Vancouver


Don't Hide Cell Phone Antennas, Embrace Them

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July 2, 2012
Calling for better designed telecommunications infrastructure.

The mobile phone in your pocket or purse is part of a vast communications system that is mostly beyond our vision, much like the internet. But as journalist Andrew Blum explains in his new book Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet, the bits and blogs of the seemingly wireless internet still travel to us on hard infrastructure and get stored in physical places. Similarly, the voices and texts and data that we regularly zip back and forth on our cell phones travel as radio waves we can't see and are connected through fiber optic cables buried beneath our feet.

The Odd Existence of Point Roberts, Washington

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February 17, 2012
Inside the peninsular tip of Canada that's actually America.

Wandering Google Maps can reveal magical geographies. When preparing for a recent first-time trip to Vancouver, I started zooming in and out and around the area to see what the surroundings are like. That was how I first learned of the existence of Point Roberts, Washington.

Exit Interview: Brent Toderian, Vancouver's Ousted Planning Director

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February 13, 2012
Examining his impact on a city after being let go.

For a guy whose name has lately been splashed all over the local media after being fired from his role as planning director of the city of Vancouver, Brent Toderian is eager to talk up his city. We met to talk and tour the city about a week after the news became official that Toderian’s contract had been ended “without cause,” a high profile change in city administration that has left some urbanist-types worried about the city’s future (and some developers in a state of relief or even celebration).

As Canada's First Nations Start Developing Their Land, Is Sprawl Inevitable?

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February 9, 2012
How Canadian First Nations gaining development rights may impact the country's suburban landscape.

The temperature’s dipping toward zero on the Celsius side and the fog is settling down to the ground in the vast rural area of Tsawwassen, British Columbia, about 20 miles south of Vancouver, close to the edge of the Strait of Georgia.

British Columbia's Second City

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February 16, 2012
Surrey, B.C., is redeveloping its way to becoming a major urban force in Canada.

Once rightfully thought of as a bedroom community of Vancouver, Surrey, in British Columbia, has steadily climbed its way into the world of cityness. It’s now the 12th largest city in Canada, and the second largest in B.C., but both of those rankings are likely to be short-lived. The city is expected to keep growing and is likely to overtake Vancouver as the province’s most populous city within the next 10 or 15 years, becoming one of the top ten in Canada. Considering the pace it's growing now, it could happen even sooner.

Planning for the Vancouver Olympics

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February 10, 2010
The Winter Olympics will begin later this week in Vancouver, British Columbia. Like other hosts of such large-scale sporting events, the city has been getting ready for the international spotlight for many years. To hear more about what's been going on in the city in terms of urban planning, I interviewed Vancouver Planning Director Brent Toderian, and you can read a transcript of that Q&A on Places.

Toderian, as many Planetizen readers will already know, is also an active contributor to Interchange, where he writes about some of the city's most forward-thinking moves to help create the dense urban environment that has become the model for North American urbanism.

Our discussion focused mainly on the Olympics and how they will impact the city's urbanism. Toderian tells us about the years leading up to the Olympics, what it was like to take over as planning director halfway through the city's preparations for the event, and what sort of legacy the Games will leave on Vancouver.

The Olympics and the City

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February 8, 2010
On Friday February 12 the 2010 Winter Olympics begin in Vancouver. Like all host cities, Vancouver had to plan for a sprint and a marathon — it had to develop, finance, design and build a range of sport and residential venues that would not only make the two-week event a big success but also, when the world had gone back home, become a vital and enduring part of the city fabric.

Vancouver planning director Brent Toderian spoke recently with journalist Nate Berg, of Planetizen, about how the city, known for progressive planning and green thinking, was meeting the Olympic challenge.

Nate Berg: Your city is just about to host the Olympics. What’s the mood like there?