Governance & Politics
February 21, 2019

Community Meeting Tonight: West Vancouver B-Line

Should be an interesting evening in West Vancouver tonight, as the district holds its long-anticipated community meeting on the matter of the B-line rapid bus service proposed for Marine Drive.

Community Meeting – West Vancouver B-Line Service
West Vancouver Community Centre gymnasium
February 21, 6-9 p.m.

Presentation boards here.

Can’t make the meeting? The deadline to send feedback is one week from today (Feb 28 at 11:59pm) — here’s the link to submit online.

Why might tonight’s meeting be interesting? For all the wrong reasons, of course.

Read more »

In Barcelona residents living around Plaza del Sol, a popular square told authorities they were experiencing noise at all hours of the night. With the aid of sensors placed on their balconies they were able to record night-time noise at 100 decibels which are “far higher than World Health Organization recommendations”. With that information the residents were able to go to their city council with data, insisting that council rethink the uses of their popular plaza for nocturnal party makers.

As reported by the BBC, the residents were participating in an European Union project “Making Sense”  that using the smart city philosophy gave data back to the citizens.

Read more »

By Scot Bathgate:

Vancouver has gone to great lengths to develop a vibrant pedestrian and bicycle friendly downtown core with abundant transit options for commuters and residents alike.  Those priorities have been so successful that the number of cars traveling into the downtown core is the same as it was in the 1960s.  In addition, we see all around the city centre the removal of large parking structures once vital to accommodating the flood of single occupancy drivers commuting into the city are coming down.

With such a successful planning approach, why is the City sabotaging this ethos by continuing to demand private parking spaces for residential development in downtown Vancouver’s largest neighbourhood, the West End?

Read more »

I have been writing that there is one simple and inexpensive way to make roads safer for everyone and that is to lower the  vehicular speed limits. According to the European Transport Safety Council Switzerland is one of the safest countries in Europe to travel due to enforced speed limits that cap travel on highways at 120 km/h. Those speeds are strictly enforced by automatic cameras, with a rising scale of fines depending on how much over the limit drivers were travelling.

Via Neil Arason,  the National Post  discusses the  new 80 km/h speed limits that have been enforced in France over the last six months. Road deaths have been increasing in France, prompting the federal government to lower speed limits on 400,000 kilometers of “B” class road from 90 km/h to 80 km/h in July 2018.  Fifty-five percent of all road deaths occur on these Class “B”  roads that have no central divider or guard rail. In 32 percent of the fatalities  on these secondary roads the major factor was speed.

As The Guardian observed “The government has compared the 80 km/h limit..to the laws enacted since 1973 requiring the use of seat belts, and the installation of automatic speed radars in 2002. Those laws also drew the ire of thousands of drivers, but contributed to nearly four decades of declines in automobile deaths in France, which reached a historic low of 3,268 in 2013.”

Read more »

The drumbeat is getting louder.

From The New Yorker:

Uber’s most significant contribution to mobility in cities may be our increasing lack of it. …

… (Ridehailing companies like Uber) create immediate declines in bus and rail ridership—declines so steep that, in the next eight years, some transit agencies would have to increase service by more than twenty-five per cent just to retain their normal ridership. Cities struggling to keep subways and buses running are being drained of revenue by tech companies and a reserve army of cars.

These cars, in turn, coagulate the arteries of the city, blocking the remaining fleet of buses, causing a downward spiral of decreasing ridership and growing traffic. …

Read more »

Philanthropy is a critically important part of Canadian life.  However, the 2018 Giving Report finds that the current model of philanthropy in Canada is unsustainable. Why is it that philanthropic donations by individuals and families have been in decline since 2006? Does rising income inequality and wealth concentration among older Canadians mean that younger generations have less to give? How can we ensure that charitable organizations remain properly funded and can continue to provide vital support?

To start the conversation, we welcome Calvin Fong, the Vancouver Foundation’s Director of Donor Services; David Love, President of the Vancouver chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and Principal of LOVEfundraising, and Jeanette Ageson, Publisher of the online newspaper The Tyee.  Then it’s your turn to ask questions, make observations and express opinions. It’s lunchtime, so please feel free to bring your lunch.

 

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 21

12:30 – 1:30 PM

FREE EVENT Registration is Required

SFU Vancouver at Harbour Centre, Room 1415
515 West Hastings St.

 

Read more »

Digital Democracy 101:
Understanding the Attention Economy

MONDAY, MARCH 4 | 6:00 – 7:30 PM
FREE EVENT Registration is Required
SFU Vancouver at Harbour Centre, Room 1400
515 West Hastings St.

Many Canadians actively use digital platforms without fully understanding the technology behind them and, crucially, how new technologies are altering Canadian political culture. The competition for our time and attention by digital platforms, which can often skew what we see and from whom, may leave us without the trusted information we need to make a confident decision in an election.

In this free lecture, Carl Miller, Research Director at Demos, will explain how the ‘attention economy’ can harm democracy. Following the lecture, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, SFU’s Canada 150 Research Chair in New Media in the School of Communication, will join Miller in conversation before moderating an audience Q&A.

Register Today

 

The Rise of the Misinformation Society

TUESDAY, MARCH 5 | 7:00 PM
FREE EVENT Registration is Required
SFU Vancouver at Harbour Centre, Room 2245
515 West Hastings St.

From Facebook’s unaccountable monopoly power to the demise of reliable journalism, a misinformation ecosystem has taken root. This is particularly true in the United States where entire regions and issues lack media coverage at a time when robust reporting is desperately needed. These growing “news deserts” are disproportionately harming specific groups and areas, especially communities of color, rural districts, and lower socio-economic neighborhoods.

Join SFU’s School of Communication for the Dallas Smythe Memorial Lecture Series with Dr. Victor Pickard and engage in conversations about the ongoing collapse of commercial journalism and the policies necessary for establishing public alternatives.

Reserve Your Seat Read more »

Addressing the popular myth that people migrate to warmer places to be homeless, this article in the Los Angeles Times  by Gale Holland outlines that five homeless individuals died from causes that included hypothermia in Los Angeles last year.

By comparison, two homeless people in New York City and two in San Francisco died of hypothermia in the same period.

“Hypothermia has led to more deaths in L.A. than in colder regions because 39,000 homeless people here live outdoors — by far the most of any metropolitan area in the country. L.A.’s generally moderate Mediterranean climate is no shield, because hypothermia can set in at temperatures as high as 50 degrees, experts say.”

A 2007 report from the National Health Care for the Homeless Council suggests that going without a hat can “drain up to half of a person’s body heat, and wet clothing can intensify heat loss twentyfold.” 

Read more »

Simon Fraser University’s City Program is offering this two-day intensive course on how to develop the principles and strategies needed to plan healthy communities.

Building on recent work and new research on the relationship between urban design and public health, your instructors will introduce you to the Healthy Built Environment (HBE) Linkages Toolkit and provide guidance on how to develop a health impact assessment.

The course will be interactive, with guest speakers from the Metro Vancouver public health community, but also grounded in the practical demands of local government policy development, design and implementation.

Instructors and Guest Speakers

Neal LaMontagne, adjunct professor, UBC School of Community and Regional Planning

Claire Gram, Population Health Policy and Project Lead, Vancouver Coastal Health

Dr. Mark Lysyshyn, Medical Health Officer, Vancouver Coastal Health

Charito Gailling, Project Manager, BC Centre for Disease Control

Lianne Carley, Vancouver Coastal Health Population Health Team

Read more »
The Third Annual Bell Urban Forum

 

Vancouverism in a World of Cities

 

Nearly twenty years ago, ‘Vancouverism’ began to circulate as an internationally-recognized label for a distinctive set of practices of building, representing, and marketing the virtues of urban life. From planning, development, and architecture to cinema, transnational social movements, and increasingly cosmopolitan currents of migration, the Vancouver city-region has become a reference point for new configurations of density, diversity, and new relations between humans and the natural world.

At the same time, Vancouver has become the second or third most expensive housing market on the planet, and it’s all built on the unceded indigenous lands and communities that long predate British North America and Canada. Vancouver provides a unique vantage point from which to view the transformations of space and time — of past, present, and future — in an urban world.

Where have concepts of Vancouverism traveled? How have the images and narratives of Vancouverism evolved? How have these trends co-evolved with changes in the material lived realities of society and nature in the Vancouver region?

Read more »