Category — Housing
Once you get past his job title, “planetary futurist in residence” Alex Steffen, of the design and innovation firm Ideo, makes a simple point in this Guardian essay that is too often missed in the debates about housing affordability: if you want social justice, “build a lot more housing.”
Steffen, a native of San Francisco and its insane housing market, argues that to make housing affordable again, “‘we need to catch up to decades worth of unmet demand.” To achieve that goal, we’ll have to change how we build cities.
Who wins? Steffen sees a growing constituency for this approach among the young. “Young people tend to understand that new housing, well-built, can be a tremendous force for positive transformation.”
Add in good design, and new housing can not only hold down housing costs, it can “help grow new, people-centred streets, incares use of bikes and transit and promote healthier and more active lives.”
Now about that “planetary futurist” job – where do I apply?
February 16, 2014
Agreement between Vancouver Coastal Health, disabilities advocates opens door to new Pearson lands policy
A new agreement worked out in several days of hectic talks between Vancouver Coastal Health and disabilities advocates, including the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities, may have opened the door to council approval of a new development policy for the Pearson lands.
The new language has also been endorsed the city’s Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities, according to committee chair Jill Weiss.
Just two weeks ago, council was rivetted by the submissions of a score of disabilities advocates who were determined to insure that no institutional facilities were included in housing options on the redeveloped Pearson site at 57th and Cambie. Council unanimously voted to send the report back to staff for further talks with Vancouver Coastal Health.
A new agreement was achieved, says Brian Jackson, general manager of planning and development services, and will be put before council this week. If passed by council, the new policy statement will mark a significant victory for disabilities advocates.
February 3, 2014
More than half of American renters are now paying more than 30 percent of their income for rent, according to a new Harvard study, a problem that researchers say is as much a “low income” problem as it is a “high rent” problem.
Their conclusion: the rental affordability crisis can’t be fixed on a city-by-city basis. They need a national housing strategy in the United States, just as we do here, and action to raise or protect incomes.
What can cities do? In Vancouver, we’re trying to increase the supply of rentals that are affordable for middle income families: a practical strategy, within city means, but by no means a complete solution.
December 10, 2013
A recent Tyee forum called Generation Rent featured four renters telling their real-life housing market stories. All four would support increased density, with some qualifications, to generate more rental housing; none seemed aware of Vancouver’s increasingly successful efforts to add hundreds of new units to rental stock.
In today’s Tyee: my summary of what Vancouver is doing for renters and how other municipalities are following suit.
November 28, 2013