Vancouverites love to complain. For decades, it was all those soul-less glass and concrete tower sucking the life out of our city that had tongues wagging. Then just when that kvetch had run its course, a U-turn in urban design further fanned the Hames of discontent; Lilliputian houses began popping up in leafy laneways from Strathcona to Shaughnessy, prompting long-time residents to sniff disapprovingly at the arrival of interlopers who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford the price of admission.
Yes, after introducing “Vancouverism,” the experiment in planned neighborhoods that has since been exported to locales as far-flung as Saudi Arabia and San Diego, Vancouver city planners are at it again. ln an experiment that its architect, Vancouver’s chief planner Brent Toderian, believes is a first in North America, 70,000 houses across the municipality are now eligible for doll-house add-ons. And while only a couple hundred have been built so far, at last count permit applications were Hooding city hall at the rate of about 35 a month.
While arguments for and against the densification of Vancouver’s picket-fence neighborhoods rage in local op-ed columns, vital questions remain; Who is living in them, how much do they cost and do they make economic sense? Daniel Wood sets out to find the real story behind Vancouver’s laneway houses in “Living Small”.
You may be wondering why the cover of this issue of BC Business evokes the spirit of Rolling Stone, rather than, say, Fortune or Business Week. It’s our way of having a little fun with our annual Best Companies to Work for in B.C. survey. Compiling the data that goes into our selection of B.C.’s 20 best companies is a very serious and time-consuming business, with our partners at MindField RPO Group lnc. poring over thousands of survey forms and tabulating the results. But every year we try to inject a little humor by adding one question to the survey that probes for a personality behind the numbers. This year the question was, lf your employer was a rock star, would it be a stadium rocker, Vegas diva, sensitive folkie, teen idol or renegade rapper?
Sure, it’s kind of goofy, and has no bearing whatsoever on each company’s ranking. But where else would you hear, for example, that Kryton International lnc., a maker of concrete waterproofing materials, feels a kinship with grunge bands? “With our origins in a garage in the early 70S we fit the profile,” notes one employee. “Like them, we have redefined an industry and a generation,” adds another.
As for me, well, if l had to pick a rock idol, I’d have to go with Stanley Moon, a.k.a. Dudley Moore, in the 1967 classic, Bedazzled, where having been granted his wish to be a rock star, the diminutive Dudley drives a throng of fans wild with his exhortation to “Love me”
Well, at least I hope you love this edition of BCBusiness.
Executive Editor, BCBusiness