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Showing posts from 2013

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'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.

Interactive Data Visualization: Metropolitain

Metropolitainis a datavisualization experiment by DataveyesOne of the most intricate and dense underground networks in Europe, the metro is a central component in the daily life of millions of Parisians. As a result, the official metro map conditions the very way commuters approach time, and space, as they tend to select their journeys based on the perceived smallest distance between two points. This visualization offers to challenge this conventional view. Metropolitain takes on an unexpected gamble: using cold, abstract figures to take the pulse of a hectic and feverish metropolis. You are invited to play around with two views: the projected journey time between two stations, as well as the number of people touching in at each station. The metro map is no longer arbitrarily dictated by the spatial distance between two points, but transforms along the user exploration, to reflect its actual accessibility.
This is really, really cool.

Two Months is Too Long!

It's been almost exactly 2 months since I've posted something. I've been pretty busy - working full-time, grad school part-time, and all the other stuff in between. But, really, I've been avoiding putting fingers to keys. It could be that I'm just on an urbanist-overload. Whatever it was, I realized that I missed this. So what's new?

I went through a little mid-grad school crisis in which I thought long and hard about what I really want and considered taking a break from my program to do a 6 month certificate program in Dialogue and Civic Engagement. But I think I'm probably on the right track and I'm going to try and finish my MA in one go.

I'm pretty sure I've settled on a research topic for my MA project. I plan to evaluate the City of Surrey Transportation Lecture Program because I think it's an interesting platform to inform and engage citizens and city employees.

I went to San Francisco for Easter weekend and had a great time. It was …

Video: Tracking Vancouver's Car2Go

Vancouver Observer story here

Hate/Love the City

Last month, I was in an event put on by the Museum of Vancouver called "Vancouver, I love you but..."

Inspired by the work of Tobias Wong, MOV asked a group of us Vancouverites to rant about our grievances with one of the most livable cities in the world. The rants ranged from serious to humorous, somber to sarcastic. While I was honoured to share the stage with such wonderful people, the night was more about our relationship to the city than the people ranting themselves.

Hosted by our relationship counselor Andrianne, we ranted and then talked a bit more about what was behind our anger, despair, and frustration. Once we ranters has our turn, the audience had theirs: Adrienne ordered the lights out and, since we were in the planetarium, the stars up and over us. She asked us to shout our pain-points into the celestial abyss above, to propel them far away with the full power of our lungs - there wasn't a quiet voice in the house.
We let out collective sigh and Adrianne …

Casino Urbanism

Many municipalities in the Lower Mainland are gambling on casinos as their best bet for more revenue (Sorry for the puns). Today, it was announced, that Surrey city council narrowly voted against a casino project, with Mayor Watts casting the deciding vote. As we have seen in Vancouver, Casinos are controversial projects due the possibility of increased traffic, crime, and predatory practices that prey on the most vulnerable, however, the allure of more money in an era of shrinking budgets is almost too hard to pass up. Casinos also tend to leave a less than stellar footprint in our urban environment. They need large parking lots (even with transit accessibility...I'm looking at you, River Rock!) and their buildings are ugly by most standards. Here's what Surrey's would have looked like:

I'm not sure why they rendered it at night...but I assume it was to hide the fact that it was an ugly complex. 
According to council documents, this would have built 1400 parking spot…

A slight review of the last year and looking forward

It's 2013 and that means I've been in grad school for a year now. Since last January, I've taken 3 courses, gone on a field trip to Portland, and I think I've settled on what I want to write on for my master's project (though, I'm still not in the Masters portion of my program...something I'll still need to apply for).

Overall, I've had positive experiences in SFU's Urban Studies program. I've found that because the program is so flexible (i.e. you can do it part-time and classes are in the evening), that you get a wonderful diversity of people in it. The professors have also been mostly friendly and helpful.
Grad school is kind of what I imagine university would be like. It has small class sizes, responsive and engaging profs, intellectual dialogue, and you're studying things you're genuinely interested in. However, there are still the usual pain points: University bureaucracy is still decades behind and very rarely caters to the needs…

Video Games and Urban Planners...

The Underground Turns 150!

Happy birthday to the Tube!