Policy & Planning
August 17, 2018

Data Overload: Housing Vancouver Strategy Data Book 2018

You want data on housing?  The City has data on housing – 150 pages worth.

And hence the problem.  Who is going to skim that amount of information, much less take the time to find the specific data they need if it’s not searchable on something other than a dense pdf document?  For that matter, for a topic on everyone’s tongue, how many people even know there is a “Housing Vancouver Strategy”, much less what it aims to achieve?

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Finally — entering the final stretch of a hot, dry summer, the Province of BC’s Minister of Agriculture says she is going to do something about the flagrant misuse of council authority in the City of Richmond.

As The Richmond News reports:

Lana Popham the Minister of Agriculture is now saying it directly~she is closing the barn door  on Richmond’s agricultural land speculators this Fall. Ms. Popham states “Legally limiting house sizes on protected farmland is among 13 recommendations for “immediate legislative and regulatory change. We can expect to see changes coming forward in the fall with regards to that.”

Previously, this council green-lit the development of the best agricultural lands in Canada into exclusive private estates for the very, very rich — many off-shore owned. Of course, these particular land owners receive the unintended additional benefit of a ‘super’ land-lift, as their agriculturally zoned property becomes a McMansioned playground for the well-heeled from elsewhere.

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The upcoming civic election in Vancouver (and elsewhere in BC) has something new — controlled campaign spending, less of it, and smaller donations.

This extends to organizations that are not political parties, but advertise on their behalf. They’re called “local advertising sponsors” or “third party sponsors”. They are required to register with Elections BC, and to observe spending limits during the “campaign period”, the 28 days before voting day.

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John Atkin lives in the architectural and heritage weeds.  As an historian and city insider, he knows the details on how this city has changed.  Here, for instance, is an excerpt by John (with Elana Zysblat, James Burton and Denise Cook) from the West End Heritage Context Statement for the West End plan. 

This section provides a summary of zoning changes in the West End as new forms of development emerged, particularly the highrise tower, and how the city planners both encouraged and responded to redevelopment.  (I’ve added the illustrations.)

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Dianna took a close look at this graphic on a utility box when at the Mt Pleasant Mural Fest:

“Where’s the crow?” she asked.  How could a “Birds of Vancouver” not have a crow (especially when it looks like one may become the popular ambassador of this city, as reported by CBC)?

Then when out cycling, she noticed something else.  “We rode the Arbutus today and I made a discovery. Apparently the scarecrows (for the community gardens) have a strong labor union because they’ve taken off for the summer. Or maybe they were in a dressing room changing their clothes?”

Very suspicious.

 

 

 

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Another conversation with a savvy insider on the civic election – one who deserves the moniker of ‘pundit’ (in the best sense) – and who had a most provocative insight: “Vision will win a majority on council.”

How?  With their data base.  Vision continued to renew their already-extensive and targeted contact list between elections.  Unlike the new parties or independents, Vision knows who their supporters are and how to reach them.

Because of the new financing rules, it’s even more of a challenge for others to create such a list or find an expensive substitute.  Pundit thinks Hector Bremner may have some data, but it’s likely out of date.  There’s also a rumour that the NPA may have been in danger of losing what they had because of an in-house conflict.  Regardless, says pundit, the old guard that’s left, after Bremner blew it apart, doesn’t know much about contemporary political organizing.

But has Vision, I asked,  such a damaged brand that, regardless of their data, they won’t pull in the needed vote?

Pundit thinks that even with a 15 to 20 percent drop in support, their core vote won’t be bewildered by a ballot with 70-plus councillor candidates and nine for mayor (at last count).  And if they fear that the progressive policies of Vision they do like, regardless of a failure on the housing file, might be threatened, they’ll be sufficiently motivated to support the party.  Vision will know their names.  Then it’s the job of the volunteers to get them out.

Sounds like old-fashioned political organizing to me.

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Another Metrotown tower to highlight – for its highlighting.  Glass panels in translucent blues and greens seem to be there for decorative effect, and are used even more effectively on the townhouses below:

Simple and effective.

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By late summer, we’re in shape.

Good weather, longer days, more trips on bikes, more running, more hiking, more walking.

Younger people are literally using the city as a gym.   On the bike routes, cyclists are stronger, moving faster, more in control – and showing off their bodies.  Ironically, even as the air quality worsens, the city is feeling healthier.

And looking good.

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