Who's Your City?, by Richard Florida
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Archive for the ‘Vancouver’ Category

Melbourne vs Vancouver vs Portland???

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Hi there. My husband and I are tossing up between Melbourne/Vancouver/Portland as a next possible long-term move (in the next couple of years). Each has pros and cons it seems, and we tend to go round and round in circles, never quite sure which city is the best choice for us. So I thought why not put the question to all you intrepid globe-trotters out there who may have experienced one or more of these cities to ask what you think? I summarise below what my husband and I think distinguishes these cities based on their perceived pros/cons – I welcome your opinion on whether you agree or not with these assumptions:

MELBOURNE PROS – Progressive and open towards difference; Curious and enjoy debate; Relatively low crime; Pedestrian friendly and great public transport; Cultural/literary scene; Good job opportunities (our backgrounds are in public sector and writing/ psychology).

CONS – Major water and sustainability issues; Rising crime?; Anti-Indian/Muslim sentiment?; Expensive rental options.

VANCOUVER PROS – Progressive and open towards difference; Pedestrian friendly with great public transport; Relatively low crime; OK economy/jobs.

CONS – Too politically correct/afraid of conflict and debate; Tame to point of slightly boring?; Expensive rental options; High cost of living; Cultural/literary scene not as good as Melbourne/Portland?

PORTLAND PROS – Progressive; Pedestrian friendly and great public transport; Great cultural/literary scene; Low crime; Good cheap organic produce; Rental options cheaper than Melbourne/Vancouver?

CONS – No jobs; Culturally homogenous by comparison

Sent by Kaye

The Common Link

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

I have lived in about 17 cities/town/villages across Canada in addition to several international cities. I won’t touch upon the international cities – I will save that discussion for another post. The common denominator for the smaller Canadian centres and the reason I believe they are not nearly as successful as they could be rests with 2 key factors:

1) a lack of urban intensity or the inability to take advantage of the multiplier effect. For instance, the regional hospital, the public library, government offices and colleges and universities are all situated at great distances from each other. Each has a web of threadbare services situated around them due to the sparser population of a smaller city. If they were within walking distance of each other you would see a multiplier effect. Markets, niche stores, walking neighbourhoods, clubs, bars, galleries would all benefit from multiplier effect. Good, medium-to-high density affordable housing in the vicinity would add to the multiplier effect with those on fixed incomes having access to services within walking distance which increases their disposable income. Older metropolises have this figured out (Montreal for example) while many smaller European centres have this. Victoria, Moncton, Quebec City and Kitchener-Waterloo, St John’s and Halifax also demonstrate some aspects of the multiplier effect while towns like Saint John, NB, and Sydney, NS spring to mind as example of the failed potential to take full advantage of being regional centres.

2) A poor return on investment for capital poor but creatively rich individuals. Queen St. in Toronto, Commercial Drive in Vancouver and the Plateau Mont-Royal in Montreal are prime examples of this. Many of the early residents who made these areas ‘creative destinations’ were forced out as these areas became more attractive to those with the capital to purchase the appreciating properties. While a certain turn-over is healthy in any community and attracting capital is necessary, there needs to be better financial rewards for those who are injecting intellectual and creative capital into the community. Rewarding only those who bring capital to the equation to the exclusion of all others seems to defeat the purpose of intensifying the creativity of a community. The problem is more acute in smaller communities because of the smaller population.

Sent by Franz from Vancouver

A Young, Recent University Graduate in Vancouver, Canada.

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

Vancouver is a strange place because it’s BIG in British Columbia and even Canada, but SMALL on the world stage. An acquaintance from LA likened moving from his former city to Vancouver as “moving to a small village”.

As a young university graduate, I have found that Vancouver employers CLAIM to be looking for innovative, creative people, and the pundits always claim that smart boomers are retiring en masse. However, when I get to interviews, what the HR generalists who interview me end up telling me is that they are more interested in conscientious individuals who can get the job done.That’s the BS that can easily be associated with Vancouver’s job market: EVERYBODY claims to want to hire innovative, open-to-experience people, when in reality the people they actually hire the conscientious ones. Go figure.

I would LOVE Vancouver if it ACTUALLY offered opportunities for me. Only time will tell.

Other places I have lived include: Taipei, Hsinchu, and Taichung, Taiwan ROC, and Toronto briefly. I love Taiwan, but honestly it does not offer the music and political scenes that I both can and want to participate in. Toronto is awesome in many ways, but I don’t have as much appreciation for its physical beauty compared to Vancouver’s. So, what’s left? Despite my current state of unemployment in Vancouver, the only other place I could imagine living in the long term is Victoria, Canada . It’s slightly smaller and has a slower pace of life, which I can appreciate, but still big enough to have real job opportunities. It’s a slightly better place to raise kids than Vancouver (in my estimate), and probably has a slightly more cohesive sense of community (compared to Vancouver, where all the talk is about how to become more “world-class” what with the impending 2010 Olympics looming large on the horizon).

Ah well, if there are great career opportunities in Vancouver for a lowly Arts graduate like myself, I’d like to hear about it. In the meantime (and that’s ALWAYS my question: “what do I do in the meantime?”), I’ll either be hunting around for more work or plotting my next escape!

Sent by  Kai Boutilier from Vancouver, Canada