Comparison of British Columbia and Washington State City Powers
107 Pages Posted: 26 May 2020
Date Written: January 1, 2020
This project focuses on two cities in British Columbia (Vancouver and Surrey) and two in Washington State (Seattle and Bellevue). . All four cities lie in the Cascadia Corridor (west of the Cascade Range, which stretches from lower mainland British Columbia to Oregon) and share common attributes, including strong technology sectors, a shortage of affordable housing, and unusually high levels of homelessness for cities in developed countries. Equally, these cities occupy the traditional, historic, and largely unceded territories of the local Indigenous peoples.
The cities face common problems, including transportation, housing, and the opioid crisis. What legislative and policy tools are available to them? What can we learn by comparing the legal powers of cities in British Columbia and in Washington State, in two neighboring national federal systems? The paper lays the legal groundwork for thinking about how innovation in one city might influence and guide innovation in other cities across borders, particularly in those policy areas that challenge urban communities and governance
This guide outlines the basic legal framework of these cities, providing a basic guide to municipal power in the two jurisdictions, as well as points of similarity and difference as the border between Canada and the United States is crossed. Thus, chapters engage with questions about the relationship between cities and other levels of government, the structure and sources of municipal authority, and the legislative and policy tools available to cities.
The paper is the product of a cooperative venture of faculty and students from the University of British Columbia Peter A. Allard School of Law and the University of Washington School of Law.
More broadly, this project is part of the Cascadia Urban Analytics Cooperative (CUAC), an “applied, interdisciplinary, regional venture that brings together academic researchers, students, and public stakeholder groups” to address issues affecting residents of the Cascadia region. A joint initiative between Microsoft, the University of Washington, and the University of British Columbia, CUAC seeks to use data science to inform and fuel social objectives in urban contexts. CUAC projects cover a broad range of topics but CUAC specifically endeavors to address issues related to “equitable transportation, housing stability, population health and responsible data science” throughout Cascadia.
Keywords: Comparative law, Comparative local government law, Comparative federalism, Regionalism, Cross-border regionalism, Municipal law, Cooperative federalism, Urban studies, Municipal bylaws, Ordinances, Bylaw powers, Municipal revenue powers, Housing policy, Transportation policy, Autonomous vehicles
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