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Vancouver: A Virginian Perspective

June 29, 2015
This video has received lots of coverage (we always like an outsider’s perspective), but it’s also worth looking at just to see how the latest low-cost technology can produce such a sophisticated result.  Todd Hayward shot this within 25 minutes of downtown while his family was here for the Women’s World Cup “with a GoPro Hero 4 Silver and a Feiyu Tech G4 Gimbal.  A few scenes were shot with a Nikon D5500.”

Scenes include Downtown, Yaletown, Capilano, Stanley Park, Lynn Canyon, Queen Elizabeth Park, BC Place, FIFA Women’s World Cup Match (USA vs. NGA), FIFA Vancouver Fan Zone, Granville Island, English Bay, Coal Harbor, Cypress Mountain, and more …

Michael Kluckner: An Australian Perspective

June 29, 2015
Michael Kluckner is in Australia, picking up on the similarities between our two scenes:

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Here’s a cartoon from the Sydney Morning Herald: crocodile tears from the State government about affordability while they dance in the rain of money from stamp duty (property transfer tax) payments, allowing them to deliver lots of education and health goodies in the recent budget.

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kluckner.

Michael also notes:

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“Rents in Sydney are about 50% higher than Vancouver’s, although held back a little by rent control. Typically $600-700 per week for a 2 bedroom. Wages are maybe 15% higher here for the average family; condo and house prices are similar.”

Morning Thought: The Strategy for a Second-rate Region

June 29, 2015
Here’s an excerpt from an interview by CBC News with Housing Minister Rich Coleman on the topic of our times, housing affordability:

According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, the benchmark home price index for a detached house in the region was over a million dollars in April this year.  What can the province doing about this?

We recognize that home affordability can be challenging at times and the market has the tendency to have its bubbles and move up and down.

We’re going to look at things with regarding to building code, issues around development cost charges, and work with municipalities with regards to costs they’re putting onto housing.

As we do that, we have to make sure we’re not going to do something as a government that would force down the value of people’s assets that they work very hard to pay and devalue their equity.

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I think the interpretation is clear: the Province will do nothing directly to impact housing prices.  Instead, the pressure will be on municipalities to reduce the costs they incur on development or the revenues they take from development.  For local government, that means more responsibility and less money.

Politically, that means mayors and council will be expected to make the excruciating trade-offs in order to offset a reduced revenue stream from new development (on the assumption that that will lower the retail costs of housing) by cutting the level of existing services or by not providing the amenities expected to come with growth.

When combined with the likely outcome on regional transit, where no new revenues will be forthcoming unless drawn from the local tax base, the provincial strategy is becoming abundantly apparent: this is the way that local government will be constrained.  Service levels are to remain static, growth must be paid for from existing sources, and the political consequences are to be borne by local representatives.  So long as its provincial representatives can get away with it.

Ohrn Image: Lucky

June 29, 2015

I feel lucky to live here, and able to find sights like this.

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Ohrn Brockton

Signs of Our Times

June 26, 2015

From Ian Robertson, seen on Broadway.

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Sign

The Daily Scot: Road Diet in North Van

June 26, 2015
Scot finds something cheap and stealthy:
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I came across this intersection where the City of North Vancouver is using temporary barriers to delineate the new traffic lane width helping to slow traffic and allow for easier pedestrian passage.

This is a great Road Diet technique that allows traffic engineers the ability to test the new intersection configuration and tweak the design prior to any major construction commitment.  Its also a cheap and stealthy way to reduce road capacity without the anger and suspicion of motorists.

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North Van

The Daily Durning: “Can daily biking keep us young?”

June 26, 2015
Um, yup. The article compiles a lot of studies – from urbanful, originally published by Momentum Mag on February 23, 2015.

 

 

bikingtostayyoung

 

A recent article by Gretchen Reynolds in the New York Times highlighted a study by scientists at King’s College London and the University of Birmingham. The scientists performed physical and cognitive tests on more than 100 seniors who cycle regularly, and then again on inactive seniors. After looking at the volunteers’ endurance capacity, muscular mass and strength, pedaling power, metabolic health, balance, memory function, bone density and reflexes, the study determined that seniors that cycle don’t age like inactive seniors. Physiologically, they resemble much younger people.

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