Planning for People

Now that Vancouver has been confirmed as the second least affordable city in the Western world, food for thought in this article “Urban Planning and Housing Affordability”:

http://www.demographia.com/dhi.pdf

Quoting in part:

“Urban planners have been inventing all sorts of abstractly worded
objectives to justify their plans for our future cities – smart growth,
livability, sustainability, are among the most recent fads.”

“Planning for People

Urban containment policy has rested on various justifications through its long life. Now, urban containment’s principal justification is its purported potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, urban containment policy is ineffective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Its reductions are miniscule , while its costs are far beyond any rational level. The European Conference of Ministers of Transport noted the importance of achieving greenhouse gas emissions “at the lowest overall cost to avoid damaging welfare and economic growth.”

The Role of Cities: Throughout history, people have moved to cities for better lives, responding to the much greater and more focused economic opportunities they provided. Cities, in combination with the technological and transport advances of the last two centuries have facilitated unparalleled affluence in many nations and have replaced universal poverty with far better lives virtually everywhere. Former World Bank principal urban planner Alain Bertaud (2004) noted that: Large labor markets are the only raison d’être of large cities.

Most governments place the highest priority on achieving a higher standard of living and less poverty. Yet, these principal objectives are subverted by urban planning policies that place the urban form or means of transport above the betterment of people. There is a need to reorient planning to achieve more fundamental purposes.”

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One response to “Planning for People

  1. Excellent topic. Before endorsing the draft OCP with its provisions for increased density, we need to have a frank, fact-based discussion about the impacts of current growth on affordability and livability.

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