The Postwar Housing Bubble

May 12, 2017

As a follow up to an earlier post about the collapse of house and land values in the pre-WW2 period, I have today posted a brief notice about the post-war boom from 1948 to 1955.

Both posts use very small data sets but I believe they are good illustrations of what can happen over short periods of time.

Hope you find it of interest.

Birth of A Community, Part 4

May 6, 2017

I have today published the fourth part of my brief history of Grandview. This chapter covers the first growth of Grandview from 1901 to 1907.

I hope you find it of interest.

Chemical Warfare — An Anniversary

April 22, 2017

With the current controversy in Syria over the use of chemical weapons it is fitting to note that the first effective use of poisonous gases in warfare was 102 years ago today.  (It had been tried without success in Poland the previous January.)

On 22nd April 1915, the Germans opened 6,000 cylinders of chlorine gas at Ypres. In very short order, more than 1,000 French and Algerian troops were dead and another 4,000 were wounded. The genie was literally out of the bottle and we haven’t looked back since.

Both the wife and son of the man who created the gas, Fritz Haber, committed suicide in shame. Undeterred, he would go on to help develop Zyklon-B, the Nazi’s death-camp gas, before himself falling foul of the Nazi’s anti-Jewish racial laws.

Chapter 3 of Birth of A Community

April 17, 2017

The third part of my history of early Grandview is now available at the Grandview Heritage Group website. This part covers the earliest settlers in our neighbourhood, from 1891 to 1901.

I hope you find it interesting!

Bursting The Bubble

April 13, 2017

At the Grandview Heritage website I  just posted a quick look at the housing market in Grandview back in the 1930s. It may offer some historical perspective on how house prices can fall.

Hope you find it of interest.

More Birth of Our Community

April 3, 2017

I have today published the second part of my history of early Grandview.

This part covers the period 1880 to 1899 when Grandview failed to blossom as a number of speculators had hoped.  As always, I am keen to hear comments and corrections.

Vancouver Up To Its OLD Tricks

March 8, 2017

As a community activist one of the first things you learn is that the Vision dominated council is not interested in hearing from you. They don’t want to know what you have to say and it is assumed by many that their decisions on development projects and urban planning have been decided by them and their cronies well before any meaningful public input or response can be gathered.

In the not too distant past, at least, this elitist we-know-best attitude also permeated a number of important civic departments, especially planning. Their methodology shifted, over the course of a decade or more, from a bottom-up City Plan approach to a top-down EcoDensity insistence that those at the top can do the thinking for those at the bottom, i.e., the residents of the neighbourhood about to be pillaged and altered beyond recognition.

That’s the case today, and oddly enough, it was also the case in 1910. In that year, the engineering department wanted to radically alter the shape and appearance of Salsbury Drive (the details are not germane, but can be found here). However, as the “Vancouver World” reported, the residents were outraged:

“They protested. They signed petitions. They went down to city hall. They got a committee of the board of works to look over the situation again. It was all useless. Wilful board must have its way.”

And by that September, the “World” was able to say that the work had been a disaster and city taxpayers and property owners both will be on the hook for “more thousands than have already been spent” to fix.

Sound familiar?

Does it make me feel angry that residents have been messed around here for more than a hundred years, and therefore it is somehow “normal” in Vancouver? Or do I feel the cold dread that this will keep going on until the people of our city wake up and realise that Vision Vancouver is the developer’s plaything and not your friend?

Either way, things have to change.