This policy proposal aims to study the relationship between inadequate infrastructure, urban planning, and the decision-making processes and funding formulas that create disparaging outcomes for low-income residents in the City of Burnaby—and what can be done about it.
On the surface, Burnaby is doing better than most cities when it comes to building infrastructure and community amenities. Financially, Burnaby is the healthiest municipality in British Columbia. With a population of around 250,000 people, the city boasts over $1 billion in cash reserves. Thanks to the SkyTrain primarily running through the city, Burnaby also has the best public transportation network in Metro Vancouver and has recently funded replacements for key community amenities, including a $250 million community centre and library, measured at 200,000 square feet.
Although Burnaby is a regional leader in infrastructure and community amenities, at a closer look, Burnaby, which was named Canada’s best-run city by Maclean’s inaugural surveys of Canadian municipalities in 2009, has a troubling and persistent sidewalk problem.
Even in town centres like Edmonds, there is a lack of sidewalks due to the power that property owners have in deciding whether sidewalks can be built on their streets. This has resulted in years and years of roadside memorials that have resounded throughout the community, including the recent death of a 14-year-old girl killed by a dump truck in May 2022.
As a result, sidewalks have become a public safety and campaign issue. Although Burnaby has made progress in addressing this infrastructure gap in recent years, there is a lot more that can be done. With the capabilities of emerging technologies like 3D printing, Burnaby is positioned to tackle this issue head-on. This policy proposal will explore and suggest how Burnaby can leverage 3D printing to create better sidewalks, while making the necessary policy changes to ensure that this tragic problem finally comes to an end.