Housing
September 24, 2020

Lofty Elevators Goals in China, Practical Elevator Decisions in Nanaimo

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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In the “you just can’t make this stuff up” file,  the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP ) saw a Tesla driving on the highway near Ponoka Alberta. That’s normal. What was not normal was there wasn’t anyone at the wheel, and both the driver and passenger seats were fully reclined and the occupants sleeping. The Tesla was travelling down the highway at  speed, up to 150 kilometers an hour.

After being contacted by other drivers about this driverless vehicle, the RCMP approached the vehicle from behind with flashing lights only to have the vehicle speed up to 150 km/h from 140 km/h on their approach.

As Melissa Gilligan with Global News writes, the RCMP stated that “The car appeared to be self-driving, traveling over 140km/h, with both front seats completely reclined and both occupants appearing to be asleep.”

The speed limit for the highway was 110 kilometers per hour and the driver was a 20 year man from British Columbia.

While autonomous vehicles are not yet at Level Five which means they can drive by themselves, drivers go on the internet to find hacks around the safety systems. One hack is to tape a water bottle to the steering wheel so the vehicle thinks that there are human “hands” on the steering wheel.

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You would think that road safety would be top of mind for commercial vehicles on the road in British Columbia. In Canada a commercial vehicle is defined as a vehicle having a gross weight or registered gross weight of not more than 4,500 kilograms. In British Columbia a commercial vehicle is defined as taxis, ambulances, school buses and vehicles with more than two axles such as dump trucks and commercial transport trucks.

Last year at this time the Delta Police Department partnered with the Province’s Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement branch to conduct a three day enforcement campaign inspecting commercial vehicles. The results were shocking~as Ian Jacques with the Delta Optimist wrote , of “378  vehicles  targeted for full inspections, 160 were pulled off the road.”

Think of that~42 percent of the vehicles inspected were so unsafe they could not be legally driven. At that same inspection there was a stolen trailer with stolen plates, and several drivers that had not complied with previous orders to fix their vehicles.

Last week the Delta Police teamed up with Burnaby RCMP to inspect commercial trucks out at Deltaport for only one morning. In that one morning of 125 vehicles, 21 were flagged. Off the 21 trucks, seven were not road worthy and could not be driven for commercial purposes, and  14 were ticketed for violations. These are the vehicles that service the port, drive Metro Vancouver highways and enter the municipalities.

And earlier this year Burnaby RCMP  pulled over a 11,700 kilogram dump truck for a “routine” commercial vehicle inspection. It turned out the driver did not even have a license, but only a “L” license, which is given after a multiple choice exam as a learner’s permit.

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The Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation (CRRF) presents a two day free online conference hosted by the Rural Policy Learning Commons.

“Join us for two full days of FREE content and interactive discussions – you don’t want to miss this jam-packed program of rural researchers and thought leaders as they share rural-specific lessons and insights about the challenges and opportunities posed by the pandemic.

CRRF is delighted to offer this high-value virtual event for free. If you are planning to attend and able to do so, please consider becoming a member of CRRF or making a donation to help us continue supporting rural research and researchers across Canada.

Both days of the conference run from 8:00 a.m to 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time and are being hosted on Zoom by the Rural Policy Learning Commons. The Virtual Conference is being offered ‘a la carte’ style, so you can choose the sessions that are most interesting to you and work with your schedule by registering for each session separately.

Date: October 1 and October 2

Time: 8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time

Click here to find out further information and to register for the sessions you would like to attend.

Image: OxfordAmerican

 

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