Mountain Doodles

spare time data, analysis, visualization

SDH Zoning and Land Use

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Recently the question around the amount of space taken up (exclusively) by single detached houses has show up on my Twitter feed citing that SFH take up 70%, 66%, and 57%, 56% (timestamp 3:50). I personally have thrown in 34% as a contender. And, just for the fun of it, by the end of this post I will have thrown 33% and 28% and my favorite, 81%, into the mix.

What’s going on, how can there be such a large range of estimates for what seems to be a simple question? The answer lies in the details of what exactly the question is asking, all of the above numbers are correct answers to one particular version of very similar questions.

TL;DR

The takeaway I think is most useful for general purposes:

35% of all households live on single family and duplex properties
making up 81% of Vancouver's residential land, while the     
remaining 65% of households live on 19% of the residential land. 

FSR

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Ever since I played with the LIDAR-generated building height data I thought that I should use that to map gross floor area (GFA) and floor space ratio (FSR). Gross floor area is the total floor area inside the building envelope. So for a three storey building, it is the area of the footprint times three. Floor space ratio is the GFA divided by the area of the parcel it sits on. There are several reasons why this may be interesting.

GFA is the currency of the developer. Especially once we enter the world of apartment or commercial buildings, gross floor area is directly proportional to the amount of money a developer can charge for a property, either when stratified and sold or when rented out.

FSR on the other hand is a measure of density, and it is the currency of the zoning code. Height and site coverage are also regulated in the zoning code and there is an obvious relationship to FSR. But because GFA is so important to the developer, FSR usually receives more attention in public discussions.

Read on or head straight for the interactive map to browse Vancouver by FSR. Read the disclaimer at the bottom before using any data for purposes other than general reference.

Census Mapping for Everyone

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At CensusMapper, we have come a long way from first dabbling in census data to building out a platform to map data Canada wide, adding the ability to easily drill down into individual census regions, improving mapping efficiency, adding the ability to automatically populate custom geographic data with census variables and adding older census data.

We believe all of these are comparatively small steps compared to the opening up of map making capabilities for everyone that we are rolling out today. Free to use, free of charge. Statistic Canada opened up census data for anyone to use, but the sheer volume of available data and complexities of mapping geographic data has kept this inaccessible to many.

By opening up basic map making capabilities to everyone we are putting the liberating that data from depth of spreadsheets and database servers and opening it up to everyone. One map at a time. Read on for tips and tricks or head right on over to Censusmapper to make your first CensusMapper map!

Census Week

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At CensusMapper we are super excited about Census Week 2016. Data is increasingly getting incorporated into local and regional decision making. At CensusMapper we have been working to facilitate this by making this wealth of information more accessible to everyone. To celebrate Census Week 2016 we have updated CensusMapper with 2006 census data for easy comparisons with the 2011 data. And we have given CensusMapper a face lift by adding a histogram widget that interacts with the mapping data. Watch for more exciting updates this week or read on for a sneak peak!

On Houses and Dirt

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The story of Vancouver real estate is mostly a story of dirt. After spending a bit of time to collect relevant data I am now wondering how to make better visualizations to make that data more accessible.

On Mixed Use

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Redeveloping single storey commercial properties into mixed use is taking off in Vancouver right now. It’s a little frustrating to see how pretty much every story I have seen on this get the effect this has on property taxes wrong, including one on the generally quite good Price Tags blog. People claim that converting single story commercial to mixed use pushes up the property taxes for the commercial tenants. Property taxes are an important piece of the puzzle in Vancouver, so I decided to go into a little detail on this.

Long story short, re-developing single story commercial into mixed use lowers the commercial property taxes. Dramatically.