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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

All Eyes

Designing for safety often relies on “eyes on the street“. After recent moves from Vancouver to Whitehorse to Toronto, I have been considering how living in a much bigger city affects my safety.

Rioters and vandals in Vancouver's Stanley Cup riots earlier this month have since found themselves tagged and identified using social media. Thanks to Dustan Sept on Flickr for this evocative Creative Commons photo.

The assumption that urban anonymity leads to more crime is likely true. It makes sense that safety in smaller places is due to tighter networks and the increased likelihood of being caught or ostracized due to actions.

Fortunately, the digital shrinking of the world is mimicking the surveillance of a small town. Paired … Continue Reading

School Troubles in a Booming Metropolis: Part 4 – Changing Expectations

This is the final installment in a four-part series about the demographic, housing and land use contexts of troubled public schools. Here are links to parts one, two and three.

North Americans are culturally attached to the single-family house, especially for families with children. Thanks to Barrie Sutcliffe for this great photos of houses on the outskirts of Edmonton, Alberta.

In many core cities, insufficient affordable and suitable housing for families provides a push for young families to leave urban neighbourhoods for the suburbs.

The pull of suburban environments is the other side of the coin. 55% of Canadians live in a house, and many believe that young children have the best outcomes in a single-family house with a private yard. Cultural attachment to … Continue Reading

Pedestrian (and stroller) priority in Vancouver

Tim Barton is a transport planner, photographer, and dad in Vancouver, Canada. This informative reflection on stroller-friendly sidewalks was first published on his planning and photography blog Planning Picture here.

Thanks to Jennifer Rogers on Flickr for this amazing Creative Commons photo of her mother in a stroller, in 1949.

Being forced to push your baby out into traffic… feeling like the sidewalk has taken over control of your stroller and is determined to introduce your baby to the fast moving travel lane… having the impression I’m crossing a road when in fact its a lane way.

My wife and I have experienced all this and more in the past year or so as we adapt to life with a baby. We live in downtown Vancouver … Continue Reading

School Troubles in a Booming Metropolis: Part 2 – Family Housing

This is the second post in a series exploring demographic, housing and land use contexts of troubled public schools in the City of Vancouver and its suburbs.

Last week’s post showed that, though the proportion of Metro Vancouver’s population made up of school-aged children is declining, that decline is occurring more rapidly in the central City of Vancouver. More suburban in character, the City of Surrey (pop 400,000)  is home to the only public school district in British Columbia where enrolment is actually increasing.

Canada-wide statistics show that these trends are not unique to Metro Vancouver. One analysis of 2006 Canadian census data showed that “27% of first-time parents made the move out the city and very few moved in.” A Statistics Canada report suggests that “one of the explanations for … Continue Reading

School Troubles in a Booming Metropolis – Part 1

This is the first post in a series exploring demographic, housing and land use contexts of troubled public schools in the City of Vancouver and its suburbs.

Kids attending public schools in Vancouver, Canada are back in class today after an extended two-week spring break. In previous years, spring break was just one week long, but school districts around BC are experimenting with their instructional calendars in desparate attempts to save money on heating, school buses and wages.

Edith Cavell Elementary School in Vancouver sat empty for two weeks this year during an extended spring break. Creative Commons photo by author.

Recent years have not been easy for public schools in Vancouver. A local newspaper identified threatened school closures as one of the top news stories … Continue Reading

Bike, bike, revolution.

Thanks to Paul Krueger on Flickr for this gorgeous photo taken at Vancouver's Hornby Street separated bike lane.

The introduction of downtown bike lanes in Vancouver, Canada has been controversial. In contrast to the concerns about potential business losses and increased traffic congestion, investment into bike infrastructure has demonstrated economic benefits. A recent study from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies found that bicycling contributes $1.5 billion to Wisconsin’s economy every year through bike-related jobs, tourism, reduced health care costs, and a better quality of life.

Vancouver’s Hornby and Dunsmuir bike lanes serve several important functions that will have tangible and intangible benefits.

  • Downtown commuting is now a viable option for more than the most stylish bike courier.
  • The seawall is … Continue Reading

Vancouver Master Plan Project

This fall, I had the honor of participating in the creation of the first large-scale master plan for the city of Vancouver, Canada since the 1920s. Fourteen landscape architecture and three planning graduate students contributed to the plan, which tackles envisioning how the lower density portion of the city outside the downtown core will accommodate the growth expected over the next 40 years. View the finished document here (35MB PDF file behind the link). 

Student Mary Wong’s depiction of a Production, Distribution, Repair Typology transitioning to an existing single family home with residential densities in between. Used with permission.

Professor Patrick Condon’s recent book Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities provided a basis for the interdisciplinary studio, and Condon required that the plan reflect a doubling of Vancouver’s population … Continue Reading

Upcoming Event: Planning Engagement through New Media (Vancouver)

While amazing possibilities exist for the use of digital media in planning engagement, a host of challenges often face intrepid planners who make the leap to actually using these innovative engagement methods.

Vancouver-based readers should check out next Wednesday’s event called “New Expressions of Planning Engagement.” Targeted to planning practitioners and students, it will feature three stories from Lower Mainland planners who have led new media engagement in their communities, and offer lessons based on their experiences.

The essential details are as follows:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 7-9pm
Roundhouse Community Arts & Rec Centre, Room B
181 Roundhouse Mews (Davie & Pacific), Vancouver
Canada Line SkyTrain Station: Yaletown-Roundhouse

Please RSVP to vanessak at interchange.ubc.ca by November 15.
PIBC members can earn 2 LUs of organized CPD for attending this event.

For more information, check out the poster, … Continue Reading

Gaining Ground Conference: The Power of Green Cities to Shape the Future | October 4-7 in Vancouver

Hundreds of urban sustainability practitioners, advocates, researchers and public servants will be meeting in just a few weeks at the 2010 Gaining Ground Conference: EcoLogical: The Power of Green Cities to Shape the Future. Day 1 will focus on Governance and Industry Collaboration; Day 2 is about the Green Economy; Day 3 is about Community Engagement and Social Innovation, with the tag line of “Healing Cities”. There is also a pre-conference day.

Last year’s conference was a provocative, well attended event (read some of last year’s posts from the conference). PlanningPool will cover the conference this year too! Let us know if there are any sessions or speakers that you particularly want to read about! Email us at info (at) planningpool (dot) com

The themes that Gaining Ground/EcoLogical will address this October 4-7 … Continue Reading

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