Market Urbanism: Urbanism for Capitalists / Capitalism for Urbanists
Self-explanatory title. Interesting posts.
Author David Owen says dense cities benefit the planet | Vancouver, Canada | Straight.com
More on David Owen’s 3/17 talk in Vancouver, organized by former Mayor of Vancouver, Sam Sullivan:
Owen’s speaking engagement in Vancouver is being organized by the Global Civic Policy Society of ex-mayor Sam Sullivan.
Sullivan, a former politician who takes pride in taking on hard issues, pushed the City of Vancouver during his term to adopt EcoDensity, his brainchild concept that seeks to build a greener city through greater population densities.
Now an adjunct professor at the UBC school of architecture and landscape architecture, a position he took on starting in January this year, Sullivan reflected on how he changed the way many Vancouverites view density.
“I noticed that when people would come to public hearings after the EcoDensity initiative started, it was very rare to hear…[them] say density is bad,” Sullivan said with an amused laugh in a phone interview with the Straight. “What they would say is: ‘I’m not against density, but not here.'”
According to Sullivan, Owen will also help him launch what he called the Centre for Market Urbanism. “The idea is that government has a lot of responsibility for creating sprawl,” Sullivan said. “There’s a great demand by the market for increased density. And because government is constantly saying ‘no’ to density, we now have the sprawl we have across the region.”
Victoria could learn from this.
Is it the rules -or fees and taxes?
Former Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan on the creation of a Centre for Market Urbanism in Vancouver.
From the article:
It’s the rules and the way city governments impose them, not the taxes and the fees, that pushes housing costs so high in Vancouver, says Sam Sullivan, the former mayor and councillor who’s launching a new Centre for Market Urbanism.
“We’re constantly saying no to density,” he told me this week as he launched the privately funded initiative to explore solutions to urban problems. “We have height limits. We have this dome skyline policy. We have suburban view corridors criss-crossing the city. We have urban view corridors, hundreds of them, in the downtown. …
“These things have constrained development in the city very much.”
How Skyscrapers Can Save the City – Magazine – The Atlantic
Ed Glaeser on development limits. (This fits in with the recent spate of interest in Vancouver around Market Urbanism, too.)
The relationship between housing supply and affordability isn’t just a matter of economic theory. A great deal of evidence links the supply of space with the cost of real estate. Simply put, the places that are expensive don’t build a lot, and the places that build a lot aren’t expensive. Perhaps a new 40-story building won’t itself house any quirky, less profitable firms, but by providing new space, the building will ease pressure on the rest of the city. Price increases in gentrifying older areas will be muted because of new construction. Growth, not height restrictions and a fixed building stock, keeps space affordable and ensures that poorer people and less profitable firms can stay and help a thriving city remain successful and diverse. Height restrictions do increase light, and preservation does protect history, but we shouldn’t pretend that these benefits come without a cost.
This sentence, “Simply put, the places that are expensive don’t build a lot, and the places that build a lot aren’t expensive,” applies very well to greenspace-eating suburban sprawl, too. It’s cheap to build single-family homes for Victoria families on Langford’s Bear Mountain or in the Cowichan Valley, but our city politicians (and NIMBY community organizations) continue to ensure that it’s prohibitive (if not impossible) to develop (tall) buildings right downtown, where we have ridiculous height restrictions to go with a moribund economy and scores of empty storefronts. Further down in the article, Glaeser also notes: “One could quite plausibly argue that if members of the landmarks commission have decided that a building can be razed, then they should demand that its replacement be as tall as possible.” This makes sense, and again, we don’t do it (here), insisting that razed, empty parking lots in heritage-designated districts can only be built up according to severe height and density restrict
‘Godzilla’ and Japan’s Nuclear Disaster Films – NYTimes.com
Fascinating exegesis by Peter Wynn Kirby on the meaning of “Godzilla” for Japan.
The film was inspired by events that were very real and very controversial. In March 1954, a massive thermonuclear weapon tested by the United States near Bikini Atoll in the Pacific, codenamed “Bravo,” detonated with about 2.5 times greater force than anticipated. The unexpectedly vast fallout from the bomb enveloped a distant Japanese tuna trawler named the Lucky Dragon No. 5 in a blizzard of radioactive ash. Crew members returned to their home port of Yaizu bearing blackened and blistered skin, acute radiation sickness and a cargo of irradiated tuna. Newspapers reported on the radioactive traces left by the men’s bodies as they wandered the city, as well as “atomic tuna” found in fish markets in Osaka and later at Japan’s famed Tsukiji Market in Tokyo. The exalted Emperor Hirohito himself was said to have eliminated seafood from his diet.
In a nation fixated on purity, the revulsion against this second nuclear contamination of the homeland was visceral. In late September 1954, the Lucky Dragon’s radio operator Aikichi Kuboyama died. “Gojira” appeared in cinemas the following month, breaking the record for opening-day receipts in Tokyo and becoming one of the top-grossing films of the year. During the same month, there was an upsurge in anti-nuclear petitions in response to Kuboyama’s death, and the peace movement went national. UNQUOTE
Victoria Earthquake Map
JPEG of Victoria BC earthquake map.