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VIDEO: Democracy and the City Panel Discussion

Last October, the SFU Urban Studies Graduate Student Society held a forum called "Democracy and the City". It was a fantastic and well-organized event (I had nothing to do with it! I have wonderful peers) and I learned quite a bit from some of the speakers. Two portions were filmed and I have a short section talking about youth engagement at my former employer. Have a look!
Recent posts

Vancouver's Department of 'What if?': a License to Disrupt

A remarkable thing happened this past week. On Wednesday, June 25th, over 30 past Vancouver City Planning Commissioners sat in room at the Wosk Centre for Dialogue to talk about Vancouver's Planning legacy and future (Although, it turned out be more about the Commission's). With experiences dating back to the 80s, it was a room replete with knowledge.
While I have struggled to find a purpose for myself at the VCPC meetings, this unique event has energized my spirits towards this potentially important citizen advisory body. I can't attach names to any of the comments that were made as per Chatham House rules but some persistent themes came up.

The VCPC's Purpose
I'm a little relieved to hear that past commissioners also struggled to figure out what exactly a powerless planning commission is supposed to do and how it's supposed to do it. In fact, it was repeatedly suggested that the VCPC should be Vancouver's 'Department of What if?' By that, they mea…

The Vancouver City Planning Commission

So the first month of 2014 is behind us. The last part of 2013 was a whirlwind of activity for me: I started a new job (update: I still love it), put together a directed reading course for myself for this semester (update: read what you tell your prof you'll read!), and I was also appointed to the Vancouver City Planning Commission (VCPC).

The VCPC has a long history in this city and has had many different mandates but its current form came about mostly in the 1960s and 1970s. It has gone from a central institution in city building to one more along the side-lines, as a strictly advisory body (mostly due to the advent of modern day planning departments). This is not to say the VCPC cannot play a significant role - they've done some great work. Currently, the VCPC:
advises City Council on planning and development issues in the City, and may report to Council on any proposal likely to have a significant effect on the future of the City. The commission organizes conferences, cons…

Video of BC Government Highway Plans...

Well, maybe it's not the BC government per se but this video (about 30minutes) will help you understand the era in which Christy Clark lives. Enjoy.

Translink Isn't Perfect

There has been somewhat of a hate-on for Translink recently as Gord Price noted on his blog this past week. This all seemed to come to fore from the recent revelations that the compass card system will not easily allow people who pay with cash fares on the bus to transfer to the Skytrain. While I agree this is not an ideal situation, there is a simple solution: get a compass card.

In an August 14 press release, Translink clarified:
To be clear, you’ll be able to transfer from bus to rail with the Compass Card or a Compass ticket. It is only customers who purchase fares on buses with cash who will not be able to use those transfers to transfer to rail—approximately 6,000 customers per day out of our 1.2 million daily rides. This isn't news, Translink released information about this particular issue many moons ago...you've only just noticed now. To be fair, when I first heard about it, I was upset, too. But during the I Love Transit night a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity t…

Next Generation Transportation: Election Impressions

This past Sunday, I attended an event called "Next Generation Transportation: All-Party Forum". Put on by Carbon Talks, Sustainable SFU, and SFU Public Square, they had a politician from all the major political parties in BC discuss transportation (it was far too amicable to call it a debate):

Mary Polak, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure 
Jane Sterk, Leader of the Green Party of BC
Duane Nickull, MLA candidate for Vancouver-Point Grey, of the BC Conservative Party
Harry Bains, opposition critic for Transportation and Infrastructure, BC NDP

Mary Polak knew her stuff and, not only that, she can speak rather well. She's an effective communicator and her only mis-steps were really policy ones (and her one reference of the Broadway Corridor as the Burrard Corridor). Two things really struck me as reasons to not vote BC Liberal. One, she called the Port Mann bridge a significant investment in cycling infrastructure. This completely laughable and I doubt that the…

Interactive Data Visualization: Inequality and New York's Subway

Another interesting set of data from the New Yorker:
New York City has a problem with income inequality. And it’s getting worse—the top of the spectrum is gaining and the bottom is losing. Along individual subway lines, earnings range from poverty to considerable wealth. The interactive infographic here charts these shifts, using data on median household income, from the U.S. Census Bureau, for census tracts with subway stations.