Some new ideas on affordable housing in Vancouver

Howard Rotberg has a new book out on November 5th called Exploring Vancouverism: The Political Culture of Canada’s Lotus Land

In the Georgia Straight review (here), some of these ideas are highlighted.

Number one on his list is for the city to require developers to pay as a condition for the approval of large projects a sum into either a community-housing trust or an affordable-housing fund. The idea behind these models, which city leaders can choose from, is quite simple: titles to housing units built will have “restrictive covenants” with respect to either the selling prices or rents, thus “preserving future affordability”.

This is a different way of creating a pool of funds for building community housing from what I have proposed, but the concept of local control of funds is critical. Without a sense of ownership – of the process and the resulting units – by the residents who will end up living in the units, a real sense of community cannot develop.

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3 responses to “Some new ideas on affordable housing in Vancouver

  1. vancouvergreenbusinessjournal

    What a great website. With reference to affordable housing – here’s my take – we are at a crossroads whereby Vancouver can go two directions. Get it right by mixing market housing, non-market housing, artist work/live spaces, light industrial, green space, commercial, and retail and we’ll have one of the best cities to live in for decades to come. Get it wrong by too much market driven housing or poor zoning and execution of non-market housing and we’ll be talking about this lost opportunity for generations.

  2. Given how many elements there are in that desirable mix – market housing, non-market housing, artist work/live spaces, etc. etc. – the combinations are basically endless. And the only way to be confident about the right combination for any community is to let the community itself decide.

    What I’m really curious about are the kinds of innovative processes we can create, or are already creating, that will help communities make those decisions in an informed and inclusive manner. With so much to choose from and so many different (and sometimes competing) interests, it’s going to take real ingenuity to invent and execute those processes.

  3. It seems to me that a developer fee on large projects will be recouped by the developer at the expense of the end consumer; the tenant or purchaser. Ironically, though this money could be used to build some affordible housing, ultimately it would drive up housing costs even more.

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