As you may or may not know I am a huge supporter of urbanization, mass transit and building up instead of out. Building high density urban neighbourhoods is far more environmentally concious than building large, sprawling suburbs full of single family homes. Noted urbanist and Harvard economics professor Edward Glaeser lays it out quite well in his book “Triumph of the city“. Basically cities with high density have less cars, more transit, more cyclists and more foot traffic. The real evil of the modern world is the suburb. The dream of most people is to own a house with a big yard, have two cars and maybe even a pool. That dream is what’s killing our planet. Take Buffalo, New York for example. Over the last 50 years Buffalo’s population has remained fairly steady at around 1 million people yet over that time the amount of land the city covers has doubled. This means double the roads, double the plumbing and electrical infrastructure, more cars, less transit and on and on… This is called sprawl.
Yesterday I read an article on CKNW’s website about a development on the corner of Lonsdale and 13th that a developer has walked away from due to an uncooperative city council and a few vocal North Vanancouver residents. These people are idiots. Here is a comment left on CKNW’s article from “Hugh F” “Earth to Mussatto – There isn’t the capacity for the infrastructure and in particular the roads to handle much more. The growth in the last 30 years has gobbled up the mountainsides, displaced wildlife and continuing on the growth at all costs doesn’t make sense“. Well Hugh, last time I checked Lonsdale was a major bus route that led directly to the Seabus terminal. Lonsdale and 13th is an urban area where no wildlife will be displaced and quite frankly it’s developments like this that stop the sprawl of suburbs which means no more “gobbled up mountainside” or “displaced wildlife”. Stick that in your bong and smoke it, Hugh.
Up next we have “KatyT”. Katy says “I’m sick of all the new development, I agree with the councillors that didn’t want this, how much more building are you going to do? traffic is getting worse and more congested, I think there needs to be a stop to new developments and especially building houses on the back of Grouse, that is getting as ugly as the eyesore you see coming west off the Port Mann bridge“. So Katy doesn’t want houses up Grouse Mountain… I don’t know about you but I think that’s sprawl, no? The best way to stop sprawl is to build tall, high density buildings in urban areas, such as the one proposed for the corner of Lonsdale and 13th. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills here people, do you even understand what you’re protesting?
This reeks of a part of society that makes my blood boil, the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard). These people are against any change in their neighbourhood, they are a small loud group in every community who overpower the sane with picket signs, protests and general bitching and moaning. The NIMBY’s in Mount Pleasant almost stopped a new development on Main and Kingsway a while back but when the project was put to an actual vote it turned out the community was largely in favour of it.
The moral of the story is that when NIMBY’s get themselves on city council they can actually stop progress. When your next civic election rolls around make sure you vote and make sure you know who you’re voting for. Imagine Vancouver with no downtown…if NIMBY’s existed 100 years ago that’s what we would have today and a city without a downtown is not a city at all, it is nothing.