Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Which Edmonton City Councillor are You?

Since the Ward 12 by-election just a few months ago, Edmonton city council has gotten into quite a few rather contentious votes. Most recently the Mezzo Building decision left quite a few observers rather upset, but earlier council decided to scrap the proposed Hawrelak Park Water Play Feature (worst name ever, by the way) after being faced with price increases, and has had to face some struggles with the proposed green development in the Blatchford area.

With that all being said, since Councillor Banga has taken on the role, Edmonton's open data suggests that there have been 25 votes of council that have been non-unanimous, which it turns out is more than enough that no two councillors have voted the same way on everything over the last two months (even though Councillor Oshry and Mayor Iveson gave it their best shot at 24/25). That means that, with only a few questions, we can generate a choose-your-own-adventure game in the style of a Buzzfeed quiz to see which councillor you agree the most with over the last term!

Which Edmonton City councillor are you? The answer will surprise you!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Edmonton Zone Map

Earlier this week, there was a bit of a kerfuffle raised at City Council when they contentiously passed a motion to allow a new 16-storey building near Whyte Avenue. In order to allow the new building, they had to change some of the zoning around the area.

I was curious about exactly what the distribution of zones in Edmonton look like, so I decided to see if I could find a map. Oddly enough, despite the data being available on the city's OpenData portal, there wasn't a readily-available one to be found via Google.

And maybe there's a good reason - it turns out there are over 85 different zone descriptors that the city uses, and many of the individually set zones are actually rather tiny (small parks count as their own zone, for instance). If you coloured a map based on all the different types of zones, it would be a scary kaleidoscope that wouldn't be terribly useful.

So instead, I've reverted to the tried and true Sim City method and labelled things broadly as either Residential, Commercial, or Industrial zones. Take a look:

If you've lived in Edmonton for more than a couple minutes, I'm sure that this map isn't surprising to you at all. I find it still cool to actually see things laid out like this though - it really shows you the industrial moat that surrounds Mill Woods, for instance, and specifically locates all of the strip malls we seem so fond of. (If your favorite strip mall isn't coded blue, it's most likely because many areas tend to end up as 'Site Specific Development Control Provision', which is essentially bylaw code for 'none of the above'. I didn't end up colour coding them all because there 650 of them, mostly all for different reasons...)

One final thought: I'm not so sure I like the sounds of the Anthony Henday being an agricultural zone. Hopefully they keep the agriculture and the four lanes of speeding gas guzzlers a little separated...