City of glass. Sometimes loved, sometimes maligned, glass towers are cheap to build and make up most of the landscape in Vancouver. However, new building codes and concerns about energy efficiency and aesthetics are driving the evolution of these buildings.
No-fun city. Mark Lakeman from Portland’s City Repair Project says that risk-adverse planning is stifling free expression and citizen engagement.
Protest. Council passed a new bylaw regulating public protest this week, legislation that some argue will not stand up in court.
Ransack the toolbox. In search of solutions to the growing affordable housing problem in Vancouver.
No casino. After much public debate, the proposed Edgewater Casino expansion was voted down by Vancouver council, stating that a larger casino would not fit Vancouver’s brand.
Taller buildings in Chinatown. Council has approved height increases for buildings in Chinatown but some are still concerned about the potential for gentrification and real estate speculation to drive out low-income residents.
Aww, it’s a mini Vancouver Special!
Image: conceptDawg via flickr
Public demonstrations. A proposed bylaw to limit Falun Gong demonstrations in front of the Chinese consulate and place restrictions on structures used in public demonstrations has sparked considerable debate and has some concerned about democratic rights and freedom of speech.Pivot Legal Society has expressed concern that this bylaw may also make temporary structures used by the homeless illegal.
And speaking of free speech, the BC Civil Liberties Association has taken the case of the woman ejected from a Skytrain by police for refusing to remove a button with the F word on it.
First Nations in public art. The electronic billboard beside the Burrard Street Bridge now features selected messages as part of the Digital Natives project. Read about the project here.
Casino. The casino hearings continue. PavCo and Paragon Gaming have proposed reducing the number of slot machines planned for the development.
Save-on-Meats. The iconic Downtown East Side building will be renovated and include a new butcher shop and restaurant, rooftop garden, office space and incubator kitchen for new start-up businesses.
Garbage. What should we do with Vancouver’s garbage? There are two options on the table.
Eagle cams. It’s nesting season again and the Hancock Wildlife Foundation has set up a live stream of the nest at the Lafarge concrete plant. The eggs are expected to hatch around April 20.
Image: .mused, via flickr
Hidden stairwell. Scott Billings and Josh Hite are planning an art project that looks inside the unused Burrard Bridge stairwell, and looking for help from the public.
Earthquake preparedness. Re:Place looks at what Vancouver can learn about earthquake preparedness from Japan.
Edgewater Casino. The casino hearings continue. The Vancouver Coastal Health Authority has condemned plans to expand Edgewater Casino, stating that it could pose a risk to public health. Former city planner, Nathan Edelson has also spoken out against the expansion. Casino employees are understandably concerned about their jobs.
Cargo tricycles. Coming soon to a bike lane near you.
Sweet. The Vancouver Sun ran an interesting story about the history of Rogers Sugar.
Olympic Village. Nearly a quarter of the owners at the Olympic Village have sued, claiming their suites have deficiencies and are not built to the standards they had expected.
Image: Burrard stairwell, via Price Tags.
Earthquakes. This week the world has been witness to the devastating power of a subduction earthquake and it’s aftermath in Japan. But Vancouver is no stranger to earthquakes. What would it look like if it happened here?
While we’re on this topic, are you earthquake prepared?
Casino. Hearings at city hall about the proposed Edgewater Casino expansion began last week with 300 people attending. It seems the tide may be shifting in favour of the opponents, as council begins to ask tougher questions.
Taking aim at parkades. The Canada Line and bike lanes have succeeded in getting many people out of their cars, and fewer people are driving downtown. The result is an overabundance of empty parking stalls. What should we do with that space?
Panoramas. The City of Vancouver Archives is in the process of digitizing it’s photos and has released a set of panoramas from the early 1900s on flickr.
Bottled water. It seems Metro Vancouver’s pro-tapwater campaign has succeeded in convincing some people to ditch the bottle.
Back alley living. Take a look inside Vancouver’s first laneway house.
Music underground. What if we build a concert hall underneath the art gallery?
Image: City of Vancouver Archives, via flickr
The changing face of commercial space. Across North America, developers and planners are taking aim at shopping malls, tearing up parking lots to build housing, big box stores are moving downtown and suburban shopping centres are urbanizing. An article in the Globe and Mail looks at some current redevelopment proposals for shopping centres around Vancouver.
Casino. Paragon is seeking changes to legislations that place limits on the amount of money that can be carried into BC casinos without a Canadian bank account. They would like the province to allow casino patrons to be able to wire money directly from foreign bank accounts. But there are concerns about money laundering.
Other municipalities are concerned that a larger downtown casino will pull patrons away from the suburban casinos they rely upon for tax revenue.
The public hearing is tonight at City Hall. Should be interesting, because there are so many people signed up to speak.
Traffic. A couple weeks ago it was announced that the traffic on the Golden Ears Bridge was far less trafficked than TransLink had hoped, and was losing money as a result. Now it seems like traffic is falling short of what was predicted all down the coast. So what does that mean for new infrastructure projects like the Port Mann?
Vancouver, do you know where your children are? Census data says they’re not downtown.
Tent city returns. Housing activists are setting up again to protest the City’s lack of commitment to social housing at the Olympic Village.
The elms of East 6th may be coming down soon. They’re getting old and difficult to maintain, and the park board wants to replace them with smaller trees. Doing so will permanently alter the streetscape, something that some residents really don’t want to see.
Komagata Maru. Coming soon, a new monument to commemorate the Komagata Maru, a ship of Punjabi immigrants that was forced to return to India in 1914.
Image: mezzoblue, via flickr.
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.
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.
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.