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Price Talks

Price Tags Media Society

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Price Talks

Price Talks

Price Tags Media Society

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The podcast inspired by West Coast urbanist blog Price Tags. Former Vancouver politician and director of the SFU City Program lecture series Gordon Price interviews leading players and emerging voices on issues of urban planning, architecture, housing, transportation, politics and public spaces.

Latest Episodes

To Gian Singh Sandhu, Success Means Not Taking a Back Seat to Anybody

While the majority of the 27 million practitioners of Sikhism live in India — most living in the state of Punjab — half a million Sikhs reside in Canada. In fact, 1 in 20 British Columbians is Sikh. And according to Gian Singh Sandhu, founding president of the World Sikh Organization (WSO), so is 1 in 4 Surrey residents. Sikhism is one of the (if not the) fastest-growing religion in Metro Vancouver. As the Vancouver Sun noted a few years ago, “B.C. is the only province in Canada, and one of the few jurisdictions in the world, in which Sikhism can claim the status of being the second largest religion.” Yet, what do we really know about Sikhs — in India, in Canada, and particularly in Metro Vancouver? (By “we”, we’re implicating anyone who hasn’t done anything more than skim Wikipedia. Sorry.) What is your understanding of the massacre at Darbār Sahib, aka ‘the Golden Temple’, and the loss of thousands of Sikh lives at the hands of the Indian military? If you consider the ...

69 MIN2019 DEC 4
Comments
To Gian Singh Sandhu, Success Means Not Taking a Back Seat to Anybody

Greens' Adriane Carr on Working with Communities to Prepare for Sea Change

If you needed more evidence that environmental issues are no longer fringe issues, all you have to do is look at Vancouver Greens’ Adriane Carr. Her 74,000 votes in the 2014 municipal election was the most by a Vancouver council candidate since 1996…and perhaps ever? Had she run for mayor in 2018, she might have won, and by as many as 20,000 votes. Born at VGH and raised in east Van, Carr’s future political life began auspiciously — a Master’s degree in Geography under the tutelage of UBC’s David Ley and Walter Hardwick. Her thesis? On the role individuals play in community, specifically entitled, “The Development of Neighbourhood in Kitsilano : Ideas, Actors and the Landscape.” Such fertile ground for our ‘meat and sizzle’ interlocutors Gord and Rob. And oh yes, they go there — the question of the role of individuals in shaping the community, the city, and city-wide planning. But first, a few dozen questions…about such matters as what got her into politics? (Desperation...

62 MIN2019 NOV 16
Comments
Greens' Adriane Carr on Working with Communities to Prepare for Sea Change

No Days Off for Sarah Blyth, or the Downtown Eastside

Sarah Blyth first started to see the spike in drug overdoses in the Downtown Eastside community in 2016. From her vantage point as manager of the DTES Market, she couldn’t help but see it. People were literally dying in the street. So she decided to do something about it. Rob sums it up: “You saw the need, set up a tent, and tried to save lives”. Yup. Blyth’s role as founder and Executive Director of the Overdose Prevention Society is the latest in a series of contributions to the city by a person who, as much as anyone here, can speak to having lived a life of privilege, marginalization, social entrepreneurship, leadership, selflessness, and grace under extreme pressure. (And she’s not even halfway through.) Blyth, the former skateboard advocate, Park Board Commissioner, and City Council candidate, fields the tough questions from Gord — specifically on the question of safe supply and induced demand. They circle around housing insecurity and authority in Oppenheimer Park, tang...

28 MIN2019 NOV 6
Comments
No Days Off for Sarah Blyth, or the Downtown Eastside

Rookie Councillor Ahmed Yousef on the Changing Face of Maple Ridge

It wasn’t that long ago that British Columbians were saying, “What the hell is going on in Maple Ridge?” In 2014, voters elected Nicole Read as mayor of the region’s eastern outpost …and then subjected her to a virulent strain of online harassment which, after two years, resulted in threats that prompted an RCMP investigation, and ultimately her decision to not rerun in the 2018 election. The reason for the harassment? The appearance of a homeless camp in an empty lot at a cul-de-sac on Cliff Avenue within six months of her election, alongside Mayor Read’s apparent desire to project empathy for those occupying it, and efforts (fruitless for some time) to work with the provincial government to house them permanently in the ‘regular city’. While that work was underway, the camp at Cliff Ave begat one at Anita Place and, well…it’s still a work in progress. But this time, despite sustained inner conflict amongst the city’s leadership, Maple Ridge is doing the work in cooperat...

65 MIN2019 OCT 29
Comments
Rookie Councillor Ahmed Yousef on the Changing Face of Maple Ridge

xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Member Wade Grant, on What Canada is Today

What does it mean to change a street name? What does it mean to be able to fish? What does it mean to have title over the land upon which you, and your people, were born? This line of questioning may not immediately resonate with the majority of Canadians going to the polls today, intent on electing (or re-electing) the next Prime Minister. But it matters a hell of a lot to Indigenous people, to the Musqueam Indian Band, and specifically to Wade Grant. In this long-awaited discussion with the UBC alumnus, former Musqueam council member, 2018 Vancouver city council candidate, and current Chief of Staff to Musqueam band Chief and Council, Grant entertains some direct questions from the settlers in the room (Gord and Rob) on issues we’re still only beginning to understand in mainstream Canadian society. Beginning with some essential background — that, first of all, First Nations peoples didn’t even gain the right to vote until 1960, they couldn’t go to university unless they gave u...

63 MIN2019 OCT 22
Comments
xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Member Wade Grant, on What Canada is Today

From Thin Soup to Dreamland: The Social Impact of SCARP Alumni Thomas Bevan & Bob Williams

The latest in our Passing the Torch series introduces us to Thomas Bevan, a Millennial who’s already left his mark on Vancouver. From his youth in Kitchener, Ontario — and a “difficult relationship” with a downtown that wasn’t quite the hotspot it has since become — to his graduate studies at UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning (“a dreamland…a beautiful place”) and current work with BC Housing, Bevan stepped into the world of urbanism with a naturally intuitive sense that the economics of the land, as we have historically recognized it, had to change. More specifically, Bevan was looking for public recuperation of land value, in the form of social purpose real estate. Like 312 Main — the cornerstone of Bevan’s young career, and the focal point of his first collaboration with torch-passer Bob Williams. How Bevan and Williams met has almost become the origin story of 312 Main itself – Bevan the ideator, Williams the mentor and connector (and Vancity Community ...

64 MIN2019 OCT 9
Comments
From Thin Soup to Dreamland: The Social Impact of SCARP Alumni Thomas Bevan & Bob Williams

Talking NIMBYism, Populism & Campaign 2022 with George Affleck

One thing is proven without a doubt in this wide-ranging, deep political dive with Gord, Rob, and return guest George Affleck — these guys don’t know their Tolkien. And while there was no cranky, right-wing guy in Middle Earth, there is a central character whose very rigid way of thinking begins to soften. If that seems to be the case with Affleck, it may be with the benefit of retrospect, especially with an eye to the performance of current council, and specifically in contrast to its predecessor. That’s because Affleck’s behaviour while serving in opposition to Gregor Robertson’s Vision Vancouver juggernaut was largely the result of him seeing the majority votes walking into the council chamber every day, “knowing exactly what they were going to do”. Idealogical alignment can be like a wall; in the form of a political caucus, it’s a brick wall. Contrast that with today; by Affleck’s count, there are just two parties in Vancouver Council, the NDP and the BC Liberals (and 1...

35 MIN2019 SEP 21
Comments
Talking NIMBYism, Populism & Campaign 2022 with George Affleck

Brent Toderian: It Was the Best of Jobs, It Was the Worst of Jobs

A tale of two city-makers — one, a son of the working poor, who showed an early knack for creation and collaboration, in part through the use of polyhedral dice; the other, a world-renowned urban planner, with a Twitter following as large as the populations of some of the cities he now calls clients. The two are, of course, the same man. Brent Toderian arrived in Vancouver in 2006 as the new Director of Planning for the City of Vancouver, stepping into the role jointly held by Larry Beasley and Ann McAfee. In addition to being part of the team of “mad geniuses” at 12th & Cambie, Beasley and McAfee were already legends in the planning community for having presided over the era which introduced Vancouverism to North America. In explaining the trajectory that brought him here — an early passion for law, a degree in environmental science from University of Waterloo (major in urban and regional planning, natch), and early success managing city centre planning and design in Calgary —...

68 MIN2019 SEP 11
Comments
Brent Toderian: It Was the Best of Jobs, It Was the Worst of Jobs

Lon LaClaire on Challenges, Cost/Benefits, and ‘Aha’ Moments for Transportation in Vancouver

It was 2009, Vancouver was about to become the largest metro region to host a winter Olympic Games, and the city faced a challenge of similarly grandiose proportions — how to accommodate a 30% increase in downtown transportation trips alongside a 30% reduction in road network capacity, thanks to Games-related operations. For Lon LaClaire, a transportation planning engineer at that fraught moment in the city’s history, it was an experiment that would prove to be the ultimate litmus test of the city’s potential to lead North America in the prioritization of efficient, effective, and (still) decidedly unsexy transportation modes — walk, bike, transit. It happened of course (turns out snow was the issue — go figure), and that experiment’s success paved the way for the past 10 years of a transportation paradigm shift in policy and investments that is indeed now recognized across the continent, if not the world. And it’s due in no small part to LaClaire’s leadership on the City’s...

73 MIN2019 SEP 4
Comments
Lon LaClaire on Challenges, Cost/Benefits, and ‘Aha’ Moments for Transportation in Vancouver

Michael Gordon on the Yin and Yang of Community Planning in Vancouver

Every child is full of questions. And while the science is fuzzy, it seems that children who ask questions about the future — not how things work today, but how they could work better tomorrow — tend to make great planners. Michael Gordon was one of those children. And his legacy as one of the most important planners of Vancouver’s Golden Age (thank you, Larry Beasley) has been built by finding answers to the most difficult of questions about the growth of inner cities. Namely, is it possible to make exponential leaps in urban densification — doubling or tripling the number of people living in communities — and maintain quality of life, even (or especially) their character? Growth and stability. Heterogeneity and heritage. They’re almost impossible dynamics to manage, being both deeply personal and matters of public interest. Yet, somehow Michael Gordon has made them work. Like supporting a doubling of the West End population over the last generation, while allowing its Robson...

62 MIN2019 AUG 31
Comments
Michael Gordon on the Yin and Yang of Community Planning in Vancouver
the END

Latest Episodes

To Gian Singh Sandhu, Success Means Not Taking a Back Seat to Anybody

While the majority of the 27 million practitioners of Sikhism live in India — most living in the state of Punjab — half a million Sikhs reside in Canada. In fact, 1 in 20 British Columbians is Sikh. And according to Gian Singh Sandhu, founding president of the World Sikh Organization (WSO), so is 1 in 4 Surrey residents. Sikhism is one of the (if not the) fastest-growing religion in Metro Vancouver. As the Vancouver Sun noted a few years ago, “B.C. is the only province in Canada, and one of the few jurisdictions in the world, in which Sikhism can claim the status of being the second largest religion.” Yet, what do we really know about Sikhs — in India, in Canada, and particularly in Metro Vancouver? (By “we”, we’re implicating anyone who hasn’t done anything more than skim Wikipedia. Sorry.) What is your understanding of the massacre at Darbār Sahib, aka ‘the Golden Temple’, and the loss of thousands of Sikh lives at the hands of the Indian military? If you consider the ...

69 MIN2019 DEC 4
Comments
To Gian Singh Sandhu, Success Means Not Taking a Back Seat to Anybody

Greens' Adriane Carr on Working with Communities to Prepare for Sea Change

If you needed more evidence that environmental issues are no longer fringe issues, all you have to do is look at Vancouver Greens’ Adriane Carr. Her 74,000 votes in the 2014 municipal election was the most by a Vancouver council candidate since 1996…and perhaps ever? Had she run for mayor in 2018, she might have won, and by as many as 20,000 votes. Born at VGH and raised in east Van, Carr’s future political life began auspiciously — a Master’s degree in Geography under the tutelage of UBC’s David Ley and Walter Hardwick. Her thesis? On the role individuals play in community, specifically entitled, “The Development of Neighbourhood in Kitsilano : Ideas, Actors and the Landscape.” Such fertile ground for our ‘meat and sizzle’ interlocutors Gord and Rob. And oh yes, they go there — the question of the role of individuals in shaping the community, the city, and city-wide planning. But first, a few dozen questions…about such matters as what got her into politics? (Desperation...

62 MIN2019 NOV 16
Comments
Greens' Adriane Carr on Working with Communities to Prepare for Sea Change

No Days Off for Sarah Blyth, or the Downtown Eastside

Sarah Blyth first started to see the spike in drug overdoses in the Downtown Eastside community in 2016. From her vantage point as manager of the DTES Market, she couldn’t help but see it. People were literally dying in the street. So she decided to do something about it. Rob sums it up: “You saw the need, set up a tent, and tried to save lives”. Yup. Blyth’s role as founder and Executive Director of the Overdose Prevention Society is the latest in a series of contributions to the city by a person who, as much as anyone here, can speak to having lived a life of privilege, marginalization, social entrepreneurship, leadership, selflessness, and grace under extreme pressure. (And she’s not even halfway through.) Blyth, the former skateboard advocate, Park Board Commissioner, and City Council candidate, fields the tough questions from Gord — specifically on the question of safe supply and induced demand. They circle around housing insecurity and authority in Oppenheimer Park, tang...

28 MIN2019 NOV 6
Comments
No Days Off for Sarah Blyth, or the Downtown Eastside

Rookie Councillor Ahmed Yousef on the Changing Face of Maple Ridge

It wasn’t that long ago that British Columbians were saying, “What the hell is going on in Maple Ridge?” In 2014, voters elected Nicole Read as mayor of the region’s eastern outpost …and then subjected her to a virulent strain of online harassment which, after two years, resulted in threats that prompted an RCMP investigation, and ultimately her decision to not rerun in the 2018 election. The reason for the harassment? The appearance of a homeless camp in an empty lot at a cul-de-sac on Cliff Avenue within six months of her election, alongside Mayor Read’s apparent desire to project empathy for those occupying it, and efforts (fruitless for some time) to work with the provincial government to house them permanently in the ‘regular city’. While that work was underway, the camp at Cliff Ave begat one at Anita Place and, well…it’s still a work in progress. But this time, despite sustained inner conflict amongst the city’s leadership, Maple Ridge is doing the work in cooperat...

65 MIN2019 OCT 29
Comments
Rookie Councillor Ahmed Yousef on the Changing Face of Maple Ridge

xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Member Wade Grant, on What Canada is Today

What does it mean to change a street name? What does it mean to be able to fish? What does it mean to have title over the land upon which you, and your people, were born? This line of questioning may not immediately resonate with the majority of Canadians going to the polls today, intent on electing (or re-electing) the next Prime Minister. But it matters a hell of a lot to Indigenous people, to the Musqueam Indian Band, and specifically to Wade Grant. In this long-awaited discussion with the UBC alumnus, former Musqueam council member, 2018 Vancouver city council candidate, and current Chief of Staff to Musqueam band Chief and Council, Grant entertains some direct questions from the settlers in the room (Gord and Rob) on issues we’re still only beginning to understand in mainstream Canadian society. Beginning with some essential background — that, first of all, First Nations peoples didn’t even gain the right to vote until 1960, they couldn’t go to university unless they gave u...

63 MIN2019 OCT 22
Comments
xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Member Wade Grant, on What Canada is Today

From Thin Soup to Dreamland: The Social Impact of SCARP Alumni Thomas Bevan & Bob Williams

The latest in our Passing the Torch series introduces us to Thomas Bevan, a Millennial who’s already left his mark on Vancouver. From his youth in Kitchener, Ontario — and a “difficult relationship” with a downtown that wasn’t quite the hotspot it has since become — to his graduate studies at UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning (“a dreamland…a beautiful place”) and current work with BC Housing, Bevan stepped into the world of urbanism with a naturally intuitive sense that the economics of the land, as we have historically recognized it, had to change. More specifically, Bevan was looking for public recuperation of land value, in the form of social purpose real estate. Like 312 Main — the cornerstone of Bevan’s young career, and the focal point of his first collaboration with torch-passer Bob Williams. How Bevan and Williams met has almost become the origin story of 312 Main itself – Bevan the ideator, Williams the mentor and connector (and Vancity Community ...

64 MIN2019 OCT 9
Comments
From Thin Soup to Dreamland: The Social Impact of SCARP Alumni Thomas Bevan & Bob Williams

Talking NIMBYism, Populism & Campaign 2022 with George Affleck

One thing is proven without a doubt in this wide-ranging, deep political dive with Gord, Rob, and return guest George Affleck — these guys don’t know their Tolkien. And while there was no cranky, right-wing guy in Middle Earth, there is a central character whose very rigid way of thinking begins to soften. If that seems to be the case with Affleck, it may be with the benefit of retrospect, especially with an eye to the performance of current council, and specifically in contrast to its predecessor. That’s because Affleck’s behaviour while serving in opposition to Gregor Robertson’s Vision Vancouver juggernaut was largely the result of him seeing the majority votes walking into the council chamber every day, “knowing exactly what they were going to do”. Idealogical alignment can be like a wall; in the form of a political caucus, it’s a brick wall. Contrast that with today; by Affleck’s count, there are just two parties in Vancouver Council, the NDP and the BC Liberals (and 1...

35 MIN2019 SEP 21
Comments
Talking NIMBYism, Populism & Campaign 2022 with George Affleck

Brent Toderian: It Was the Best of Jobs, It Was the Worst of Jobs

A tale of two city-makers — one, a son of the working poor, who showed an early knack for creation and collaboration, in part through the use of polyhedral dice; the other, a world-renowned urban planner, with a Twitter following as large as the populations of some of the cities he now calls clients. The two are, of course, the same man. Brent Toderian arrived in Vancouver in 2006 as the new Director of Planning for the City of Vancouver, stepping into the role jointly held by Larry Beasley and Ann McAfee. In addition to being part of the team of “mad geniuses” at 12th & Cambie, Beasley and McAfee were already legends in the planning community for having presided over the era which introduced Vancouverism to North America. In explaining the trajectory that brought him here — an early passion for law, a degree in environmental science from University of Waterloo (major in urban and regional planning, natch), and early success managing city centre planning and design in Calgary —...

68 MIN2019 SEP 11
Comments
Brent Toderian: It Was the Best of Jobs, It Was the Worst of Jobs

Lon LaClaire on Challenges, Cost/Benefits, and ‘Aha’ Moments for Transportation in Vancouver

It was 2009, Vancouver was about to become the largest metro region to host a winter Olympic Games, and the city faced a challenge of similarly grandiose proportions — how to accommodate a 30% increase in downtown transportation trips alongside a 30% reduction in road network capacity, thanks to Games-related operations. For Lon LaClaire, a transportation planning engineer at that fraught moment in the city’s history, it was an experiment that would prove to be the ultimate litmus test of the city’s potential to lead North America in the prioritization of efficient, effective, and (still) decidedly unsexy transportation modes — walk, bike, transit. It happened of course (turns out snow was the issue — go figure), and that experiment’s success paved the way for the past 10 years of a transportation paradigm shift in policy and investments that is indeed now recognized across the continent, if not the world. And it’s due in no small part to LaClaire’s leadership on the City’s...

73 MIN2019 SEP 4
Comments
Lon LaClaire on Challenges, Cost/Benefits, and ‘Aha’ Moments for Transportation in Vancouver

Michael Gordon on the Yin and Yang of Community Planning in Vancouver

Every child is full of questions. And while the science is fuzzy, it seems that children who ask questions about the future — not how things work today, but how they could work better tomorrow — tend to make great planners. Michael Gordon was one of those children. And his legacy as one of the most important planners of Vancouver’s Golden Age (thank you, Larry Beasley) has been built by finding answers to the most difficult of questions about the growth of inner cities. Namely, is it possible to make exponential leaps in urban densification — doubling or tripling the number of people living in communities — and maintain quality of life, even (or especially) their character? Growth and stability. Heterogeneity and heritage. They’re almost impossible dynamics to manage, being both deeply personal and matters of public interest. Yet, somehow Michael Gordon has made them work. Like supporting a doubling of the West End population over the last generation, while allowing its Robson...

62 MIN2019 AUG 31
Comments
Michael Gordon on the Yin and Yang of Community Planning in Vancouver
the END
hmly
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