(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) Property Tax Snacks Residential Property Taxes have been rising in Vancouver. As always, we’re seeing a lot of sturm and drang about the rise. But we think it’s ultimately a good thing. Why? Here’s three perspectives. From a fiscal perspective, property taxes pool our resources to enable our government to pursue projects and provide for the common good. They’re a big component of how we take care of each other and set priorities.
Canada is a large country, with some reasonably densely populated regions, and large areas that are sparsely populated. That makes it hard to map things. CensusMapper, our project to flexibly map Canadian census data, struggles with that. The choropleth maps can be quite misleading. The same problem comes up when mapping Canadian election data. This map makes it virtually impossible to get a good reading of the distribution of votes.
These days I run a fair bit of spatial analysis. And there are three problems that regularly come up: Getting data on compatible geographies Ecological fallacy Spatial autocorrelation None of these problems is insurmountable, but they are all annoying to various degrees. Often I might ignore them on my first analysis run, but these problems need to be dealt with sooner or later. Which can eat up significant amounts of time.
Canada’s metropolitan areas are growing, which means we need to add housing. But adding housing often faces stiff oppositions. There are many reasons people don’t like to add housing, this post is trying to look at one particular one. That adding housing causes displacement of the low-income population. Adding new housing to a neighbourhood has two opposing effects. The gentrification effect starts from the observation that new housing is more expensive than old housing (all else being equal).
Vancouver had elections on Saturday, today Toronto had their elections. And as opposed to Vancouver, Toronto has wards. Which makes things more fun, as we can look at census data for each ward to understand how people voted in the ward. We ran a very similar type of analysis the other day for Vancouver, so this is an easy add. The Toronto Open Data catalogue has data for the ward boundaries and a custom tab with census data.