Much bigger and sort of more diverse, the 420 event continues to be part party, part protest, part display of teen-type defiance and part make-a-buck market.
But what is most striking is the growing size and professionalism of the biggest component — the trade show. Check out my pix. read on >>
Duke of Data and Director of the Simon Fraser University’s City Program Andy Yan tweets the new cross marketing opportunity at a Dim Sum restaurant on Sunday.
For the uninitiated, Dim Sum is a style of Chinese cuisine where traditional food is served in steamed baskets or small plates.
While enjoying a traditional steamed dish you can view the card advertising Grosvenor Developments menu of condominiums with “Timeless Design“, “World Class Views” and “Elegant Homes” at Pacific and Hornby. Only in Vancouver.
As Curbed.com describes it there is a push for “supertalls” in New York City, those buildings that exceed the 984 foot height limit. As they note “These soaring towers aren’t always popular—many have actively fought against the buildings sprouting along 57th Street and Central Park South, worried that they’ll cause shadowing over the storied park—but it’s hard to argue against their status as marvels of engineering.”Read on >>
Below are excerpts from a review-essay in the New York Review of Books about a very disturbing new book called The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein (Liveright, 345 pp., $27.95). The article by Jason DeParle is behind a paywall. I have highlighted some key sentences.
‘In The Color of Law, Richard Rothstein writes: “Residential segregation was created by state action,” he writes, not merely by amorphous “societal” influences. While private discrimination also deserves some share of the blame, Rothstein shows that “racially explicit policies of federal, state, and local governments…segregated every metropolitan area in the United States.”
‘…Government agencies used public housing to clear mixed neighborhoods and create segregated ones.Governments built highways as buffers to keep the races apart.They used federal mortgage insurance to usher in an era of suburbanization on the condition that developers keep blacks out...
‘The demand for segregation was made plain in workaday documents like the Federal Housing Administration’s Underwriting Manual, which specified that loans should be made in neighborhoods that “continue to be occupied by the same social and racial classes” but not in those vulnerable to the influx of “inharmonious racial groups.” A New Deal agency, the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation, drew color-coded maps with neighborhoods occupied by whites shaded green and approved for loans and black areas marked red and denied credit—the original “redlining.”
‘…The FHA financed Levittown, the emblem of postwar suburbanization, on the condition that none of its 17,500 homes be sold to blacks. The policies on black and white were spelled out in black and white.
‘…De jure segregation is long gone from the books, but its significance is more than historical. The conditions it created endure. American cities remain highly segregated. Schools are highly unequal. Huge gaps in wealth persist between blacks and whites, largely driven by differences in home equity.
‘Among the government’s tools for imposing segregation, few were as powerful as public housing, which both reinforced color lines and drew them where they hadn’t existed. Public housing typically conjures high-rise black ghettos. But it started during the Depression mostly to help working-class whites. The first agency to build public housing was the Public Works Administration, which was launched in 1933…
‘Starting during the New Deal and accelerating in the postwar years, the government transformed American life with a campaign to promote homeownership and suburbanization. But the sale of the American Dream explicitly excluded blacks. The FHA didn’t segregate America just one loan at a time. By underwriting mass developments, Rothstein writes, it created “entire subdivisions, in many cases entire suburbs, as racially exclusive white suburbs.” None was more celebrated than Levittown, an ingenious solution to the postwar housing shortage—thousands of affordable, mass-produced homes offered to veterans with no down payment. But only the government’s promise to insure the mortgages allowed William Levitt to secure the construction loans. “We are 100 percent dependent on Government,” he said. Among the FHA’s conditions, in Levittown and other mass projects, was that no homes be sold to blacks … ‘Blacks have about 60 percent of the family income of whites, but less than 10 percent of the wealth—a huge gap and one that impedes advancement. Nest eggs finance education; they tame emergencies…
‘The Color of Law ends at the Nixon administration. A lot has changed since then. The growth of the black middle class and better (if not great) fair housing enforcement has reduced segregation, although it remains high. A standard segregation measure, the “dissimilarity index,” peaked in 1970 at 79 (meaning that 79 percent of blacks in a typical metro area would need to move to achieve an even distribution). By 2010 the figure had fallen to 59. Cities are divided in new ethnic and economic ways. Latinos outnumber blacks, and segregation by income has soared—largely from rich families flocking to rich neighborhoods. The changing landscape affects access to opportunity in ways still not fully understood.’
National Public Radio reports on what could be the next generation of work gloves. Amazon has been granted two patents for “wristbands that could track the exact location of warehouse workers’ hands — and give workers tactile feedback to help guide them to a specific shelf.” Similar to the vibrating wristbands telling pedestrians when a car is coming into a crosswalk as discussed in this Price Tags Vancouver post this technology uses “haptic feedback” to let workers know where the right location of an item is.
“This idea, if implemented in the future, would improve the process for our fulfillment associates,” the company says. “By moving equipment to associates’ wrists, we could free up their hands from scanners and their eyes from computer screens. Using guidance signals, “The system, by monitoring precise hand movements, could identify whether the worker picks up an item from the bin instructed, or places it in the right location.It could also communicate information back to the worker.”
“The inventors say the system circumvents the need for “computationally intensive and expensive” monitoring by means of computer vision, a la Amazon Go. “And the inventors know their way around computer vision: The patent for the ultrasonic wristband was filed by Jonathan Cohn, senior technical program manager for Amazon Go. The radio-frequency wristband system was proposed by Tye Brady, chief technologist for Amazon Robotics.”
There are no roads in London. Take a look~there are Streets, Squares and Alleys, but “traditionally” not one single road. As The Londonist observes the word “road” was not developed until the late 1500’s, and by that time all the major streets in London had already been named. Even the historic Square Mile, which includes “Bleeding Heart Yard” had no Roads until 1994. At that time half of Goswell Road went under the City’s jurisdiction, while the other half stayed in the Borough of Islington.
The word “road’ is used only once in the King James bible and at that time it meant a “raid”. Shakespeare used the word road to mean a type of street only three times, the other thirteen uses meant a trip or foray. The word comes from the old Anglo-Saxon “rad”, for a journey on horseback. And the word “street”? That is from Latin meaning a way paved with stone, and developed with a more urban connotation than the more rural usage of “road”.
Back to London. Purists still insist that there is technically no “road” in the City of London as the Borough only owns half of Goswell Road, not the full Road.
In planning and real estate Richard Wozny is a local legend for his ability to capture the upside of real estate in over 1,200 studies for public and private enterprises. That represents over $100 billion dollars worth of real estate work. Richard is direct, personable, and disarmingly honest. As Douglas Todd observes in the Vancouver Sun Richard smiles and says “’My job is to make sure everyone makes the most of their real estate. That means ensuring the top one per cent make ever more money.”
But despite making those rich people richer, Richard is also blunt about what needs to change and what is wrong with our current real estate system in Metro Vancouver. While in the hospital for treatment for terminal cancer Richard noticed that the hospital staff were not able to live well in Vancouver despite their stable incomes. His report Low Income and High House Prices in Vancouver outlines that a giant amount of international money is being transformed into real estate in Metro Vancouver, making houses speculative instead of much-needed shelter accessible to local citizens. House prices are way above incomes, and a good income in Metro Vancouver does not mean you afford a house. How is this happening? It is by tax avoidance and evasion, giving those speculators “an unfair advantage over average taxpaying citizens.” Richard Wozny perceives the emergence of a middle class of people as one of the greatest achievements of the past century. And taxes are what makes it possible. Taxes are the price we pay for civilization.”
Vancouver lives with “radical inequality” as there is no ability for the city’s average wage earner to purchase a house at the current prices. But Richard argues that if all residents “shared the burden of paying for public infrastructure” prices would regulate to where they would be more affordable. In a market of “unequal rights and obligations” government is needed to enforce proper regulation and taxation in a situation where that capital is “unaccounted for, untaxed and unregulated.” Of course one of the challenges of the foreign capital is that new construction requires infrastructure to be built. Richard sees the resultant congestion and the fact that equal access to public services has declined as indicators that government should collect more from real estate speculators and expand public services with those funds.Noting that “residential real estate is not an investment vehicle” Richard states that “allowing real estate prices to escalate to absurd levels, governments are allowing the middle class to be turned into mortgage slaves”.
“It means governments are supposed to protect our freedom to strive for our own personal goals. By allowing real estate prices to escalate to absurd levels, governments are allowing the middle class to be turned into ‘mortgage slaves,’” Wozny said. In summation, Richard believes that the burden for paying for roads, services and schools falls to everyone that owns real estate His conclusions are similar to SFU’s public policy specialist Josh Gordon who would like to introduce a hefty annual property surtax that would be offset by income taxes paid, with provisions for seniors. But is it too little too late? And how can the federal, provincial and municipal governments act together to quickly develop policy and enact regulation so that “mortgage slaves” can afford to live in Metro Vancouver?
Update:Richard passed away two days after this article was written. Condolences to his family from the Price Tags Vancouver editors.
City of Vancouver
Volunteers Deadline Jan 30
The City of Vancouver is conducting a Public Space and Public Life (PSPL) Study in partnership with Gehl to collect ‘people data’ to better understand how people use and spend time in Downtown Vancouver. The PSPL Study’s findings will be used to inform a Downtown Public Space Strategy and help bring the strategy from vision to action. Volunteer tasks include behavioural mapping, pedestrian counts and intercept surveys.
Volunteer survey shifts are on February 1 and February 3. Shifts will be four hours long between 8:00am and 8:00pm. You are welcome to participate in more than one shift.
Required training will take place on January 31 at UBC Robson Square (Room C300) from 7:00 to 9:00pm.
Volunteer for the Places for People Downtown
Public Space & Public Life Study
Required Training: Wednesday, January 31, from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Location at UBC Robson Square – 800 Robson St. – Room C300
Survey Shifts: Volunteer survey shifts are on February 1 and February 3. Shifts will be four hours long between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm. You are welcome to participate in more than one shift.
Update -The winter phase of the PSPL study will span forty different public spaces across the downtown – from plazas to streets, beaches to laneways, and everything in between – contributing to a comprehensive study of how public life functions in Vancouver’s downtown neighbourhoods.
This is a great way to learn about Gehl’s approach to urban planning and design and play an active role in future changes to the public realm in Downtown Vancouver. Volunteer tasks include behavioural mapping, pedestrian counts and intercept surveys.
Please be prepared to dress warm and be outside for the duration of your shift. You will be assigned your study location at the required training session on January 31.
Learn more at: http://vancouver.ca/placesforpeople
DATE AND TIME
Wed, 31 January 2018
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM PST
UBC Robson Square
800 Robson St. – Room C300
Vancouver, BC V6Z 3B7
From StreetsBlog comes this cameo from Saturday Night Live actress Kate McKinnon depicting Auto Lobbyist Veronica Moss. As StreetsBlog observes: “we were granted unfettered access to Veronica Moss, lobbyist for Automobile Users Trade Organization (AUTO). Veronica gave us a few precious moments inside her SUV to talk about roads, traffic, cyclists, and big cities. After instructing us on proper honking techniques for “old people” and children, she also offered up some choice bons mots. Here’s a sample: “People need to be able to drive their cars – that’s an American right!” “Bikers are a pimple on the butt of any city.”