31 December 2014
Now that Colorado has legalized pot, here’s what they’re doing to regulate it.
29 December 2014
Richer and whiter: A picture tour of 50 years of gentrification in American cities.
25 December 2014
Ban diesel-driven vehicles. ban all cars from some neighbourhoods, double the number of cycle lanes — and more. Looks like Paris is getting serious about the environment.
23 December 2014
If you’re interested in urban development — as a developer, a planner, a government official, or a citizen — you need to know about form-based codes.
22 December 2014
An Australian coal mining and energy company, with operations in Washington State, Montana, Oregon and Wyoming takes a bath, and so do its investors.
18 December 2014
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Despite what you may have heard, Detroit’s misfortune continues. It still faces a sea of troubles, including a UN investigation of alleged human rights abuses.
16 December 2014
Gentrification, plutocratization, patrician ghettos: Are global cities turning into “vast, gated citadels”?
14 December 2014
The ultimate urban survivors: feral cats. They look well fed. For more urban cat pictures, click here.
10 December 2014
Here’s a single source for lots of easily accessible information about carbon pricing.
8 December 2014
Know anyone on Winnipeg City Council who relies on council salary for income? Tell your councillor you support the city’s existing provisions for a modest severance allowance to keep her/him going while looking for another job — or prepare for a council of developers, well-off lawyers and business people.
7 December 2014
Click on picture. Source: Ottawa Citizen.
Inside Kingston Penitentiary: An arresting collection of photos of the grey fortress on the Ontario lakeshore.
4 December 2014
Cutbacks, cutbacks, cutbacks: We North Americans and west Europeans live in the wealthiest society in world history. Why is so much of our politics about cutbacks? (If you see ads when you click, scroll down.)
2 December 2014
Interactive map of the best bus rapid transit systems in the world, together with an explanation of of the standards they meet.
30 November 2014
Rental Housing Index: A community-based initiative tries to ease access to affordable housing.
Click on the map for a better look.
28 November 2014
Despite some progress toward gender equality, women still suffer disproportionately from poverty, violence, inadequate housing, and a long list of other ills. Look up chapter and verse here.
26 November 2014
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Shed village: An unusual approach to homelessness, but one worth considering.
24 November 2014
Don’t blink slowly: College tells female students to practice facial expressions in the mirror to avoid being raped.
21 November 2014
Drowning migrants is good politics: A deeply disturbing piece about refugees trying for a safe haven in Europe, and about possible future policies toward migrants.
19 November 2014
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In New York City, pay phones will be replaced by “links”, offering free local calling and wi-fi, paid for by advertising, even in low-income neighbourhoods. It’ll be interesting to see whether and how this works.
16 November 2014
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“Violet Is an Anagram of Love It”: An art exhibit that comments on connections among homelessness, urban decay and sprawl.
12 November 2014
A corporate consulting firm offers some sensible approaches to the world’s massive affordable housing problem.
11 November 2014
More evidence that devastated American inner cities are recovering. But what happens when all these young people have children and become middle-aged?
7 November 2014
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A fascinating map, superimposed on a London subway map, showing, for each stop, the language (other than English) most spoken nearby.
5 November 2014
How mental patients, pushed out of psychiatric hospitals, became burden on police and judges. Are the recent Canadian shootings a warning that North Americans are sweeping mental illness under the rug?
3 November 2014
Baltimore’s moral crisis: Lots of homeless people, and a glut of vacant houses. Is it time to create a community land trust?
31 October 2014
Jim Crow racist legislation from another era returns to Texas.
29 October 2014
Infrastructure crises: Minnesota cities and towns are facing the same dilemmas we face in Winnipeg. In fact, the problem is North-America-wide.
27 October 2014
The turncoat poet: A fascinating and disturbing account of the classic totalitarianism that rules North Korea under the Kim dynasty.
24 October 2014
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How resistance to a development proposal generated community action that led to the transformation of a derelict park into a much-loved public space. The story of Congress Square Park in Portland, Maine.
22 October 2014
The carnage that follows when streets aren’t designed to accommodate pedestrians: A U.S. report with excellent resources and an action guide. We need something like this for Canada.
20 October 2014
Data vacuum makes it hard to track poverty. Is this the real reason for the Harper government’s cancellation of the long-form census? (If you don’t have information about them, you may not have to help them.)
15 October 2014
Strong Towns: A different take on what many of us have called the problem of sprawl. Will it succeed where we’ve failed? (Like other cities referred to in the Strong Towns web site,Winnipeg is headed for bankruptcy.)
13 October 2014
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Strong Towns: How to design safe streets for cars to use and kids to play in.
10 October 2014
The homeless person who earned a Ph.D.: A remarkable story, with, apparently, important policy implications. When will we start listening?
8 October 2014
Why are only one-quarter of American cyclists women? The answer has a lot to do with bike safety, but even more with gender. I expect it’s much the same story in Canada.
6 October 2014
Google and Microsoft have figured out that favela residents aren’t necessarily as poor as you might think. As I noticed in Mathare Valley, Kenya, the appearance of such “slums” can be deceiving.
Mathare Valley (click on picture)
3 October 2014
The problem politicians don’t want to talk about: What to do as wealth increases and the numbers of good jobs decline.
1 October 2014
The Institute for Local Self-Reliance has been battling big box stores and other community destroyers for decades, and they may be getting somewhere.
30 September 2014
The threat of prosecution, legal bills, low wages: The sad realities of life for most American whistleblowers.
29 September 2014
Energy efficiency, attention to the plight of the poor, walkable streets: Some examples of what municipal leaders can achieve if they try.
26 September 2014
The supermarket of the future has no packaging, says The Atlantic. Eco-conscious shopping that could save you money as well
25 September 2014
How everyone gains, in financial and other terms, if we break the habit of sprawl. Placemakers makes the case..
24 September 2014
Berlin, Germany, has developed strategy for preventing social segregation — the formation of exclusive districts for the wealthy and low-income ghettos.
22 September 2014
The benefits that accrue to cities if they get rid of restrictions on secondary suites, also called granny flats — an additional residential unit within a single-family home.
21 September 2014
Los Angeles commissions housing designed for homeless people. Right on. We live in the wealthiest society in world history. Why do we tolerate homelessness?
18 September 2014
In this article about car companies trying to get with digital communications, the best news is that young people are less interested in cars than their forebears were.
17 September 2014
Infill transit stations: one of the best ways to increase ridership, with little additional service, while helping to revitalize neighbourhoods, according to The Transport Politic, a very informative web site.
16 September 2014
With climate change a certainty, a beautiful Rhode Island beach, sure to be inundated, has an end-of-days feel.
14 September 2014
Can we get over our petroleum addiction the way our ancestors beat the slave trade? (Scroll down to “Naomi Klein says…” and click on “Listen”.)
12 September 2014
Using storage units to bring a measure of security and stability to the lives of homeless people.
11 September 2014
Wildleaks, a sort of Wikileaks for the environment, is launching an attack on poaching, illegal logging and the smuggling of wildlife products.
10 September 2014
Is Latin America teaching us how to do rapid transit right? With buses?
9 September 2014
Winnipeg mayoral candidate Judy Wasylycia-Leis says it will take decades to fix the infrastructure. She’s got that right. Look left for the whole story.
8 September 2014
Cheap labour: Who are the worst offenders? Here are some answers for the US. It would be interesting to know what, if any, are the differences in Canada.
5 September 2014
I’ll be sleeping out with CEOs Sept 18. To help people who sleep rough in the world’s second coldest city, go to http://bit.ly/1rG3W7s.
4 September 2014
Why is ISIS, the blood-soaked, self-appointed Islamic State attracting followers, and fighters. from all over the world? A well-informed explanation in plain English.
3 September 2014
Egalitarian society? Find out how wealth is distributed at a web site offering lots of information about income inequality in the US (with a nod to Canada).
2 September 2014
The Calgary DJ who’s making money manufacturing commuter bicycles in Detroit.
1 September 2014
Bloggers in jail: Vietnam is the world’s second largest prison for bloggers. China is the largest.
29 August 2014
A metric bike-sharing systems should consider: Does the CO2 saved by driving the bikes outweigh the CO2 generated by vans that cart bikes from where they aren’t needed to where they are? Thankfully, in some cities at least, the answer is yes.
28 August 2014
Some innovative companies are turning away from the bleakness of suburban “campuses” as they discover that urban environments generate synergies and support creativity.
27 August 2014
Turning downtown into a good place for families: Here are some good ideas from Seattle.
26 August 2014
Cities vs. Airbnb: A particularly interesting sideshow in the battle over the social and economic change spawned by the digital revolution.
23 August 2014
University professors and high school teachers beware: It appears, in plain words, that this web site offers to disguise plagiarism.
22 August 2014
What do European cities have that ours don’t? A European perspective.
21 August 2014
The Guardian, an excellent British newspaper, faces the woes besetting newspapers everywhere in the age of the internet. One of its survival strategies involves doing the right thing — promoting sustainable living. Novel idea, eh?
20 August 2014
Who pays when an Uber — the 21st Century alternative to taxis — has a fender bender? Another bump on the road to ride sharing.
19 August 20
Do you agree with the business publication that said “…if the government would just get off our backs most of us would do okay…”? We need more (intelligent) regulation, not less, as we should have learned from Lac-Mégantic.
18 August 20
The changing workplace, and changing hours of work, are bringing big changes for Toronto commuters — and commuters elsewhere as well.
15 August 20
Will social change force us to rethink zoning and parking regulations?
14 August 20
The 10 best cities in the world for bicycling, according to The Active Times. Winnipeg doesn’t qualify for top 10 status, but it’s much improved in the last couple of years.
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13 August 20
Poverty in the United States has become both more suburban and more concentrated.
12 August 20
The Canadian federal government has been forcing foreign aid NGOs to fight paper wars in the name of market efficiency, instead of concentrating on their good work. The same thing happened to immigration settlement NGOs in BC. Will the government think again?
11 August 20
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This riveting video tells the story of Bete Desta, a Winnipeg-based aid organization that helps orphans and poor children in Korem, Ethiopia, while keeping them at home. To contribute, call 204-997-5358 or 204-334-0322.
8 August 20
The changing workplace, and changing hours of work, are bringing big changes to Toronto’s commuter rail service, GO Transit.
7 August 2014
Should public transit be free? Is it feasible? How much would it cost? What would be the consequences? Here are some answers.
6 August 2014
Has a pharmaceutical giant figured out a way to overrule the Supreme Court of Canada? (The pdf may be a bit wonky, but it’s legible.)
5 August 2014
Thanks to mobile technology, we’re a society immersed in our devices and ignoring each other. Mobile technology is eroding social life, right? Wrong, says the Project for Public Spaces.
4 August 2014
The pricing of everything: A witty dissection of the natural capital agenda: the pricing, valuation, monetization and financialization of nature in order to save it.
1 August 2014
Things are taking a turn for the better in troubled Africa: Extreme poverty and HIV are less widespread than they were and economically, Africa is the fastest-growing continent.
31 July 2014
This article in the Huff Post is about revitalizing cities, but the most interesting thing about it is its account of how digital-age cities will differ from industrial cities
30 July 2014
Despite the current emphasis on dirty oil from the tar sands, Canada also exports clean energy. Why not more the latter and less of the former?
29 July 2014
Walkable Los Angeles? What’s going on? Actually, quite a lot. The tide is turning in favour of transit in some unlikely places. Question is: Are they building neighbourhoods or parking lots around the transit stops?
25 July 2014
In the age of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, it seems almost subversive to say this, but government regulation does work, as we can see from this example in the on-line Atlantic of notable US success with fuel emission standards.
24 July 2014
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Winnipeg signals its dislike of cyclists: In English, the sign implies they’re trying to deny cars the right to use the street. In French the implication is that bicycles aren’t vehicles. (Judging by behaviour, some drivers think of them as toys that shouldn’t be on the street.)
23 July 2014
In Zimbabwe, as in much of the rest of the world, the urbanization of what used to be rural poverty isn’t improving conditions.
22 July 2014
Bicycle commuting is on the increase in the US, but is it becoming a gilded ghetto on wheels?
21 July 2014
The geometry of suburban sprawl signals its disconnection from the environment. Interesting pictures and comments.
18 July 2014
American politics: Is the F-35 a case study in how to provide political cover for an indefensible policy? (Source: The FP Group: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/)
17 July 2014
The ballooning cost of Winnipeg’s police headquarters. Have we been suckered again by the bait-and-switch? Follow the links to this deplorable history. It’s instructive.
16 July 2014
Biomimicry: Developing sustainable technologies by imitating nature Explore the web pages at the links. They’re eye openers.
15 July 2014
Feeding the headquarters beast: Médecins Sans Frontières charges the UN and NGOs are too focussed on risk aversion and securing funding to put the best effort into relief.
14 July 2014
Trying to prevent the deadly Ebola virus from sweeping across West Africa. http://bit.ly/1k3Bmq7
11 July 2014
The automobile-driven bureaucratic tangle San Francisco had to go through to get a path-breaking bus rapid transit line approved. Luckily, next time it’ll be easier.
10 July 2014
New prescription for failing American urban neighbourhoods: Turn them into national parks.
9 July 2014
New prescription for failing American urban neighbourhoods: Turn them into national parks.
8 July 2014
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An urban park needs the support of urban neighbourhoods, and vice versa.
7 July 2014
Is transit the answer for congestion? A well-informed discussion of the answer to this question as it applies to the rapidly growing Research Triangle Region of North Carolina.
6 July 2014
By this account, the so-called “inclusive cities” movement, has marked progress, but still has a long way to go.
4 July 2014
The curbee, a device to make streets more bicycle friendly, originated in Copenhagen, and has now appeared in Chicago.
3 July 2014
Microfinance: A good idea gone wrong, or unjustifiably slandered?
2 July 2014
In Minneapolis, bike sharing is being managed by a non-profit, and apparently producing better results than private management companies. The idea that public services always improve when they’re delivered by businesses is as oversimplified as the idea that Big Brother knows best.
1 July 2014
A tool to help citizens become engaged in development issues and to push for higher quality urban development: Accidental Skyline
30 June 2014
Using urban design — such things as the location, form and orientation of buildings — to combat crime in Manchester, England.
29 June 2014
Protecting farmland from urban development, and dealing with ensuing dilemmas: Use-Value Assessment of Rural Land in the United States
27 June 2014
Robbers making their getaway on public transit. Apparently, it happens more than you might think.
26 June 2014
Why cheap labour is bad economics. Pay the living wage and it’s not just your employees who will benefit: Good article in The Independent, an impressive London newspaper.
23 May 2014
Check out the Planners’ Web for a wealth of urban concerns, including planning for healthy communities, growing the local economy, combatting blight, transportation planning for an aging population, and much more.
22 May 2014
Land titles enable slum residents in developing countries to make investments to improve their living conditions. Examples from Bogotá, Rio de Janiero, Johannesburg and Bangalore.
21 May 2014
The Youth for Christ Centre on Main Street in Winnipeg is back in the news. It continues to raise the concerns that troubled me when it was first proposed.
20 May 2014
Is strategic planning “a staggering waste of time and money”?
19 May 2014
Why U.S. President Obama shouldn’t be making speeches about energy at Walmart.
18 May 2014
Is Canada falling behind The U.S. in funding public transportation?
16 May 2014
Arise News, a slick, Africa-focussed 24-hour, news and entertainment channel, with broadcast hubs in London, New York, Johannesburg and Lagos.
15 May 2014
Governments aren’t doing much about climate change, so will the job be left to private finance, and can it succeed?
14 May 2014
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The Lac-Mégantic disaster: It was sadly predictable that the little guys would take the rap.
13 May 2014
The United States Census Bureau makes large amounts of information available on line. The Canadian census struggles to offer a similar tool. Does that have anything to do with cutbacks?
12 May 2014
Explaining the emergence of Boko Haram, the kidnappers of Nigerian schoolgirls.
11 May 2014
An Al Jazeera documentary about infant mortality in America.
9 May 2014
How walking builds community in an American neighbourhood, the “densest… between New York and Chicago.”
8 May 2014
A new internet-based publication, The Intercept, focuses on a new political problem: Wholesale government spying on ordinary citizens, including you and me.
7 May 2014
The bike-share business may be the way of the future, but it’s not a sure thing yet.
6 May 2014
Google’s self-driving car navigates city streets. An illustrated description.
5 May 2014
Will investments in oil and gas stocks become unprofitable? Interesting article, part of The Tyee’s “Are we screwed?” series.
2 May 2014
Seniors are often walkers. Municipal decision-makers should be planning with that in mind.
1 May 2014
An opera about Robert Moses, the controversial city builder, and Jane Jacobs, who fought him to a standstill over plans for a freeway across Lower Manhattan. Read this article and follow the links.
30 April 2014
Do you know what a porch racist is? Here’s a thoughtful dissection of the Donald Stirling incident.
28 April 2014
The surveillance society: A huge political issue that affects us all, and that we have yet to tackle.
27 April 2014
Here are just a few of the great things that can happen if we tear down those hideous urban expressways: http://bit.ly/1jZWGyB http://bit.ly/1jGP6pv
25 April 2014
“Sorry, gridlock is unfixable.” Well, not quite. Read to the end of this well-researched article and find out about constructive approaches.
24 April 2014
Is this how we got talked into accepting the mess cars have made of our cities? Disney’s vision of the future.
23 April 2014
EcoTipping Points: “Levers for restoring sustainability to our imperilled environment – small actions that tip the balance.” This is a well-constructed web site with loads of information about environmental success stories.
20 April 2014
Are car-free cities possible? This video offers an overview of how it can be done.
17 April 2014
Art and architecture of Boston and Cambridge: A picture essay.
16 April 2014
City councils and planning commissions: Beware of the bait and switch, which, in some quarters, has become a standard business practice. Some examples and applications to Winnipeg.
15 April 2014
Temporary foreign workers are paying the price for the federal government’s scorched-earth termination of federal-provincial co-operation on immigration and settlement.
For an example of the good results that the federal-provincial immigration and settlement program achieved, take a look at this study. (To skip the theoretical genuflections, start with the last paragraph on p. 494.)
14 April 2014
For the remarkable story of a reclusive, talented artist who took riveting pictures of life on the streets of Chicago while making her living as a nanny, click here.
13 April 2014
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The Chinese real estate boom: The other shoe drops. Apartment buildings, hastily built in the 1980s and 1990s, are starting to disintegrate.
11 April 2014
In dealing with refugees, the Canadian government is a hard-nosed debt collector and administrator.
10 April 2014
A corporate think tank argues that making machine-readable government documents freely available would unlock substantial economic value.
9 April 2014
For ratings of America’s worst sprawl, as well as the most compact connected cities, click here, and scroll to pp. 4-8. There’s more: The document is a gold mine.
8 April 2014
The resource revolution: A prominent corporate think tank on how we can stretch limited resources to meet growing demands.
7 April 2014
“How crime-ridden Medellín became a model for 21st-Century urbanism.” It’s an impressive story but — as we learn near the end of the article — it’s not all roses.
6 April 2014
Tolerating hate speech and misogyny on an Ohio news web site.
4 April 2014
Fracking and shale gas: Click here for a gold mine of up-to-date information.
3 April 2014
Scientists haven’t yet determined the full environmental consequences of fracking, but what we do know isn’t encouraging.
2 April 2014
Failed prophets: 13 grand architectural dreams that didn’t come true.
1 April 2014
Dealing with urban poverty: Examples from Johannesburg, Curitiba, Cali and Mumbai.
31 March 2014
If predictions hold, Vejle, Denmark, will be under water by 2100. Here’s what it’s doing to address the challenge.
27 March 2014
Forbes Magazine has finally figured out what some of us have been telling city governments for years: Sprawl is expensive.
The US is wrestling with a problem it’s never before faced on the present scale: long-term unemployment.
26 March 2014
Can you identify these cities by the sounds they make? An intriguing quiz in The Guardian.
25 March 2014
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The crazy, ephemeral world of London’s tech startups. An interesting piece in The Guardian.
24 March 2014
Britain is ready to do just about anything to protect the City of London’s hold on dirty Russian money, or so an article in The New York Times says.
23 March 2014
It’s not just the lower price of transit, it’s the growing volatility of gas prices that’s driving the increasing popularity of transit. in the US.
18 March 2014
Exploring New York City taxi trails and sharing our way to a more sustainable urban future: Clever videos and a really interesting idea for the future of transportation in the US.
17 March 2014
Are Manitoba cities becoming “more urban”? Multi-unit residential developments are up, and, thanks in part to the provincial government, a significant proportion are affordable and social housing.
16 March 2014
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New mega-skyscrapers are coming to New York City and Los Angeles, according to blogger Panethos.
14 March 2014
London’s outrageous housing prices: An opportunity to sell emigration?
13 March 2014
Here’s yet another education crisis. The claim: Most universities don’t teach leadership, humility, purposefulness and responsibility.
12 March 2014
The Frank Underwood of Venezuela: An absorbing look at power struggles behind the headlines.
11 March 2014
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SkyCycle: The proposal for overhead, exclusive bike paths in London is hailed as innovative, but Lujiazui, China, unveiled a similar path for pedestrians three years ago (See 5 February 2013 below).
10 March 2014
I’m not well-versed enough in finance to really understand Bitcoin, but common sense suggests that this acid assessment nails it.
Don’t look at me: Recriminations and denials amid the repercussions of the Bitcoin fiasco.
9 March 2014
A Harvard economist explains why higher wages are linked to higher profits, even in poorly paid service occupations.
7 March 2014
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How oil pipeline companies avoid full environmental scrutiny of the impact of their projects.
A giant, artistic light show will turn the San Francisco Bay Bridge into the world’s largest light sculpture for the next two years.
6 March 2014
Think the Nordic approach is the best way to deal with the sex trade? You might want to think again.
5 March 2014
Downtown Winnipeg is improving, after decades of disheartening decay, but it has a way to go.
Can non-profits solve social problems by becoming “profits”? A well-argued contribution to an interesting debate.
4 March 2014
A dictator’s guide to urban design: The role of public squares in political upheavals.
3 March 2014
Driverless cars are coming and they will change the world, but how quickly, how much, and how?
Made for walking: Density and neighbourhood form: A readable, profusely illustrated book (e-book or paper) that makes the case for walkable city neighbourhoods and lays out what’s involved in achieving them.
2 March 2014
What happens after the Olympics leave town? The answers to that question are different for these three cities.
28 February 2014
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Do you know what Agenda 21 is? I haven’t paid much attention to it, but I will now, because it draws the ire of people who like urban sprawl and hate the United Nations. Here are links to the text and the Wikipedia entry.
27 February 2014
Confronting suburban poverty in America: A rich web site with an effective video, blogs and community profiles. It would be interesting to know how Canadian suburbs compare.
26 February 2014
Walmart doesn’t just build big box stores. For cities that have the courage to demand it, they’re willing to produce much better designs.
Debunking the myth of Kitty Genovese, a story that had a profound impact on American society, even though it turned out to be largely hokum.
25 February 2014
How cities go low carbon while supporting economic growth: There’s food for thought here. Winnipeg could start by not building unnecessary infrastructure.
Why is G8 agricultural aid being condemned as a new form of colonialism?
24 February 2014
Clothing manufacturers are in arrears. They owe the workers caught up in Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza disaster $40 million.
Quite abruptly, Winnipeggers have started worrying less about crime and more about the lamentable state of Winnipeg’s infrastructure, according to Probe Research.
23 February 2014
Tearing down urban expressways, once a political fringe idea, has gone mainstream, in both Canada and the United States.
But are American expressways on the way out? Not necessarily. Good thing Canada never committed itself as completely to expressways as the US.
21 February 2014
Helen Forsey offers a rare infusion of common sense and careful analysis into the babble of nonsense that passes for debate on the future of the Canadian Senate.
The tragedy of the commons: A New York professor, arguing that the minimum wage benefits the middle class, provokes lively debate.
20 February 2014
Most people feel safer on well-lit streets, but it “ain’t necessarily so.”
What’s going on in Winnipeg’s North End? There’s a lot of positive energy but is anyone noticing?
18 February 2014
Advocating for the environment is risky business, In Brazil and elsewhere.
17 February 2014
Brazil’s anti-poverty initiative pays poor people to keep their kids in school and use government medical services. The goal is to reduce social inequality. It seems to be working.
14 February 2014
Who we are: Treaty elders’ teachings. in this book, the first of four volumes, more than 200 aboriginal elders share traditional stories in English and one of five other languages.
More than 5,000 African American slaves passed through Detroit’s Second Baptist Church on their way to freedom. This web site is a gold mine.
13 February 2014
Streetcars are making a comeback in the US, surprisingly because they’re proving to be an economic development tool. Unlike many other cities, Toronto had the smarts to keep their old Red Rockets.
Red Rocket (click on picture)
12 February 2014
Could a legal challenge to fracking become a charter case?
11 February 2014
Indianapolis has always been my favourite example of a radically automobile-dominated city, but it looks as if things have changed.
10 February 2014
Is a non-partisan Senate possible? Interesting article in The Tyee.
9 February 2014
Transit ridership outside the rush hours is increasing in major American cities. It’s not just about reduced auto-dependence. Work habits and job location are also reasons…
…The problem is, transit fails to serve a lot of the people who need it most.
7 February 2014
Free transit in Tallinn, Estonia: Exciting innovation or dumb idea?
5 February 2014
Here’s what Manitoba’s Green Action Centre is saying Manitoba Hydro has to do to improve energy conservation efforts.
4 February 2014
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A global network of the urban poor seeks solutions to problems that defeat bureaucracies.
3 February 2014
Financial journalists failed to connect dots, and, in 2008, left abusive, reckless, and criminal corporations free to drag the global economy into the abyss, says the author of The Watchdog that Didn’t Bark.
The world turned upside down: The European Union scales back its climate change commitments just as Coca-Cola and Nike embrace the idea that climate change is economically disruptive.
2 February 2014
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A mapping project that could help officials and politicians make better decisions about transit, location of housing, and more.
31 January 2014
Will New York City succeed in its remarkable campaign to end traffic deaths?
30 January 2014
Zombie subdivisions (click on picture):
A cautious, realistic approach to a problem that particularly affects U.S. cities.
Unpleasant design: City facilities that, deliberately or inadvertently, repel people.
29 January 2014
What happens when a cool neighbourhood becomes too cool. Pay attention, Corydon Village.
28 January 2014
Tongue-in-cheek video, by Swedish trade unions, takes a swipe at the California lifestyle by comparing it unfavourably with living like a Swede.
27 January 2014
Dream merchants build African castles in the air, and ordinary Africans bear the consequences.
24 January 2014
Watch the earth get warmer and stormier over time in this fascinating video.
Climate change intensifies the already crazy, shady competition over the delicious truffle.
23 January 2014
Global warming and urban infrastructure: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland, Oregon, and other cities are working on new infrastructure policies to take account of climate change.
22 January 2014
A streetcar renaissance is underway in the US. Here’s a good overview of what’s happening and a collection of links to streetcar web pages that’s useful, despite the occasional dead link.
What happens when a city bans bottled water? It’s been done, and we can now start to look at the outcome.
21 January 2014
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, addressing the ethnic media, admits temporary foreign workers are being abused. Go to minute 22:15 of this audio file. to listen to his remarks.
Battles over public space and the right to the city, organized on Facebook, are breaking out in Brazilian cities.
20 January 2014
Are suburban neighbourhoods bad for your health? Take a look at this editorial and this 2010 blog post.
17 January 2014
We don’t know nearly as much about the link between public health and urban planning as we think we do, but MIT intends to do something about that.
16 January 2014
For many, “inner city” is a synonym for “poor neighbourhood”, but that’s a dated conception. Suburban poverty in Toronto and Vancouver.
Land banks as a tool for the redevelopment of derelict American inner cities: promise and pitfalls.
14 January 2014
The Rockefeller Foundation’s Resilient Cities web site is an eclectic, informative resource for anyone interested in cities.
13 January 2014
The Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States, a classic map collection, has been digitized. For a brief overview of this wonderful storehouse of information, click here.
12 January 2014
Islamist extremism has more to do with urban poverty than with religiosity: A thoughtful reflection, backed by a compelling story from Kenya.
10 January 2014
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Hamburg’s Hafencity development project is still a crane forest, struggling to become a model city-within-a-city.
8 January 2014
A collection of stark, beautiful photos of Saskatchewan by Canadian photographer Vera Saltzman, reproduced in an American publication.
7 January 2014
Toronto’s Tower Neighbourhoods, unique in North America, but typical of much of the world, are bigger energy users than single family homes. Their renewal is key to a low-carbon future.
Seven ingredients for building a healthy downtown, Part 1 and Part 2 No Canadian city needs this more than Winnipeg does, and we are in fact following the script.
6 January 2014
This chart blows up the American myth of the welfare queen.
Taiwan-based non-government organization fights poverty and malnutrition by supporting the production and consumption of vegetables.
5 January 2014
New York City, once dominated by cars, has transformed its streets to make them safe for bicycles and pedestrians.
3 January 2014
Phoenix claims to have ended homelessness, while Vancouver struggles with many more in need of shelter. Is Vancouver’s problem really that much larger than Phoenix’s, or does Phoenix have lower housing standards?
Does your down coat or comforter come from live-plucked, force-fed geese? Look for the DOWNMARK® label.
2 January 2014
American Republicans are increasingly inclined to disbelieve science. Obscurantism is as American as apple pie. Consider, for example, the Know-Nothing party.
The cost of a politics that attacks enemies, rather than seeking unity. A sad, eloquent comment from America’s rust belt.
I think you have to watch growth . One thing that should never be done, regardless of growth, is stopping the investment in infrastructure. 2 cases come to mind, the Montreal metro, which has grown nicely over 50 years and the Toronto subway which stalled for nearly 40 years and is not servicing itself . they now find themselves embroiled in the LRT vs Subway argument.
Some things just have to be part of of the program regardless. You just keep doing them and eventually it will pay off.
Did you know the Spadina / York subway will replace 2000 daily buses. Thats 540000 per year. Compute over 50 years. Staggering.
Just my 2 cents on a tangent.
I do agree that housing prices are heavily impacted by economic conditions; however, I do feel that in a lot of cases, there are other variables at play. For example, Edmonton has had a very high economic growth rate since the start of the great recession yet home prices are still relatively comparable to Winnipeg’s. According to recent figures put out by the Canadian Real Estate Association, the average home price in Edmonton is around $332,000 compared to Winnipeg’s $271,000. (http://www.crea.ca/content/national-average-price-map) Edmonton has had the highest year over year GDP growth in Canada for a few years now. According to the Conference Board of Canada, in 2011, the GDP growth rate for Edmonton was 6.3% and was predicted to be 4.6% in 2012 as compared to Winnipeg’s rates of 1.3% in 2011 and a predicted 2% in 2012. (http://www.conferenceboard.ca/press/newsrelease/12-09-18/strong_economic_growth_in_western_canadian_cities_expected_for_years_to_come.aspx) If GDP / economic growth is the primary determinate of property values, Edmonton’s property would, in theory, be much higher than Winnipeg’s. This leads me to believe that other variables have a much stronger impact on property values than GDP growth.
I would posit that there are three other variables that have a substantial impact on property values in addition to GDP growth: geographic and policy barriers, commute times, and international influence. In Winnipeg and Edmonton, these three variables are almost non-existent in terms of their impact on property values; however, they are quite strong in Vancouver and Toronto.
In Vancouver, the city is hemmed in by geography and policy which result in a scarcity of land that is open to development. With the mountains to the north, the ocean to the east, and the U.S. border to the south, the only place for the city to grow is eastward, this is where policy comes into play – the farmland in the Fraser Valley is protected by the B.C. government’s Agricultural Land Reserve. Metro Vancouver has a perfect storm of geographical and policy constraints that result in a very small amount of land that is developable creating a limited supply despite increasing demand.
In the Toronto case, while there are recent policy restrictions, The Places to Grow Act comes to mind, I would argue that the price differential between places like Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Toronto have more to do with the commute time premium. Toronto is a much larger city than either Edmonton or Winnipeg and commute times can be quite long as the employment base is quite centralized. In the G.T.A. the highest land values are at the core and gradually decrease the farther one moves out. There are some exceptions to this but on the whole, I feel this is the reality in Toronto. In my mind, those who want a shorter commute pay a premium for that privilege. In Winnipeg and Edmonton, commute times are still relatively short as compared to Toronto so the commute time premium is not a factor in either prairie city.3 Hamilton which is very close to Toronto has much lower property values than Toronto because it is just outside the commutershed.
The final variable that I would argue has an impact on property values is that of the respective cities’ place in the international hierarchy of places. Both Toronto and Vancouver have inflated property values because there is a strong trend of international buyers bidding up property values.4 This is a non-factor in the cases of Edmonton or Winnipeg as neither city places very high on the list of ‘world-class’ cities.
Predictably, as Vancouver is impacted by all three variables, it has the highest housing prices in the nation. Toronto is impacted by two of these variables and has second highest property values in Canada despite the fact that the city is the economic heart of the nation.
In summary, while the state of the economy does have an impact on property prices, there are other variables at play regardless of a city’s status as a slow or speedy growth municipality. Since the great recession started, both Toronto and Vancouver have had lower GDP growth rates than Edmonton and yet, their respective property values are still much higher. If this differential was merely a matter of a city’s size, then Montreal’s property values would be much higher than they are. I also think it’s worth mentioning that Vancouver and Toronto both have milder climates than the prairie cities and that also likely have an impact on property values. In the end, it all boils down to supply and demand and how economics, policy, and geography interact together.
Chris Wilcott – Edmonton
Hello Chris (Wilcott),
In my studies, I was looking at population growth, not economic growth. I think the correlation between population growth and home prices is much stronger than any correlation between economic growth an housing prices. In fact — although I don’t have time to go back to these papers now — I seem to remember making that same point myself in one of them.
Thanks for taking the trouble to look at a dimension of the growth issue that my work didn’t deal with, and offering a thoughtful discussion.
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