Home Capital Announces Third Quarter Results along with Board Approval for a Substantial Issuer Bid of up to $300 …

TORONTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Home Capital Group Inc. (“Home Capital” or “the Company”) (TSX:HCG) today reported financial results for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2018. This press release should be read in conjunction with the Company’s 2018 Third Quarter Report including Financial Statements and Management’s Discussion and Analysis which are available on Home Capital’s website at www.homecapital.com and on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

“Our third quarter results demonstrate continued progress in all lines of business,” said Yousry Bissada, Chief Executive Officer. “Our commitment to servicing the customer in partnership with the broker community, and the development of our Oaken product line, have proven to be the right strategy for long-term success in our business. We are excited to take the next steps in our digital journey. Our plans for a substantial issuer bid and a normal course issue bid demonstrate our confidence in our business and outlook.”

Income Statement

Income:

Net interest margin was 2.03% compared with 1.91% in Q2 2018 and 1.85% in Q3 2017. Net interest margin in the quarter increased due to the reduced cost associated with the standby credit facility that was replaced at the end of Q2 2018. An improved asset mix also contributed to the increase.

Expenses:

Non-interest expenses increased by $176 thousand or 0.3% from Q2 2018 resulting from an increase in salaries and benefits offset largely by lower operating expenses. The result from Q2 included a reversal of $1.8 million of estimated severance expenses in Q2 2018 related to the Project EXPO expense savings initiative completed in 2017.

Non-interest expenses declined $4.3 million or 7.2% from Q3 2017 mainly due to a decrease in both salaries and benefits, and other operating expenses related to the liquidity event in Q2 2017.

Net income:

Net income for the third quarter was $32.6 million or 41 cents per share, an increase of 10.1% over Q2 net income of $29.6 million or 37 cents per share and an 8.7% increase over net income of $30.0 million or 37 cents per share reported in Q3 2017.

Balance Sheet

Asset growth:

Mortgage originations were $1.44 billion in Q3 2018, up 16.7% over Q2 originations of $1.23 billion and up 272.9% over originations of $385.1 million in Q3 2017.

  • Single-family residential mortgage originations were $1.02 billion in Q3 2018, an increase of $66.7 million or 7.0% from Q2 2018 and $792.0 million from Q3 2017.

Total loans at the end of the quarter were $16.04 billion, an increase of $594.8 million or 3.9% from Q2 2018 and an increase of $973.1 million or 6.5% from Q4 2017.

Loans under administration were $22.82 billion, up 1.4% from Q2 2018 and up 1.3% from the end of 2017.

Funding:

Total deposits were $12.36 billion compared to $12.50 billion at the end of Q2 2018 and $12.17 billion at the end of Q4 2017.

  • Brokered GICstotaled $9.27 billion compared with $9.55 billion at the end of Q2 2018 and $9.35 billion at the end of Q4 2017. Oaken GICstotaled $2.37 billion compared with $2.23 billion at the end of Q2 2018 and $1.81 billion at the end of Q4 2017.

Credit Quality:

Total provision for credit losses was $4.0 million in Q3 2018 compared with $6.5 million in Q2 2018, and recovery of $4.3 million in Q3 2017. Provision expense as a percentage of gross uninsured loans was 0.13% compared to 0.22% in Q2 2018. Provisions in Q3 were driven mainly by activity in both the residential and commercial mortgage portfolios. Provisions for credit losses were calculated under IFRS 9 for 2018 and under IAS 39 for 2017. As provisions for credit losses for 2017 were not restated, comparability of the provision is reduced to some extent.

Net non-performing loans (represented by Stage 3 loans under IFRS 9) as a percentage of gross loans remained low at 0.34% at the end of Q3 2018, unchanged from Q2 2018 and up from 0.30% at the end of Q4 2017.

Leadership Appointments:

Dr. Hossein Rahnama, previously an advisor to the Board of Directors, has now joined the Board of Directors effective November 6, 2018. We had previously announced that Sue Hutchison joined the Board of Directors effective September 27, 2018. In preparation for the next steps in the advancement of the Company’s vision for company-wide digital capability, Benjy Katchen, Executive Vice President, Deposits and Consumer Lending, has been appointed to the new role of Chief Digital and Strategy Officer.

Substantial Issuer Bid and Normal Course Issuer Bid:

The Board has authorized the initiation of a substantial issuer bid (SIB) pursuant to which the Company will offer to purchase for cancellation up to $300 million of its common shares. The Company expects that the terms of the bid will be announced on or about Monday, November 12, 2018 and that the bid will be completed by the end of the fourth quarter. Upon completing the SIB, the Company intends to apply to the Toronto Stock Exchange (“TSX”) for a Normal Course Issuer Bid to be effective in its next fiscal year.

Outlook:

The Company expects that market conditions experienced in the third quarter will continue for the balance of 2018. The growth in originations suggests our lending market has begun to absorb the impact of the new mortgage rules and is adjusting to a higher interest rate environment. “We are confident that our focus on service excellence, underpinned by a robust internal risk culture, will continue to drive growth and profitability in our core business,” said Mr. Bissada. “We are excited to embark on the next phase of transforming our business, including executing our substantial issuer bid and investing in digital enablement.”

YOUSRY BISSADA

PAUL DERKSEN

President and Chief Executive Officer Chair of the Board

The Company’s 2018 Third Quarter Report, including Management’s Discussion and Analysis, for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2018 is available at www.homecapital.com and on the Canadian Securities Administrators’ website at www.sedar.com.

Third Quarter 2018 Results Conference Call and Slide Presentation Webcast

The conference call will take place on Wednesday, November 7, 2018, at 8:00 a.m. ET. Participants are asked to call approximately 10 minutes in advance at toll-free 1-844-899-4831 throughout North America. Participants calling from outside of North America may dial 1-647-689-5401. The call will also be accessible in listen-only mode on Home Capital’s website at www.homecapital.com in the Investor Relations section of the website.

Conference Call Archive

A telephone replay of the call will be available between 11:00 a.m. ET Wednesday, November 7, 2018 and midnight ET Wednesday, November 14, 2018 by calling 416-621-4642 or 1-800-585-8367 (enter passcode 6382499). The archived audio webcast will be available for 90 days on Home Capital’s website at www.homecapital.com.

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

(Unaudited) For the three months ended
(000s, except Percentage and Per Share Amounts) September 30 June 30 September 30 Sequential
2018 2018 2017 Change
INCOME STATEMENT HIGHLIGHTS1
Net Interest Income $ 89,847 $ 84,129 $ 88,762

6.8%
Net Interest Margin (TEB)2 2.03% 1.91% 1.85% 12 bps
Efficiency Ratio (TEB)2 52.9% 54.5% 62.7% (160) bps
Provision for Credit Losses $ 3,990 $ 6,487 $ (4,257) (38.5)%
Provision as a Percentage of Gross Loans (annualized) 0.10% 0.17% (0.11)% (7) bps
Net Income $ 32,600 $ 29,606 $ 29,983 10.1%
Diluted Earnings per Share $ 0.41 $ 0.37 $ 0.37 10.8%
Return on Shareholders’ Equity (annualized) 6.9% 6.4% 6.8% 50 bps
ORIGINATIONS
Total Mortgage Originations $ 1,435,793 $ 1,230,208 $ 385,065 16.7%
Single-Family Residential Mortgage Originations 1,015,998 949,339 223,964 7.0%
As at
September 30 June 30 December 31 YTD
2018 2018 2017 Change
BALANCE SHEET HIGHLIGHTS1
Total Assets $ 17,882,017 $ 17,935,799 $ 17,591,143 1.7%
Total Assets Under Administration3 24,657,402 25,001,732 25,040,182 (1.5)%
Total Loans4 16,042,702 15,447,928 15,069,636 6.5%
Total Loans Under Administration3,4 22,818,087 22,513,861 22,518,675 1.3%
Total Deposits 12,361,030 12,496,704 12,170,454 1.6%
Demand Deposits 419,664 411,056 539,364 (22.2)%
FINANCIAL STRENGTH1
Capital Measures5
Common Equity Tier 1 Capital Ratio 23.27% 23.21% 23.17%
Leverage Ratio 9.20% 8.96% 8.70%
Credit Quality
Net Non-Performing Loans as a Percentage of Gross Loans 0.34% 0.34% 0.30%
Allowance as a Percentage of Gross Non-Performing Loans 71.0% 71.0% 79.5%
Share Information
Book Value per Common Share $ 23.82 $ 23.40 $ 22.60
Number of Common Shares Outstanding 80,246 80,246 80,246

1 The amounts pertaining to 2018 have been prepared in accordance with IFRS 9 Financial Instruments (IFRS 9); prior period amounts have not been restated and have been prepared in accordance with IAS 39 Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement (IAS 39). Please see Note 2 in the unaudited interim consolidated financial statements included in the 2018 Third Quarter Report for further information.

2 See definition of Taxable Equivalent Basis (TEB) under Non-GAAP Measures included in the 2018 Third Quarter Report.

3 Total assets and loans under administration include both on- and off-balance sheet amounts.

4 Total loans include loans held for sale and are presented gross of allowance for credit losses, for all periods presented.

5 These figures relate to the Company’s operating subsidiary, Home Trust Company.

Caution Regarding Forward-looking Statements

From time to time Home Capital Group Inc. makes written and verbal forward-looking statements. These are included in the Annual Report, periodic reports to shareholders, regulatory filings, press releases, Company presentations and other Company communications. Forward-looking statements are made in connection with business objectives and targets, Company strategies, operations, anticipated financial results and the outlook for the Company, its industry, and the Canadian economy. These statements regarding expected future performance are “financial outlooks” within the meaning of National Instrument 51-102. Please see the risk factors, which are set forth in detail in the Risk Management section of the 2018 Third Quarter Report, as well as the Company’s other publicly filed information, which is available on the System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval (SEDAR) at www.sedar.com, for the material factors that could cause the Company’s actual results to differ materially from these statements. These risk factors are material risk factors a reader should consider, and include credit risk, liquidity and funding risk, structural interest rate risk, operational risk, investment risk, strategic risk, reputational risk, compliance risk and capital adequacy risk along with additional risk factors that may affect future results. Forward-looking statements can be found in the Report to the Shareholders and the Outlook section in the 2018 Third Quarter Report. Forward-looking statements are typically identified by words such as “will,” “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “should,” “estimate,” “plan,” “forecast,” “may,” and “could” or other similar expressions.

By their very nature, these statements require the Company to make assumptions and are subject to inherent risks and uncertainty, general and specific, which may cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations expressed in the forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, global capital market activity, changes in government monetary and economic policies, changes in interest rates, inflation levels and general economic conditions, legislative and regulatory developments, competition and technological change. The preceding list is not exhaustive of possible factors.

These and other factors should be considered carefully and readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. The Company presents forward-looking statements to assist shareholders in understanding the Company’s assumptions and expectations about the future that are relevant in management’s setting of performance goals, strategic priorities and outlook. The Company presents its outlook to assist shareholders in understanding management’s expectations on how the future will impact the financial performance of the Company. These forward-looking statements may not be appropriate for other purposes. The Company does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements, whether written or verbal, that may be made from time to time by it or on its behalf, except as required by securities laws.

Assumptions about the performance of the Canadian economy in 2018 and its effect on Home Capital’s business are material factors the Company considers when setting strategic priorities and outlook. In determining expectations for economic growth, both broadly and in the financial services sector, the Company primarily considers historical and forecasted economic data provided by the Canadian government and its agencies and other third-party providers. In setting and reviewing its strategic priorities and outlook for the remainder of 2018, management’s expectations continue to assume:

  • The Canadian economy is expected to be relatively stable for the remainder of 2018. However, the impact of the renegotiated trade agreement with the United States and Mexico remains uncertain as does the impact from other global trade relations.
  • Stable employment conditions in its established regions. Also, the Company expects inflation will generally be within the Bank of Canada’s target of 1% to 3%, leading to stable credit losses and demand for the Company’s lending products in its established regions.
  • The Canadian economy will continue to be influenced by the economic conditions in the United States and global markets; as such, the Company is prepared for the variability that may result.
  • The Bank of Canada is expected to continue to raise interest rates in 2019.
  • Current and expected levels of housing activity indicate a relatively stable real estate market overall and in particular for the Company’s key Greater Toronto Area (GTA) market. Please see Market Conditions under the 2018 Outlook in the Company’s 2018 Third Quarter Report for more discussion on the Company’s expectations for the housing market.
  • Debt service levels will remain manageable by Canadian households in 2018, however high levels of consumer debt make the economy more vulnerable to rising interest rates and any economic weaknesses resulting from trade disputes.
  • Access to the mortgage and deposit markets through broker networks will be maintained.

Non-GAAP Measures

The Company has adopted IFRS as its accounting framework. IFRS are the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) for Canadian publicly accountable enterprises for years beginning on or after January 1, 2011. The Company uses a number of financial measures to assess its performance. Some of these measures are not calculated in accordance with GAAP, are not defined by GAAP, and do not have standardized meanings that would ensure consistency and comparability between companies using these measures. Definitions of non-GAAP measures can be found under Non-GAAP Measures in the Management’s Discussion and Analysis included in the Company’s 2018 Third Quarter Report.

Regulatory Filings

The Company’s continuous disclosure materials, including interim filings, annual Management’s Discussion and Analysis and audited consolidated financial statements, Annual Information Form, Notice of Annual Meeting of Shareholders, and Proxy Circular are available on the Company’s website at www.homecapital.com and on the Canadian Securities Administrators’ website at www.sedar.com.

About Home Capital

Home Capital Group Inc. is a public company, traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (HCG), operating through its principal subsidiary, Home Trust Company. Home Trust is a federally regulated trust company offering residential and non-residential mortgage lending, securitization of insured residential mortgage products, consumer lending and credit card services. In addition, Home Trust offers deposits via brokers and financial planners, and through a direct to consumer brand, Oaken Financial. Home Trust also conducts business through its wholly owned subsidiary, Home Bank. Licensed to conduct business across Canada, we have offices in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Manitoba.

Four ways the internet changed the midterm elections

This morning’s edition of The Interface was sent out to subscribers on Tuesday afternoon. As such, certain items included here will have been overtaken by events. We’ll have a more complete look at the midterm elections in the Wednesday edition of The Interface, which you can sign up to receive for free here.

A little over a year ago, I found myself growingly concerned with the unintended consequences of our biggest social platforms, particularly with respect to how they could be contributing to a global decline in democracy. I started writing about the subject every day in hopes that some good old-fashioned blogging could help bring shape to that discussion as we learned more. More than anything, I wondered what we would see in the months leading up to our US midterm elections. How would platforms transform in the wake of the 2016 disaster? And how would their adversaries adapt?

We won’t have a definitive answer to that question today. But what happens will go a long way in shaping the discussion around these platforms in the next two years. If Democrats manage to take back at least one house of Congress, I expect that concerns about the effectiveness about misinformation and online voter suppression efforts may relax somewhat as reporters turn their attention to the change in power. Facebook may face less scrutiny over the viral spread of fake news over the next two years — but more scrutiny from newly empowered Democrats, of the regulatory variety.

If on the other hand the Democrats fail, and the political status quo is maintained, journalists will have ample time to investigate everything that went wrong in the 2018 election, both online and off. As voters head the the polls today — and if you are a US citizen and haven’t voted, please proceed directly to your polling place — here are the biggest storylines I’m watching — in roughly descending order of how important they are.

Voter suppression. Bad people are trying to intimidate or trick people into not voting. Tony Romm has an overview of platforms’ efforts to thwart voter suppression in the Washington Post; Reuters reported that Twitter has deleted more than 10,000 accounts attempting to mislead people about what day the election is on. NBC’s Ben Collins finagled his way into a far-right Discord chat and found that trolls were complaining about Twitter deleting their accounts urging people to vote on the wrong day — but also found that they were growing more sophisticated in creating fake accounts in which they masquerade as middle-aged women by adding Snapchat filters to other people’s photos that they find online.

Most of the voter suppression efforts reported over the past week have targeted Democrats in an effort to persuade them not to vote. But in North Dakota, Jane Lytvynenko found that Democrats ran a misleading Facebook ad which targeted hunters in an apparent effort to suppress Republican turnout.

Misinformation and disinformation. Deceptive information about issues and candidates continued to thrive on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere. The New York Times’ Kevin Roose has been regularly tweeting the most viral stories and memes of the day, many of which are deceptive or outright hoaxes. In an overview of the paper’s findings, he writes that readers submitted more than 4,000 examples of misinformation over the course of the campaign.

Sarah Frier finds that Facebook has had some limited success in suppressing the reach of fake news, but that hyper-partisan content — which may prove to be even worse for the country in the long run — continues to thrive. And it’s not just Facebook, of course: trolls have lately come to favor LinkedIn for its more permissive rules and lax approach to enforcement, Craig Silverman reports.

Jonathan Albright finds that Facebook’s system for managing public pages allows foreign users to take over domestic pages and run ads. Arguing that the situation is ripe for election interference, Albright calls on Facebook to expand its reporting about managers and their geographic locations.

Infrastructure hacking. Efforts to disrupt voting machines and election websites are fully underway. In the Boston Globe, Jana Winter reported on what the Department of Homeland Security has detected so far. There have been more than 160 reports of hacking to date, with much of it believed to originate from Russia:

The hackers have targeted voter registration databases, election officials, and networks across the country, from counties in the Southwest to a city government in the Midwest, according to Department of Homeland Security election threat reports reviewed by the Globe. The agency says publicly all the recent attempts have been prevented or mitigated, but internal documents show hackers have had “limited success.”

The recent incidents, ranging from injections of malicious computer code to a massive number of bogus requests for voter registration forms, have not been publicly disclosed until now.

Meanwhile, late Monday, Facebook disclosed a potential new effort to disrupt the election. The company said it had taken down 30 Facebook accounts and 85 Instagram accounts taking part in “coordinated inauthentic behavior.” It’s not clear whether they were Russian in origin, but Facebook’s blog post took the unusual step of saying it would update its post if “these accounts are linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency or other foreign entities.”

Depending on what happens Tuesday, the United States could retaliate against Russia and has been preparing a digital counterattack, Zachary Fryer-Biggs reported.

Ad warfare. It wouldn’t be an election if there weren’t a lot of terrible ads. The 2018 election was only novel insofar is was the first time in modern history that major networks and Facebook had to pull an ad from a sitting president because it was too racist.

Facebook’s dark money issues persisted. An unknown group used Bernie Sanders’ image to urge Democrats to vote for the Green Party this year. Authentic sentiment or attempted voter suppression? You tell me. Meanwhile, the liberal activist organization MoveOn developed hundreds of ads featuring real voters and is blasting them at Facebook users with targeting techniques reminiscent of Cambridge Analytica. (The main difference being that they are doing this in accordance with Facebook’s rules and describing their methods publicly to Wired.)

But hey, don’t let the massive uncoordinated attack on democracy get you down too much. According to early Facebook backer Yuri Milner, it’s all much ado about nothing:

”I don’t agree that it’s an existential crisis, I think it’s a little bump in the road,” Milner said during an interview with Bloomberg TV. Facebook is an evolving system continuously responding to challenges and there will “always be bad actors who are testing different products,” he added.

I hope you’re right, Yuri. And if not, can I live in your underground panic bunker?

As for me, I’m spending Election Day on a (delayed!) flight to New York for an election event with Tech:NYC — say hi if you’re there. Meanwhile, Bloomberg is live-blogging the cyber-security aspects of the election — follow along, if you dare.

Democracy

Facebook referred to EU watchdog over targeting, fake ads

Britain’s information watchdog asked Facebook’s lead European regulator to investigate how the company targets, monitors and shows ads to users, Kate Holton writes:

“We have uncovered a disturbing disregard for voters’ personal privacy,” Denham said. “Social media platforms, political parties, data brokers and credit reference agencies have started to question their own processes – sending ripples through the big data ecosystem.”

Facebook admits failings over incitement to violence in Myanmar

In an extremely sketchy move, Facebook used the eve of the election to dump a report it commissioned about its potential contributions to genocide in Myanmar. I haven’t yet read it — lot going on over here! — but this recap in the Guardian says it tells us largely what we heard from the United Nations earlier this year:

Facebook has admitted it did not do enough to prevent the incitement of violence and hate speech in Myanmar, after a report it commissioned concluded that it had become a platform for harmful and racially-inflammatory content.

The report by San Francisco-based nonprofit Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) found that, in Myanmar, “Facebook has become a means for those seeking to spread hate and cause harm, and posts have been linked to offline violence.”

Amazon, Facebook and Google are all being looked at for antitrust violations, Trump says

One of the president’s defining features, to my mind, is that in public remarks he is always saying that he is “looking at” every solution to every problem, simultaneously. As such, I don’t make too much of this latest suggestion that big tech platforms could face antitrust regulation.

Podcasts help extremists get their message out

Here’s a subject that hasn’t gotten nearly enough attention to date: how podcasts amplify extremism. A timely report from Sara Ashley O’Brien and Kaya Yurieff:

Extremists, spouting racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, and anti-immigrant beliefs, have followed the trend and are broadcasting their messages as established social media outlets crack down on similar content.

Take LoveStreet, previously known as HateHouse. An episode labeled “HateHouse EP 18: Black people are disabled,” was posted on YouTube nine months ago. Just a few minutes in, one of the speakers says: “Black people look very suspect and they fit the profile for a lot of crimes committed” and “Police know that n****s are violent all the time.” It was removed on Friday after CNN Business flagged the video.

Weibo Gives Media, Government Power to Quash ‘Rumors’

Weibo now has a “rumor-busting” feature, which one imagines will also be used as a truth-busting feature by the Chinese censors it is empowering here:

Weibo is giving media outlets and the Chinese government the authority to directly flag online rumors, an account affiliated with the microblogging platform announcedFriday.

According to the statement posted by the Sina Administrative Microblog Academy — operated by Weibo’s parent company — verified accounts of government departments and “credible media” will be able to mark posts disseminating fake news with a customizable notice identifying them as untrue or misleading. The notice will then appear immediately below the post, with Weibo playing no role in screening or approving it.

Elsewhere

Alex Jones banned from Facebook? His videos are still there — and so are his followers

It’s harder to de-platform someone than it looks, as Facebook is learning with Alex Jones and his fan. Here’s Craig Timberg:

In the three months since Facebook removed four of Jones’s pages over allegations of hate speech, the NewsWars page has remained intact and surged in posts and page views. The NewsWars Facebook page identifies NewsWars.com, which Jones said his company operates, as the website associated with the page and lists it under “Contact Info.” Jones said he doesn’t run the Facebook page.

Videos hosted by the NewsWars Facebook page have totaled 3.9 million views since August, nearly reaching the monthly viewership of Jones’s videos on Infowars and other pages he controlled before they were shut down.

How Right-Wing Social Media Site Gab Got Back Online | WIRED

Speaking of the de-platformed being re-platformed, Gab found a new host:

The extremist-friendly social media site’s reappearance was made possible by two companies and the men behind them: digital security company Cloudflare, helmed by self-described “free speech absolutist” Matthew Prince, and domain registrar Epik, led by Rob Monster.

Hate Speech on Live ‘Super Chats’ Tests YouTube

YouTube is taking a cut of profits from some extremely problematic paid comments on right-wing live streams, Yoree Koh reports:

Mr. Ralph, whose channel had 22,500 subscribers, is one of several far-right YouTube celebrities who have used the Super Chat function to make money. Topics among such users can be wide-ranging, from events like the tragedy in Pittsburgh and the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh to critiques of the media and internal debates among members of the far-right online communities.

Most Super Chats generate a few hundred dollars in revenue, according to an analysis conducted for The Wall Street Journal, with YouTube typically collecting 30%, people familiar with the matter said.

HQ Trivia was a blockbuster hit — but internal turmoil and a shrinking audience have pushed it to the brink

Here’s a great Kurt Wagner story about how HQ replaced its CEO amid worries he wasn’t moving fast enough — only to have its next CEO the subject of a harassment complaint. (The company says the complaint is unfounded.)

How pro-Trump Facebook pages make a living.

April Glaser investigates the economics behind MAGA meme pages on Facebook. It’s another piece of evidence for the idea that while Facebook may have ratched down some of the misinformation in the News Feed, hyper-partisan content — which often is deceptive, if not downright false — continues to be profitable.

None of this will give comfort to anyone worried about the synergistic relationship between political polarization and Facebook engagement. Pages like the ones Ferretti, Keirns, and Murphy run appear to break none of the rules that govern the Facebook news feed, but their entire business is premised on the insight that partisan self-victimization and fear of immigrants and elites will lead to clicks, and therefore cash. All of this was still the case for this cycle’s election, and unless something about the incentives that drive Facebook engagement change dramatically, it will probably be the case for the next one too.

Sen. Mark Warner on breaking up Facebook and Congress’s plan to regulate tech

Makena Kelly asks the Virginia senator whether he wants to make Facebook spin subsidiaries including Instagram and WhatsApp:

WARNER: I see breakup as more of a last resort. Also, we could look at companies more on a domestic scene. The caution is, if we were to start with the breakup of Facebook and Google, what would we do with Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent? In a world-based economy, you can’t look at these only on a national basis. My fear is that the Chinese companies, which are frankly on a growth rate even faster than Facebook, Google, and Twitter’s growth, don’t have any of the constraints of the other companies.

Deepfake-busting apps can spot even a single pixel out of place

Here’s a reason to be optimistic that deepfakes will not completely dissolve the boundaries between truth and fiction, from Karen Hao:

There are two main ways to deal with the challenge of verifying images, explains Farid. The first is to look for modifications in an image. Image forensics experts use computational techniques to pick out whether any pixels or metadata seem altered. They can look for shadows or reflections that don’t follow the laws of physics, for example, or check how many times an image file has been compressed to determine whether it has been saved multiple times.

The second and newer method is to verify an image’s integrity the moment it is taken. This involves performing dozens of checks to make sure the photographer isn’t trying to spoof the device’s location data and time stamp. Do the camera’s coordinates, time zone, and altitude and nearby Wi-Fi networks all corroborate each other? Does the light in the image refract as it would for a three-dimensional scene? Or is someone taking a picture of another two-dimensional photo?

Facebook tops 3,000 Seattle-area employees as major hiring spree continues

Facebook is growing fast in Seattle, with headcount there increasing by 50 percent since March, Nat Levy reports.

’Shows for nobody’: Facebook Watch has moved away from early short-form video formats

My main takeaway from this Sahil Patel story about Facebook Watch is that the company still has basically no idea what kinds of video programming are going to thrive there over the long term.

TikTok surpassed Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat & YouTube in downloads last month

Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat are no longer growing in the United States. But you know what is? China’s TikTok. My long-term goal is to get kicked off TikTok for making viral memes promoting democratic reforms in China.

Is Celery Juice Good for You?

A bunch of quacks with big Instagram followings began promoting the health benefits of “celery juice,” Amanda Mull reports.

A recent study out of the Cleveland Clinic bears out celery’s blood-pressure benefits, but the researchers recommend consuming full stalks instead of extracts in order to get maximum benefits. Young, too, mentioned that maybe celery might be better intact, as a snack or as an addition to a meal rather than as a medicine. “You don’t have to drink it; you can also chew it,” she says. “Whatever happened to chewing?”

Launches

Facebook launches retail pop-up stores ahead of holiday season

Facebook is dipping a toe into retail with pop-up shops in Macy’s promoting allegedly beloved brands. As Julia Alexander notes here, it’s most interesting as a first step toward maybe wanting some permanent locations to sell hardware.

The company announced today that it will open pop-ups with more than 100 brands in nine different Macy’s locations. The 100 brands’ products will be available for purchase through the pop-up shops, and they are some of the “most-loved brands” on Instagram and Facebook, according to a blog post on the company’s website. Some of those brands include Love Your Melon, an apparel line that helps raise awareness and fight against pediatric cancers, and Two Blind Brothers, a nonprofit clothing line that donates all proceeds to blindness research.

Instagram prototypes bully-proof moderated School Stories

Jane Manchun Wong found code suggesting Instagram plans to have school-specific public stories, a la Snapchat. The code suggests that posts will be “manually reviewed,” but the headline’s suggestion here that this will make them “bully-proof” strikes me as optimistic in the extreme.

Takes

Facebook Didn’t Sway the 2018 Midterms

Before any votes could be counted, Alexis Madrigal said Facebook was not a determining factor in the midterms. I’d argue that (1) it’s strange to argue that before we know the outcome; and (2) a list of ways Facebook appears to be influencing the election can be found in the lead item above.

Don’t Give Up on Snap ($)

Jessica Lessin says Snap is due for a comeback — eventually:

Twitter has 2.5 times Snap’s revenue and investors are currently valuing it at three times the market cap. Snap grew revenues 43% percent in the last quarter. Twitter grew 29% percent.

Of course, Twitter and Snap users are doing different things. Snap’s users are heavily into messaging while Twitter’s users are browsing tweets, articles and videos. The latter is much more appealing to advertisers—which partially explains why Twitter’s revenues are larger. But I believe there will be new ways to make money through messaging—ways Snap invents or can copy from others like Facebook over time.

And finally …

Scientists say mysterious ‘Oumuamua’ object could be an alien spacecraft

Is it possible that aliens are coming to earth on Election Day to end our present simulation and restore us to our original reality? Well, here are a couple of Harvard researchers who are not ruling it out:

Scientists have been puzzling over Oumuamua ever since the mysterious space object was observed tumbling past the sun in late 2017. Given its high speed and its unusual trajectory, the reddish, stadium-sized whatever-it-is had clearly come from outside our solar system. But its flattened, elongated shape and the way it accelerated on its way through the solar system set it apart from conventional asteroids and comets.

Now a pair of Harvard researchers are raising the possibility that Oumuamua is an alien spacecraft. As they say in a paper to be published Nov. 12 in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, the object “may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization.”

I, for one, welcome our new alien overlords, and remind them that I can be of use in drafting newsletters about their activities here on earth.

Talk to me

Send me tips, comments, questions, and proof that you voted: casey@theverge.com.

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Still, here are 11 ways Google Cloud shines just a bit brighter than AWS.

Firebase

Google Cloud Platform offers a number of different ways to store information, but one of the options, Firebase, is a bit different from the regular database. Firebase doesn’t just store information. It also replicates the data to other copies of the database, which can include clients, especially mobile clients. In other words, Firebase handles all of the pushing (and pulling) from the clients to the servers. You can write your client code and just assume that the data it needs will magically appear when it’s available.

Pushing new versions of the data to everyone who needs a copy is one of the biggest headaches for mobile developers and really anyone building distributed and interconnected apps. You’ve got to keep all of these connections up just to push a bit of new information every so often.

Firebase may look and sound like a database, but really it’s a mobile development platform. It has much of the structure you might need to build distributed web or mobile apps. Or mobile web apps for that matter.

BigQuery ML

Yes, BigQuery is a database, but it’s also a machine learning powerhouse. You can start off storing your data in the tables and then, if your boss wants some analysis, just kick off the machine learning routines with the same tables. You won’t need to move the data or repack it for some separate machine learning toolkit. It all stays in one place, a feature that will save you from writing plenty of glue code. And then, as an extra-added bonus for the SQL jockeys who drive databases, the machine learning is invoked with an added keyword to the SQL dialect. You can do the work of an AI scientist with the language of a DBA.

Persistent disks that work with multiple instances

Do you have data to share between your different machines? Google makes it easy by allowing you to mount the persistent disk with multiple instances. The data appears as part of the file system, making life a bit easier for the coders as well. The only limit is that you’ve got to use read-only mode because Google isn’t ready to deal with race conditions and other crazy bugs you might create with multiple writes. If you want to do writes, you’ll have to get a database like a regular programmer.

AWS encourages you to share data by using different products like S3, which stores data in buckets with key-value pairs. The volumes from Amazon’s Elastic Block Storage, the standard storage mechanism for EC2 instances, can’t be mounted by multiple machines. That said, Amazon does offer Elastic File Services, which can be mounted with the NFSv4. In other words, AWS can get pretty close.

G Suite integration

It’s no surprise that Google offers some integration of its cloud platform products with its basic office products. After all, the Googlers use the G Suite throughout the company and they need to get at the data too. BigQuery, for instance, offers several ways to access and analyze your data by turning it into a Sheets document in Google Drive. Or you can take your Sheets data and move it quickly into a BigQuery database. If your organization is already using the different G Suite apps, there’s a good chance it will be a bit simpler to store your data and code in the Google Cloud. There are dozens of connections and pathways that make the integration a bit simpler.

More virtual CPUs

In July 2018, Google Compute Engine boosted the maximum power of its instances, putting up to 160 vCPUs and 3,844 GB of RAM at your fingertips. The last time we looked at the documentation, AWS EC2 instances maxed out at 96 vCPUs. Of course, the CPUs are not exactly the same power and they almost certainly run some benchmarks at different speeds. Plus adding more virtual CPUs doesn’t always make your software go faster. The only true measure is the throughput on your problem. But if you want to brag about booting up a machine with 160 CPUs, now is your chance!

Custom cloud machines

Google lets you choose how many virtual CPUs and how much RAM your instance will get. AWS has many options and one of them is bound to be pretty close to what you need, but that’s not the same as being truly custom, is it? Google offers sliders that let you be a bit more particular and choose, say, 12 vCPUs and 74 GB of RAM. Or maybe you want 14 vCPUs. If so, Google will accommodate you.

There are limits to this flexibility, though. Don’t dream about infinite precision because the slider tends to stick on even numbers. You can’t choose 13 vCPUs, for instance, which would probably be unlucky anyway. But this is still a great increase in flexibility if you need a strange configuration or you want to provision exactly the minimum amount of RAM to get the job done.

A premium network

Google and Amazon have huge networks that link their data centers but only Google has a separate “premium” network. It’s like a special fast lane for premium customers that comes with some reliability and performance guarantees like N+2 redundancy and at least three paths between data centers. If you want to rely upon the Google CDN and load balancing across different data centers, then opting for the premium network will make life a bit smoother for your data flows.

What about the non-premium users? Do their packets travel by burro and carrier pigeon? No, but accepting fewer guarantees comes with a lower price tag. By opening up this option, Google lets us decide whether we want to pay more for faster global data movement or save money by getting by with perhaps an occasional hiccup. It’s not another option to muddle our brains. It’s an opportunity.

Cloud services that are “always free”

Cloud providers usually offer various free samples of their products for a limited time and Google is no different. Right now Google will give you $300 of free services for the first 12 months. The difference comes afterwards because some of Google Cloud’s lowest tiers are said to be “always free.” The word “always” is marketing speak because the smaller print underneath says that it is “subject to change,” but let’s not get caught up in parsing English when computer languages are hard enough.

Until that fateful day of change comes you’re free to use a wide range of the Google Cloud’s lowest powered options like the f1-micro instance that comes with 30 GB of hard disk space. If you can handle the uncertainty about the meaning of “always” and your needs are pretty light, you can do quite a bit of experimenting and not face a clearly defined end to the fun.

Serverless containers

The buzzword “serverless” is now so common that its meaning is getting, well, cloudy. Google is testing a nice product that lets you take any container and hook it up to an endpoint so it will respond to requests. You’re not limited by serverless function definitions or language choices or any of the other details. If you can get your container running, it can be invoked on demand and billed on demand. This is a great service that could save you the hassle of spinning up and shutting down instances.

Pre-emptible instances

New visits to websites need an immediate response, but a great deal of the background processing and housekeeping around most websites doesn’t need to get done right away. It doesn’t even need to get done in the next few hours. It just needs to be done eventually.

Google offers something called pre-emptible instances that come at a nice discount. The catch is that Google reserves the right to shut down your instance and put it aside if someone or something more important comes along and wants the resources. They’ll start it up again later when the demand for computation drops.

AWS offers a different way to save on compute costs, a marketplace where you can bid for resources and use them only if you submit a winning high bid. This is great if you’ve got the time to watch the auctions and adjust your bids if the work isn’t getting done, but it’s not great if you’ve got more important things to do. Google has come up with a mechanism that rewards you for volunteering to be bumped and matches it with a price that’s locked in. No confusion.

Sustained use discounts

Another nice feature of the Google Cloud Platform is the way that the discounts just show up automatically the more you use your machines. Your compute instances start off the month at full price and then start dropping. You don’t need to keep the machines running continuously because the price is set by your usage for the month. If your instance is up for about half of the month, the discount is about 10 percent. If you leave your instance up from the first to last day, you’ll end up saving 30 percent off the full price.

By the way, Google approaches this pricing like a computer scientist. It tracks how many vCPUs and how much memory you’ve used among the various machine types and then combines the different machines, where possible, to give you an even bigger discount. Google calls this “inferred instances.” The model is quite useful if you’re constantly starting and stopping multiple machines.

Again, AWS also offers discounts, but the price breaks extend to those who purchase reserved machines or bid on the spot markets. In other words, you need to do something and make a commitment. Google just rewards you.

Facebook says it shouldn’t pay for a new watchdog to protect young online

But the tech giant is now in the crosshairs of regulators in Europe and at home.

The European Commission wants more regulation of Facebook’s controversial political advertising in the wake of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump in the US.

The social network giant has told an Oireachtas committee it was concerned providing funding for a new child protection office would lead to it being criticised.

Facebook’s head of public policy Niamh Sweeney said the company shouldn’t have to pay to set up and run the new watchdog. “I suspect if it was funded by us, that would draw its own criticism,” she claimed.

Ms Sweeney added freedom of expression was a cornerstone of the internet and it was important creating a watchdog did not limit people’s ability to engage online.

She welcomed an opportunity to work with politicians and officials to create a legal definition of “harmful communications” to use against damaging content and delete it.

The Digital Safety Commissioner Bill, currently before the Oireachtas, proposes creating an office responsible for oversight and regulating companies. It would force firms to remove harmful online materials from their websites.

Department of Communications officials said there was a need for a regulatory body to monitor online platforms such as Facebook and Google – where harmful images and videos may be available or sent to vulnerable users.

Department assistant secretary Patricia Cronin said officials were examining how the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) could be used. The BAI currently regulates public and commercial broadcasters.

“A regulatory body will have to be established. It will be either a new one or an existing one and clearly the BAI is in the frame for that,” she said.

Why Instagram is Crucial to Lead Generation for Photographers

There is a lot of debate within the photo community on the importance of a social media presence. As social media has increasingly evolved as an essential in daily life, it’s time for photographers to stop fighting against the current. No matter your niche, there is value in participating in an online presence. Instagram is a particularly important tool for photographers to generate leads.

Editors, Agencies, and Scouts

Believe it or not, some people truly are discovered off of Instagram. Editors, agents, and scouts are active on social media on a daily basis. They are looking for hidden gems, the next undiscovered talent in their niche. They are looking for you, so let them find you! Refinery29 photo director Toby Kaufmann described Instagram to EE Photo Group, saying, “It’s a feast. I am working on a longer-term project and there was a very specific type of photographer I was looking for. I did it through hashtags, then reached out via DM…” Curating an active and thoughtful presence on social media is a huge opportunity to create leads.

Higher Engagement Shows That Your Work Resonates with a Large Audience

High engagement on your Instagram takes time to build, but it’s worth the effort. Showing that your work has high engagement is proof in numbers that your work resonates with a large audience. When your next client stumbles upon your page, they’re going to want to hire you, someone they can trust to produce a crowd pleaser. That being said, we know that just because a photographer’s follower count is high doesn’t necessarily mean that their work is the most technically proficient–– but it sure speaks to a lot of people.

Showcase Consistency in Your Branding and Image Quality

A consistent brand or “aesthetic” often pairs with an engaged audience. Just like when you’re showcasing your work to clients, you want them to know exactly what they are getting with you. A major factor in that is consistency. Instagram allows you the opportunity to curate a visually pleasing brand image that lets clients know your style, and what your work is all about. Just like a portfolio book or site, if the image quality and consistency aren’t there, it’s not likely to generate as much interest.

Marketing Tool for Finding Potential Clients, No Matter Your Niche

No matter what niche or market you’re working in, Instagram’s platform gives you access to millions of people who are definitely interested in what you do. For smaller niches, it takes a little longer to find and develop your audience, but once you have them, the chance to retain their interest and business becomes easy.

Localizing your Instagram with hashtags and locations can introduce you to paying customers in your area.

Local Tagging Generates Local Clientele

If you are working in a local market, local tagging is everything to building a base of real, paying customers. Find local hashtags and use them to your advantage. So many people are looking for their wedding photographers, family photographers, and more through #LOCATIONweddingphotographer #LOCATIONwedding. Another crucial detail: location tagging. People who are looking to shoot or hold an event at a particular spot are looking at location tags to see what it looks like, and they wind up on your page because you captured exactly what they’re looking for. Localizing your Instagram also arms you with the opportunity to connect with local creatives, vendors and more to collaborate and cross-promote.

Generate Photography Leads with Instagram

Instagram is a highly valuable tool to generate leads for photographers. Building an online presence overall is crucial to booking clients, so why wouldn’t the largest visual platform available be important, too? Elevate your brand with a curated, consistent Instagram presence and let your prospective clientele find you.

The Future of Art

What are museums and galleries for? For preserving art from our history? For displaying art of our future? For teaching people, meeting people, inspiring people? All of the above? Whatever purpose they fulfil, their place in society is increasingly vulnerable, with a lack of government funding of the arts meaning galleries must rely on private donors and public support. So how will the galleries of the future look, and how must they develop to survive?

1. The enhanced gallery

The largest art theft in history took place in March 1990 at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. 13 works of art – worth an estimated $500 million – were stolen, leaving empty frames in their place. Today, those stolen masterpieces are being returned, albeit briefly, by the wonders of digital technology.

Using Apple’s easily-accessible ARKit, museum engagement platform Cuseum created “Hacking the Heist”, an augmented reality app allowing visitors to see the stolen works reappear in their frames.

Galleries having been using digital technology to showcase their art for years. Household names provide virtual tours on their websites and sites like Google Arts & Culture allow you to walk the halls of some of the world’s foremost cultural institutions from the comfort of your own home.

But augmented reality goes one step further, allowing visitors to experience the enhanced gallery – replacing what has been lost and showcasing the work of daring new artists, experimenting with this new artistic frontier.

The first exhibition by MoMAR, an unauthorised gallery concept bent on democratising exhibition spaces, leverages augmented reality to layer eight new artists’ work on top of existing pieces in New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition, called “Hello, we’re from the internet”, can be viewed through the MoMAR app in the museum’s fifth floor Jackson Pollock gallery, where the renowned abstract expressionist’s masterpieces are remixed and replaced by bold new interpretations.

2. The responsible gallery

The idea of “democratising art” calls another question to mind: what do galleries owe their public? Many art institutions have committed to working towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), published in 2015, which cover issues from poverty and hunger to gender equality and climate change. Although unlikely to thwart world hunger, galleries do have the power to support the tenth SDG on the list: “reducing inequalities”, using their unique platform and position to make art accessible for all.

Lifts and ramps for wheelchairs will be considered the bare minimum in the gallery of the future, and organisations are already making great strides in opening up the joy of art to new audiences. In February 2018, the Royal Academy of Art in London held its first ever life-drawing workshop for blind and partially-sighted visitors, and the Tate Modern holds a monthly tour where visually-impaired guests are equipped with archival gloves so they can touch and experience installations up close.

And true responsibility is about more than helping new people through the doors, it extends to the pieces you hang on the walls. In the era of #MeToo, organisations must wrangle with the ethical issues surrounding exhibiting works by known, or alleged, abusers. In Washington, the National Gallery of Art postponed its Thomas Roma exhibition, after the photographer was accused of inappropriate behaviour with several female arts students. In Boston, the Institute of Contemporary Art added signage to its Nicholas Nixon exhibition, explaining the accusations against the photographer, before taking it down early upon request of the artist himself.

Perhaps the most forward-thinking response, and the one most likely to characterise the responsible gallery of the future, came from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. They kept up their Chuck Close exhibition, but responded to the accusations of sexual harassment by opening a new show of female artists, called “The Art World We Want”, where visitors were invited to share their opinions by adding Post-it notes to the walls.

Dubai’s Museum of the Future, set to open in 2019, complete with one of the specially engineered windows, designed to look like Arabic script on the gleaming silver facade

3. The inside-out gallery

Galleries looking to contribute to more ecologically-leaning sustainability goals can leverage the oldest artistic medium there is: architecture.

The recently-opened V&A Dundee is a sterling example of this. Projecting dramatically into the River Tay like the prow of a boat, the new museum has won plaudits for its striking design and its green outlook. The building uses geothermal energy for all its heating and cooling, with 30 200 metre-deep geothermal bore holes providing a steady supply of renewable energy.

Pioneering architecture will characterise the gallery of the future, and the Middle East is leading the charge. The breathtaking new Louvre in Abu Dhabi is just one of many astonishing new buildings being created to showcase the world’s art. Set up like a giant floating dome, each gallery is a climate-controlled white cube, nestled under a web-patterned ceiling allowing the light to filter down, as if through palm fronds.

Truly flipping the gallery concept on its head is Dubai’s Museum of the Future. Set to be the world’s most complex building, the superstructure is that of a giant eye, with an open centre, the facade gleaming silver and adorned with Arabic quotations, doubling as highly engineered windows. Most groundbreaking of all – this is not a museum of artifacts already created, but a centre of creation in itself, filled with innovation facilities and design studios.

4.The data-driven gallery

As with any business, the gallery of the future is only as good as its data, and, in a time when private donations and government grants are declining, institutions need to start getting smarter when it comes to analysing it.

Every day, museums and galleries generate thousands of bits of data, and correct analysis can help answer questions from “what pieces are visitors actually looking at?” to “how can we sell more cappuccinos in the gallery cafe?”. The Art Institute of Chicago has made a start in tackling these, creating its own “business intelligence core” which combines data warehousing and software to generate clear visualisations and actionable insights. Findings include where the gaps in frontline services are and, most excitingly, maps of visitor routes and dwell times in front of specific pieces, gathered by analysing the museum’s WiFi networks.

New data processing and analytics tools mean that galleries can now make use of their data, without needing pricey consultants or an in-house data scientist. Software-as-a-Service provider, Dexibit, specialises in helping cultural institutions draw valuable information from visitor experiences and venue performance. From providing easy-to-understand dashboards on visitation rates, to using machine-learning AI models to predict exhibition performance, affordable data products will take galleries into the future with confidence.

5. The extraterrestrial gallery

For galleries to survive, they need to think big – and what could be bigger than space?

Commercial space travel hovers on the horizon, with the founders of Tesla and Amazon setting their sights on the other side of the atmosphere. Elon Musk’s SpaceX is set to launch its first manned mission in August 2019 and Jeff Bezos’s company, Blue Origin, has the rocket New Shepard, which is ready to ferry paying tourists on trips to space that same year.

Given this context, a vision put forward by the American Alliance of Museums perhaps isn’t as far-fetched as it initially seems. In their recent magazine, “Museum 2040”, they look to a future where, due to the increasing pressures of climate change, articles of art and historic import are collected and transported to orbiting, temperature-controlled storehouses in space.

We may be many decades away from galleries among the stars, but space tourism is coming and it won’t be long until visitors want more sights to see while they are there.

Longmont to hold community meeting on Main Street Corridor planning

If you go

What: Longmont Main Street Corridor Plan community meeting

When: 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Longmont Museum and Cultural Center, 400 Quail Road

Further information: Including link to a survey: Visit tinyurl.com/y9cgcuqzPeople with questions about the project can call 303-651-8336 or email mainstreetplan@longmontcolorado.gov

Longmont is inviting residents and businesses to a Wednesday night community meeting about a planning project that could guide future development and redevelopment alongside Main Street.

The Main Street Corridor Plan is assessing land use, transportation, market needs and improvement opportunities in the 5-mile stretch of Main from Colo. 66 on the north to Plateau Road on the south — encompassing one to three blocks on each side of Main.

The project’s overall purpose, as described on its website — tinyurl.com/y9cgcuqz — is one of “fortifying Main Street as the city’s cultural, business and commercial center.”

That website includes a link to a survey people can take about the corridor, an online poll that principal city planner Erin Fosdick said on Tuesday has already been taken by more than 250 people who live and work in Longmont.


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“We’re pretty pleased about that,” Fosdick said. “We’ll take all the input we can get.”

Wednesday’s 5 to 7 p.m. community meeting at the Longmont Museum and Cultural Center, 400 Quail Road, is to include the project team’s presentation of an overview of the planning that began late this summer and is expected to conclude in late summer 2019. There will also be an opportunity for people attending the meeting to comment and make their own suggestions, Fosdick said.

Once completed, the corridor plan will address the need to carry multiple transportation modes safely and efficiently on Main while revitalizing the area and creating opportunities for future mixed-use projects in the future, Fosdick said.

Goals that Longmont planners have developed for the corridor planning project include:

• “Embrace Historic Significance”: to “recognize the corridor’s place in history, automobile culture, significance as a gathering place and as Longmont’s ‘historic main street.'”

• “Strategic Infill”: to “revitalize the corridor through infill development, new housing, community facilities/amenities and urban open space.”

• “Integrate Main”: to “create connections between Main Street and surrounding neighborhoods; connect streets, and transition building heights and massing.”

• “Create a Sense of Place”: to “create a cohesive identity and sense of place; improve livability for all residents; enhance aesthetics and incorporate green spaces.”

• “Strengthen Economic Base”: to “promote economic growth by attracting and retaining a diverse range of businesses and housing to strengthen the corridor while preventing displacement of existing businesses and homes.”

• “Improve Safety and Mobility”: to “improve safety for all modes; preserve corridor mobility while enhancing the multimodal network, incorporate technology to support safety and mobility.”

• “Transit as Catalyst”: to “leverage transit investments, orient stops around activity centers and form new mobility hubs.”

The planning project has divided the corridor into four distinct “character areas.” The northernmost area runs from Colo. 66 to 17th Avenue; the middle northern section lies between 17th and 11th avenues; an historic downtown section area is between 11th Avenue and the St. Vrain River, and the southernmost area is between the river and Plateau Road.

The city’s Transportation Advisory Board got an Oct. 8 presentation about the project.

Fosdick said another presentation of the Main Street Corridor project is scheduled for a joint Longmont City Council-Planning and Zoning Commission meeting at 7 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Civic Center Complex council chambers, 350 Kimbark St.

Contact Staff Writer John Fryar at 303-684-5211 or jfryar@times-call.com or twitter.com/jfryartc