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2012 Metro Vancouver Urban Futures Opinion Survey

Ken Cameron, past Manager of Policy and Planning with the Greater Vancouver Regional District and a member of the PlaceSpeak Board of Directors, talks about the importance of the survey.

I just finished filling out the 2012 Metro Vancouver Urban Futures Opinion Survey. I’m told that it’s truly unique in the world of surveys. I can honestly say that I’ve never filled out one quite like it before. It has a lot of transit oriented content, so I was of course compelled to complete it.

The focus of the Urban Futures Survey is to, ” … allow communities across the region to forecast and anticipate the needs and desires of the Lower Mainland’s 2.1 million residents. The survey will be instrumental in meeting the long-term social and economic goals of the region.” It’s broken up into the following six sections: Demographics/Household, Employment, Housing, Recreation/Leisure, Transportation, and Regional Content. These fall under the main themes of the survey: Environment – protecting the environment and responding to climate change impact, Community Life – developing complete communities, Mobility – supporting sustainable transportation choices, Built Environment, Managing Growth – creating a compact urban area, Governance, and Economy – supporting a sustainable economy.

It’s the third in a series of surveys, the first of which was in 1973 followed by the second in 1990. In 1973, roughly 1,500 residents of the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) were surveyed. In 1990, UBC professor, Dr. Walter G. Hardwick, conducted a second survey with nearly as many people surveyed in person and over the telephone. This latest survey, led by Dr. Hardwick’s daughter, Colleen Hardwick (Nystedt), is expanding the type of data collected and using modern means to collect it. PlaceSpeak is a location-based public consultation platform developed by Colleen Hardwick that not only allows the survey to be administer online, but as Ken Cameron puts it, “…allows [people], if they’re interested in it, to have an ongoing level of participation and input on all kinds of issues that affect their neighbourhood, their home and the future of their region.”

Once you’ve registered with PlaceSpeak, you can click on the interactive map that shows users as green dots on the map. The idea is to connect people geographically with topics surrounding their area of Metro Vancouver. You can browse for topics or create one of you own.

Speaking with Colleen Harwick, she told me that her hope is that this survey will generate close to 15,000 respondents and that PlaceSpeak will live on as a valuable resource to the community. She’s excited about the hard and usable data that it will provide to all users including decision makers and planners.

The survey starts now and runs until the end of April 2012. If you have 20-25 minutes to take the survey, I can honestly say it was easy and interesting. Let me know what you think of it!


  • By Miguel, February 1, 2012 @ 8:23 pm

    Oh great. More “progressive” propaganda. Can you start talking like real people. That would be something.

  • By Derp, February 2, 2012 @ 1:35 am


    Oh, it’s more people that revel in being ignorant. Can you start dropping the self-righteousness? That would be something.

    It’s just data collection. Don’t spaz.

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, February 2, 2012 @ 7:55 am

    Hi Miguel: Thanks for the comment. I think the idea here is for people to “start talking like real people” by using the PeopleSpeak website to communicate. It’s a young site, so it will need more people using it to really get off the ground. It may not be the forum for everyone, but I believe the idea behind it is a sound one in my humble opinion.

  • By Colleen Hardwick, February 2, 2012 @ 9:47 am

    Thanks, Robert, for helping to get the word out, and thanks to Translink for their support. There’s no propaganda here. We want to hear what people have to say now, and to be able to compare it to opinions from 20 and 40 years ago. Evidence-based policy-making is at the heart of this initiative. The ability to establish long term goals based on 40 years of longitudinal data is incredibly important.

  • By Stephanie, February 3, 2012 @ 9:42 pm

    Decent survey but some of the answers needed more options. I was looking for not applicable on many.

  • By mike0123, February 18, 2012 @ 1:03 pm

    Why does this survey require log in/registration and so much personal information? Why does the survey website have javascript from several websites? If I had to, I’d guess this was a plain old information collector for spam artists. Embedding this kind of crap in your website prevents people with half a clue from filling out your survey. Please fix your survey interface.

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, May 7, 2012 @ 9:49 pm

    Whoops. I filled it in just right now, and then found out that it ended at the end of April. Hopefully, it’ll still be used.

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