Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Good news for bureaucrats

Rule by public experts:

A courageous city government armed with strong planning and urban design principles could make London the envy of Ontario cities, an internationally recognized planner said yesterday.
Now this is a novelty… a bureaucrat promoting bureaucratic solutions. Politically immune from economic demand for their services and the consequences of their decisions, civil servants of all stripes are gratuitously protected from the knowledge that there is no genuine demand for them. But plopped for no certain reason in a hierarchy of privilege and exemption, civil servants cannot fathom either that there is no certain use for them. The emperor must have clothes, the demand must be invented and, in proportion to its contrivance, paraded. Nothing to see here, though, folks… these promotions are designed to impress the same clients of central planning pretensions.
[Retired Vancouver director of planning Larry] Beasley said Vancouver was a terribly designed city, one of the worst in Canada, before the 1970s. But political will and public interest created a climate of change that made it possible to put in place policies that led to highly designed development, he said.

The guidelines included high-density land use, compact growth, open space to control sprawl, underground parking and a conscious plan to encourage public transit and discourage use of automobiles.

[…] About 20 per cent of any new residential development in Vancouver must be social housing, he said, adding 25 per cent of new multiple housing units are geared to families.
Insulated from having to abide by supply and demand themselves, it's very much a safe bet that civil servants have nothing useful to add on the subject of economics, so it's best to ignore what they say… at least until they put a lien on your property for unpaid tax bills.


Jay said...

In addition to everyone paying a 20% premium for their Yaletown shoeboxes, here's another recently surfacing part of the Beaslybot's legacy:

Downtown is running out of working space:
Planners try to rebalance after explosion of residential development

A new, finely detailed analysis done by the city's planning department indicates that Vancouver, if it sticks to existing zoning policies, could run out of space for jobs in its downtown core within five to 25 years.

As a result, planners are considering all kinds of possible solutions to the space crunch, including:

- Allowing higher towers.

- Putting a cap on residential development.

- Offering incentives for office developers.

[Planning Director Brent] Toderian, along with other city planners, said no one has made any decisions yet about which solutions are the best to make sure the city has enough room for jobs.

The city could choose to put a moratorium on residential development in certain parts of the downtown, but Toderian isn't convinced that's the right answer.

"There may be more clever ideas out there."

Like firing the entire planning department.

Thucydides said...

Brent, take a deep breath and repeat after me:

"Free Market, Free Market, Free Market"

There, dosn't everything feel better now?