Climate Change
September 28, 2020

Less Car More Transit, Walking, Cycling in a Post Pandemic World?

It was Eric Doherty that started it all in this article by Jennifer Saltman in the Province.  In the summer more than 250 government leaders who are affiliated with the Climate Caucus sent an open letter stating that Covid related economic recovery monies should not be used for expanding highways and airports but fr supporting transit service, walking and biking.

In Canada after oil and gas industries it is transportation that is the largest source of greenhouse gas emsisons. In British Columbia  transportation produces 37 percent of emissions. Mr. Doherty representing the Better Transit Alliance in Victoria sees Covid recovery as an opportunity to reinforce transit which is suffering with lower ridership in this phase of the pandemic.

There are a few changes already evident from the pandemic. The first is that there is a clear adaptation to working at home. Mario Canseco’s work shows that 73 percent of Canadians expect to continue some kind of work at home, while 63 percent think that business travel and meetings are gone,with internet applications like Zoom replacing those trips.

The second change is that there has been an increase in physical activity as one of Mr. Canseco’s latest polls with Research.co indicates.  Two-thirds of people in this province say they are walking more despite living at home, and 26 percent of all people are running or jogging more.

But if more people are working from home, and as in the case of London
England only 25 percent of workers have come back to work in the downtown because of Covid concerns, what shifts can be made?

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Metro Vancouver is unique in that the region uses water from the mountains contained in Seymour, Capilano and Coquitlam reservoirs. Think of that~we do not take advantage of rain water, ground water, or fresh water from rivers for any water sources.

While we are lucky in that our water supply is vast and with prudent conservation should last through a dry hot summer, according to Elizabeth Elkin at Bloomberg,  “Almost two-thirds of the world’s population is expected to face water shortages by 2025. “

According to the CME Financial Derivatives exchange Wall Street is going to commence trading in futures contracts estimating California’s water supply. The purpose of commodifying water is to allow “big water consumers” such as almond growers and municipalities to hedge against price increases.

But this also suggests water, will become scarcer with climate change and  more torrid temperatures.

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The Biennale has several events for people to take part in.

During a year that has been unlike any other, we’ve been inspired to see how artists, festivals, arts organizations, and cultural institutions are continually adapting. Here in Vancouver and around the world, we’ve found new ways to continue creating and connecting (safely) together. We are taking part in Culture Days 2020 this month, the nation-wide celebration of Canadian arts and culture indoors, outdoors, and online. Visit their website to find dozens of local experiences you can explore in person or online from September 25 – October 25th!

Ride Through Time
We’ve designed this self-guided bicycle ride (it’s walkable, too) to take you through the transformation of Vancouver’s waterfront as it developed from the 1860s to present day. Check out the three museums at Vanier Park and learn about the 12,000 years of history of Sen̓áḵw.

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Which country do you think has the most elevators? Did you know that it is Spain, with 19.8 elevators per 1,000 population?  But with 65% of Spanish citizens living in apartment buildings it makes sense that there are so many elevators. Compare that with the United States that have 2.8 elevators per thousand population, or China with 2.2 per thousand.

As reported in the New York Times by Keith Bradsher China now wants to change all of that, and hopes to retrofit as many as three million older walkup buildings with elevators, projecting the cost at roughly $100,000 USD per installation.

Why?  As China’s older population is aging, they have also acquired wealth, and are now demanding being better served by their government.

During the Mao regime in the 1960’s families were urged to have many children who are now coming to be 60 years of age. A subsequent “one child” policy in the 1970’s  means that these seniors do not have children and grandchildren ot assist them as they age.

The city of Guangzhou has taken advantage of a federal government grant of $93,000 per elevator installation and has already retrofitted 6,000 older buildings. That city required two-thirds of strata  owners to agree to the project before installation.

This “elevator policy” is seen as a national employment incubator to provide jobs for millions of unemployed migrant workers. But there is a wrinkle~elevators come from a very small group of global manufacturers and are dominated by names familiar to North Americans. Otis Elevator, Schindler, and Kone are prominent. So while those firms will get the contract to install elevators, the job of the building retrofit for the elevator will be done by a small group of specialized Chinese contractors.

Back to British Columbia which also has a lot of three storey walk up apartments in towns and cities that do not have elevators. What happens when a resident has a mobility issue and requires an elevator or a stair assist?

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This is the way we like to think of Chinatown~a place to buy fresh groceries with wide sidewalks for stopping and looking in windows, and a place to go to bakeries or to restaurants for some of the best food in the city. But look a little closer.  Here on Pender Street the sidewalk is littered with cigarettes, newspapers and discarded clothing.

Even the Chinatown historic photo mural is defaced. Walk a little further and the area seems like a movie set of street maintenance abandonment.

 

 

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Housing Outreach Partnership, Inc. is proud to announce that the third annual California Landlords’ Summit on Homelessness will be held on Wednesday September 30, 2020. Due to COVID-19 it will be held via Zoom.

This event brings landlords and property owners into conversation with homelessness service providers to learn how they can help end homelessness in California. Last year’s Summit resulted in 94 people receiving housing and saved public agencies over $2.6 million. This year’s Summit will explore the connection between homelessness and the housing crisis.

Our featured speaker will be Charles L. Marohn, Jr., PE AICP. Charles Marohn is the Founder and President of Strong Towns and the author of Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity. He is a Professional Engineer (PE) and land use planner with two decades of experience. He is featured in the documentary film Owned: A Tale of Two Americans, and was named one of the 10 Most Influential Urbanists of all time by Planetizen. He will discuss how cities can break out of the housing trap to create more naturally affordable housing.

Additionally, local experts will demonstrate how landlords can make sound business decisions by renting to individuals currently experiencing homelessness. We will cover topics such as housing vouchers, rent guarantees, tenant support and more. Other speakers will discuss California’s recent housing legislation.

CLSH 2020 is made possible by sponsorship from the Kern County Superintendent of Schools and assistance from the Income Property Association of Kern, California Apartment Association, Housing Authority of the County of Kern, and Hermit Communications.

Date: Wednesday September 30, 2020

Time: 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon Pacific Time.

To register please click here.

Images: Homelessperspective, CLSH

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PANDEMONIUM: Pandemics and Long-range Planning
by SFU Urban Studies Program

How is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the basic tenets of city planning and the direction of longer-term planning processes currently underway?

All our core principles about successful urban places –density, mixed-use, eyes on the street, reliance on public transit and non-motorized transport, and active public spaces – have been called into question by the pandemic. At the same time, new rules about cities, space, work, travel and social life have been imposed as emergency measures, without time to consider their long-term implications. In this session, we will learn about how urban and regional planning efforts underway before the pandemic will be influenced by it, what, if any, concepts need a radical rethink, and what new lessons will be incorporated.

Speakers:
Kennedy Stewart, Mayor of Vancouver
Reconstructing Our City
Jennifer Keesmaat, founder, The Keesmaat Group and Sponsor of the 2020 Declaration for Resilience in Canadian Cities
The New Imperative for Resilience in Canadian Cities
Heather McNell, general manager, Regional Planning and Housing Services, Metro Vancouver
The Vancouver Region in 2050: Implications of COVID-19
Yunji Kim, assistant professor, Graduate School of Public Administration, Seoul National University
The Pandemic and the Impatient Nation: How Korea Responded to COVID-19
Am Johal, director of SFU Vancity Office of Community Engagement
Whose City is it Anyway?
Moderator: Ken Cameron, adjunct professor, SFU Urban Studies
Time for questions and conversation will follow the panel.
This event has been made possible by the generous support of SFU Public Square and financially supported by the Initiative in Urban Sustainable Development.
Technology Requirements
This event has a participatory aspect. To engage fully you will need:
A computer or smartphone
A microphone
Speakers or headphones
Please note: a link to join the webinar will be sent to registrants on the morning of September 30.

Date: Wednesday September 30

Time: 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time

You can find out more information about the event here.

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In the last three years there has been a lot of chest thumping at how autonomous vehicles would infiltrate the market, and how fast this technological change would happen. I have written about the autonomous vehicle that drove across the United States. The vehicle achieved that only on the highway, and had to avoid being autonomous in cities.

While the technology is being developed for the trucking industry as an advanced driving assistance system (ADAS), it is telling that it can only be used on highways. The reason is that this technology called “Copilot” cannot differentiate narrow streets, oncoming traffic, pedestrians and cyclists, all the components at play in a city setting. Despite the claims of autonomous vehicle boosters that the technology is close to being adopted in cities, the sophistication of the systems to recognize and respond to the multitude of discrete movements in a city have still not been developed.

Some of the speakers in the excellent AARP Transportation conference held last week were even more blunt. They posit that the Level Five completely autonomous technology is being developed by software engineers that live in a certain part of California, are used to certain populations of people, and have designed software based upon their own experience of open space and streets.

There have been suggestions that the current technology does not recognize human shadows, and has difficulty recognizing the human form in darker clothes or shapes.

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From Paul Caune~What about a moving theatre project that centres on a train? That’s exactly what this project from Jörn Hintzer and Jacob Hüfner,  who are both media artists and professors at the Bauhaus University in Weimar Germany provides.

With a direct allegory to the every present changing visual media screens online, these two artists reverse the stationary and moving images, providing vignettes of art performance to train passengers along a 30 kilometer route. The train public art is set  through the Saal Valley in Germany where fifty live art performances were repeated for 26 trains over two days.

The Bewegtes Land project incorporates live performances from four hundred residents who live along the route. A couple fishing in a lake tip over in a canoe when a shark “attacks”. There is a burning tree and running bushes.  There is a group of east German produced cars (which were completely unreliable) chasing a new Volkswagen. And there is a runner who paces along the train, rides a horse, and somehow ends up at the train station terminus ahead of the train.

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How Metropolitan Planning Organizations can champion Vision Zero & Equitable Mobility

Regional leadership for Vision Zero – with a focus on health and racial equity – is growing in the U.S. We’ll learn about two Metropolitan Planning Organizations’ development of Vision Zero plans, as well as their critical work to move from vision to action. Both Oregon Metro and the Denver Regional Council of Governments’ Vision Zero plans have a strong focus on advancing equity. Join us to learn more about this encouraging trend in regional leadership toward safe, healthy, equitable mobility.

The Vision Zero Network needs your support to continue delivering these webinars and other valuable Vision Zero resources for the community.

Date: Thursday, September 24

Time: 10-11am Pacific Time 

Webinar participant levels are as follows:

Consultants, for-profit company staff, and participants earning continuing education credits: $25
Public sector & Nonprofit staff, and Community members: $10 (use code: GOV)
Limited income attendees: No charge (use code: FREE)

Your receipt will be sent via email.

You can find further information and register here.

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