Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for January 6th, 2013

What the Census Dotmap tells us about Metro Vancouver

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I copied this map from Brandon Martin Anderson‘s website. “This is a map of every person counted by the  2011 Canadian census” in Metro Vancouver. He states “I wanted an image of human settlement patterns unmediated by proxies like city boundaries, arterial roads, state lines, &c.” Actually I found it pretty easy to pick out the border between Canada and the US (his map covers both) and the very obvious proxy that gets left is the census tract – since the placement of the dot that represent each person is necessarily random within that space.

It is a truism that transit is all about density, and this map for me tells us a lot about our region. I am sure someone else with the right electronic chops can merge in a transit map – preferably one that has a Human Transit feel to it – where thickness of the line represents service frequency. For now I think I will just state the glaringly obvious. The neglect of Surrey by our transit system cannot be justified by claiming that city’s density is inadequate to support frequent transit service. Secondly while you cannot see Highway #1 on the map south of the Fraser it is pretty obvious where it is through Burnaby.

It is also worthwhile to take a look at the zoom function, pick out your neighbourhood and look at its density. I was quite surprised by the (relatively) high density of Richmond at No 4 Road and Steveston Highway north east corner. (The Shell Road corridor and McNair high school both stand out clearly) And certainly stand in stark contrast to the low density of Shaughnessy and Arbutus Village in Vancouver. Note too how Main Street divides a low density West Side from a high density East Side. Considering the city does not have wards, this is quite a remarkable political achievement. Notice also how the midtown Broadway corridor and Kits are much darker than the surrounding areas.

I only saw this map for the first time this afternoon – but I think it does indeed spark some ideas worth discussing

Written by Stephen Rees

January 6, 2013 at 4:35 pm