Urban suburbanites

Two interesting quotes from this excellent article about urban suburbanites in Metro Vancouver from the Globe and Mail.

The first pisses me off:

They want to know, if the Evergreen line comes here, what will I do about the problems that come with it, like crime. They are asking about homelessness and social housing,” says Conservative MP James Moore, first elected in Port Moody-Westwood-Coquitlam in 2000

Public transportation brings crime (and is crime-filled) in one of the biggest media-created piles of crap in recent memory. Observe recent efforts such as the “bus” streaker or the victims that happen to be shot while on/near/by the Sky Train. Of course a Conservative MP would spout the line again, but I really doubt the urban suburbanites described in the story actually describe this as their biggest concern with the Evergreen Line; most probably just want to know when it is going to get built.

More revealing is this quote from the pollster near the end:

“What I run into is people who are exhausted. They don’t get enough down time or sleep time. They’re driven to the suburbs in the first place because they think it’s more affordable and they don’t realize the time and driving it’s going to cost them,” says Mr. Lyle. “They have no time to watch The National or read a newspaper. So when they do hear about an issue, they’re angry. They become populists.”

This isn’t exactly news, but it is interesting to see it stated in this way. After all, all those urban hipsters with their smart phones riding the bus/rail are can read the news a lot better than some poor shmuck driving hours to and from work each day.

Anyway, read the whole story. From my perspective the change bodes well for our future. Less big-C conservatives and more NDP/Liberal/Green voters only means a better Canada.

Canadian Urbanism releases 10 points for sustainable cities

Cities in Canada get a rough ride. They get less than their other OECD-brethren and are expected to do more. Toronto even pays for welfare cases, courtesy of Mike Harris and his “Common Sense” revolution. Given we have an election campaign running, the Council for Canadian Urbanism (Conseil d’ Urbanisme Canadien en francais) released their 10 point “call-to-action” today:

1) A progressive and influential National Urban Policy, that recognizes the critical role of the success of cities in Canada’s future.

2) A National Housing Policy that addresses the acute and growing need for affordable housing.

3) A National Transportation Policy that particularly addresses the need to expand active, cost-effective and sustainable forms of transportation, such as transit, rail, walking, and biking.

4) Effective Federal programs that will make us a world leader in combating climate change. There is a need to align the above three national policies in achieving this goal.

5) A national dialogue involving the Federal Government, Provinces and Cities on the development of new sustainable, long-term funding and legislative tools for urban resiliency.

6) Future Federal funding and stimulus programs focused on spending that supports urban resiliency and “smart growth” (i.e. complete and compact communities, expanded transit and rail, renewing aging urban infrastructure, enhancing cultural and civic amenities, etc), rather than on “shovel-ready projects”. A corresponding de-prioritization of, or halt to, stimulus funding that promotes auto-dependency and urban sprawl.

7) Tax reforms that support full-cost accounting of housing choices (which would reveal the well-researched and well-understood economic advantages of compact, walkable communities and sustainable transportation modes that require less infrastructure and lower public expense).

8 ) Federal tax incentives to promote the construction of purpose-built rental housing.

9) Reinstatement of the long-form census to enable reliable planning to better understand, and meet, future needs.

10) Electoral district reform that addresses democratic and fair representation of the population in urban areas, and recognizes the increasing urbanization of Canada.

(h/t to Price Tags)

For the election geek, ThreeHundredEight

If you are an election geek like me — I have voted in every election I have been eligible for, save possibly one early municipal election — ThreeHundredEight is exactly what you need for this federal election. Describing itself as “inspired by the fantastic FiveThirtyEight (a US polling blog run by Nate Silver, now under the wing of the august New York Times), ThreeHundredEight “provides projections for Canadian federal and provincial elections in a non-partisan manner, and focuses primarily on the topic of political opinion polls.”

Run by Éric Grenier, the name comes from the number of seats in the House of Commons, following the convention of its namesake, which refers to the number of seats in the US House of Representatives. Despite the name, the site actually covers provincial politics as well, as this recent post on BC Liberals vs BC NDP shows. With seven elections this year guaranteed (Federal, PEI, NWT, Manitoba, Ontario, Newfoundland & Labradour, Saskatchewan and Yukon) and a possible BC election, Éric looks to be busy.

http://threehundredeight.blogspot.com/2008/10/introduction-to-threehundredeightcom.htmlÉric Grenier

Random links o’ the morning