suits the narrative of many here just fine. It doesn’t matter to Ron apparently that local workers at UBC or the airport can’t afford a house, let them eat condos!

        1. The desire to own a house is a frontier mentality that only a few can afford in a city. It has not been the way to house people in cities around the world since the beginning of time. There was a very brief period of perhaps a hundred years where it looked like it might work. But it didn’t.
          If you want a house so bad, move to somewhere small where it is still possible,
          You may be surprised to know I design houses for a living. So I’m not arguing against single family houses out of greed or self-interest. Quite the opposite.

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