Vancouver Needs “Housing Strategy Reset:" City

March 29, 2017

Vancouver City Hal

City’s record housing supply is not creating housing for “missing middle,” says report debated at City Hall this week

Vancouver is seeing record home-building numbers but that is not solving the housing affordability problems because it is not the kind of housing that people need, according to Vancouver Housing & Homelessness Strategy Reset – Emerging Directions, a report discussed by council this week.

The report said that the “business as usual development pattern will not supply the housing needed” and that “Vancouver’s economic prosperity, neighbourhood diversity, and livability are all at risk… Employers cannot attract and retain new employees.

It added that, “More supply is needed, [and] municipalities need to improve approval times for affordable housing.”

But the report emphasized that such supply needed to specifically cater for the “missing middle” – middle-class, average-income-earning residents and families who are unable to get into home ownership, or even afford adequate rental housing for their needs. It added that affordability was not just about housing, with utilities, food, clothing and transit also expensive.

The report recommends that not only should supply be increased further, but also that half of the current supply of one-bedroom units should be larger units to better serve families.

The city has created a video about how it is planning to address housing needs.

Also in council this week, a report calling for better, and more, public spaces in downtown Vancouver was presented and discussed.

Downtown Places & Spaces Strategy said that there is currently “no comprehensive public space and public life strategy for the downtown” and that this was needed in the face of significant growth in the city and high community expectations for public spaces.

Among the new downtown public spaces being proposed is an alley between Hastings and Seymour Street that may be transformed into a welcoming public space with bright paintwork, chairs and tables, and basketball hoops – described as the “Alley-Oop commercial laneway activation.” 

Downtown Vancouver Hastings Alley Public Space
An alley between Hastings and Seymour Street may be transformed into a public space with bright paintwork, chairs and tables, and basketball hoops – described as the “Alley-Oop commercial laneway activation

Joannah Connolly is editorial director of Glacier Real Estate, Glacier Media's real estate division. Joannah writes and curates real estate news for Glacier Media's local newspaper websites, including the Vancouver Courier, North Shore News, Burnaby Now, Tri-City News and others. She also oversees editorial content in Real Estate Weekly Homes, West Coast Condo, Western Investor and Glacier's special real estate publications. A dual Canadian-British citizen, Joannah has 22 years of journalism and editing experience in Vancouver and London, with a background in construction, architecture, healthcare and business media. Joannah has appeared on major local TV outlets as a real estate commentator, has moderated and spoken on various industry panels, and spent two years hosting the Real Estate Therapist radio show on Roundhouse Radio.
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