Not in Your Back Yard: Canada Fights About “Coach Houses”

We're going to have to get serious about urban infill if we're going to make our cities sustainable. Vancouver had a great idea along these lines....

We're going to have to get serious about urban infill if we're going to make our cities sustainable. Vancouver had a great idea along these lines. In July, the city council passed a bylaw allowing homeowners to convert stand-alone garages into new rental units.These so-called "coach houses" make a lot of sense. By using former car space to make denser residential neighborhoods they help solve two city efficiency problems: They put pressure on people to move away from cars and towards mass transit by providing an economic incentive for people to give up their garages and they also provide for more housing near urban centers, shortening the distances people need to travel.These coach houses (or lane houses) can also be pretty attractive. GOOD recently did a piece on LaneFab, one company designing and building particularly nice ones.But the plan is having a hard time branching out into Vancouver's neighboring cities. In the City of North Vancouver, the effort to allow these "coach house" developments stalled in the city council. Evidently, people are worried that allowing coach houses will destroy sprawling single-family residential neighborhoods, which is, of course, exactly the point. This is from a letter to the editor from the local North Shore News:Coach houses could be built in any single-family neighbourhood anywhere in the city. This change would be the same as duplex zoning in effect. There will be two separate houses on one lot. Coach houses will increase crowding, noise, vehicles, waste and demand on services.This concerned resident is right, of course, that there will be more waste and demand on services in that area. But there will be fewer vehicles and a lower demand on services per capita, which is really the measure that matters if you're thinking about the health of a city as a whole.Another recent letter to the North Shore News argues for reevaluating the coach house question in North Vancouver:The North Shore is going to densify. The only question is how this densification is going to happen. It's a fair bet that most of us would be against expanding up into our mountains. It's like the starving man starting to eat himself-a short-sighted solution leading to an undesirable end. But buildable land on the North Shore is all but gone and we're stuck with few options. We can go up, of course, and this is a reasonable solution in some cases, but densification by building towers is very different than the densification created by low-rise structures knitted more tightly together.Picture the brownstones and townhomes of a New York City streetscape or the classic Montreal walk-up duplexes and triplexes that meet the demands of cities with rapidly growing populations. The sense of community and neighbourhood created by these low-rise models are far more intimate, and in my mind far more successful, than the general anonymity of tower living.The author, Kevin Vallely, is right. Densification is inevitable, and it's these kinds of infill projects we really have to fight for.
Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

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The Planet

Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

The Climate Strikes were organized by children around the world as an extension of the of the "Fridays for Future" campaign. Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays to speak out about political inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

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September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

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The Planet
via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

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via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

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