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Your forum: What is right and wrong with Vancouver?

June 9th, 2015 · 48 Comments

As my alert Twitter readers (aka William Lee) have noted, I am in France, observing contemporary urban culture.

Here, as in Vancouver, I hear some same themes and drumbeats: the magazine cover in the Midi Libre I bought two days ago was focused on urging people to buy real estate now, while prices are low, with lots of advice on how to qualify. (Apparently you have to show months worth of bank statements here to prove you aren’t throwing your money away on lattes and designer shoes.)

There’s plenty of angst over les immigrants. The mayor of the nearby town, Beziers, has taken to issuing edicts — no laundry hanging out the windows, no youth on the streets after 10 p.m. — that are largely seen as unsubtle anti-immigrant measures.

Bike shares continue to flourish, apparently subsidized heavily by cities. Toulouse’s was fantastic, with plentiful docks in the central city and a rate of only 1.20 euros a day.

The radio programs are filled with concern about growing poverty, youth unemployment and all of the problems of the people at the bottom who seem to be slipping further behind all the time, while the prosperous class tries to decide whether to buy second homes. But at least in France, every town is required to build social housing. And, in the south where I am, they’re also required to provide a place for itinerant farm workers to park their campers and tents.

And I see from the driving we’ve done so far that big boxes, strip malls, awful suburban tract housing, and hideous block towers continue to flourish.

So, as I always do when away, I’m turning the blog over to you to discuss what you want. Any comments that seem to prompt a whole new line of discussion, I’ll take and put up as separate blog posts. So … enjoy.



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