5 steps to affordable housing: Vancouver taking some, looking at others

The upcoming Buildex panel on affordable housing, featured on The Tyee today, will propose five steps to affordable housing, some of which Vancouver is already taking.

Brent Toderian’s call for better public transit and protection of job space seems exactly what Vancouver is doing, not surprising given his recent stint as city planner. The same goes for suggestions by Toderian and architect Sean McEwen to push for housing options beyond home ownership. Vancouver’s Rental 100 (formerly STIR) is just such an initiative.

Some ideas, however,  may hit political walls. I’m sympathetic to McEwen’s suggestions for conditional use permits, which would allow more density for uses, like seniors’ housing, that meet community goals. I’m well aware, however, that some communities oppose density outright, regardless of the use.

Co-housing, as proposed by architect Dane Jansen, is another appealing affordable housing model. One such idea is currently going through the Vancouver city hall process, but I’m aware of community concerns about co-housing ideas as well. (That’s not to say those concerns are valid.)

Fifth idea: go small. Yes, that’s happening.