Director’s Note: 2019 and the Importance of Balance and Patience

2018 has come and gone, and we are already more than halfway through the first month of the New Year. For me, 2019 came in like a lion. Or a bull. Or an elephant. Whatever animal I choose, it came in like something that would come in hard and intimidating. That’s okay – I’ve learned that ebbs and flows are the nature of business. Being an entrepreneur and taking care of yourself, you’re hit with downtime and then you’re hit with lots of activity at once. I’m happy for the uptime. In fact, if there wasn’t any there would be cause for concern.

Read More

Is St. John's Missing Its Middle?

For the past century, cities have been building themselves differently than they have for most of the history of civilization. It seems that with the rise of industrialization, planners and developers started to feel like things should be separated. This isn’t an unreasonable thought – a factory billowing smoke will undoubtedly have a negative impact on the value of the residential property next door. We started separating our buildings and their uses through municipal zoning – a way to determine what is allowed to be built where. Departments of municipal governments would determine that commercial should go in one area, residential in another, and industrial in another still.

Read More

In St. John's, Youthfulness is a Struggle

Earlier this year, Youthful Cities, a not-for-profit focused on engaging cities on their "youthfulness", completed their first ever Canadian Index. The index aims to “create credible data for decision-makers, provide inspiration for urban innovation efforts, launch a network of young urban decoders, and creates national exposure for Canadian cities.” The index assessed and compared 13 cities across Canada, measuring how they performed in specific areas identified as important by the youth who live there. The good news is that St. John’s was included in this assessment. The sad news, unfortunately, is that our rank on the index was dead last. 13/13. The lowest ranked Canadian city in the categories that youth find most appealing.

Read More

Everyone Hates Real Estate Developers

It’s incredibly interesting to me, living in Atlantic Canada, when people oppose real estate development. Growing up in Nova Scotia, I heard often how important it was to preserve downtown Halifax. Moving to St. John’s in 2007 I encountered an even more vocal anti-development crowd. At least, that’s my read.

Read More

AirBnBs are Homesharing, not Hotel Rooms

The sharing economy. It is a term that I have used several times in articles I have written. It is also a term that is somewhat new, rising to prominence this past decade. Home-sharing, largely through platforms like AirBnB, is a significant actor within the sharing economy. With population and interest in the sharing economy rapidly growing, it is not surprising to see traditional industries fighting back against displacement.

Read More