Councillor George Affleck responded on Facebook to this post asking whether more supply can address afforability. Here’s his comment:
We must start by developing policies and managing the city so developers are encouraged to build homes versus commodities. (And by developer I don’t mean the big guys – let’s spread the net to include co-housing groups, co-op groups, churches, individuals etc.) Several city reports have pointed out that towers are not providing the “units” that will be occupied or affordable. But row houses and town houses could be … (affordable being relative these days).
Yet we have done very little to fast track, encourage, promote, change regulation policies or bylaws to build more of the homes staff keep saying locals want and will live in. Extracting the possibilities City Plan set up 20+ years ago would be a good place to start. (Your take on this would be good, Gordon Price *).
I will say I am impressed with City planning GM Gill Kelly’s thoughtfulness on the subtleties of developing Vancouver. I encourage everyone to read his report from Council yesterday.
Hope that helps…for now.
*From Gord Price:
Two thoughts on CityPlan, conducted in the 1990s over several years when I was on Council:
CityPlan focused on the existing neighbourhoods, primarily single-family, while growth was being concentrated in the megaprojects: comprehensively designed and zoned brownfield sites over 50 acres. Six of them were occurring simultaneously: Concord Pacific, Coal Harbour, Bayshore, Collingwood Village, Arbutus Gardens and Fraser Lands. In addition, we also rezoned Downtown South and Triangle West on the peninsula. Thousands of units could pour into the market every year at the height of development.
Therefore, we could take a slow, incremental approach to growth in the low-density, developed parts of the city since there was plenty of capacity to handle demand elsewhere – notably on parcels requiring little demolition or displacement of existing housing and rental stock, and away from neighbourhood groups which would contest any significant change in scale or character.
CityPlan never really entertained significant new capacity. The neighbourhood visions that resulted were modest, with growth concentrated on arterials and neighbourhood centres – and even some of those were contested, notably in Norquay, when actual zoning was proposed. Today, those visions are often used in defense of the status quo.
If there was a failure, it was the lack of immediate follow-through from the visions to actual changes in the zoning that reflected them. The process was way too slow, and then subsequently displaced by Sam Sullivan’s policy of EcoDensity.
Nor did CityPlan allow for the amount of ‘missing middle’ development that George noted above. If it had, it might have made a difference.
But, even so, we never imagined the consequence of the flows of global capital and external demand for our favoured housing stock that the city and region have experienced in the last few years. I’m not sure anyone could have – or what they would have done about it.