Penny Gurstein on a City-Wide Plan

Friday’s Vancouver Sun featured an op-ed by Penny Gurstein, one of the co-principle investigators of the Housing Justice Project.  In it, she emphasizes Vancouver’s need for a city-wide plan to manage growth in the city.  Unlike other municipalities, Vancouver is not mandated to have an official community plan.  The absence of such a plan, argues Gurstein, has led to piecemeal rezonings, uncertainty in the planning process, and a lack of focus on creating a just city.  Vancouver’s success was built upon creative public engagement processes such as City Plan, now over twenty years old.  “A city-wide plan could be the start of a much needed dialogue on what such a just community would entail, and how planning could address the equitable and sustainable allocation of resources and growth within our city, and beyond its boundaries.”

Read the full article here: The Vancouver Sun

This Week in Housing News: Vancouver Loses Development Court Case

Emery Barnes Park land swap with developer, City of Vancouver thrown out by courts

In a high-profile decision, the BC Supreme Court ruled that the City of Vancouver did not adequately inform the public regarding a land swap deal which would have resulted in the creation of social housing units in Yaletown.  The full decision can be found here.  (CBC)


Micro-condos promoted as ‘affordable luxury’

How small are you willing to go for affordability?  A new style of micro-condo units in a concrete tower in Surrey are being marketed as an affordable way for buyers to enter the housing market.  The units feature unique space-saving strategies like fold-out beds and smaller appliances.  (CBC)


What’s so smart about unaffordable housing?

Is there a trade-off between dense, “smart” cities and affordability?  The recent Demographia survey ranking Vancouver as the second most unaffordable housing market in the world suggests that anti-sprawl measures such as the Agricultural Land Reserve are driving up prices, to the detriment of livability and young people.  (Globe & Mail)

Upcoming Events: Jim Green Memorial Lecture & Tom Burrows Exhibit

Jim Green Memorial Lecture

Margot Young will be speaking on a panel about building a legacy of social housing in Vancouver, as part of an event commemorating former Vancouver City Councillor Jim Green.  The event will take place at SFU Woodwards on February 26, at 7:00pm.  The panel will be hosted by City Councillor Geoff Meggs, and will feature three other housing experts.  (SFU)


Conversations: Tom Burrows Exhibit

On January 29 and February 27, 2015, 1-2 pm, UBC’s Belkin Art Gallery will be hosting a dialogue around the Tom Burrows exhibit.  Margot Young will be speaking on February 27, on “Contested landscapes / Forms of justice and activism,” along with a professor from the UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.  (Belkin Art Gallery)

This Week in Housing News: Margot Young’s CTV Interview and Cheap Mansion Living

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Margot Young: Affordable Housing in Vancouver on CTV

Housing Justice Project principle co-investigator Margot Young was interviewed on CTV Vancouver regarding Demographia’s recent survey ranking Vancouver the second most unaffordable housing market in the world again, after Hong Kong.  Vancouver’s affordability situation is especially dire due to a disconnect between low local wages, and high housing costs.  (CTV)


Low-Rent Mansion Living? In Vancouver? Really?

Vancouver’s housing crisis has forced those seeking housing to find creative ways of entering the market.  So, why not get your group of friends, pool your resources, and live together in a mansion?  The Tyee profiles one group of friends living in a $5 million mansion overlooking the Fraser River,  complete with six bedrooms.  (The Tyee)

Ransford: Single-family zones could solve shortage

One of the potential pieces of the puzzle to achieving more affordable housing in Vancouver, says Bob Ransford in the Vancouver Sun, may be to reconsider the role of single family-zoned residential neighbourhoods, RS-1.  Could streamlining the reclassification of traditional single family residential neighbourhoods allow the City to densify its largest lots? (Vancouver Sun)