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  • 2012 InReview: It’s Not About The Bike Or Car—It’s About Better Cities - Spacing Vancouver
    Bike Lane at Richards Vancouver BC Photo courtesy Paul Krueger This week I watched with concern Canada s largest city have a rhetoric heavy debate about removing the relatively new separated bike lane on Jarvis Street They even originally had the intention of using bike lane funds to remove it Bike lane debates have been going on for some time in Toronto as they have in many cities like Vancouver In recent years exaggerated and polarizing phrases like anti car and the war on the car have been thrown around irresponsibly by media and politicians alike making me wonder more than a few times if Fox News had moved to the place once called The City That Works I suppose it illustrates part of the problem that I feel the urge to point out I don t consider myself a cyclist Calling myself that would seem as odd as calling myself a walker a transit rider or a driver I m an urbanite someone who loves living in cities and an urbanist who has studied how cities work all of my adult life Really I m a citizen I point that out because there is too much pitting of self described drivers and cyclists against each other Most North American families are actually multi modal they drive walk and probably take transit and bike in at least certain circumstances if not routinely Certainly many who cycle also drive and visa versa We need a more sophisticated discussion about how we get around in cities and it starts with this it s not about loving your bike It s about loving what biking does for cities If more cars make cities worse the opposite is true for bikes Expanding urban biking is about making better fiscally smarter healthier more flexible and

    Original URL path: http://spacing.ca/vancouver/2012/12/31/2012-inreview-its-not-about-the-bike-or-car-its-about-better-cities/ (2015-11-16)
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  • Does your neighbourhood pass the "trick or treat" test? - Spacing Vancouver
    stoops windows and I don t mean windows in garages porches and eyes on the street Connected legible streets that let you read the neighbourhood easily grids tend to be good for this but other patterns work too All of these are great for trick or treating and equally great for walkable healthy economically resilient communities year round At the same time the number of kids running around on Halloween night can also tell you something Kids are often said to be an indicator species for great neighbourhoods Kids in costumes on Halloween night are an indicator too although it can be hard to tell whether they ve been driven in from elsewhere If kids ARE being driven in that can mean it s a great neighbourhood from a design perspective or perhaps just that it s a more affluent community with better candy but having too few local kids can show that there isn t enough housing diversity new infill and family friendly infrastructure to keep kids in the neighbourhood In fact in many beautiful tree lined neighbourhoods popular on Halloween the number of local kids may be actually dropping with resulting pressures on local schools to close This as household sizes decrease and new density and gentle infill that could stabilize the population and keep kids in the neighbourhood is often locally resisted But back to the suburbs are suburban communities as bad trick or treating grounds as some urbanists think The answer depends in large part on how well designed and dense they are Not all suburbs are sprawl with separated low density garage dominated landscapes but too many are Many suburbs have plenty of kids many of which will brave even those houses that miserably fail the Trick or Treat Test to get their candy The neighbourhood pattern sure doesn t help though for reasons that are obvious simply think about the opposite of all the factors discussed earlier in this article This has led in recent decades to trends like suburban shopping malls giving out candy advertising themselves as the replacement for suburban streets and neighbourhoods with warm well lit unslippery safe trick or treating environments A depressing indicator of the failure of the communities themselves or just an indication of the busy often fear driven lives of North American families Even perhaps more depressing is the trunk or treat trend described by Wiki Answers like this Picture this a huge parking lot with the back ends of vans and trucks decorated in a variety of fun themes complete with games and treats From babies on up to grandpas and grandmas there is something for everyone What a fun way to spend the evening as a family In many communities churches sponsor the fun event and families plan their own theme for their vehicle Sometimes elementary schools sororities and large neighborhoods sponsor one as well The best part of Trunk or Treating is that the parking lot is roped off freeing kids to skip or

    Original URL path: http://spacing.ca/vancouver/2012/10/31/does-your-neighbourhood-pass-the-trick-or-treat-test/ (2015-11-16)
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  • It's Not About The Bike Or Car —It's About Better Cities - Spacing Vancouver
    lanes move people more cost effectively from a return on investment perspective than any other way of getting around especially once a tipping point of cyclists is reached and that doesn t even factor in the well documented public health cost savings that come from widespread biking Global studies have shown investing in cycling infrastructure actually saves society public money per kilometer cycled The math is enough to make any real fiscal conservative hop on a two wheeler Most pragmatically city builders understand that bikes make cities work better because they take a lot less space Even if cars were clean in emissions the biggest challenge with car dependency is a space problem There isn t enough room on the roads and parking lots of cities to have everyone drive They just don t fit and our failed efforts to make them fit cost a staggering amount This striking picture illustrates the point If all the people we anticipate coming to our cities try to drive cities fail our public life fails and our economies fail Even if they prioritize driving global city builders recognize the best thing those who feel they need to drive could hope for is for OTHER people to be able to walk bike and ride transit Multi modal cities make it easier for EVERYONE to get around including counter intuitively drivers For us in Vancouver it s been about becoming more multi modal for decades a city of choices and options and a city where the local economy and quality of life is impervious to the growing car congestion paralysis seen in too many world cities It hasn t been about being anti anything It s been about being pro mobility freedom Pro city We ve understood in Vancouver for years that mobility flows from smart land use choices and the best transportation plan is a great land use plan Mixing uses in complete communities We know that trying to address congestion through more roads always fails because of the law of congestion As the saying goes trying to address congestion by adding more roads is like trying to solve obesity by loosening your belt Watching Toronto s debate we in Vancouver might feel a big smug Then we might remember the steady level of controversy that bike lane construction has generated even here I would remember that in past weeks of media interviews they ve tended to start with questions like When will we have too many bike lanes or Don t we have enough already Like walking transit and car driving a few separated routes through a large still car dominated city and region don t create a viable choice in how to get around for people aged 8 80 For people of both genders and all ages to choose a mode of movement a system or network is needed complete connected efficient predictable and safe in both perception and reality We have a long way to go in Vancouver The pragmatic cost

    Original URL path: http://spacing.ca/vancouver/2012/10/08/its-not-about-the-bike-or-car-its-about-better-cities/ (2015-11-16)
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  • Want Families Downtown? Design for Them! - Spacing Vancouver
    valid the success we ve had in our Vancouver downtown in mixing families nightlife and urban energy by artful design says otherwise Is it perfect Far from it and there are indeed tensions but what it is is urban vital and diverse what downtowns should be So should we want families downtown I strongly believe we do They re a big part of complete mixed vibrant and lively downtown neighbourhood Singles couples and seniors downtown are great but kids and baby strollers make communities more real more human They also support a broader local economy and make the community safer Cities across North America and the world are having that tough discussion about what it really takes to attract families downtown Oslo Norway mandates that half of all new homes be sized for three bedrooms families Minneapolis s mayor has been asking the tough questions around attracting kids downtown And Edmonton s mayor hopes that their development of former inner city airport lands will specifically attract families And there s the debate in Toronto The good news is that when downtowns are deliberately and proactively designed for families kids come The proof is here in Vancouver Within our success story of downtown population growth from 45 000 decades ago to over 100 000 people today our growth in children is unique about 7 000 kids in our downtown peninsula It s a huge growth inspired by vision and achieved by design DESIGNING DOWNTOWN FOR FAMILIES So how do you design a downtown for families As a general philosophy it starts with planning with the parent and child in mind Is this a place kids want to be A place where parents have what they need family raising infrastructure and support systems We like to say a neighbourhood that s designed to work for kids works for everyone Even if you get the design details right families have a hard time making life work downtown without two key elements childcare and nearby schools In Vancouver we ve been using density negotiations to have new developments pay for the construction and sometimes part of the operation for hundreds of new daycare spaces downtown designed into new buildings This is a key amenity for families as much as a park or a community centre can be Although there has been real successes in building new childcare spaces the costs and waiting lists are still daunting As for downtown schools this is one of the toughest parts especially in American cities In Canada the public school system doesn t geographically skew funding of schools to the suburbs so the key is usually to show the school boards that kids are there or will be A sort of if they come kids they will build it schools In Vancouver we prioritized schools by negotiating two school sites from larger developments many years ago The first elementary school Elsie Roy opened many years ago to full classrooms The second site in International Village has finally had

    Original URL path: http://spacing.ca/vancouver/2012/09/11/want-families-downtown-design-for-them/ (2015-11-16)
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  • TODERIAN: Discovering the worlds of Twitter and urbanism - Spacing Vancouver
    all it can be a very effective way to keep your finger on the pulse of things and stay cutting edge You can also choose to follow the spontaneous thoughts of city builders you know and respect and that can add another dimension of access to information and knowledge beyond what s published on web sites Twitter is clearly a runaway success as a tool to share urbanism links and new found data that helps professionals keep up to date on best practices and urban issues on a global scale But can Twitter be a tool for the promotion of better urbanism in general Can Twitter be part of a movement On the one hand I believe it s a poor medium for debates and often others want to use it for that I ve chosen to avoid that unless I think the audience would benefit from a limited back and forth in some way It certainly shouldn t be about trying to win an argument convincing the one you re debating with that you are right or they are wrong that s highly unlikely in this medium and over simplification and misinterpretation is probable On the other hand I ve found Twitter to be an interesting and effective way to convey simple messages and ideas that can support a movement or the promotion of an improved urbanism You can only say so much in 140 characters but you can always write something longer on other web based platforms Though I must admit as a newbie I still find it remarkable that I can send out a simple tweet on an urbanism theme with a link to a longer discussion like the following from last week Part of density done well is understanding what I call the power of nearness Mixed compact walkable by design http ecocity wordpress com 2010 02 09 the power of nearness This tweet can be theoretically read by any of my 700 initial followers More importantly within minutes this message can be re tweeted to thousands or even tens of thousands of followers So fast Do most of those people read the tweet or go to the link Doubtful but even if a portion do we can t doubt that the tool can be fast and effective in spreading simple or complex through links messaging or information Do these ideas and messages actually influence urbanists or the general public That depends on the quality and persuasiveness of the message but the potential is there through the tool for distribution consideration and discussion When it comes to promoting a movement many advocacy organizations use twitter prolifically including urbanist organizations An evolving example I m involved with is the recent use of Twitter by the Council of Canadian Urbanism or CanU an organization for which I m President CanUrbanism We re already finding it effective in increasing organization awareness recognition communicating our messages and history sharing information that supports our mission or fosters healthy debate and ultimately

    Original URL path: http://spacing.ca/vancouver/2012/05/03/toderian-discovering-the-worlds-of-twitter-and-urbanism/ (2015-11-16)
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  • Olympic Cities and Advanced City-Making – Part 2 - Spacing Vancouver
    our case even before the Athletes Village was completed it was substantially influencing the city and indeed the regional discussion on city building Many of the green zoning exemptions we built into the development approvals have now been built into our city wide zoning bylaw even before the Olympic buildings were open Our learning s on passive design have been translated into a passive design toolkit Our urban agriculture learning s have been translated into urban agriculture guidelines for the city Our learning s about district energy we did our first neighborhood energy utility using sewer heat recovery to heat the Athletes Village and much larger area have already raised our district energy bar with all other major projects across the city We ve emphasized that these new projects have to be even better than Athletes Village and that s being translated into a new district energy policy for the city So you see the point of the power of a model Unfortunately too many cities do model developments but years after nothing s really changed with business as usual development That s something we very much wanted to avoid here NB A lot of people think of these big events Olympics World Cups as being a spur for development and physical infrastructure creation but it seems like you re taking it further and using it almost as a lab for urban policy BT You have to remember that the second most important moment in Vancouver s city building history was our hosting of Expo 86 That event changed the way we do things as city builders and really sparked what is now called the Vancouver Model I say the second most important moment because the first most important was arguably the refusal to put freeways in Vancouver particularly through our downtown in the late 60 s But Expo 86 was a pivotal turning point It gave the city a huge amount of confidence and started an era of city building that has really defined Vancouver ism So we re well aware that this is our second great event that the Olympics like Expo 86 will be transformative not only in our attitudes but in the way we do our urbanism We set out from day one to make sure that we were positioned for that transformation The fun of this challenge is that Vancouver is the most populous urban destination ever to host the Winter Olympics Our population is about 600 000 in a region of about 2 1 million For most Summer Olympics the event areas for the Olympics are often on the urban outskirts Much of the activity of the Vancouver Winter Olympics is in the middle of our most urban environment So it s a massive operational challenge to accommodate an Olympics and the huge influx of people NB Well it sounds like a big challenge And if we look back at other cities and other places that have hosted these events there s a lot

    Original URL path: http://spacing.ca/vancouver/2012/03/02/6928/ (2015-11-16)
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  • Olympic Cities and Advanced City-Making - Part 1 - Spacing Vancouver
    to London and the time clock for preparation of the venues and city Construction completion and the hand over of facilities always the biggest stress in the year before the opening ceremonies seems to be going well according to the press Many existing facilities are being enhanced and retrofitted often a strategic and responsible thing to do rather than constructing new and new buildings like the Zaha Hadid designed Aquatics Centre and the massive Olympic Stadium appear to be ready for test events as the saying goes in the Olympics process they have to be ready there s no option to push back the Opening Ceremonies One can read about the nature and location of the many venues in and outside of London at the London2012 website as well as learn more about the Athletes Village here and here The latter is always one of the most interesting city building aspects of any Games Be sure to watch some of the videos A new terminal at Heathrow will accommodate more and bigger planes often the most debated aspect around the sustainability of any Games and investments in top line hotels will be completed in time for the Games The local narrative describes the investment in the Olympic Park as a way of revitalizing East London Like many Olympic cities that are largely built out much of London s Games will actually happen on the outskirts of the city Vancouver was one of the few Games in the modern era where Games related construction and events were scattered across an established city pattern including Vancouver s densely developed downtown This required revolutionary approaches to transportation planning London is also preparing for the huge change to business as usual relative to city life and business operations that the Games bring indeed this was one of the biggest workload challenges for us in Vancouver including what was called 17 New York style New Years Eve celebrations in a row in our downtown This London article illustrates how everything must be considered Since the 2010 Games I ve participated in and led many discussions panels and presentations on the Olympics legacy what the benefits and costs were for us locally provincially and nationally and whether it was worth it As you might imagine opinions have varied and data has been debated with many perspectives being very emotional and philosophical on one hand or entirely math focused on the other often by the economists on panels Often such debates end with people having the same opinions they came in with their strong pre set positions proving relatively impervious to other perspectives or new information Since I was not a part of either Vancouver or Calgary s decision to host the Olympics I don t have a vested interest in defending or condemning the decision to host I have also deliberately avoided studying deeply any of the competing math about whether such Games make huge profits or huge losses what spin off effects they have on

    Original URL path: http://spacing.ca/vancouver/2012/03/01/olympic-cities-and-advanced-city-making-part-1/ (2015-11-16)
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  • RELEASE: CanU releases rare Open Letter of Support for Vancouver Mayors Transit Plan & Plebiscite “Yes” Vote - Spacing Vancouver
    Plan proposed by The Mayor s Council The Council for Canadian Urbanism CanU is proud to add its voice to the unprecedented coalition of over 100 groups and organizations of all stripes supporting a Yes vote A Yes means Metro Vancouver will improve significantly in mobility and will continue to grow in ways that provide successful sustainable and responsible choices and options for future generations and for the future economy The negative consequences of a no vote would be tremendous for the local Region and Province and would also be significant for regions across Canada struggling to develop sound plans for funding much needed public transit investment It is rare for CanU to take positions on local issues in city building however the Plebiscite is an unusual example of a powerful moment facing a particular city region that also has significant implications for other city regions across Canada Either way a Yes or No vote will represent a historic turning point for Metro Vancouver A Yes means investment in smart mobility more choices and better sustainability economic success social equity affordability and public health A no means fewer choices and more congestion for everyone Every Canadian city is struggling with similar questions and like always is watching Metro Vancouver for inspiration Brent Toderian President of the Council for Canadian Urbanism former Vancouver Chief Planner The Council for Canadian Urbanism CanU is a national non profit information and advocacy group founded by and including many of Canada s leading urban experts from the fields of city planning urban design architecture landscape architecture transportation community development and related disciplines Download the full letter here Subscribe to Mag Share Post Tweet Post Buy Merch andise Related Posts RELEASE RAIC Call to Action Vote YES Video Vancouver Our Story Our Future Video Vancouver Understanding

    Original URL path: http://spacing.ca/vancouver/2015/03/16/release-canu-eleases-rare-open-letter-support-vancouver-mayors-transit-plan-plebiscite-yes-vote/ (2015-11-16)
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