Category Archives: Immigration

Metro column: Sad end for Japantown’s field of memories

15 June 2009 05:27

Later this week, the Vancouver Canadians baseball team will play its much-anticipated season opener at Nat Bailey Stadium.

Expect the scene to be an upbeat one — from the singing of Take Me Out To The Ball Game to Little Leaguers cheerfully chasing foul balls in the bleachers.

But not far away, in the Downtown Eastside, a far less happy baseball story is being played out.

At Oppenheimer Park, in Vancouver’s old Japantown neighbourhood, the historic playing field of the Asahi baseball team is being demolished. The City of Vancouver is removing the ball diamond as part of its renovation of the park. Continue reading

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Filed under Culture, Environment, Green Space, Heritage, Immigration, Japan, Neighbourhoods, Parks, Politics, Protest, Sports, Vancouver

Trailer parks for the homeless?

Gregory Henriquez, the Vancouver-based architect, isn’t afraid of challenging local defenders of the status quo.

Last year, the principal of Henriquez Partners Architects felt the wrath of some vocal North Vancouver residents, who railed against his proposal for an iconic 40-storey highrise on the sleepy Lower Lonsdale waterfront.

The boobirds eventually got their way, and Henriquez’ design was chased away. Continue reading

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Filed under British Columbia, Culture, Environment, Events, Gentrification, Green Space, Heritage, Immigration, Japan, Neighbourhoods, Nimbies, Parks, Urban Planning

Metro column: Vancouver transport at centre of stimulus debate

Transport at centre of stimulus debate

22 December 2008

John Baird, Canada’s Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, was in the Lower Mainland last week to collect funding wish lists from regional government leaders.

He and his boss, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, want to breathe some life into the national economy with major stimulus projects that will create jobs and bolster consumer confidence.

Not surprisingly, Baird’s appearance on the West Coast attracted plenty of fanfare. And like toddlers at the mall lining up for their two minutes with Santa Claus, politicians and lobbyists were quick to make their respective cases for the loot presumably coming out of Ottawa.

It’s hard to blame them. They are wise to the fact that amidst the bleeding from this financial crisis, there is unprecedented opportunity — opportunity to address Canada’s “infrastructure deficit.” Continue reading

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Filed under Commuting, Environment, Immigration, Industry, New York, Transportation, Urban Planning, Vancouver

Transit trumps traffic in NYC population boom

The years between 2003 and 2008 saw an employment and population boom for New York City. But that didn’t translate into a crush of vehicular traffic.

A report released this week by Bruce Schaller, New York’s deputy transportation commissioner for planning and sustainability, shows that the influx of residents embraced mass transit, as opposed to cars, trucks and SUVs.

According to the New York Times, the study is the first of its kind to analyze the city’s mid-2000s era, which saw New York adding more than 200,000 jobs and 130,000 new residents.

As the Times article points out:

…virtually the entire increase in New Yorkers’ means of transportation during those robust years occurred in mass transit, with a surge in subway, bus and commuter rail riders.

The city’s sprawling public transportation system was able to handle such a surge because of vast improvements in service in recent years, Mr. Schaller said, as well as the advent of the MetroCard, which made using the system more efficient. A steep drop in crime made people more willing to use the system, and the construction of housing in areas well served by subways also brought in many more riders.

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Filed under Commuting, Crime, Immigration, Industry, New York, Transportation, Urban Planning

Vancouver Province column: Why plague people with trash talk when they’ve got worries enough?

Forget about manicured front lawns, white picket fences and the sound of children at play. According to a growing legion of pundits and “peak oil” theorists, the tidy suburbs of today are the forsaken slums of tomorrow.

A recent article in The Atlantic Monthly by Christopher Leinberger argued that once-idyllic cul-de-sacs are about to become the domain of poverty, social disorder and physical rot.

More recently, Smart Growth B.C., the Vancouver-based not-for-profit with a focus on creating “more livable communities in British Columbia,” made the link between sprawling, auto-friendly suburbs and the grim spectre of childhood obesity.

Given sky-high gas prices, the new carbon tax and a growing number of “for sale” signs popping up in family subdivisions, there’s no doubt that B.C. suburban dwellers are facing a financial and psychological squeeze these days. Continue reading

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Filed under Architecture, Commuting, Environment, Green Space, Health, Immigration, Law and Order, Media, Neighbourhoods, Politics, Real Estate

Mercer Consulting: Best cities for… wait for it… quality of living

The cities rankings continues — this one from Mercer Consulting.
It’s a bit more serious-minded that Monocle’s, and geared for those who are uprooting for work.

Some survey highlights:

“European cities dominate the rankings of locations with the best quality of living, according to Mercer’s 2008 Quality of Living survey. Zurich retains its 2007 title as the highest ranked city, followed jointly by Vienna (2), Geneva (2), then Vancouver (4) and Auckland (5).

The highest entry for the United States is Honolulu, appearing at number 28. The cities with the lowest quality of living ranking are Ndjamena (211), Khartoum (212), Brazzaville (213), and Bangui (214). Baghdad, ranking 215, retains its position at the bottom of the table.

The survey also identified those cities with the highest personal safety ranking based on internal stability, effectiveness of law enforcement and relationships with other countries. Luxembourg was top, followed by Bern, Geneva, Helsinki and Zurich, all equally placed at number 2. Chicago, Houston and San Francisco are noted amongst the safest cities in the US, all ranking at 53. Baghdad (215) was the world’s least safe city followed by Kinshasa (214), Karachi (213), Nairobi (212) and Bangui (211).

The rankings are based on a point scoring index, which sees Zurich scoring 108, while Baghdad scores 13.5. Cities are ranked against New York as the base city which has an index score of 100.”

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Filed under Culture, Environment, Green Space, Health, Immigration, Industry, Montreal, New York, Real Estate, San Francisco, Seattle, Sydney, Toronto, Transportation, Urban Planning

Province column: Designer dogs take place of kids as schools shut for lack of pupils

The Province
Monday, March 17, 2008

These are gloomy days for dodgeball, hopscotch and other staples of the traditional school recess in British Columbia.
Over the past decade, playgrounds and sports fields across the province have gone quiet as a result of school closings; the sounds of children at play during their breaks from math and grammar giving way to a vacuum of silence.

And that’s a shame for all of us. Continue reading

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Filed under British Columbia, Education, Gentrification, Immigration, Parks, Real Estate, Vancouver Province Columns