This Week in Housing News: From Laneways to Census Data

Vancouver’s housing market was a focus of several news stories this week.  We can expect more in the coming weeks, as housing continues to be a pressing issue in the upcoming civic elections.  Check out the full stories below:

Laneway homes are Vancouver’s past, and future

Vancouver ‘s laneway homes are more than just a newly growing trend.  Read about the history of laneway homes dating all the way back to the Victorian era, when land owners short on money tried to maximize the use of their lots.  (The Globe & Mail)


Vancouver’s real estate boom: The rising price of ‘heaven’

There’s no question that Vancouver continue to experience a real estate boom in response to high demand from wealthy overseas investors.  This article discusses the unaffordability crisis that has resulted from the uncoupling of housing prices from local incomes, including plenty of data illustrating how the cost of housing has increased over time.  The authors also address the racial tensions present in discussions on this issue.  (The Globe & Mail: Report on Business)


Metro residents up in arms over high-density developments

Increasing density may be a necessary part of increasing the supply of housing in Metro Vancouver.  However, attempts by municipalities to do so have often faced public opposition, with many residents saying that the proposals are to extreme, and lacked public consultation.  Talking to both city officials and community leaders, the author also presents some densification success stories, such as Newport Village in Port Moody and Hastings Street in Burnaby’s Heights neighbourhood.  (The Vancouver Sun)


Eye-opening research stopped in its tracks

In this editorial, Carol Goar illustrates the concrete impact of the Harper government’s decision to scrap the long-form census by profiling David Hulchanski and his now-ineffective research on mapping urban poverty.  By looking at data from each census tract, Hulchanski was able to map out where people were experiencing poverty in Toronto, and thus where services should be located to be most helpful.  However, without reliable census data going forward, it has become impossible to collect this information, effectively freezing the insightful research.  The article also includes a link to research for Vancouver, applying the same methodology, written by Hulchanski with UBC Professor of Social Geography, David Ley.  (The Toronto Star)