Industry

A future at the farm for urban youth?

Terrie’s Take, a weekly look at business issues in Japan, reports (along with Nikkei.co.jp) that the country’s government is recruiting urban youth to take up rural jobs — in farming, forestry, and fishing. It’s part of a masterplan to revitalize rural communities in Japan through subsidies.

The biggest challenge will be finding youths who are willing to do manual labor and live a harsh rural life. Unless recruited in China or SE Asia, our guess is that the recruitees will have to be those given a choice of either remand school or rehabilitation through rural work…! We’re not sure how Japan’s elderly
farmers will take to such rookie employees.

Here in North America, this concept has already played itself out in a Paris Hilton reality TV program.

Metro column: Vancouver transport at centre of stimulus debate

Transport at centre of stimulus debate

22 December 2008

John Baird, Canada’s Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, was in the Lower Mainland last week to collect funding wish lists from regional government leaders.

He and his boss, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, want to breathe some life into the national economy with major stimulus projects that will create jobs and bolster consumer confidence.

Not surprisingly, Baird’s appearance on the West Coast attracted plenty of fanfare. And like toddlers at the mall lining up for their two minutes with Santa Claus, politicians and lobbyists were quick to make their respective cases for the loot presumably coming out of Ottawa.

It’s hard to blame them. They are wise to the fact that amidst the bleeding from this financial crisis, there is unprecedented opportunity — opportunity to address Canada’s “infrastructure deficit.” (more…)

Transit trumps traffic in NYC population boom

The years between 2003 and 2008 saw an employment and population boom for New York City. But that didn’t translate into a crush of vehicular traffic.

A report released this week by Bruce Schaller, New York’s deputy transportation commissioner for planning and sustainability, shows that the influx of residents embraced mass transit, as opposed to cars, trucks and SUVs.

According to the New York Times, the study is the first of its kind to analyze the city’s mid-2000s era, which saw New York adding more than 200,000 jobs and 130,000 new residents.

As the Times article points out:

…virtually the entire increase in New Yorkers’ means of transportation during those robust years occurred in mass transit, with a surge in subway, bus and commuter rail riders.

The city’s sprawling public transportation system was able to handle such a surge because of vast improvements in service in recent years, Mr. Schaller said, as well as the advent of the MetroCard, which made using the system more efficient. A steep drop in crime made people more willing to use the system, and the construction of housing in areas well served by subways also brought in many more riders.

Vancouver Province column: Resourceful dumpster divers are important part of our city’s fabric

October 29, 2008

Richard Florida, the high-profile University of Toronto professor, recently spoke to a receptive crowd at a Vancouver Board of Trade cities conference.

Florida, author of the best-selling book The Rise of Creative Class, postulates that cities with more diversity and culture also enjoy more economic growth. Not surprisingly, Vancouver rates high in Florida’s research, given its cosmopolitan make-up and the growth of industries like software and film.

But it’s not enough for a place to cater exclusively to hip professionals, according to Florida. Cities like

Vancouver must also tap into the creativity of their trades and service workers — from plumbers to cab drivers to coffee shop baristas.

Gordon Price, director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University, took

Florida’s point one step further — saying that Vancouver should also tap into the creativity of a quite different class of workers: binners. (more…)

Vancouver Province column: Don’t let this traffic mess ruin the region’s appeal and drive us crazy

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

During a recent summer afternoon, I spent a painful 90 minutes trying to drive from Vancouver’s west side to a beer league hockey game at a Burnaby ice rink.

In ideal conditions, the trip takes about 30 minutes. But the usual weekday congestion had turned it into a marathon journey.

It’s a stressful voyage I won’t make again.

I’m quitting my hockey league in favour of recreation that’s closer to home and doesn’t involve being sucked into Metro Vancouver’s traffic purgatory.

Most Lower Mainland commuters, however, don’t have the luxury of avoiding the tie-ups. (more…)

Business in Vancouver column: Osaka air link cancellation will sever vital economic tie for B.C.

Osaka air link cancellation will sever vital economic tie for B.C.

Derek Moscato: Podium

Business in Vancouver July 29-August 4, 2008; issue 979

At first blush, this past spring’s announcement from Air Canada that it would be cancelling its direct flight between Vancouver and Osaka’s Kansai International Airport might have seemed like a minor setback for a handful of frequent flyers and would-be tourists on both sides of the Pacific.

High fuel costs have ushered in a tough new era for airlines globally. Volatile economic times mean that cutbacks at airlines across North America are the new norm.

As for Air Canada’s service between Vancouver International Airport and Osaka, while it’s true that the route did a brisk business, it didn’t exactly garner a reputation for attracting the kind of premium business that would fatten a carrier’s bottom line. Besides, Osaka has always played second-fiddle to Tokyo, Japan’s largest city. (more…)