Emily Badger writes in the Washington Post about a problem that is not (gasp) confined to Vancouver.  She has invited a group of academics, activists and planners (wonks all) to the discussion.

This question — how do we make room in highly desirable cities for everyone — gets at a defining problem of our times. And even experts (economists, sociologists and land-use scholars) don’t agree on the best answer. So we asked several of them to hash out the debate further for us here: What happens to housing affordability when we build more housing that’s not subsidized? Do the laws of supply and demand really apply here?



  1. The first thing that hits me whenever I read about housing affordability in places like Seattle and San Francisco is that the cause is already agreed upon. Their job market is exploding with thousands of young, highly educated, highly paid, tech workers flooding into their cities. And, they worry that workers in lower paying industries can’t afford homes.
    In Vancouver, we can’t yet agree on what’s causing prices to skyrocket. There’s no job explosion going on, and we worry that workers in every industry can’t afford homes.
    It’d be great to hear about a solution for the US cities. But, I wonder if it would even
    be applicable at all to our situation here. We’re probably more similar to the Turks and Caicos.

    1. Resort economies like Whistler had put in programs to ensure their workers have housing … thats a good solution, given as you suggest, Vancouver has a resort economy!
      Places of international money laundering like the Channel Islands also have strong protections for who can buy property for the same reasons.
      If we can start looking at the the economies which Vancouver IS similar to (as you suggest, there are dissimilarities between Van and SF also), there are plenty of models to address the issue … assuming a will to do so.

    2. The economy is doing quite well in BC and Metro Van specifically. Lots of jobs being created and tens of thousands of people moving here. Pretty obviously we need more homes in multi story buildings.

  2. Some “…academics, activists and planners…” should take the bus out to Surrey and Langley and ask some of those weekend buyers of townhouses why they’re not buying in Vancouver. Years of research could be accomplished on one trip.
    Maybe they can’t find new townhouses in Strathcona or Hastings Sunrise, or Mt Pleasant, or Willingdon Heights, or even Renfrew Collingwood, or Kensington Cedar Cottage, or even Victoria Fraserview.

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