land use

Children are good, actually

Cities are changing, how do we know if we are headed in the right direction? Looking at the change in children gives us a simple uncontroversial metric to assess that, most people can agree that children are good for cities.

Jens von Bergmann

16 minute read

There are many useful metrics to understand neighbourhood change, change in the income distribution, change in the share of population in low income and change in dwelling units, change in households who rent, or just overall population change and how that relates to zoning. All these tell us something about how neighbourhoods change, the metric we want to focus on in this post is the number of children under 15.

Satellites, Sprawl, and City Six-Packs

Fun with global satellite-derived land use time series.

Jens von Bergmann Nathan Lauster

7 minute read

(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) We’re getting better and more accessible datasets for exploring land use change all the time. We have played with the Global Human Settlement Layer (GHSL) data in the past, where we looked at the population data on a 250m grid to compare how different city’s population distribute spatially, as well as the 1975, 1990, 2000, 2015 time series to see how it changed over time.

Lots of Opportunity: Estimating the Zoning Tax in Vancouver

Zoning bylaws restrict the size and frontage of lots, preventing lots from getting subdivided. The opportunity cost of freezing City of Vancouver land use in RS zoned areas in amber is enormous, it amounts to around $40 billion from preventing 2:1 lots splits, and an additional $100 billion from preventing further subdivision beyond that.

Jens von Bergmann Nathan Lauster

20 minute read

(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) TLDR We estimate the land value lost by lot subdivision restrictions in the RS (single-family) zoned lands of Vancouver. These restrictions, also known as the zoning tax, subsidize hoarding of land for the wealthy at the cost of those who wouldn’t mind sharing. We conservatively estimate the overall cost of preventing splitting of lots at $43 billion, or an average of 37% of existing lot land value.

Basement Confidential: Vancouver's Informal Housing Stock

Basement suites are the Schrödinger's cat of dwelling units, they span the space betweem formal and informal housing, viewed by some as the problem of, and by others as the solution to Vancouver's housing woes.

Jens von Bergmann Nathan Lauster

12 minute read

(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) Informal housing While housing is highly regulated via zoning bylaws, building code, and fire code, in situations of housing scarcity we often get informal housing that exists outside of - or only partially covered by - the existing regulatory framework. We often associate slums or shantytowns with the term informal housing, but it also applies to more organized settlements like Kowloon Walled City, or, in the context of subterranean Vancouver, a good portion of our secondary suite stock.

Commuter growth

As our population and jobs grow, so do commuters. Taking a look how commuters grow.

Jens von Bergmann

7 minute read

Metro Vancouver is growing, both in terms of population and jobs. That means the number of people commuting to work is growing and putting a strain on our transportation system. The nature of that strain depends to a large extent on how people are getting to and from work. The Canadian census started collecting data on how people get to work in 1996, which allows us to see how commuters and commute choice have changed over time.