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.”