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Audio Slideshow: Vancouver “Olympic Line” Streetcar Demonstration

“Olympic Line” Streetcar Demonstration in Vancouver, Canada from Planning Pool on Vimeo.

January 21 2010 at 9:30am -that’s today! – marks the start of a two-month demonstration of modern streetcar service in Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Olympics. This three-minute slideshow shows a sneak preview of the streetcars themselves, on loan from Brussels, Belgium. It also observes the City of Vancouver’s interest in finding funding and galvanizing political will to reinstate permanent streetcar service in the city.

The demonstration streetcars will be free to ride, so if you find yourself in Vancouver during the Olympics, it will be worth venturing out into the crowds to check them out. The Olympic Line will run from 6:30 AM to 12:30AM every day, with … Continue Reading

Podcast: Urbanist Matt Hern reads from “Common Ground in Liquid City”

Matt Hern is one of the irrepressible urbanists of Vancouver, Canada. He is an author, activist and educator, most widely known for founding Car Free Vancouver. He is also known by his immediate neighbours as the guy who hosts the 200-person potluck dinners in the park by his house! His new book Common Ground in a Liquid City: Essays in Defense of an Urban Future reflects on Vancouver from vantage points in other cities around the world.

This eight-minute audio clip captures Matt Hern reading aloud from his new book. He compares Montreal and Vancouver, considering Montreal’s more distinctive flavour:

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Vancouver’s New Year’s Resolution to encourage transit use

On a day when millions of people around the world were making New Years resolutions about shrinking their waistlines, Vancouver quietly saw a policy enter into action that may end up seriously shrinking the city’s carbon footprint. Effective January 1st, gasoline taxes will rise in Greater Vancouver by three cents, and the parking sales tax will rise by 300%. While the taxes come amid fiscal turmoil at the region’s transportation agency Translink, they are good policies that will help build a better city. If only Vancouverites knew how lucky they truly are. . .

Portland’s Plans to Be The Greenest City in the World – Resilient Cities Conference

Who will be the most sustainable city in the world? Vancouver, British Columbia, unveiled its Greenest City Initiative today, which sets 10 ambitious targets for resource use reduction, to achieve by 2010. Portland, Oregon, is a close competitor for this “greenest” city title, having already won the number one spot in US city rankings by Sustain Lane and Popular Science.

Portland Mayor Sam Adams is urging Portlanders to not rest on their laurels. At the Gaining Ground Resilient City conference, Adams and his team outlined an innovative strategy to advance their city’s sustainability. The vanguard of this effort is a 25 year strategic planning effort that will push a triple bottom line for the city, to ensure “that Portland is a thriving and sustainable city and our people are prosperous, healthy and educated.”

Planning and … Continue Reading

Planning Pool @ the Gaining Ground Summit

During the coming week, Planning Pool will be liveblogging the Gaining Ground Summit from Vancouver, BC. This means you can expect a flurry of posts detailing many events headed by leading thinkers on urban resiliency. Click here for the event program — if there’s a specific event you want to hear about, let us know and we’ll see what we can do!

Snapshot: Street Food

Snapshot_Street Food

The sights and smells of street food can be one of the great experiential pleasures of a city, and every city is different. Carts sell roasted chestnuts on London’s street corners in the wintertime, while New York’s streets bristle with hot dog carts.

Portland, Oregon, shown above, is known for its array of food carts. They seem to sell every kind of food, and some even offer folding chairs to accommodate a leisurely meal.

Meanwhile, the City of Montreal, Quebec, has banned conventional street food carts for decades. While the waffle vendor shown here does technically sell street food, since it is both purchased and consumed on the sidewalk, the food is cooked inside a building and served through a window. Locally, the lack of street food is … Continue Reading

CIP Niagara conference: Building the Regional City

This afternoon in Niagara there are a variety of mobile workshops and concurrent sessions. I’m at a “Building the Regional City” panel featuring Vancouver’s Ann McAfee, as well as Kathryn Friedman, Deputy Director of University of Buffalo’s Regional Institute, and Francis Gentoral, Regional Manager for the Canadian Urban Institute in Southeast Asia. This panel is focusing on regional cities that cross municipal, state/provincial, and even international boundaries.

McAfee compares Vancouver and Melbourne as examples of liveable cities but has different governance structures. The Vancouver has 22 municipalities. Metro Melbourne has a larger regional population and 32 municipalities, but an older built environment and a smaller downtown population. Melbourne’s limiting factor is water.

Unlike Vancouver, Melbourne has no metro government and the state presents regional plans without public engagement. But, both regions have similar goals, namely to diversify the economy, nurture local business, … Continue Reading

Vancouver’s Open Data Catalogue Now Online!

Just a quick update to Monday’s post about Vancouver’s Open City Intiative – a beta version of Vancouver’s Open Data Catalogue is now available online at data.vancouver.ca

Check out the data that is available so far (mostly geospatial data), and let the City know through their priority survey which datasets you think should be made available next!

Vancouver’s Open City Initiative

Vancouver’s announcement earlier this summer that the city would open its data created quite a buzz on blogs and podcasts around the world.

Photo from Vancouver Transit Camp by Jason Vanderhill on Flickr

Photo from Vancouver Transit Camp by Jason Vanderhill on Flickr

What is involved in opening a municipality’s data to the public? The motion passed by Vancouver city council this May includes three simple components:

  • open data
  • Any data that the city collects, from current zoning applications to the library catalogue, should be made publicly accessible unless it impacts individual privacy.

  • open standards
  • While plenty of public documents and data have long been publicly available, open standards will improve its accessibility and usefulness.

  • open source
  • City-made software will be licensed … Continue Reading

    Public Transit Advertising and Portland Streetcar Envy

    Having long envied its streetcar system from afar, I was delighted this summer to make my first visit to Portland and ride its famous streetcars. Vancouver BC, where I make my home, is often compared to Portland but its once-extensive streetcar system was scrapped in favour of trolley busses in the 1950s.

    A handsome new streetcar in Portland, Oregon. Photo by author.

    A handsome new streetcar in Portland, Oregon. Photo by author.

    One thing I had not expected to see when riding Portland’s famed streetcars was the presence of advertisements in non-traditional places. Tourist information booklets displayed inside each streetcar present maps of the route and promote businesses located near the tracks.

    As a transit planning nerd, I actually felt warmly towards the businesses that spent advertising money in support of … Continue Reading

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