This article appeared in the Vancouver Sun on Saturday, November 24, 2012:
Vancouver residents happy with city’s diversity: survey
Fewer than five per cent dispute that ‘people from many cultures contribute to the quality of urban life’
By Chad Skelton, Vancouver Sun, November 23, 2012
An overwhelming majority of Vancouver residents think the city’s ethnic diversity makes it a better place to live, according to a new online survey.
Recent census data shows a slim majority of City of Vancouver residents are now non-white and nearly half speak a mother tongue other than English.
But that doesn’t seem to bother Vancouverites, according to an online survey conducted by the research firm PlaceSpeak.
Of more than 750 Vancouver residents surveyed, 91 per cent agreed “people from many cultures contribute to the quality of urban life” and 86 per cent agreed “cultural diversity makes my community a better place to live.”
Fewer than five per cent of residents disagreed with either statement, with the rest saying they were neutral.
The data on ethnic diversity was collected by PlaceSpeak as part of its Urban Futures Opinion Survey, the third in a series of surveys of Metro Vancouver residents conducted over the past 40 years.
The first two surveys — in 1973 and 1990 — were conducted by the regional district. The current survey isn’t being funded by the district, but PlaceSpeak is using similar questions as the last two in order to compare how attitudes on various economic and social issues have changed over time.
PlaceSpeak is hoping to have about 2,000 people fill out the survey before the end of the year, with a representative sample from each Metro Vancouver municipality.
So far, about 1,400 people have taken part, and PlaceSpeak has already reached its target number of respondents in Vancouver, New Westminster and North Vancouver District.
However, it still needs a lot more people from other cities to participate, particularly those from Surrey, Burnaby, Richmond and Coquitlam.
PlaceSpeak is a website that helps municipalities and others conduct public consultations online rather than solely through public hearings.
Residents first register with PlaceSpeak and verify their location. Once registered, they can participate in any municipal consultations that affects their neighbourhood as well as in region-wide questionnaires like the Urban Futures survey.
Colleen Hardwick, founder and CEO of PlaceSpeak, said getting people from Vancouver and New Westminster to participate in the survey has been easier because many residents of those two cities registered as part of earlier public consultations.
Those wishing to participate in the survey can sign up online at placespeak.com/urbanfuturessurvey.
PlaceSpeak estimates the survey takes about 22 minutes to complete. In addition to English, the survey is also available in traditional and simplified Chinese.
The Vancouver Sun will report on some of the survey’s findings in the spring.
In the meantime, PlaceSpeak provided The Sun with a sneak peek at some of the data from respondents in the City of Vancouver.
In addition to the data on ethnic diversity, the survey provides other insights into what people in Vancouver are thinking. More than two-thirds of Vancouver residents surveyed said they support off-leash dog parks, with only one in 10 being opposed.
The survey also found clear majorities of Vancouverites surveyed supported higher gas taxes (76 per cent), bridge tolls (69 per cent) or vehicle licensing fees (66 per cent) to help pay for public transit.
In contrast, they were less enthusiastic about using higher property taxes (49 per cent) or transit fares (49 per cent) to fund transit services.
Three members of the Urban Futures Survey 2012 team will be on the Bill Good Show tomorrow morning (Friday, November 2, 2012) at 9:30 on CKNW AM 980. Colleen Hardwick, Justen Harcourt and Yuri Artibise will be talking with Bill about the creation of PlaceSpeak, the Urban Futures Survey 2012, and the next generation of civic engagement.
This appearance arose—in part—out of last weekend’s profile in the Vancouver Sun that looked that the influence that Justen, Colleen and Yuri’s fathers had on the development of Vancouver and how it influenced their involvement with PlaceSpeak as well as the Urban Futures Survey 2012.
At the end of the interview, there will be an opportunity for listeners to call in and share your answers to the question: “What kind of Vancouver do you want?” We look forward to hearing from you.
First conducted in 1973 and again in 1990, The Urban Futures Survey has been a legendary force behind the development of Metro Vancouver into the city it is today.
The citizen feedback harvested from those surveys helped leaders reject freeways through the centre of the city, launch garbage recycling and adopt the Zero Waste Strategy—and those are just a few examples.
Rounds One and Two of the Urban Futures Survey were conducted by Dr. Walter Hardwick and used by politicians such as Mayor (and Premier) Mike Harcourt and city planners such as Alan Artibise.
Now, it’s time for Urban Futures Survey: The Next Generation. And at 9:30 on Friday, November 2, the actual next generation Hardwick, Harcourt and Artibise will be on the Bill Good Show talking about Round 3, in which the survey is entirely online and interactive.
The 2012 survey uses the online public consultation software called Placespeak, developed by Dr. Hardwick’s daughter Colleen Nystedt, along with Yuri Artibise, Alan’s son, and Justen Harcourt, son of the former Mayor of Vancouver and Premier of BC.
Who: Colleen Nystedt, Yuri Artibise, Justen Harcourt
What: The Urban Futures Survey 2012
Where: The Bill Good Show CKNW – AM radio
When: 9:30 a.m. Friday November 2, 2012
If you would like to interview any or all of the principals about the third edition of this legendary urban survey, please contact:
This morning, PlaceSpeak CEO Colleen Hardwick talked with Riaz Meghji from Breakfast Television Vancouver about the Urban Futures Survey. Click on the link or image below to hear how we can all help shape the future of our community.
Note: A brief advertisement will play before the segment beginsTags: CityTV, Colleen Hardwick, media, PlaceSpeak, Urban Futures Survey, Vancouver
The Urban Futures Opinion Survey was designed to find long-term trends in the relative importance of a number of community and regional issues. It was conducted in 1990 through personal interviews with 1,300 randomly selected residents of Greater Vancouver. Respondents were asked to rate 54 different public issues based on a scale ranging from unimportant to critically important.
The survey helps to highlight areas of public concern where greater attention is required, as well as those areas where the public feels issues are being adequately handled. It also helps to show what kinds of actions the public would support to address critical issues. The survey was conducted by Tantalus Research under the direction of Dr. Walter Hardwick. Partially funded by the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia, it replicated a similar 1973 study.
Here is a summary of the 1990 Urban Future Survey findings:
The 2012 Urban Futures Survey is the third iteration of this program. While the previous surveys were conducted in person and via telephone, the 2012 survey is being conducted online, utilizing PlaceSpeak, a location-based public consultation platform developed by the late Dr. Hardwick’s daughter, Colleen.Tags: Colleen Hardwick, PlaceSpeak, Real Estate Foundation, urban futures, Urban Futures Survey, Walter Hardwick