February 2011

Posted by: Erin Brown John on February 28, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Olympic Village. Apparently after all the setbacks and politics, Olympic Village condos are apparently selling.

Casino. PavCo has responded to the public outcry about the proposed expansion to the Edgewater Casino, stating that we need the new casino in order to pay for BC Place’s new roof, something that wasn’t previously disclosed to the public. That is, assuming that the casino pulls in the revenues they are expecting to. Whether or not they would materialize remains to be seen. Some say that the numbers just don’t add up.

The Vancouver City Planning Commission is asking council to delay their decision about the casino expansion until there is more public consultation.

Endangered sites. Heritage Vancouver released it’s Top 10 Endangered Sites for 2011. This year’s list includes three Vancouver schools scheduled to be replaced.

The endless cycle of debate about the Hornby bike lane resumes.

Chinatown towers. Some Chinatown residents are concerned about the proposed lifting of height restrictions in their neighbourhood. They feel that changes in height would affect the character of the neighbourhood and lead to an increase in rents and housing prices.

Where tourists go. Eric Fisher shows in a heat map the geographic distribution of tourists and residents in Vancouver.

Image: Tyleringram, via flickr.

Posted by: Erin Brown John on February 25, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Over the weekend MOV stepped outside with the latest event in the Not an Architectural Spearker’s Series. Moving Through was a series of walks and talks around the city centred around transit, architecture and urban planning.

Participants explored the city and the built environment from new angles, considering the way that we live, work and move around Vancouver.

At the end, everyone gathered at SFU Woodwards for a talk by Gordon Price, Director of the City Program at SFU. Price asked everyone in attendance about why we need to change.

As he noted, the way we do things has created a lot of economic prosperity and allowed people to live stable lives and raise families with good careers and nice homes. We have lived in a time and place that has been very politically and socially stable. We have a good thing going right now, so why change it?

The environment is changing. Many signs point to us reaching the carrying capacity of the Earth, and this will have far-reaching implications for how we organize our society. The political and economic stability we have enjoyed is not necessarily a given in the future.

Vancouver’s population is growing and construction is not keeping up with demand for new housing. New people moving to Vancouver are going to need places to live but where to put them, and in what kind of accommodation? We’re running out of brownfields to redevelop within the city limits so we’re going to have to look hard at the municipalities outside Vancouver. Our population is aging as well and these people will need to be housed and cared for.

He ended with his wish to see us begin the changes we need before the situation becomes dire. Some sobering food for thought.

Podcasts and video footage from the event are coming soon. Until then, check out some photos from the event.

Images: Kellan Higgins, Michael Schwartz and Gala Milne

Posted by: Erin Brown John on February 21, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Digital video billboards: a vibrant addition to the landscape or ad creep? Planners didn’t have them in mind when they originally drew up rules about ads and signage in the city. These new flashy signs present their own set of problems and issues.

Casino expansion. In spite strong numbers opposed to the latest proposal to expand gaming and casinos downtown, and some notable opponents, it seems to be an uphill battle. The leaders of the movement lament that it’s just not as easy to get people interested in actively opposing it.

** I’ve since heard from Vancouver, Not Vegas that things are not as dire as the article suggests, that their list of supporters has gained the attention of City Hall and that they are gaining support as more people hear about the proposed casino expansion.

Bike lanes. The City released the usage stats for the Dunsmuir and Hornby bike lanes and is seeking public input on how to make them work better. For doubters, a City engineer issues a challenge: check the data yourself.

Canada Line vs. small business. A decision to award damages to a business owner affected by Canada Line construction has been overturned by the BC Court of Appeal.

#1. For the fifth year in a row, The Economist has ranked Vancouver as the most liveable city in the world, but don’t rejoice just yet because the rankings don’t take income or cost of living into account.

Olympic Village again. Sales have resumed and the new prices have been announced, but some advance sales have roused some complaints about the process. Meanwhile, sales companies are going after buyers who have backed out of their purchases.

Please drive. Not enough people are using the Golden Ears Bridge, so toll revenues are far below expected and what is needed to pay for it’s costs. TransLink is planning a marketing campaign to get people to use the bridge more. Stephen Rees comments and considers how to pay for transportation.

Image: rufousfelix, via flickr.

Posted by: Erin Brown John on February 14, 2011 at 2:31 pm

A year later. Did the Olympics make Vancouver a better city? Lance Bereloqitz and Matt Hern debate in the Tyee.

Another question. Can Vancouver become the ‘best place on Earth’?

At Home. A few months ago the Boseman Hotel became home to several homeless people as part of a Canada-wide study about the effects of providing housing for the homeless. An article in the Vancouver Sun looks at it’s progress so far.

Suburban and invisible. More on the changing face of homelessnessness. At a time when great strides are being made to address homelessness in Vancouver, the problem is growing in nearby municipalities. Megaphone takes a look.

The Forgotten. I highly recommend having a look at this series of articles on the Vancouver Observer about the Museum of Anthropology’s cancelled exhibit about the missing women of the DTES and the challenges of exploring such a difficult issue both through art and in a museum setting.

Olympic Village Plan B. Reduce prices and maintenance fees, sell selected condos and rent out others, and rename the whole thing “The Village on False Creek.” Hopefully that will get people to finally live there.

Image: kennymatic, via flickr.

Posted by: Erin Brown John on February 7, 2011 at 4:18 pm



Happy New Year! Wishing you lots of health and happiness in your year of the rabbit.

Favourite places. The Vancouver Heritage Foundation wants to know which places in the city are most important to you. They intend to place 125 plaques around the city to recognize important and previously unrecognized places.

Homelessness. The City has made great strides in providing new housing for the homeless but is projected to fall short of it’s goal of eliminating homelessness by 2015 unless more funding can be produced.

Cultural space. The City has set aside space at 688 Cambie for cultural use but the Vancouver Art Gallery must still demonstrate that it is able to raise the necessary funds to build a new building and operate and there are concerns that the City is trying to fit too many things into the same site.

Internet metering. Vancouverites are taking on the CRTC over the issue of usage based billing, plans by internet service providers to limit downloads and charge people for extra use. To date more than 400,000 people have signed the petition created by Vancouver-based OpenMedia. Another Vancouverite, David Beers, debates the issue in the Globe and Mail here.

Green design. re:place Magazine looks at Canada’s first Passivhaus in Whistler. Formerly Austria House during the Olympics, the building uses 10% of the energy a normal building would and shows the possibilities for sustainable design with wood.

Image: Carol Browne, via flickr