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Foreign Workers, Local Neighbours: A Multimedia Initiative about Temporary Foreign Workers in Vancouver

Thanks to Callista Haggis for this great introduction to the short documentary Foreign Workers, Local Neighbours, which examines the conditions and socio-economic impacts of temporary foreign workers in Vancouver, Canada. At the bottom of this post is a link to view the entire film!

In April 2011 The Mayor’s Working Group on Immigration launched a multimedia initiative to incite discussion and awareness about the socio-economic impacts of Temporary Foreign Workers in Vancouver, Canada.

The 20 minute documentary, Foreign Workers, Local Neighbours (FWLN), was one project component. It was born from a small project team (Devon Wong, Krystle Alarcon and myself), with critical input from temporary foreign worker community representatives, academic researchers, advocates and residents.

FWLN’s premier screening was at a public forum on May 28, 2011. … Continue Reading

Location, location, location

Reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that cause global warming is on most current political agendas. At 36%, the largest GHG source in British Columbia is transportation. GHG emissions are a product of vehicle miles traveled (VMT); therefore, a reduction in the latter contributes towards GHG reduction goals.

Thanks to Jeff Turner for this great Creative Commons photo of freeway infrastructure outside Los Angeles.

According to Philip Langdon of the New Urban Network, this is a “data problem” because achieving significant VMT reduction requires precise knowledge of vehicle trips and how they are impacted by mass transit, different development patterns and public policy interventions.

Location determines trips; no additional data is required. Langdon’s article cites a goal of 12% VMT reduction which could be accomplished simply … Continue Reading

Weekly NewsPool: Local energy, the London Underground, and the end of Heritage Week!

In planning news and in the blogosphere, this week brought two great stories from Boston, including a glimpse at the future of open transit data. Other stories address the challenging imperative of energy security, and mark without mourning the end of the public-private partnership that, until recently, operated London’s Underground.

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Greening Small Home Renovations – The City of Vancouver may require Green Improvements to the Renovation of One and Two Family Homes

A small but important part of the ‘Greenest City Action Plan’, The City of Vancouver hopes to tackle the resource efficiency of existing buildings through a proposed amendment to our building by-law (VBBL) that would require green improvements along with the renovation of one and two family homes. Arguably, it might seem like this will have a small impact on the massive GHG goals taken on by the Province and City, however it is an essential step in any Green Building plan. Read more…

Hang’Em High for….rain barrels?

A technologically advanced rain barrel, as captured by Jason Vance on Flickr. Thanks for the Creative Commons photo!

We all know that outdated legislation can often be one of the largest barriers change. Up until 2009, in the state of Colorado it was illegal to have a rain barrel and still is illegal for a majority of its residents. They would probably not hang you for it and it was mostly unenforced but it still had an effect on how infrastructure in that state could be designed, particularly for large developments. You couldn’t bring a development application which included a rainwater collection system no matter what the planned use for that water.

The reason rain barrels were and still are in most circumstances illegal is … Continue Reading

EcoHensity (trademark pending) coming to Vancouver

Daniel Fontaine is a co-editor of CityCaucus.com and an active political commentator with a background in political science, writing and strategy. His great post about Vancouver’s proposed legislation legalizing urban chickens was published last October, but not much has changed on the policy front since then; Vancouver City Council still has yet to approve changes to the bylaws currently prohibiting backyard hens in the city. This post was originally published on CityCaucus.com, a blog that explores the ideas, the politics, and the people behind making Canadian cities. These days, the site is devoted to following Olympic activity around Vancouver.

The new Backyard Chicken Coordinator starts his post at the renovated Vancouver City Hall.

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Green Infrastructure: Paying for Utopia (Feature)

The term ‘green infrastructure’ typically conjures up ideas of LEED-buildings, green roofs, grey-water recycling and emerging clean energy technologies such as solar panels and wind turbines. This type of ‘green infrastructure’ investment is sometimes heralded as an economic save-all, a way to meet the goals of the planning profession while investing in the world of tomorrow. Pundits suggest that investment in green infrastructure will create the backbone of future communities, places that are energy efficient, multi-modal, carbon-neutral and in harmony with natural systems.

However, “green infrastructure” could also have an entirely new meaning. Exploring this expanded definition is going to test our beliefs and will require keeping an open mind. Planners should be up for the task; as a profession we are open to idea exploration, we experiment with new technologies and we utilize our creative instincts when planning for communities … Continue Reading