A good overview of the differences in urban planning between Seattle (crap according to the article), Portland and Vancouver (both great). Vancouver is one of my favorite cities in the world so I agree with pretty much everything they have to say.
Head the other way on Interstate 5 and the comparison is even more striking. Downtown Vancouver, B.C., is becoming a glittery, mini-Manhattan, but cleaner and far more livable. It, too, has a transit mall, and the elevated Skytrain. The entire downtown peninsula is ringed with a continuous, magnificent park, much of it paid for by developers instead of taxpayers.
I was worried they were looking only at the good sides, a grass is always greener kind of thing but they do also cover (somewhat) the less enticing aspects.
Conservative critics point to statistics suggesting these new downtown neighborhoods, however nice, are hardly making a dent in overall gridlock or sprawl. Sprawling Surrey, B.C., may soon pass Vancouver itself in population. Moreover, while Vancouver has dynamic new “urban villages,” it has another corner of downtown crowded with drug addicts and prostitutes.