Stephen Rees's blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘census 2011

What the Census Dotmap tells us about Metro Vancouver

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Screen Shot 2013-01-06 at 4.00.42 PM

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

Why I am writing less these days

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Every morning I scan the main stream media for likely news stories. The census is big today of course but without the mandatory 10% long form, there is no data on commuting. So while the growth of Chilliwack and Squamish gets noticed, no-one is talking about why. I doubt that job growth in either place kept pace and freeway expansion probably played a role but we will not know for a while – at least in terms of hard statistics. Port Moody grew because they thought they were going to get the Evergreen Line.

I also get various summaries – the Sightline Daily being one of the most relevant for my purposes. And that coughs up two stories.

Most Amazing High Definition Image of Earth - Blue Marble 2012

Blue Marble 2012 from NASA on flickr

That image is needed to illustrate “The Great Carbon Bubble” from the Nation. North America on January 4 is not only cloud free, it is nearly snow free too. But the media has stopped talking about climate change. The article is about why that would be: basically the big oil companies are making more money than ever, and have huge proven reserves, which must NOT be burned if we are to escape disaster. Climate change is already upon us – that’s what the picture above shows. The data is also clear – though of course many are paid to misinterpret it – and the Republican candidates – and our elected leaders at both provincial and national levels – are all denying the reality.

But of course there are small victories. Vancouver has achieved its Kyoto target even if Canada greatly exceeds its own. More people are refusing plastic bags and buying local: many are riding their bikes more often. Except of course The Planet Doesn’t Care About Your Eco-Friendly Lifestyle. Partly because “you think that single act of environmental kindness makes up for other sins” (‘single action bias’) and secondly you worry so much about the small things that you miss the big picture. We need “smart economics” (according to Gernot Wagner). Which may be my new favourite oxymoron – replacing ‘military intelligence’ and ‘gourmet hotdog’.

Cap and trade and carbon taxes anyone?

Written by Stephen Rees

February 8, 2012 at 10:06 am