Archive for February, 2007

Eco-Density: the Mayor’s Perspective

The City Program hopes to be working with City on Eco-Density policy in the Fall. In the meantime, the program is being introduced to the community in the next few weeks. Here’s a column the Mayor wrote for the National Post.

It’s time to talk about urban density

Tue 13 Feb 2007

As mayor of one of Canada’s biggest cities, Vancouver, I am frustrated with the nature of the debate on global climate change in this country.

Over the past several months, I have watched as environmental organizations, government agencies and the media provide advice on how Canadians can make small changes to our lifestyles, yet continue living in a fundamentally unsustainable fashion.

Instead of telling Canadians to simply check the air pressure in their tires to ensure better mileage, or put energy efficient light bulbs in their suburban homes, we should be talking about how better urban planning and densification of our cities can significantly reduce our impact on the environment.

Not once have I seen any prominent national news coverage on the link between increased urban density and the impact on our global ecology. It is time that we have this debate.

My concern for the environment was the primary reason I introduced the concept of Eco Density to the citizens of Vancouver in June, 2006. After several months of planning, this innovative program will be launched this month with multiple events and workshops aimed at engaging our citizens in developing new plans for future residential development, through an environmental lens.

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February 15, 2007 at 12:48 pm Leave a comment

“Affordablity by Design” Conference Summary

Solutions to the housing crunch in Vancouver? Ways to create more affordable housing? For everyone?

Last October, the Vancouver City Planning Commission, Smart Growth BC and the City Program brought together some of the brightest minds in the city to take that one on. And now you can see the results for yourself here:

affordsummarycover.jpg

This summary of the two-day conference highlights the remarks of public-lecture speaker Karrie Jacobs (The Perfect $100,000 House) with response from Dale McClanaghan and Lance Jakubec; distills the speech of keynote speaker Larry Beasley (New Possibilities; Old Barriers); and sums up the comments of our panel experts Bill Buholzer, Bruce Haden, Bob Ransford and Jay Wollenberg (Overcoming Barriers to Affordable Housing Strategies).

Most importantly, the report documents (with helpful illustrations) the recommendations of the small-group discussions:

  • Small infill houses on laneways
  • Adaptive re-user and enhanced housing mixes in single-family areas
  • Intensification along major roads, new nodes and transit-oriented development
  • Thinking outside the box

This conference did more than talk about a problem; it supplied some realistic and practical solutions.

The City Program very much appreciates the funding support of the Real Estate Foundation of B.C., Vancity and Canada Mortgage and Housing. They made both the conference and this helpful report possible. It was a pleasure, as well, to work with the Vancouver City Planning Commission and Smart Growth BC on organizing this event.

Now the challenge: translating it all into action.

February 1, 2007 at 10:02 am Leave a comment