This housing complex being erected by the City on Larwill Park (presumed site of the new Art Gallery and office tower) will, with 98 units, be the largest modular housing for the homeless so far.  (More here.)

Modular housing is coming of age.  With no pretense of being architecturally significant, it nonetheless fits in, especially among the residential towers that typify the style of our time.  Indeed, it’s a good example of the importance of the ‘missing middle’ – low- and medium-rise development that offers a horizontal relief to the excesses of the vertical city.  More importantly, it provides a place for people whose only alternative is the street itself.

 

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The Star and Toronto’s May Warren has reported on the cleaving of class in Toronto, where the downtown has service sector jobs, but the people in those jobs do not have affordable housing close to their workplace.

Warren observes“This dynamic of lower-paid suburban workers servicing downtown’s bankers, lawyers and “creative class Sunshine List professionals” is turning the city into a kind of “Downton Abbey,” according to one researcher who’s studied the phenomenon. It’s a divide that could lead to labour shortages in the core — as service workers forced to commute farther and farther lose the incentive to take those positions.”

While some service workers still live in the downtown around Kensington Market and Queen Street East, the numbers are in the 10 to 20% range, with suburbs in Scarborough and Etobicoke housing 30 to 35% of service workers.

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From May 2 until October 13  1986  there was an international exposition in Vancouver with the theme “Transportation and Communication: World in Motion~World in Touch”.

World fairs used to be a big thing, enabling people to look at different pavilions and cultures without travelling. Canada has hosted two, with Expo 67 being held in Montreal during Canada’s centennial year. Expo 86 coincided with Vancouver’s centennial year, and it was the last world’s fair held in North America in the 20th century.

The story of how the north shore of False Creek between the Granville and Cambie  Street Bridges was transformed from an industrial working harbour into a fair representing 54 countries and a number of corporations has already been told. So too has the awful reality that  people in Single Room Hotels (SRO’s) were displaced for Expo visitors. Rooming house hotels  were subject to an Innkeeper’s Regulation and not the standard Tenancy Act, meaning that long-term tenants could be evicted on just a week’s notice.

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The temperature is going up.  As the election approaches and the City moves towards a ‘Making Room’ rezoning in traditional neighbourhoods, positions are hardening.

On one hand, a desire to take change slow (if not stop it outright), reflected in the columns of Elizabeth Murphy in The Sun, especially her latest: “city hall is slamming through destructive new zoning.

The city’s consultants confirmed as far back as 2014 that there is more than enough existing zoned capacity to meet population growth beyond 2041. Yet the city continues a manic rush to rezone.

The most recent example is the rushed rezoning of Kitsilano RT7/RT8, Cedar Cottage RT10 and all the RS zones citywide of 68,000 properties, all without public consultation. The public hearing for all of this is coming Sept. 18 at 3 p.m. 

But there’s another constituency, rarely if ever heard until recently, that insists these changes are not ambitious enough.  Some of them composed an open letter to Council to spell out what they mean and what they want.  Here it is:

 

Comments to the proposed Amendments to the Zoning and Development By­law for Most RS Zones to Allow Two-­Family Dwellings (Duplexes) to Increase Housing Choice

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A big thank you to James and Errin Bligh for sharing insights and images from their August travels across Europe.

This final post contains quite a few videos, many of which focus on public spaces. But the big takeaway for our urbanist duo was on bicycles, and the fact that even the country considered the international paragon for urban cycling can be an intimidating place for an important segment of the population— the uninitiated.

“A combined 3 days in Amsterdam and Rotterdam served as our last stop on the tour, and our first attempt at cycling abroad.

Unsurprisingly, the central historical (and tourist packed) neighbourhoods with tiny shared streets were treacherous for cycling, while nearby the relatively quiet new developments outside of the four main canals served for a scenic and relaxing bike ride.

Errin, a new cyclist, shares her thoughts on what additional facilities would have made cycling in Amsterdam more accessible to newbies:

A passing bike lane and a slow bike lane

Physical separation from both cars and pedestrians

Adjustable rental bikes (default size can be too big)

Accessible source of helmets”

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From The Urbanarium

Two years ago, Urbanarium hosted Gil Kelley’s first public lecture as Vancouver’s new Chief Planner.

Building on that conversation, Urbanarium in partnership with the City of Vancouver, is convening an unprecedented dialogue between the top planners of four major West Coast cities.

Join us at the Vancouver Playhouse on September 20th for this exciting conversation on challenges, big moves, and new directions facing our cities and communities.

5.30pm Doors Open/Check-in
5.30 – 6.30pm Networking and No Host Bar
6.30 – 8.00pm Talk and Q+A
8.00 – 9.00pm Reception

Organized by:

Get Tickets

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