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Managing density / urban development


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#1 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 25 May 2007 - 07:33 PM

Ok, this is not Victoria, it's an out of town source, but...

You have to watch this newscast from the [url=http://www.seattlechannel.org/CityInsideOut/:7c45d]Seattle Channel[/url:7c45d]'s "City Inside/Out: Managing Urban Development (May 25, 2007)" -- you have to go to the Seattle Channel page and click on the javascript link to see the broadcast. The first 3:55 minutes are local news, and after that the newscast launches into urban issues that are of interest to us, too. Really, take a look. Thirty-five minutes, but it touches on just about everything we debate on this site.... especially the last 10-15 minutes (the "growth debate" between Brian Derdowski and Clark Williams-Derry).

From the webpage description:

This week's City Inside/Out takes an in-depth look at the issue of growth, density, and preserving neighborhood character. Interviews include: Chuck Weinstock, Exec. Dir., Capitol Hill Housing; Liz Dunn, Dunn and Hobbes; Dana Behar, HAL Real Estate Investments; Sally Clark, Seattle City Council; Chris Leman, Chair, City Neighborhood Council. The program also includes an in-studio discussion with former King County Councilmember Brian Derdowski, and Clark Williams-Derry, Research Director, Sightline Institute.


Clark Williams-Derry argues that if you have height limits and urban growth boundaries, affordability goes out the window.... Brian Derdowski seems to want to preserve the old ways and fight for the neighbourhoods, but do so by directing people to live in other places (like the Midwest) -- i.e., don't come here, to the Pacific Northwest, we got ours, now you go somewhere else. Huh. Did that ever work in a free society?

The pointer for this video came from Clark Williams-Derry's own [url=http://www.sightline.org/daily_score/archive/2007/05/25/sightline-on-tv:7c45d]Sightline Institute blog, aka "the Daily Score"[/url:7c45d].

Other points of interest: the developers and community organizers (including the affordability folks) working together to use increased density to get to win-win; the developer who's using "character" to drive retail; the developer who solicits "interesting" retail of benefit to the neighbourhood.
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#2 aastra

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 12:09 PM

Talk about a tale of two cities. Everybody seems to be gushing about development in Kelowna's downtown.

21-storey tower planned for downtown
By Ron Seymour
Sunday, July 8, 2007

Plans for a new 21-storey residential tower in downtown Kelowna received a positive response Sunday from nearby businesses, residents and rival developers.

“I think the redevelopment that‘s going on around here is terrific,” said Phil Peacock of D.A. Goddard Land Surveyors, located in a St. Paul street office building. “So many downtowns are not much more than empty shells, but Kelowna‘s is seeing a lot of new construction.”

Sunil Attawane, who lives on nearby Clement Avenue, also gave the proposal a positive review after stopping to read the
notice boards posted on the site.

I think it will give another really nice lift to downtown, add some more beauty and activity,” said Attawane, who recently moved into a single-family home in the area.

It‘s kitty-corner to where the 15-storey, 57-suite Madison residential tower will be built, at the corner of Doyle and Ellis.

This is all part of the continued evolution of downtown Kelowna,” added Dane MacKinnon, a partner in the 11-storey, nearly completed project The Lofts Downtown on Ellis, where people will begin moving into the 46 residential units within two weeks.

Getting more people living down here adds to the business and to the culture of the city.”


Full article:
http://www.kelownadailycourier.ca/stories.php?id=52811

Sunil Attawane moves into an SFD in a lowrise area and yet he still supports a tall highrise right in the same neighourhood?? In Victoria people will freak out at the prospect of a new highrise even if they live in a highrise themselves!

So what's the deal? Why do the media present such a positive spin in Kelowna (and Victoria's suburbs, for that matter) and such a negative one in downtown Victoria? I think I'm trying to revive this thread as an analysis of attitudes toward development.

#3 G-Man

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 06:35 PM

I truly believe that part of the problem is the boomers. Sorry I am not being Ageist I am speaking more about theie mentality. Giant projects including high density are ok so long as they incorporporate the requisite amount of golf courses, tennios clubs and vast expanses of useless lawns. However if the density means mingling with people of other ages and or social castes then it has got to be stopped as this sort of change will destroy what they know so well.

Please do not take offense anyone that is over 50! I believe that you can have a Boomer mentality at far younger ages. I mean there are truly people in there low 30s starting families that still think you have to move to the burbs to raise a kid. Serious I am not even joking, I have met these people.
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#4 aastra

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 09:49 AM

I've met plenty of people straight out of high school who literally can't wait to ship out to Langford or Surrey or wherever.

By the way, no offense was taken.

#5 Baro

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 01:50 PM

and what I don't understand is why they don't want US to have our urban lifestyle. They're out there in their single familly house, why do they get so up in arms over someone else's neighbourhood. the DRA clearly supports more people, more jobs downtown. It's almost entirely people from OUTSIDE of downtown telling downtown what's best for it. Density and vibrancy scares them, and that's why they don't live downtown. But why do they want to ruin it for the rest of us? I guess downtown is nothing but a postcard to them. They have no conection to it in terms of its actual function and use. Bloody boomer selfishness.
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#6 m0nkyman

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 02:04 PM

Whose streets?

OUR STREETS!


8) :lol:

#7 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 08:53 AM

Kind of off-topic, but there's an interesting lunch event in Seattle today, in case anyone is hopping on a float plane over there. Since it parallels so closely our urbanist concerns -- all the things we've been saying -- I thought I'd post it here (emphases added):

AUTHOR TALK / BOOK SIGNING -- TRUE URBANISM: LIVING IN AND NEAR THE CENTER
BY MARK HINSHAW

When: July 18, Noon to 1:00 PM – Bring your lunch.
Where: Microsoft Auditorium in the Central Library, 1000 Fourth Avenue
Cost: FREE

According to Mark Hinshaw’s True Urbanism, recently published by the American Planning Association, Americans are rejecting sterile, paint-by-numbers subdivisions in favor of dense, vibrant and unpredictable urban neighborhoods. Hinshaw, a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners and Director of Urban Design at LMN Architects, advocates for richer, more dynamic urbanism than is typical of many so-called new urbanist communities.

Hinshaw calls for regulatory reform and simplified building permits to encourage true urban neighborhoods. He also believes planners, developers and citizens will make better choices if they view streets as social networks and not just traffic conduits. Street-level environments, he asserts, need to engage residents and provide visual interest. Blank walls typical of parking garages and office buildings are “deadly.”

The author will share examples of reviving downtowns and city centers from across the U.S., including Seattle. Bring your lunch and join the conversation.


This is sponsored by the [url=http://www.seattlearchitecture.org/index.cfm:299e4]Seattle Architecture Foundation[/url:299e4]. And if you went, you'd get to experience the new Seattle Library, since the event is happening it its main auditorium...!
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#8 gumgum

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 08:24 AM

Density, bikes would improve city
Times Colonist
Published: Monday, July 23, 2007

The quality of life in Victoria certainly is taking a nosedive, but it's not because of increased density.

I write this in the Netherlands, a country the size of Vancouver Island with 17 million people -- the second highest density on Earth.

The streets are calm and traffic is generally very manageable.

The reason? The automobile takes second place to the bicycle. Amsterdam alone has tens of thousands of bicycles, well outnumbering cars. There are huge parkades downtown full of bicycles only. Parking is awkward and incredibly expensive. Virtually all roads have wide bike lanes and if there is not room for both the cars -- not the bikes -- pull over. Bikes have the right of way.

The end result of this progressive thinking is that everyone rides bicycles wherever and whenever possible.

Pollution is reduced, congestion is reduced and we all get a little exercise.

Traffic and congestion are concerns in our beautiful city. But increased density is a large part of the solution, not the problem.

Richard Brunt,

Victoria.


© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2007



#9 aastra

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 04:29 PM

Excerpts of an opinion piece in The Martlet:

Victoria developing too fast
by Roland George Rasmussen

Everywhere in Victoria you can find construction projects...

A friend of mine said that it should be a crime to build in an earthquake zone...

Victoria is not the city that it once was. The city 20 years ago was one that housed historical buildings and an industry of the past. It was the heritage sites that attracted tourists because we were special and unique...

Today, I see a city that is starting to energize -- one that resembles many other small cities across North America. It has a commuter population that is mostly in the suburbs. It is desperately trying to establish residences inside the downtown. It has a vast population of homeless people that have no support....

What happened to the political process? Where did the laws go that protected heritage buildings? How did the developers get the run of the city?


And so forth.

To summarize, even though Victoria already exists and already contains a population of about 350,000, construction at the present time is nevertheless much more significant than at any time prior to now.

Even though the city proper's current development boom has involved parking lots and empty lots almost exclusively, the city's heritage and history has nevertheless been compromised.

Victoria is starting to energize and resemble many other small cities across North America. Apparently many other small cities across North America are energized.

The vast population of homeless people is the primary evidence of Victoria's resemblance to other small cities across North America. Apparently many other small cities across North America also have vast populations of homeless people.

Back in 1987, which was twenty whole years ago, Victoria was a gem of a place. But now it isn't.

And so forth.

It's funny that I came across this piece today because just last night I was reading a blog about Vancouver and how that city has changed for the worse since its halcyon days, its era of sublime perfection...just prior to Expo '86.

Do people not realize that the good ol' days exist only in their minds? Do people not realize that every generation -- every person -- has a different notion about when the good ol' days really were?

#10 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 05:04 PM

^ What a moron. Shows you what a university education is worth these days.

Now in MY day, a university education still meant something...! Halcyon days... :-)

Seriously, though: what are the editors at the Martlet smoking???
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#11 Holden West

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 05:21 PM

Are you implying that Marlet staff use prohibited substances?!

Outrageous! I can't conceive of such a notion![/sarcasm]

There's so much wrong with that letter I don't know where to start. How about building in an earthquake zone. Where should we build?!




OK, from now on, the only construction allowed will be in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and North Dakota.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
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#12 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 09:59 PM

Victoria's Todd Litman[/url:b7410] is referenced on The Daily Score, [url=http://www.sightline.org/daily_score/archive/2007/09/06/paving-the-way:b7410]Paving The Way[/url:b7410], by Clark Williams-Derry. Litman provides a chart (see image, below) that compares "average impervious surface per household in urban vs. suburban settings." Notes Williams-Derry:

As you can see, large single-family lots -- the sort of homes that are surrounded by greenery -- actually require the most pavement overall, particularly for roads. And while dense cities are typically plastered with concrete, in the final analysis urban high-rises are lightest on the landscape.

This chart was taken from a [url=http://www.vtpi.org/pavbust.pdf:b7410]new "Pavement Busters Guide"[/url:b7410] (pdf link) with some pretty detailed recommendations for ways to reduce impervious surface in cities and suburbs. Todd's number one recommendation: Educate Decisionmakers. Sounds like a smart first step to me.
[url="http://www.sightline.org/daily_score/archive/2007/09/06/paving-the-way"]http://www.sightline.org/daily_score/ar ... ng-the-way




I wish some of the hysterics who rail against all this alleged "rampant" and "out of control" urban "high rise development" would get a grip and consider that cities can be so much more efficient than suburbs.

When I read drivel like that Martlet article, I really wonder what exactly it is these people want.
When you buy a game, you buy the rules. Play happens in the space between the rules.

#13 aastra

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 11:00 AM

Have you ever taken a look at the census tract data? The population of each tract is shown in red, the density per square km is shown in brackets in blue (data is from the 2006 census).

The density of Cook Street Village is the highest in Victoria. And the density of the Jubilee area is higher than south James Bay (although I guess that's because Ogden Point's empty space is included in James Bay's land area -- but then again, the Jubilee contains the hospital, so you'd think it would even out).

The densest tract in Victoria is less than a third as dense as the densest tract on Vancouver's downtown peninsula.



#14 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 12:34 PM

^ That's really interesting. What's the webpage for Victoria's data (and/or Vancouver's)?
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#15 aastra

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 12:49 PM

I put that map together myself but you can view all of the tracts with this interface:

http://geodepot.stat.../GeoSearch2006/

Zoom in on Victoria and then on the "Layers (2)" tab make sure "Census Tracts" is checked, and then switch your tool to "Identify" and click your favourite tract. Once your tract has been selected, click the "Additional Data" tab to see the numbers in a new window.

#16 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 12:50 PM

^ Thanks! I'm getting a "server error" message at this time -- could it be overloaded? I'll try again later...
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#17 aastra

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 12:53 PM

My mistake. Try this:

http://geodepot.stat.../GeoSearch2006/

#18 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 12:58 PM

That works, thanks! Kudos on the map you put together, BTW!
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#19 Baro

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 02:58 PM

How can people possibly say downtown is getting too dense when it's pop density is comparable to our urban SFH neighbourhoods and half that of cook street?? We've got a long way to go! Downtown should be at least in the 7-10,000 range.
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#20 G-Man

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 06:05 PM

Well in that map cook street includes al the way up to view street. The actually "village" is cut in half and it shows the east part of Harris Green as the highest density unless I am reading it wrong. Who made those bizarre boundaries I mean that is just plan weird.
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