Infographic showing ethnic diversity in Austin, NYC and other cities

In 2009, Bill Rankin created an infographic of the ethnic distribution in Chicago. It was pretty awesome. Awesome enough that a couple of months ago Eric Fischer took the 2000 US Census Data and did the same thing for 40 other cities.

I love Chicago and spent a lot of time there between '04 & '08. It had always struck me with that city that you can walk across the street and literally feel like you are in a completely different place. Just on a level of race, Rankin's work seemed to support that notion.

Two of my other favorite cities in the world are listed below and they tell very different stories. Each dot represents 25 people. Pink is white, green is asian, yellow is hispanic and blue is black.


Austin is a great city. I haven't spent too much time there, but my girlfriend is from there and I feel like I know it pretty well. The population density is pretty low overall and there seems to be a pretty good mix of ethnic diversity within the various communities.

New York City

Not surprisingly the density of NYC is drastically different than Austin. Although Manhattan at street level has an incredible ethnic mix most of the time, it's hardly surprising that it's so white in terms of residents (except for Chinatown & Harlem).

It's really interesting to see other cities such as Washington, LA, Detroit and SF as well. I've also been watching a lot of The Wire lately, so seeing Baltimore was also pretty interesting.

Vote for Naheed @Nenshi tomorrow. Here's a 30 min video where he explains why. #yycvote

Definitely a bit of a cheese factor in this infomercial-style vid, but this at least demonstrates that he has a bit of actual substance and some realistic ideas that back some of the broader campaign promises that are common pretty much across the board within this Calgary election (accountability, fiscal responsibility, sustainable development, public transit, yada yada).

A few things that I particularly liked:
  • Express buses down 14th Street in the south, and 2 express buses to the airport (from downtown and the end of the east LRT final station)
  • Getting rid of the $3 park & ride fee
  • Upgrading the traffic lights synchronization system & lane reversals as an alternative to massive highway style roads
  • A modern downtown library
  • Community-focused policing beyond downtown
  • Eliminating the sewer/water subsidies for new developments
  • Developer incentives for walkable communities & ability for families to get by on one car
  • Publicly disclosing all meetings with the mayor

If you haven't read his platform, go check it out at - and then, if you have time, compare it with and

A couple of things that I haven't found any detail about but am interested in are the following:
  • Improving the taxi system
  • Inner city traffic flow (I think of 17th and 14th, 11th Ave between 2nd & 14th, and 4th Ave during rush hour and how inefficiently traffic moves in those spots)
  • Calgary Parking Authority
  • Abandoned developments with giant holes in the ground
  • Empty lots where development never started but also restrict parking

Calgary Mayoralty Debate Mashup

When one candidate doesn't want to participate in a mayoralty debate, leave it to the internet to make one up. It's actually a pretty great way to see where the candidates stand on various issues. It's funny to see how some candidates talk one way to an audience of developers and another to "regular folk".

Huge credit to Calgarian Gordon McDowell, who created the video but has also been posting a bunch of great election stuff on his blog.

Related: Barb Higgins is annoying.

Calgary Parking Authority

There is a mayoralty election in Calgary this month that should prove to be one of the most interesting in many, many years. The outgoing mayor, Dave Bronconnier (aka 'Bronco') is a brilliant politician, although someone who I believe has damaged our city to a horrific extent.

When he became mayor 9 years ago, he ran on a platform of roads, roads, roads. Calgary had come off several years of prudent provincial and municipal budgeting and, although the economy had rebounded, the infrastructure had somewhat lagged and it was noticeable with some already massive population growth.

So what did Bronconnier do when he won? Spent unprecedented money on roads. This was done at the expense of balanced budgets, snow removal, transit, common sense and any noticeable difference in traffic. The past 9 years have seen so much construction that nearly all major arteries (Deerfoot, Glenmore, Crowchild, Sarcee, Mcleod) have been at a nearly constant crawl due to construction alone. And when construction is finally done on a section, it usually just means that the traffic has been diverted elsewhere. What does a brand-new overbudget multi-million dollar overpass in your neighborhood mean? Typically that you will be waiting an extra half hour in your neighborhood to get on to the overpass in the first place.

The maintenance cost alone of all of these new roads and bridges might bankrupt Calgary one day, so how did the city led by Bronconnier get enough money to fund all of these projects? Well, taxes were raised, Bronco did a lot of whining through the media to the provincial government for transfer fees, the city debt increased substantially, and a number of 'user' fees were raised.

One of the many fees that went up was parking.

Parking in Calgary is an absolute joke. This is a city of barely one million and of low population density yet has one of the highest costs of parking of any city in the world. Know what else? The Calgary Parking Authority apparently runs at an annual deficit (I recently read that it was as high as $8 million per year in the red).

How does this city department try and combat the deficit? Increase ticketing and the penalties of the tickets. How do they do that? Increasing restrictions on parking and hiring more people to ticket you (thereby increasing costs, which are funded by taxpayers).

I am writing this as I am now standing in a 1hr long line to talk to a peace officer to plead not guilty to one of 3 tickets I got for parking in front of my house (tickets were for not displaying a permit, which I actually had displayed - demonstrating the quality of CPA's hiring practices). Of course I am paying a ton for downtown parking while I sit here pleading not guilty.


This year's election has my attention and hoping for some major changes to the Calgary Parking Authority. It's probably too much to ask that they all go to prison (joking) but an overhaul is necessary. I have some thoughts on what needs to be done but I will save that for another ramble.

The one bright spot at the Calgary Parking Authority? A guy named Ken at the call centre. Talk about excellent customer service. This guy must have the most difficult job in the world, working for one of the most incompetent organizations around and dealing with irate Calgarians who rightfully hate the CPA's guts. Poor Ken.