Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Food For Thought: The Next Generation Gap

...While our legal systems are infused with the notion of equity and fairness between contemporaries, we have yet to embrace the notion that justice should be facilitated between members of different generations. One exception has been in environmental law. For example, many of the provinces and the federal government have enacted “sustainable development” legislation, designed to improve environmental decision-making. The statutes define “sustainable development” as meeting present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.  
How can we expect better, longer-term decision-making processes when our legal frameworks are still largely reactive and short-term focused? One possibility may be to breathe new life into legal norms that have fallen out of favour over time. For example, the fiduciary duty of trustees includes a duty of impartiality, which should require them to balance short-term and long-term considerations. How many today could defend themselves from a claim that future generations are being dealt with in a less than evenhanded manner? Can they demonstrate that they have identified and impartially considered the conflicting interests of beneficiary groups – present and future?
From the Globe and Mail: The next generation gap: equity and fairness by EDWARD WAITZER

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Event: Vancouver Public Space Network Ideas Slam

Do you have ideas for public space in Vancouver? The Vancouver Public Space Network wants to hear them:
Mark your calendars! On Feb 29th please join us at our Idea Slam! It's our biggest gathering of volunteers EVER. Join other VPSN member from all our working areas and get together to meet, energize, idea-cize, and plan some projects, activations and other great things. 
When: Wednesday February 29, 2012 - 6:30-9:00 PM  
Where: SFU Woodwards - 149 West Hastings Street Vancouver, British Columbia V6B 1H7
I'll be there among some of the other working group coordinators. Be sure to RSVP here.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Video: It's You...Vancouver

A tourism music video for Vancouver. Not crazy about the song but, gosh, it sure is pretty (minus the really cheesy shots of people giving 'cheers' near the end).

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Grad School: Update

'Doing' Grad School
I'm a little more than a month into my first class of grad school and I'm enjoying it immensely. Every class is more of a guided discussion rather than a lecture (a higher emphasis on 'learning' than an 'education'). It is what most of my under-grad experience at UBC was missing: equality, quality, and interaction. My classmates and colleagues are really great and interesting people and I'm looking forwarding to progressing in the program with them. We've started a blog at Urban Studies.

This semester, I'm taking Patrick (Paddy) Smith's class Comparative Metropolitan Governance. So far, we've compared some cities from across Canada (Toronto...what's the deal!?). We've had a guest call in from Winnipeg to talk about Uni-City; and last class we all went to Victoria to talk to people from the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development about how BC handles regional governance. I've learned a lot about BC's unique creation: the Regional District. They did a great job of convincing me how great RD's are - how they're flexible governing units that tend to dissipate tension between municipalities rather than raising it (like amalgamation does...sorry Toronto). They're not really mandated to provide any functions or services so they only do what they need to.

While I'm not in the 'Masters' stream of my program yet, I've been thinking of what I'd like to do for my thesis. I think I'd like to something on arts and cultural spaces in the city. I've done a lot improv theatre and one of the hardest parts of doing it in Vancouver is space: the cost of and the lack of. Stay tuned on that!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

2012 CAPS Conference

The 2012 Canadian Association of Planning Students Conference is in town this weekend but I'm not going. So, if you'd like hangout while you're here or have any questions about Vancouver, drop me a line on twitter @pre_planner or leave a comment. Enjoy your stay!

Event: Debate on Smart Growth comes to Langley

Langley City, Google Maps
Hey all,

There's a great event coming up in the 'burbs about, well, the future of the 'burbs. In my opinion, conversations like these don't happen very often and they're extremely important in guiding the future of our neighbourhood, city, and our region.

Here's the press release:

For Immediate Release 
February 1st, 2011 
Debate on Smart Growth comes to Langley 
LANGLEY, With the Metro Vancouver region set to grow by another 1 million people over the next 20 years and with most of that growth set to occur in the South of Fraser, there has been a call by many academics and urban planners to change the way we build our communities. South Fraser OnTrax advocates for smart growth design principles such as making transit a priority and building neighbourhoods that provide a variety of housing options, from single-family homes to apartments. OnTrax believes these principles will protect the environment, human health, and our agricultural land, but not everyone shares this belief. 

Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, whose research has been used by governments worldwide, will be debating Randal O'Toole who is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute and who has also taught environmental economics at Yale, UC Berkeley, and Utah State University on the future of land-use and transportation planning in the South of Fraser. Litman is a strong proponent of smart growth principals and high-quality public transit while O’Toole has been an outspoken critic. 
“For many years we have talked about building more sustainable community and better transit,” says Nathan Pachal of OnTrax, “but many in our communities are not sold on the ideas that this is the way to go. This debate will allow both perspectives to be expressed and let people decide what future they want for our region.” 

OnTrax with the support of a City of Langley grant will be hosting this debate on Thursday, February 23rd from 7:00pm to 8:30pm at the Township of Langley Municipal Hall (20338 65 Avenue.) This free event is open to all members of the public, who will have the chance to hear both sides of the debate and have the opportunity to question Litman and O’Toole. 

Seating is limited and reservations are recommended. Please visit or on Facebook for more information and email to reserve your seat. 

Media Contact: 
Joe Zaccaria 
South Fraser OnTrax 
Phone: 1-866-459-0665 
I will make the 'trek' to Langley via transit - if anyone would like to join me, leave a comment or message me elsewhere and we can be bus buddies.