Survey Says! Help decide your urban future

It launched almost a couple of months ago, but the 2012 Urban Futures survey is still underway and seeking as much region-wide feedback as can possibly be collected. The survey is being managed through PlaceSpeak, a startup company led by Colleen Hardwick. Colleen's noted father Dr. Walter G. Hardwick has a street named after him in the Olympic Village. He was an elected member of Vancouver city council in 1973 when the first Urban Futures survey was conducted. In that year about 1,500 residents of the Greater Vancouver Regional District (now Metro Vancouver) were surveyed about their attitudes toward a range of economic, social, mobility and lifestyle issues. Their responses later informed the creation of the Livable Region Program.

In 1990, Walter Hardwick and a team conducted the second Urban Futures Survey for the GVRD “Choosing our Future” program. In that survey 1,053 face-to-face and 238 telephone interviews took place. Fast forward twenty two years, and we have the internet to gather up to date information from the region. Using the new PlaceSpeak tool in combination with the online survey helps to connect people's online identities with their residential addresses. As they put it, this helps to "provide policy-makers with confidence that they are receiving feedback from the right places".

Placespeak have employed some charming marketing tactics to get the public interested in spending 20 minutes filling out this survey. We all have busy lives after all, and people are predictably wary of setting aside that much time with no obvious reward. A number of notable figures from the region such as Red Robinson, actor Blu Mankuma and restauranteur Umberto Menghi, as well as celebrity real estate agent Bob Rennie and several others all provide short video testimonials encouraging the public to participate. Ol' Red is such an icon locally it's amusing for him to start by saying, "You may recognize me from…" and then listing off his namesake theatre and "fifty years of radio and television appearances". It's a very "Troy McClure" device to get your attention.

Survey organizers want to get as much information from outside the Vancouver core, so if you live on the North Shore, Tri-Cities, south or north of the Fraser then the Urban Futures survey wants to hear from you! The website gives a litte more background on their objectives this time around:

The 2012 survey is organized under the major headings developed in the Choosing our Future Process with an update to reflect the recent Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy.

  • Environment: protecting the environment and responding to climate change impacts
  • Community Life: developing complete communities
  • Mobility: supporting sustainable transportation choices
  • Built Environment
  • Managing Growth: creating a compact urban area
  • Governance
  • Economy: supporting a sustainable economy

The 2012 survey will extend information on gender differences, on geographic variability, and on the implications of age an education in responses through its longitudinal dataset.  The unique mapping ability of PlaceSpeak presents the variations in response across the Region. The 2012 Iteration will include 27 control questions from each of these areas, as well as 54 updates, and the addition of  brand new questions related to the economy and technology.  These questions are in the form of order ranking and 5-point Likert scale as well as providing for open-ended answers.

The survey is being conducted with the sponsorship of Lambda Alpha International, Vancouver Chapter and the support of the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia, the City of Vancouver, the City of Surrey, the City of North Vancouver, Translink, and Vancity Credit Union. Once you are signed up and logged in to Placespeak, you can do the survey either all at once, or do it in phases. It would be great if many City Caucus readers take the time to share their input on this important document of where our region is at.

Be sure to visit As Rennie quips in his video, it will take you less time to do the survey than it will take you to criticize Olympic Village.

– post by Mike

Let's use restorative justice for Stanley Cup rioters
Revenge of the Suburbs: Aussie Edition

Broken image or link? Click here to report it or visit

About The Author

  • Thanks Mike! I appreciate you spreading the good word about the Urban Futures Survey. I love the Family Feud reference, although it may be lost on anyone that wasn’t around from 1976-1985. “Survey Says~”.

  • Thought of The Night "The Councillor Who Wasn't There"… the title of my next book!" It's futile to say that Vancouver have become a parallel universe of sorts, in one the people are sinners and soldiers, in the other, people are damsels in distress and actors. Which are which, is hard to say, they change from one to another at blinding speeds. I would have liked to see how Cllrs Colleen and Mike would have clocked on the city's politico radar. Vancouver's loss. Instead we've got stuck with The SPenny's Inquisition, Bike Eco-Fascists and a lower form of life called Vision Protozoa. Thank God for Monty Python… to cheer this city up: We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.