Vancouver ain’t what it used to was going to be

Two former city planners who were fired by councils over differences of opinion are in the Vancouver Sun complaining about a lack of planning.

That would be a lack of planning for future city growth.

They are joined in their concern by a third former city planner who retired in 2006.

“I come back to Vancouver and more and more I worry that here we have become incredibly complacent about the future we are going to face,” said Beasley. “To me there is no question. I don’t feel vague about it, I don’t think it is unknowable, we are going to have a big affordability problem in this city. That affordability could in fact be the defining reality and image in this city by 2050. It is already becoming the alternate image of this city that goes along with the beauty and all that.”

He said the region needs a “brand new” metropolitan plan, “a plan that thinks about the issues of the future, a plan that is not shy, a plan that does not have parameters and you can’t talk about this and you can’t talk about that. And until we get that plan, we are not going to solve the problems of the inner city, the affordability, our heritage program, our culture, whether we have enough office space. We just are not going to solve it unless we get a much broader concept of our metropolitan core and we get a plan for it.”

Toderian said in his term as planning director he tried to start a new citywide plan but could not get past “obsolete” local neighbourhood plans that have only made the problem worse.

Can you plan a great city, or can a great city just happen in a pretty place?

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French_In_Exile
Guest
French_In_Exile

BPOE today, WPOE tomorrow…

jesse
Member

With deference, poorly planned cities have had wonderful success at growing despite themselves. These quotes come across as more a lament of an institution’s powerlessness over a complicated and irreverent city long ago disenfranchised from its civic affairs, and that urban planning in such an environment is a messy and frustrating business.

Village Whisperer
Member
Village Whisperer

Some interesting stats sent my way:

1030 Detached homes for sale in the Westside of Vancouver
697 Detached homes for sale in the Eastside of Vancouver
1164 Detached homes for sale in Richmond

oneangryslav2
Guest
oneangryslav2

Off to bed but wanted to respond quickly. To me, one of the biggest obstacles to regional planning is the power of the developer lobby. I don’t mind concentrated condo blocks in some areas of the city, but we should be able to more creatively attack the problem of densification without always falling back on the condo tower as a first resort. (What’s that old saying: “if all you’ve got is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.”) If there’s one thing I’d like to see is freehold row housing. Some of my favourite neighbourhoods in other cities have them–Georgetown, Park Slope, Back Bay, etc.

patriotz
Member

It is the provincial government – through transportation projects – that has effectively been doing the regional planning in Metro Vancouver for decades. The current Liberal government has actually tightened their control by eliminating the vestige of local control in Translink that was set up by the previous NDP government.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for an amalgamation or real metro government, as the provincial government will want to continue to play divide and conquer rather than dealing with a Calgary or Toronto style megamayor.

The other point is that it’s hard to exercise any rational planning when the RE market is so massively distorted. The pressure of vast amounts of dumb money will work its way around the best intended efforts.

registered
Member
registered

The inside joke is Beasely’s planning is largely credited with making Vancouver’s downtown what it is today. I recall reading a speech he gave in which his perspective on vehicular traffic was, almost literally, ‘make them get out and walk.’ Vancouver was just ranked second most congested traffic in North America, an impressive feat for a city this size.
More slapped-up and soulless teal glass towers, business flight and maximized congestion aren’t my ideal urban lifestyle. Thanks but no thanks Larry, stick to Abu Dhabi.

patriotz
Member

Yeah it’s not RE, but its Gordo:

In the first five months of 2012, the high commissioner to the United Kingdom has billed $67,026 on dinners, lunches, and cocktail receptions. He’s also billed three tuxedo rentals at a cost of $600.

Campbell’s total tab is nearly three times more than any other ambassador in the same period, according to figures posted online by Foreign Affairs under proactive disclosure rules…

The top diplomat in Washington, Gary Doer, is among the more frugal ambassadors, spending just $2,682 on hospitality in the five-month period.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/07/16/pol-harris-ambassadors-hospitality.html

patriotz
Member

@fixie guy:
“Vancouver was just ranked second most congested traffic in North America, an impressive feat for a city this size.”

But almost all of the congestion in the CoV is from traffic originating outside of it. Is the answer to cater to car-driving suburbanites? If the suburbs had the same pattern of development and transit usage as the CoV there wouldn’t be a problem at all.

registered
Member
registered

@8 patriotz: I would suggest it’s a civic planner’s duty to recognize realities instead of blaming others for not aligning to their ideologies. Not all municipalities can or want to be downtown Vancouver.
On the other hand businesses flight to the suburbs might solve the problem eventually.

pricedoutfornow
Guest
pricedoutfornow

@patriotz:

Agreed, when they talk about how congested “Vancouver” is, I really think they are referring to the suburbs, Port Mann etc. Vancouver itself is not that congested, I’ve lived in COV for a couple years now and find it quite easy to travel within the city. Travelling from where I live in South East Van is a breeze to and from downtown Van, even in rush hour. Meanwhile people are lined up on highway 1 to get to Surrey/Langley. That’s where the real nightmare is, and it has nothing to do with COV. I find COV to be a well-planned city, very walkable in many neighborhoods. I think it’s great that most neighborhoods have a local community centre/library within walking distance, and usually a grocery store. Try finding that in Surrey or Langley!

Tacky Tocker
Guest
Tacky Tocker

For those destined to move in to these select neighborhoods….

Look at who your neighbors are gonna be

188 east 1st next to Mechanica. City run social housing tower for homeless, addicts etc

215-225 west 2nd amongst all those trendy towers under construction

1601 west 7th

And nine others just look at cov supportive housing

A lot in prime areas of the city

I wonder how many buyers actually know about these

Tacky Tocker
Guest
Tacky Tocker

COV most congested city??? Take a look at who came up with this drivel.. Tom Tom the GPS manufacture

what a load of crap

Tacky Tocker
Guest
Tacky Tocker

Anyone out there with the power to tell me what the sales history of this V960831 listing is?

Thanks

patriotz
Member

@pricedoutfornow:
“I find COV to be a well-planned city, very walkable in many neighborhoods”

That is of course because the city was laid out when automotive commuting was not the norm. Destinations had to be convenient to those using transit and walking because that’s how people got around.

Only the West Side, which was the former municipality of Point Grey, really had any formal planning.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Allowing developers to build a cookie cutter bland condo tower in just about every empty lot or parking space is a nice way to “plan” a city.

Those towers don’t look so bad today but imagine in 30 years. Tired looking glass towers (half could be under tarps or crumbling) dominating the downtown skyline. That’s a VERY ugly thought.

VHB
Member
VHB

Inventory I monitor on public mls is flat for most areas since July 1st. Maybe flat is as good as it gets given the mini-rush to buy pre-July 9th, but there is no big inventory gains in most areas.

One exception I see is Burnaby; high end Burnaby (lol) to be more precise. Inventory still growing sharply there. Note that I only monitor selected areas, so there may also be other growing areas (Richmond? Tri-cities? others?).

Harry Wang
Guest
Harry Wang

Vancouver is the regional center. The fact that it’s difficult to access 1.5 million lower mainlanders isn’t an accident, it’s the plan.

If you could drive from your house in Surrey to Vancouver or Coquitlam in a reasonable time, pay cheap parking, why would you want to live in a downtown shoe box?

Developers and city hall make it harder for people to get to their jobs so they will have more incentive to buy a slice of sky in “New Yaletown” or “Cross Town”.

VHB
Member
VHB
whoops just posted this on y’day thread by mistake; reposting here now Here are the month-end projections, using a 7day MA Jul-2012 Total days 21 Days elapsed so far 10 Weekends / holidays 6 Days missing 0 Days remaining 11 7 Calendar Day Moving Average: Sales 106 7 Calendar Day Moving Average: Listings 238 SALES Sales so far 1165 Projection for rest of month (using 7day MA) 1170 Projected month end total 2335 NEW LISTINGS Listings so far 2608 Projection for rest of month (using 7day MA) 2614 Projected month end total 5222 Sell-list so far 44.7% Projected month-end sell-list 44.7% MONTHS OF INVENTORY Inventory as of July 16, 2012 19179 Current MoI at this sales pace 8.21 Here are the July norms: year sell list sell/list 2001 2618 3504 74.7% 2002 2670 3929 68.0% 2003 4023 4447 90.5% 2004… Read more »
Navin R. Johnson
Guest
Navin R. Johnson

@patriotz:

The irony of a right wing, big business friendly, suppose to be about fiscal responsibility, moron who keeps slurping away at the public trough… The man is complete garbage.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Lets face it the city has gone down hill under the Gregor Robertson regime. Unless you are a drug addicted cyclist of course, then it is paradise.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Hmmm. So there’s another 4M people want to move to a place where there are no jobs and where they’ll never be able to afford a home, and where everything is more expensive, and where the traffic is brutal (and getting worse) and where it rains for 10 1/2 months a year, and where people are about as friendly as a kick in the nuts. Ya, makes perfect sense.

Wonder if they missed the memo indicating people are already avoiding Vancouver like the plague.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

“we are going to have a big affordability problem in this city. That affordability could in fact be the defining reality and image in this city by 2050.”

How come none of these so called smart city planners can see the housing bubble is causing the affordability problem. Houses are unaffordable across the lower mainland not just in Vancouver. Will making the city more livable some how make it more affordable? Does that make any sense?

registered
Member
registered
Vancouver’s planning for the most part is a standard grid with Kingsway cutting it diagonally, similar to thousands of other North American cities. Given it’s also one of the newest, it’s hard to understand which aspects of it were less ‘vehicle aware’ than much older Montreal and Halifax. My experience was, far from due to inherent planning superiority, you could navigate Vancouver quickly only after learning which lane to be in, which shortcut to take, which streets to avoid and when. Locals take unique pleasure in honing their routes. “Heading east? Zero road!” A co-worker took only side roads from the Oak Street bridge to False Creek. I always took it as an adaptive response to city that plans anti-car. Nor does it result in neighborhoods inherently superior to, for example Toronto with its grid-locked highway core. The house I… Read more »
patriotz
Member

@Harry Wang:
“If you could drive from your house in Surrey to Vancouver or Coquitlam in a reasonable time, pay cheap parking, why would you want to live in a downtown shoe box?”

Lots of people live in a downtown shoe box and commute to the suburbs. Think that over, and then re-examine your premise.

Bloom
Guest
Bloom

@fixie guy: You’re such a sophisticated urbanite! And your in sites and opinions are fantastic!

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