Policy & Planning
November 21, 2015

Building Better Cities

PricewaterhouseCoopers has reported on the role of urban centres in the context of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economic and social growth. Dear old Soggyville comes in as number 2 – not so bad when Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai are well down the list.  Their work is called “Building Better Cities: Competitive, sustainable and livable metropolises in APEC (and how to become one).” They studied 28 urban centers over 39 indicators in their first-ever city study.
It is a helpful broad view of many of the factors that PwC think important in city-making.
Number 1 ranking goes to Toronto, surprisingly, due mostly to a balanced scorecard.
The full PwC report is here:  http://www.pwc.com/us/en/apec-ceo-summit/2015/apec-building-better-cities.pdf
How was the study done?  “Building Better Cities draws on the methodology devised for PwC’s Cities of Opportunity  study, and aims to shine a light on urban success in APEC cities by measuring their livability, sustainability, and competitiveness.”
What interested me most was the section on Connectivity, which, among other things, deals with moving physically around the city. Vancouver ranks low on mass transit coverage, and highish on traffic congestion.  Too, the concept of multi-modal transportation appears several times.
And on a topic that I follow closely, PwC has this to say:

“Getting more commuters out of cars or cabs and on to bikes is gathering momentum in numerous cities, such as Santiago and Mexico City. Ecobici, Mexico City’s government-backed bike-sharing program, for instance, is the largest in North America.”

On a currently hot Canadian topic, PwC weighs in on page 27:

Time for a new urban-national Partnership.  In researching this report, we heard repeatedly the call for urbanization to become a national issue—for a new collaboration between national and urban governments to rapidly resolve metropolitan issues, via an urbanization agency, if you will.”

It’s hard to disagree with this idea.
Good reading all. And many thanks to Jacob Parry at BC Business for the tip.
Ken Ohrn
Don’t forget to submit new material on PT.Guested@Gmail.com while Gordon is away.

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