Alex Bozikovic writes in the Globe and Mail on housing: the hot topic now firmly entrenched at the top of the issues list in Vancouver’s civic election. [Ed: the article may be paywalled]. It’s a terrific primer on the issue itself and on the political movement it has spawned among younger people in the city’s upcoming October civic election.
Mr. Bozikovic starts by discussing the ideas of Daniel Oleksiuk and Abundant Housing Vancouver.
The brutal realities of Vancouver real estate are leading many young locals to think about these issues in a systemic way. And their central argument is powerful, once you understand it: That zoning, a form of municipal policy, protects expensive houses and forbids apartments that middle-class people can afford.
“We are a non-partisan group,” he said of AHV. “Arguing for more housing is something that seems to cross party lines.”
The ideas behind the issue are zoning, density and exclusion. Coalescing around this issue is an emerging fresh young cohort of proto-pols looking for council nominations, since this is where some of the levers of power reside. This includes the NPA, who have in the past seemed to represent only the very people opposed to up-zoning. Talk about party lines crossed, generations divided and, one presumes, lively back-room discussions.
Bozikovic quotes Bruce Haden, of Urbanarium who hosted a recent Missing Middle Competition:
“Touching single-family house zones was until recently the third rail of municipal politics,” he told me in an e-mail. “I believe that those who are fearful of those neighbourhoods changing are now outnumbered by residents who are fearful of those neighbourhoods not changing, as they realized they may have to drive three hours to see their grandkids.
“Maybe people have figured out that being rich, old and alone on an empty street is not the most fun way to live.”