In August, our friends at Cambie Report — with their podcast guest, political science researcher and professor Stewart Prest — devised a new political spectrum as part of their analysis of parties and candidates participating in the fall municipal election campaign in Vancouver.

What began as an idea turned into a crowdsourcing experiment for positioning Vancouver’s political parties and mayoral candidates as points on a new kind of matrix.

Bound by the traditional Left-Right ideological spectrum (X-axis), and an Urbanist-Conservationist continuum (Y-axis), the chart is a sociopolitical version of Gartner’s well-known technology ranking methodology the Magic Quadrant.

Co-creator Ian Bushfield of Cambie Report explains:

The 2018 BC municipal election cycle was remarkable in numerous respects. Among the most notable developments, we argue, was the rise of a new urbanist-conservationist axis along which parties and candidates sorted themselves.

Voters increasingly consider their vote through the lens of urban change, with two clear poles emerging. Near one pole are parties in favour a range of policies designed to increase urban density, aggressively improve housing affordability, and facilitate multi-modal transportation including bike lanes and transit infrastructure. At the other end of the spectrum lie parties and candidates generally cautious about those same issues, favouring limited new development, and much more cautious about investment in multi-modal transit approaches.

Crucially, these issues interact with, but are not reducible to the more traditional left-right political axis.

Is this the new way to classify our parties and politicians, and how they think about — and govern — our cities?

Gord discussed this with Bushfield here in episode 11 of Price Talks (also available on your favourite podcast app).

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