11 Dec 2013

Amsterdam versus Vancouver

I've been keeping a list of criteria that matter to me.

By these measures, Amsterdam > Vancouver.

(Tell me if you have others)

Urban feel
Canals > mountains
Vondelpark (center of town) > Stanley park (edge of town)
Walk up > high rise
Red light > east Hastings
Drizzle ~ downpour

Parties and such
Coffee shops < dispensaries (only after you've been found "disabled")
MDMA > cocaine ("people use coke b/c it's cheap")
Take bike > stolen bike (why you need to drive to parties)
Heineken < microbrews
Cheap liquor > BC liquor
Day parties < Burner parties
Slow friends < Fast friends

Culture
Metric > imperial (arg!)
Mayo > ketchup
Artists > hipsters
1928 > 2010 (perhaps a summary indicator of "with it")
Mandatory personal health insurance > subsidy wars
Douwe egberts < baristas (way better coffee in VanC)

Transport
Bikes > cars
Flow > Traffic jams (people need 40% more $ to sit in traffic)
No car > free parking
Ring road > grid
Schiphol > Vancouver International

Traffic near Portland
I grew up in an urban area (San Francisco) and always felt that cars were normal, until I got to Amsterdam and learned how a "people centric" city can feel.* It's amazing, the way that Amsterdam is so calm and relaxed. Amsterdam has spoiled North America for me. Since I can work anywhere (and lots of people can, if they're flexible on their goals), I've decided to move back there :)

* My girlfriend, Cornelia, started Sustainable Amsterdam and Sustainable Vancouver. The first was an attempt to explain why it's great; the second was to try to get Vancouver to reach a little higher than "best city in North America." Here's her talk on how Vancouver can be more bike friendly, Dutch style :)