Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Vancouver Election: Geography of Politics

On November 19th Vancouver voted and on November 20th, data geeks were having at it. On election night, it was fun just watching the results roll in on the city map, with each division going either red or green. And it was a nail-biter (I don't think I was the only one screaming for last hold-out in the West End to report) that made all the difference for the Green Party's Adriane Carr who beat out COPE's Ellen Woodsworth by 90 votes for the 10th and final Councillor spot. It does go to show you that every vote counts.

At the end of the spectacle, we had a city that was very much green with some significant pockets of red:
But what does it all mean? It's a very simple map: green division are ones in which Robertson received a plurality of votes and the Red ones are which Anton received a plurality. At first glace, the City seems to be divided on a more North-South axis instead the assumed East-West one. However, another map that Frances Bula posted shows a bit more detail:
In this map, Robertson's core support is in the North-East and Anton's is in the South-West. Most of the rest of the city it seems his support hovers around the 50% mark. Here's another map someone put together that I got from twitter that I have no idea how to embed properly (if you know how, let me know!), so you'll have to click on this link to see the details:
But it'll show you the details per division when you click on them. Here's the stats for my division, #124:

One other thing that most remarked was how low the voter turnout was at 35%. Here's a map the shows the percentage turnout by division:
Participation rate was highest in the West side of the city. I personally wonder if it's because of a high student population or if it has something to do with land value, income or ethnic background. What drives those people to the polls more than any where else in the city? If anyone would like to speculate, please do so. One thing to note is actually how low Vancouver's participation has ALWAYS been. So this election and the last one isn't really out the ordinary. On the contrary, an election with higher than 50% turn out would be out of the ordinary. Still, doesn't make it right.

Over all, what does this tell us about our city? It seems to reaffirm that people tend to gravitate to places/neighbourhoods in the city that they identity with and that they chose to surround themselves with like-minded people. Or, maybe that because of certain constraints (like income) we end up living with and socializing with similar people?

Did you learn anything about your neighbourhood from the way that it voted?

Also, check out fellow blogger, Canadian Veggie, for his analysis which is super interesting.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fun with Graphs 2!

So, I made another sickness/fever induced graph the other night. Also, if you care, turns out I have strep throat (ugh) and I'm on a healthy diet of antibiotics now (yay!). Here, I graphed the number of registered vehicles per person in Langley (Township AND the City), Surrey and Vancouver. Langley was my particular focus because it's where I grew up and it's one of the most auto-dominated places I know. I even once recall hearing that there were actually more cars than people in Langley...not quite but they are close to 1:1.
To be fair, the stats I obtained from Metro Vancouver include commercial vehicles ( and pretty much any vehicle that has active insurance). Maybe Langley has a high number of commercial vehicles...or motorcycles...or it could be that the built environment is highly conducive to the automobile.
Langley City, Google Maps

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fun with Graphs!

So, I've been sick the entire long weekend and I've had nothing to do but watch 90s cartoons on Netflix. Then, it got even nerdier: I started making graphs. Here's a preview of one that shows the % of change in population and in # of registered vehicles for the North Fraser and South Fraser communities since 1999. If it doesn't make sense, I blame the fever. Hopefully, I'll post something more meaningful later.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Election Season

If you didn't know, Vancouver and the rest of British Columbia is in municipal election mania. Last week, I attended/volunteered at Vancouver Public Space Network's Last Candidate Standing event. It was quite the interesting and overall, Occupy Vancouver ended up being a large focus. In the end, it was 22 year old Lauren Gill who was left standing (you can get the live-blog transcript here). The year previous, a young woman also took the prize. Funny how the audience each time chose a candidate who's the opposite of who normally gets elected. But it gives me hope that young people may have a place in elected office yet. Regardless of whatever politics you preach, it's important for us, the younger generation, to take an active role. Please, don't forget to vote.
Vancouver City Hall, 1936 - WikiCommons

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Vancouver's Annual Skytrain Party

Holy November!

October was a fairly busy month and it was topped off by the best event I've been to in a long while: Vancouver's Annual Halloween Skytrain Party.

Organized by the Vancouver Public Space Network (a group I volunteer with), it's a wonderful celebration of public space and public transit - but with costumes!

We advertised via Facebook and e-mail for everyone to meet us at Waterfront Station downtown at 7:45PM but kept which train we would be taking a secret (we ended up on the Canada Line). About 10 VPSNers met at the station around 7:30PM to group up and organize the equipment for the music. I went down to the Canada Line platform to scope it out. When I got there, there were 4 transit police officers and 3 Canada Line staff members down there waiting. It seemed at first like our party would be bust.

However, as people started to stream into the station the police and staff didn't seem to try to stop anyone. In fact, while they seemed overwhelmed by the sheer number of people, they seemed to be enjoying everyone's costumes. By the time we were ready to board the next train to Richmond, there were so many people that Canada Line actually gave us our OWN train.
The Vantage
There just happened to be an extra train that they put into service (a HUGE advantage of the automated system). We boarded and set up our sound system and let the DJ loose. We rode danced to Brighouse and back, bumpin' to the best beats (as the kids say).
Our DJ and 'Conductor' - The Vantage
I can honestly say everyone had a great experience. The best part was pulling into the stations. The doors would open and people on train would run out and into another part of the train (call it 'mingling'). Also, the looks on peoples' faces as a train packed of people in costumes - absolutely priceless. It was if we delivered a little bit of joy and excitement into the normally 'routine' procedure of taking transit.

After we got back in Vancouver after 9:00PM we directed people to our after-party at public space (though not really public...) at Seymour and Hastings. We set up the sound system again and the party continued in plain sight. People walking by joined in. Eventually it died out after 10:30PM and we packed up.

Not a single negative incident or police visit and all without a permit or permission.

For me, the whole experience was like a look into a city that I don't often experience: one that can have a little fun, rules be damned.

Here are some more pics/videos: