Today marks the two year anniversary of the closing ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and 150 days until the start of the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games. Soon millions around the World will turn their attention to London, and in fact to venues across the UK, for the largest sporting and cultural event on Earth.
Across the world, city-builders who understand the complex relationship between land-use, car infrastructure and road congestion, struggle to communicate it in a simple way that resonates with the public. It's now well-demonstrated in transportation demand management (TDM) research and practice that you can't build your way out of traffic congestion by building roads, and in fact the opposite is true - the more free-ways and car lanes you build, the more people drive and the more congestion and other negative results there are.
As my last post profiled, Vancouver is creatively working to define the future of our Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts - infrastructure that I've referred to as "the asterix" beside the statement that Vancouver has no freeways within our city. One of several inputs into that process is an open ideas competition called re:CONNECT.
One of the bedrocks of the Vancouver city-building story, which we often refer to as "the most important decision Vancouver ever made", was the dramatic rejection of inner city freeways in the late 60's/early 70's. This left our city frequently referenced as the only major North America city without a freeway. That decision led us down the very different and counter-intuitive path for livability, mobility, inner city density and urbanism that has come to be referred to as "the Vancouver Model".
As I heard a national reporter put it recently, it’s not often that an entire city is focused on one thing. In Vancouver it happened during the 2010 Winter Olympics. A year and a half later here, it’s happening again.
Here in Canada, we're in the midst of a Federal election. It’s an election where if you’re interested in urban issues, you’re likely quite frustrated.