Policy restrictions have caused the housing crisis

Urban containment regulations on the urban fringe must be relaxed

Policy restrictions have caused the housing crisisFor 18 years, I have been monitoring international housing affordability as author or co-author of the Demographia Housing Affordability series. The latest edition rates 92 major markets in eight nations using the “median multiple”: the median house price in a place divided by the median pre-tax household income. In the early 1990s, median multiples in…

The war against cars embedded in Canadian urban planning

You won’t find a city planner anywhere who would be so bold as to publicly argue the case for cars

The war against cars embedded in Canadian urban planningEDMONTON: There has been much chit-chat among the chatterers of our fair city regarding the future of a two-lane, 109-year-old bridge that is the main route from Edmonton’s fast-growing south side to the downtown. To this day, the iconic, historic High Level Bridge is visually impressive. It’s very long, and very high, crossing the North…

Calgary’s Mayor is author of her own unpopularity

Jyoti Gondek's unpopularity lies in her unwillingness to adhere to fundamental political wisdom

Calgary’s Mayor is author of her own unpopularityRecent ThinkHQ opinion polling shows Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek to be very unpopular. It is unusual to see such unpopularity so early for a new Calgary mayor, observers say. Why is she so unpopular? Gondek’s unpopularity is not only the result of troubled times and voter crankiness, as the mayor tried to explain – which…

Spending public money on stadiums simply robs taxpayers

It takes from the poor and middle class and gives to the rich

Spending public money on stadiums simply robs taxpayers“The NFL is the richest sports franchise, full of billionaire capitalists demanding socialist handouts so they can make even more profits.”         – Ralph Nader The billionaire owners of the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills, Terry and Kim Pegula, have landed US$850 million in taxpayer dollars for the construction of a new…

How to help cities improve planning for natural disasters

Many municipalities don’t have evacuation plans in place

How to help cities improve planning for natural disastersAs natural disasters like fire, extreme heatwaves and flooding are on the rise globally due to a changing climate, cities are looking at how they can be better prepared. According to Stephen Wong, professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Alberta, many communities lack clear evacuation plans, and communication to residents is inconsistent across jurisdictions.…

How urban design helps create a more vibrant city

Diversity and culture help attract and retain the creative talent that cities thrive on

How urban design helps create a more vibrant cityWhen Richard Florida published The Rise of the Creative Class in 2002, it came as news to many that the greater the population of creative types – artists, musicians, designers and technology workers – in a given city, the stronger its economy and quality of life. Attracting and retaining creative talent was partly a question of…

Thanks to government, housing and energy are becoming luxuries

Much of the blame for sky-high housing and energy prices is on governments

Thanks to government, housing and energy are becoming luxuriesIn a country like ours, with its vast expanses and abundant natural resources, housing and energy should be cheap. Yet over the past two decades, housing prices have shot up much faster than the growth in incomes, and now energy prices are doing the same. In both cases, much of the blame is on government.…

New report sheds light on future of mobility in Canada’s big cities

Innovation will depend as much on social factors as technological ones

New report sheds light on future of mobility in Canada’s big citiesIncreasingly, urban dwellers are looking for new and more sustainable ways to move around their cities. Technologies like autonomous vehicles and electric scooters may be top of mind for urban planners, but social and cultural factors may be just as important in helping Canadian cities prepare for the future, according to a co-author of a…

Regina bans plastic bags – sort of

Does nothing for the environment and everything to inconvenience shoppers

Regina bans plastic bags – sort ofImagine if a city suddenly fined people hundreds of dollars for something they regularly did hundreds of times a year. That’s exactly what Regina and many other municipalities have done by banning single-use plastic bags. One column is barely room enough to skim how unjustified the reasoning for this move, and how bad the execution,…

The Flames arena’s demise good for Calgary taxpayers

Unfortunately, city council is not willing to give up on a deal just yet

The Flames arena’s demise good for Calgary taxpayersTaxpayers may have dodged a bullet. Calgary’s arena deal has fallen through. While Mayor Jyoti Gondek laments the loss, taxpayers should be relieved since it was a bad deal and the only winners were rich hockey team owners. As beloved as the Calgary Flames are, they are not a charity. According to Forbes, the team…

Public transit not meeting many Canadian women’s needs: report

Gender-based data needed to help make services more equitable, say authors

Public transit not meeting many Canadian women’s needs: reportThe first report of its kind in Canada to examine how women use public transit suggests their travel needs aren’t always being met by standard planning and service models. “In a lot of transit agencies, women are the majority of riders,” explained Priyanka Babbar, a master’s student in the University of Alberta’s School of Urban and Regional Planning.…

Pandemic pay hikes for government employees a tale of two Ontarios

A slap in the face to hardworking taxpayers across the province

Pandemic pay hikes for government employees a tale of two OntariosOntario has been experiencing a tale of two pandemics. One is a fairy tale for bureaucrats, and the other is a grim story for the rest of us. Bureaucrats working for the province and its major cities have been getting raises, while average Ontarians saw hour reductions, pay cuts, lost jobs, and shuttered small businesses.…

Government employees made out well during the pandemic

528,347 federal and provincial government employees received at least one pay raise during the pandemic

Government employees made out well during the pandemicThese days it seems there are three certainties in life: death, taxes and bigger government paycheques. Even a pandemic that sent thousands of workers to the ranks of the unemployed couldn’t stop the iron law of government wage increases. The pandemic revealed the divide between those behind the golden government gates that shield them from…

Alberta taxpayers getting nickel and dimed in 2022

Bit by bit, politicians will be taking more money from your family this year

Alberta taxpayers getting nickel and dimed in 2022Another year and another New Year’s dominated by COVID-19. Restrictions on hockey games, travel and even community gatherings lead the news. While that diverts our attention, politicians are nickel and diming us with higher taxes. In 2022, we’ll pay higher income taxes, carbon taxes, property taxes and even higher taxes for a bottle of booze.…

Calgary mayor already straying off course

Declaring an environmental emergency without debate is manipulatively undemocratic

Calgary mayor already straying off courseCalgary recently swore in its first female mayor, Jyoti Gondek, and she has already delivered a troubling message. A week earlier, less than 24 hours after winning the mayoral race, she gave her first post-election talk-radio interview to 630 CHED’s Ryan Jespersen, mostly involving a series of softball questions. He asked her the obligatory woke…
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