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Doug Saunders

The world wants Vancouverism. Shouldn’t Canada?

Fantastic column on density by Doug Saunders

Yet we need it more than ever. The Vancouverist ideology solves a number of serious problems.

First is sprawl: According to a recent projection, the population of the Greater Toronto Area will rise from six million today to almost 10 million in the next 28 years. Vancouver will go from 2.2 million to 3.4 million in the same period. Most of those people intend to move downtown or into inner-ring suburbs. But if housing there is in short supply, they’ll push out into the outskirts.

Second is the housing shortage: If we cannot increase the supply of housing, and at least double the population density of our big cities, then our children will have little chance of becoming homeowners. If foreign investors buy the new condos, all the better. We even more seriously need an increase in rental stock, to push down rents and give people an urban entry point.

And third is quality of life: That doubling of density isn’t just needed – it’s highly desirable. With twice as many people per square kilometre, there will be sufficiently large markets (and tax bases) to justify subway lines, parks and cultural venues. At the moment, density-increasing development is being blocked in the neighbourhoods that most need these things.

It’s not just governments. Canadian city-dwellers need to adopt a Vancouverist mindset. I’ll never understand why downtown homeowners, who often rail against the horrors of farmland-destroying, carbon-speawing urban sprawl, then turn around and oppose midrise condominium projects in their own neighbourhoods. Not only do those developments add neighbours and thus demand for nice services and better schools and shops and transit routes, but they are the only solution to urban sprawl. You get one or you get the other. “Density,” writes the Vancouver developer Bob Ransford, who consulted on the Melbourne report, “is the antidote to sprawl.”

March 11th

In what is a tradition around here, I tend to live blog my birthday.  For some reason some of you care about that and who am I to mess with a stupid tradition.  (2011 | 2009| 2008 | 2007| 2006 | 2005 | 2003)

12:00 a.m. | Sleeping

1:00 a.m. | Fighting with Maggi for covers on the bed.

1:15 a.m. | Maggi won.  Darn it.

2:00 a.m. | Pretending to sleep so Wendy will get up with Oliver who is sick.

3:00 a.m. | Sleeping

4:00 a.m. | Sleeping

5:00 a.m. | Crap, forget to turn off alarm.

5:01 a.m. | Sleeping

6:00 a.m. | Might as well get up.  Dog’s had the covers all night long.

8:00 a.m. | Back to bed

Sony headphones8:08 a.m. | Oliver and Mark are up and wanting to give me my gifts.  They gave me the Generation Kill DVD set and a new set of headphones.  Wendy gave me Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo, a story about the slums of Mumbai, the dogs gave me Rin Tin Tin by Susan Orlean (never sure how Maggi is raising the money she spends) while they all went together and got me a new stereo/iPod dock.

The bad news is that I have to listen to the Adele album that I bought Wendy.  Doh!

10:00 a.m. | Oliver made me watch Power Rangers with him.  That wasn’t a good time.

11:00 a.m. | Off to get some Brier tickets for the final tonight and have lunch at Fuddruckers where Mark wants me to eat a one pound hamburger.  If I do eat it, it may very well decide how the rest of my birthday goes.

11:30 a.m | Brier tickets secured.

12:00 p.m. | Lunch at Asia Buffet.

1:00 p.m.  | A quick trip to Indigo where I grabbed a discounted copy of Conversations with Myself by Nelson Mandela and Arrival City by Doug Saunders.  Because the last thing I would want to do is have a totally pleasant birthday, I also picked up Invisible Chains, a book about the sex trade and human trafficking in Canada.

3:00 p.m. | I am watching Band of Brothers with Mark this afternoon while getting some work down.

4:40 p.m. | Mark has been introduced to NBA Jam on the iPad.  Boom-shaka-lacka

5:00 p.m. | What the heck?  Where did that flu come from.  This isn’t good.

6:30 p.m. | Wendy made me a nice supper and am putting back another episode of Band of Brothers with Mark.  I forgot how great the music is in the series.  Best line from the mini-series, “We’re paratrooper’s Lieutenant, we’re supposed to be surrounded.”

8:00 p.m. | I am off to bed for the night.  The flu has gotten worse.