A screenshot of the Economist article.
A slightly delayed post, but some BTAworks research was featured in this June 2014 posting in the Economist.
A screenshot of the Economist article.
A slightly delayed post, but some BTAworks research was featured in this June 2014 posting in the Economist.
Image Credit: New Yorker Magazine
A special thanks to James Surowiecki from the New Yorker Magazine for the intercontinental chat. Here’s the resulting article on “How Real Estate goes Global” featuring BTAworks’ research on occupancy and ownership patterns in Vancouver’s downtown condominiums.
For those new to the BTAworks body of work on the subject matter, here is a list on some our work in the area:
with some lessons learn after the presentation:
And our original 2008 study on the ownership and occupancy patterns in Downtown Vancouver condominiums.
A scene from one of our favourite libraries in Metro Vancouver.
With the help of the learned Twitter Followers of the Bing Thom Architects feed, here is a list of essential readings to understanding architecture, planning, design and city building in Vancouver and its region. From academic writers and thinkers, journalists, and community members in electronic and paper medians, this list tries to cover the rich spectrum of forces that have help shape the Metro Vancouver region in our triumphs and tragedies.
This list probably has some major gaps, but it is a try. We have focused on books that are still in print or somewhat still accessible through local booksellers — while most can be acquired new, previously loved versions may be available through Macleod’s Books, a Vancouver institution and is regarded (for good reason) by many Vancouverites as “the Last Great Bookshop“.
A side note for those interested in the readings on foreign investment in Vancouver real estate, BTAworks did compose this list in March 2013 as part of a SFU lecture on the subject.
For access to the Harland Bartholomew documents, arguably the documents that started the contemporary planning era in 20th Century for the City of Vancouver and the region, please click here.
While we’ve provided links to the books via Canada’s largest online booksellers, please consider, if you are in Vancouver, picking up your copies at a local Vancouver bookstore — here’s the BTAworks’ study on local bookstores in the City of Vancouver for your convenience. Some much loved independent bookstores around the BTAworks’ shop include Blackberry Books, Blackbond Books, the Book Warehouse, Spartacus Books, and the People’s Co-op Bookstore.
If we inadvertently missed a favourite contemporary book about architecture, planning and design in Metro Vancouver, please feel free to send us an email and we’ll add it to the list.
Berelowitz, Lance. 2005. Dream City: Vancouver and the Global Imagination. Douglas & McIntyre.
Cameron, Ken and Harcourt, Mike. 2007. City Making in Paradise: Nine Decisions that Saved Vancouver. Douglas & McIntyre.
Campbell, Larry, Culbert, Lori, and Boyd, Neil. 2009. A Thousand Dreams: Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and the Fight for its Future. Greystone Books Ltd.
Coupland, Douglas. 2009. City of Glass: Douglas Coupland’s Vancouver. D&M Publishers’ Inc.
Delany, Paul. 1994. Vancouver: Representing the Postmodern City. Arsenal Pulp Press.
Design Centre for Sustainability. 2007. Greater Vancouver GreenGuide: Seeding Sustainability. New Society Publishers.
Enright, Robert. 2010. Body Heat: The Story of the Woodward’s Redevelopment. Blueimprint.
Gutstein, Donald. 1975. Vancouver Ltd. James Lorimer & Company Ltd.
Hayes, Derek. 2005. Historic Atlas of Vancouver. Douglas & McIntyre.
Hern, Matt. 2010. Common Ground in a Liquid City: Essays in Defense of an Urban Future. Ak Press
Herzog, Fred. 2011. Fred Herzog: Photographs. D&M Publishers Inc.
Hutton, Thomas. 2010. The New Economy of the Inner City: Restructuring, Regeneration, and Dislocation in the 21st Century Metropolis. Routledge.
Itter, Carole and Marlatt, Daphne. 2011. Opening Doors: In Vancouver’s East End: Strathcona. Harbour Publishing.
Kluckner, Michael. 2006. Vancouver Remembered. Whitecap Books.
Kluckner, Michael. 2012. Vanishing Vancouver: The Last 25 Years. Whitecap Books.
Kalman, Harold. 2012. Exploring Vancouver: The Architectural Guide. D&M Publishers Inc.
Kheraj, Sean. 2013. Inventing Stanley Park: An Environmental History. UBC Press.
Ley, David. 2010. Millionaire Migrants: Trans-Pacific Lifelines. Wiley.
Luxton, Donald. Building the West: The Early Architects of British Columbia. Talon Books.
MacDonald, Bruce. 1992. Vancouver: Visual History. Talon Books.
MacDonald, Christopher. 2010. A Guidebook to Contemporary Architecture in Vancouver. D&M Publishers Inc.
Mate, Gabor. 2009. In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction. Knopf Canada.
Metro Vancouver. 2011. Regional Growth Strategy: Vancouver 2040. Weblink.
Perez-Gomez, Alberto, Grabowski, Christopher, and Green, Jim. 2007. Towards an Ethical Architecture: Issues within the Work of Gregory Henriquez. Simply Read Books.
Punter, John. 2004. The Vancouver Achievement. UBC Press.
Russwurm, Lani. 2013. Vancouver was Awesome. Arsenal Pulp Press.
Stouck, David. 2013. Arthur Erickson: An Architect’s Life. D&M Publishers Inc.
Soules, Matthew. 2013. The Livable Suburbanized City: Post Politics and a Vancouver Near You. Harvard Design Magazine (Weblink).
Walsh, Robert M. 2013. The Origins of Vancouverism: A Historical Inquiry into the Architecture and Urban form of Vancouver, British Columbia. University of Michigan Doctorate Dissertation (Weblink).
Winson Liscombe, Rhordri. 1997. The New Spirit: Modern Architecture in Vancouver, 1938-1963. The MIT Press.
Of course, in the spirit of pure transparency and disclosure, we think this book on another local architect is pretty cool too.
Barman, Jean. 2007. Stanley Park’s Secret: The Forgotten Families of Whoi Whoi, Kanaka Ranch, and Brockton Point. Harbour Publishing.
Bown, Stephen. 2008. Madness, Betrayal and the Lash: The Epic Voyage of Captain George Vancouver. D&M Publishers Inc.
Barnholden, Michael. 2005. Reading the Riot Act: A Brief History of Riots in Vancouver. Anvil Press.
Cameron, Stevie. 2011. On The Farm: Robert William Pickton and the Tragic Story of Vancouver’s Missing Women. Knopf Canada.
Chong, Denise. 2006. The Concubine’s Children: Portrait of a Family Divided. Penguin Group Canada
City of Vancouver. 2014. First Peoples: A Guide for Newcomers. City of Vancouver. Web publication.
Davis, Chuck. 2011. The Chuck Davis History of Metropolitan Vancouver. Harbour Publishing.
Demers, Charles. 2009. Vancouver Special. Arsenal Pulp Press.
Gilmour, Julie. 2014. Trouble on Main Street: Mackenzie King, Reason, Race and the 1907 Vancouver Riots. Allen Lane Canada.
Kazimi, Ali. (2011). Undesirables: White Canada and the Komagata Maru. D&M Publishers Inc.
Purvey, Diane and Belshaw, John. 2011. Vancouver Noir: 1930-1960. Anvil Press.
Vogel, Aynsley and Wyse, Dana. 2009. Vancouver: A History in Photographs. Heritage House Publishing.
Weyler, Rex. 2005. Greenpeace: The Inside Story: How a Group of Ecologists, Journalists, and Visionaries Changed the World. Raincoast Books.
Yee, Paul. Saltwater City: Story of Vancouver’s Chinese Community. D&M Publishers Inc.
BTAworks recently had the opportunity to collaborate with Mary Rowe, the Director of Urban Resilience and Livability of the Municipal Arts Society of New York City. In the MAS publication’s Ideas for New York’s New Leadership, it presents a set of essays that talks about a key issue, opportunity, or priority for action within a specific domain to the new mayor of New York City to stimulate a diverse and inclusive discourse to inform decision making and priority setting. Working with Mary Rowe, BTAworks looked at the challenge of nurturing a resilience constituency within a vastly complex and diversity metropolis. How do we create an urban system that can sustain itself and quickly rebound from shock and stresses? In the spirit of BTAworks’ early work on a toolkit on Climate Change and the City of Vancouver, this is a question that is affected cities around the world in terms of sudden and gradual shocks and stresses.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, it highlighted the urgency for New York City to engage this question. Using data from NYC OpenData and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, BTAworks was able to map and model the effects of another possible 1 percent flood event upon New York City. Not surprising, flooding would be very uneven through a City like New York as it reflect the local topography and development history of each borough of New York City. Moreover, using land use and property value spatial datasets available on NYC OpenData, we were able to model the possible impacts of another 1 percent flood in terms of land mass, demography, land mass, and property values. The above slidedeck are maps and tables that did not make it to publication, but we thought might prove to be helpful documents to facilitate an informed dialogue.
Some key findings of this slidesdeck include:
With the publication of the 2014 BC Assessment property value dataset on the City of Vancouver’s Open Data Catalogue, BTAworks wanted to extend its annual $1 million line Single Family properties analysis to the entire City of Vancouver and all property types. After overcoming a key technical challenge, see note below. We wanted to explore how the values of Vancouver real estate changes over a single year as each dot on the map represents one single property. What’s interesting about these value changes may not necessarily be what happens to a single dot, but rather a cluster of dots or distinct area of dots in particular neighbourhoods as they reflect changes in public policy, real estate market sentiment, or simply demand for properties in a particular land use type.
Citywide, the total property value of the City of Vancouver was $283 billion in 2014 which represents an increase of 2.3 percent ($6.4 billion) from 2013. When broken down by land use types, total value changes ranged vastly from an increase of 10 percent for light industrial use to a decrease of 17 percent for limited agricultural uses. Light industrial zones saw the highest percentage increases in total values at 10 percent followed by Industrial (7 percent), Historic area (6.8 percent), and Commercial uses (5 percent). While likely the effect of high pre-existing total values, values in one family dwelling areas only increased by 1.4 percent. Please see the accompanying table, but note that data points such as transportation right of ways may not be assigned a land use category and are listed as “Data Unavailable”. Nevertheless, as BTAworks expands this analysis to a longer time series, it will be interesting to see if these value patterns of increases and declines hold for various land use types over time.
In terms of specific portions of the City of Vancouver, properties that saw increases of total values by over 25 percent were clustered on the West End, Downtown Eastside, and Mount Pleasant area. Properties in the inner city light industrial and industrial areas and port areas saw 25 percent or more increases in total values. Strips of properties along Kingsway, Main Street, areas around Granville and Arbutus Street also saw major increases in property values. Interestingly, most properties in Vancouver’s Single Family Home districts saw relatively flat patterns and, in certain cases, declines. It would be interesting to explore the causes of these patterns, but it is important to note that, give the rapid ascent of the Single Family properties values in the City of Vancouver, value shifts up or down could reflect the inertia of already high property values.
While this analysis will not examine the particular reasons why specific areas saw value increases or decreases, these light industrial areas are of particular concern as they are often cited as the nursery for new firms and economic/employment activities on a regional and citywide level, but, at the same time, offer parcel assemblages that are attractive for new multi-family residential development in terms of size and relative ease of acquisition to other land use types and land divisions. While there are ongoing initiatives to preserve and retain employment lands within the City of Vancouver and Metro Vancouver region, it remains unclear if these large value shifts in light industrial land uses in such a short time will have an upward pressure for existing tenants on the lands and their rents or arrest or even prevent the emergence of the next economic dynamo for the Region. With increased industrial land values, there is an opportunity to intensify industrial uses on these lands, but also the danger to displace major current and future economic and employment drivers and prospects for the City and Region.
It has been an ongoing BTAworks project over the years of the $1 million line Single Family property mapping to document the total values and value changes for all properties in the City of Vancouver. However, the challenge has always been to how to best illustrate and account for strata properties such as condominiums. Single family homes are relatively simple to represent as they have a one to one relationship to a dot; however, when it comes to strata properties, one dot can represent dozens if not hundreds of records — a One-to-Many relationship.
Without accounting for this Many-to-One relationship, a direct matching of BC Assessment records to City of Vancouver GIS files could inadvertently only document the “common areas” of the near4,300 strata properties/108,000 units as oppose to the actual price dynamics with each strata property. While most stratas are residential in nature, it is important to note that commercial and retail stratas also exist. After several years of periodic concentration, this analysis pre-processes the 2014 BC assessment database to create a single data point for each strata parcel. Prices changes for these strata data points is an average of all total value changes of records for a particular strata property. This is a pragmatic mapping solution to address this many-to-one data record dilemma, but is much more precise than a possible inadvertent map of the values changes for strata condo areas.
Please note that like our previous $1 million single family home analysis, we have focused on total value that is the value of both the land and “improvement” (typically a building) on it. Moreover, due to long standing BC Assessment Authority methodologies, values in this analysis reflect the “market value” of a particular property in July of the previous year. For example, 2014 values reflect assessments made in July 2013 and 2013 values represent ones from July 2012.
Another important note to acknowledge is that the analysis in this entry is based upon an unedited version of the Property tax report data available on the Vancouver Open Data Catalogue obtained in January 2013. Revisions of the tabular data may occur as the database is revised to account and/or exclude data artifacts and landuse miscodes in later versions as they are discovered in later versions.
Between 2013 to 2014, the number of single family homes in the City of Vancouver assessed at $1 million line or more has effectively remained unchanged.
There were 37,800 SF properties worth over $1 million in 2014 compared to 37,410 SF properties in 2013. When inflation is accounted for, there were 37,910 SF properties assessed at over $1 million.
The total number of Single Family properties in the 2014 edition of the BTAwork’s $1 million line analysis is 68,355.
In 2014, about 55 percent (37,800) of the total number of Single Family properties in the City of Vancouver were worth more than $1 million.
While 1,135 Single Family properties in the City of Vancouver valued at under the $1 million line became valued at more than $1 million between 2013 to 2014, 740 SF properties valued at more than $1 million in 2013 fell below the $1 million line in 2014.
In terms of value category growth, categories of homes under $3 million did not see significant increases in their numbers; however, homes worth between $4 million to $5 million and over $5 million saw sizable growth at 7 and 10 percent respectively.
The 2014 BTAworks edition of the $1 million in the City of Vancouver’s “One-family Dwelling” or RS districts is the fourth version of our series in exploring the changing patterns of Single Family property values in the City of Vancouver. We have continued to followed the same methodology of our 2013 study which follows the pathways of our 2012 and 2011 studies. Generally speaking, the observations and zoning histories remain steady from these previous studies. However, this 2014 analysis is not direct comparable with previous BTA $1 million line studies and maps as a rezoning of the Norquay Village area has removed about 1,900 Single Family parcels out of the 2014 study and, as a consequence, the area out of the map.
As with previous studies, all data used in these maps was obtained from the City of Vancouver’s Open Data Catalogue. The property values data used in this study and map series are from BC Assessment whose methodology of assessment can be viewed it and, as a consequence, they do not necessarily reflect current market prices. This study has also rounded raw numbers to the closest 5 or 0.
Just announced and BTA is proud to participate in. Here’s the notice in PDF form: 2014 Dialogues on Our City’s Future Poster
Tuesday Dialogues from 7 pm to 9:30 pm (Doors open 6:30)
Moderated by Dr. Penny Gurstein, UBC Director SCARP
“Vancouver as a sustainable city” Is this statement Rhetoric or Reality?
Environmental and Health Impacts of Community Design: What are the Tools for creating Co-Benefits?
Explore the 10 data points you should know about your City, from demographics to civic participation, to real estate ownership. What might it take to create our own “Good City of Vancouver”?
What are the Current Challenges and New Trends in Public Engagement for Neighborhood Planning?
The Impossible Contradictions: Urban Indigenous Planning in Canada. How does the increasing presence of urban indigenous peoples impact community and regional planning?
Admission: UWCV Members $5 + tax, Non-Members $10 + tax. Please register by phone (604) 731- 4661 or online at http://www.uwcvancouver.ca/ prior to each evening.
The UWCV Federation Committee and HHPF are presenting the 2014 Dialogues in collaboration with UBC School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP).
Halloween is one of our favourite days of the year at BTAworks and, in our everlasting and ongoing quest for unique community metrics, we will be continuing our crowdmapping exercise of documenting the Trick or Treating hotspots in Metro Vancouver. Another major event that coincides with Halloween is Día de Muertos or the Day of the Dead which is sober, but also celebratory Mexican holiday that encompasses a three day celebration from October 31 to November 1.
An unique Vancouver event is the Public Dreams Society’s Parade of Lost Souls which sadly is in its last year, but will hopefully find new life next year in a new incarnation. The above photo is a street scene of celebrants enjoying a hot beverage at the famous Joe’s Cafe on Commercial Drive after this year’s parade. For those in the know of Vancouver’s Caffeine Culture, two shots of espressos from Joe’s could very well wake the Dead.
Our 2012 Trick or Treater Count was an enormous success with the help of Vancouver’s vibrant social media community and the Vancouver Sun. With 100 data points from across the Metro Vancouver region and, while not exactly scientific nor statistically valid, the final map was an interesting proxy indicator towards social cohesion, fabric and capital of Vancouver in terms of neighborhoods, urban design and socioeconomic status. The neighborhoods of Strathcona and Arbutus Ridge in the City of Vancouver and the Lafarge Lake neighborhood of Coquitlam ended up to be one of the top neighbourhoods for Halloween loot.
1) The Vancouver Sun website:
You can directly submit your count on this Vancouver Sun website.
Counters can email us at <THANKS WE’RE DONE FOR THIS YEAR> with their closest street intersection, number of trick or treaters, and candy type. For example, if you live near the corner of Main and 37th Ave with 40 Trick or Treaters and handing out lollipops, you can email the message: “Main and 37th Ave, 40, lollipops”
3) Tweet Us:
Counters can tweet us with the hashtag #treatcount2013. With the above example, a Twitter submission would be: “Main and 37th Ave, 40, lollipops, #treatcount2013″
The BTAworks data gremlins will process emails and tweets during first week of November and publish their results on this blog and a story in the Vancouver Sun.
We’ll be collecting entries up until 4pm on November 1st.
Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!
Last Thursday, Andy Yan from BTAworks was invited to participate in a SFU City Conversations. Along with Neal Lamontagne and Boyd Thompson from the Wilder Snail, we looked at the challenges and opportunities for retail/commercial services to enter Vancouver’s residential neighbourhoods. This is Andy’s slideshow. In addition to previously published BTAworks’ papers on coffee houses and corner grocery stores, the summary of his presentation was not the question of “Should the corner store and coffee house return to residential neighbourhood, but rather the question of “Can the corner store and coffee house return to residential neighbourhood?” given current taxation and cost of living regimes in the City of Vancouver.
As schools across the Metro Vancouver region open up for a new year, BTAworks wanted to explore the enrollment patterns for public elementary schools in the region. These citywide and regional wide patterns provide another proxy measure for neighbourhood dynamics beyond the Census data. Public elementary school enrollment offers another measure for the demographic, economic, social, and cultural change of a neighbourhood. This scale of this map is also places individual school dynamics within a larger city and regional wide context. Whether it is from the school up or the region down, there are clear clusters of robust public elementary school enrollment growth, decline, and stability in Metro Vancouver. The specific causes of this growth, decline, and stability through which we would like to open to our readership.
It is important to note that school enrollments have a tendency to ebb and flow from year to year and, as consequence, this map has taken a variance of 10 percent as an indicator of relative enrollment stability; however, past this variance, decline or growth becomes increasingly statistically significant and acute. In particular, when a school sees either a 25 percent increase or decline over 5 school years and, in particular, a cluster of schools presents a particular question towards what might be happening in a particular community. An older population, smaller household sizes, increases in regional housing choice, and the short and long term housing affordability, adequacy, and suitability challenges for young families, and increased competition for independent school options all have their effects upon declining (and growing!) public elementary school enrollment.
All enrollment data used in this brief is from the British Columbia Ministry of Education through the DataBC website and is provided by the Province of BC under the Open Government License for the Government of BC Information v.BC 2.0. The maps and tables were based on standard public elementary schools in Metro Vancouver in the BC Schools – Student Headcount by Grade dataset on the DataBC website.
Elementary schools were specifically selected to control for ”district programming” effects as secondary schools in many school districts have special programs that draw from throughout a school district to a single school. Such programming occurred to a much lessor degree in elementary schools and we feel that this allows for most elementary schools to better reflect the local population of elementary school aged children in their immediate neighbourhoods than, for secondary schools to reflect secondary school aged population.
Schools that were not established in or a complete headcount from the 2007/08 to 2012/2013 school years were excluded in the maps. Acadia Road Elementary in Vancouver; Adams Road Elementary, Rosemary Heights Elementary, Hazelgrove Elementary, and Woodward Hill Elementary in Surrey; Langley Fine Arts Elementary in Langley; and Unversity Highlands Elementary and Taylor Park Elementary in Burnaby were excluded in this map. Once the final tabular data was processed, they were then geocoded to produce the map in the study.