Category Archives: Industry

Metro column: North Americans hungry for ‘Kei Jidosha’

With Earth Day just around the corner, it’s a good time for some serious reflection on the part of North America’s troubled automakers.

It’s no coincidence General Motors and Chrysler are facing potential financial Armageddon at the same time consumer tastes in cars have changed radically.

Let’s face it: Last year’s sky-high gas prices have ushered in an era of unprecedented demand for smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Buyers aren’t just focused on their wallets, mind you. Continue reading

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Filed under Commuting, Industry, Japan, Transportation

Ritz-Carlton tower site is not dead… yet.

The Ritz-Carlton hotel-condominium project, which was written off as dead because of the ongoing economic crisis (and associated financing struggles) in February, may still have at least a heartbeat.

The sleek highrise, designed by Arthur Erickson with a unique twisting design, was slated for construction on Georgia Street across from the new Shangri-La hotel and condominium project.

The prestigious Ritz-Carlton hotel was to occupy the first 20 floors of the soaring 58-storey tower, which would have been the second tallest building in downtown Vancouver. Continue reading

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Filed under Architecture, Industry, Media, Tourism, Urban Planning

Metro column: City skyline nearly as bleak as markets

January 5, 2009

The chaos on Wall Street that rocked investors and companies globally during the latter half of 2008 continues to pummel the economy in the New Year.

In Metro Vancouver, another signature of the economic boom years — so-called starchitecture — is about to take a major hit. Continue reading

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Filed under Architecture, Environment, Heritage, Industry, Neighbourhoods, Nimbies, Real Estate, Vancouver

A future at the farm for urban youth?

Terrie’s Take, a weekly look at business issues in Japan, reports (along with Nikkei.co.jp) that the country’s government is recruiting urban youth to take up rural jobs — in farming, forestry, and fishing. It’s part of a masterplan to revitalize rural communities in Japan through subsidies.

The biggest challenge will be finding youths who are willing to do manual labor and live a harsh rural life. Unless recruited in China or SE Asia, our guess is that the recruitees will have to be those given a choice of either remand school or rehabilitation through rural work…! We’re not sure how Japan’s elderly
farmers will take to such rookie employees.

Here in North America, this concept has already played itself out in a Paris Hilton reality TV program.

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Filed under Industry, Japan

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

Carts of Darkness

Due to popular demand, the trailer from the documentary Carts of Darkness, which follows the binners of North Vancouver as they ride down mountain roads in grocery carts and scour the streets for recyclables.

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Filed under Commuting, Entertainment, Environment, Industry, Neighbourhoods, Transportation, Vancouver