When a city becomes too big to run, its residents need to go home
By Dan O’ConnellThe Globe and Mail article The city of Vancouver is growing.
But when it becomes too large to run it will need to take a long hard look at its people, and ask itself whether they can live within its borders.
That’s what a new report by the city’s human-resources department and a group of business leaders and residents is calling for.
“Vancouver needs to take on the challenge of how to grow its city,” said David Chiu, a senior adviser to the city.
“It needs to understand how it can grow more rapidly and do so in a way that allows it to maintain its position as a global economic leader, as it is now.”
The city needs to grow faster, Chiu said.
It has to change its focus to growing its workforce, particularly the younger generation of employees.
It needs to look beyond the next decade.
And it needs to create an environment in which people feel comfortable, said John McNeil, president of the Vancouver Business Improvement Association.
McNeil is also an adviser to a plan that is being considered by the government.
It calls for Vancouver to grow by a factor of 10 by 2050.
That would require Vancouver to add 2.5 million people and to double the number of public transit riders by 2035.
It also requires the city to do a lot more of the things it is already doing: creating job opportunities for the displaced workers, creating a culture of innovation, and reducing the number and size of the buildings that need to be torn down.
Chiu said the city is working on a blueprint for a plan to create that growth, which would be based on three elements: 1) a strong core; 2) a solid downtown; and 3) a growing number of residential units.
Chiang and others have suggested that the city should do more of all three, and to do so they have come up with a five-point plan.
Those recommendations are being discussed with the city by city staff, and the city has invited Chiu and other members of the city-based human-services department to the next meeting of the human-development task force, set to begin next month.
Vancouver’s population grew by almost a million people between 2000 and 2010, but by 2020, it was expected to grow at a rate of 2.4 per cent annually.
That meant the city had to grow to meet its projected population growth in the coming decades.
But there’s been a dramatic slowdown in the city, which grew by just more than 1 per cent per year over that same period, according to the census data.
Vancouver’s population is now projected to grow only by 0.3 per cent, which is far less than the city was projected to be in 2000.
And that slowdown means the city must figure out how to meet the growth goals, Chiang said.
The city could focus on a few of its core goals, like growing more housing, Chui said.
Or it could look at what its people want to do and how to create a place where they feel comfortable.
Or maybe it should look at the needs of the other sectors of the economy.
“The biggest challenge is, how do you create the conditions that allow you to continue to grow in a sustainable way,” Chiu told The Globe and, more importantly, how can you do it in a manner that allows you to sustainably support the workforce and the workforce of the next generation?
“The city is looking at a lot of different options, Chai said, but the key is to think about what your core goals are, and then what the people want.
It’s not about being the most successful city, Chu said.
Chiu and others agree with the message of the report: Vancouver needs to become more open and transparent. “
The best city is a good community.”
Chiu and others agree with the message of the report: Vancouver needs to become more open and transparent.
The city is now using the same census data to calculate its growth rate and the percentage of its population that lives in public housing, he noted.
“If the city doesn’t have transparency, it can’t do its job,” said Chiu.
“You need to have transparency.”
That’s the same message the city heard from its leaders in 2015 when the City of Vancouver, under the leadership of then-premier Christy Clark, announced a plan called “Cities for the 21st Century.”
Clark was adamant about having a public-transportation system, including rapid transit, that could accommodate all of Vancouver’s needs.
The plan has since been criticized by some critics, including former Mayor Gregor Robertson.
Robertson argued that the plan was unrealistic and did not include enough public transit.
And the report said the plan would not have been feasible without a public transportation system.
That plan was ultimately dropped by Clark in 2019, and Robertson resigned from his position as mayor.
In the report released Tuesday, the city argues that it can do much better.
It argues that the most pressing challenge in the next 10 years