Pseudonymous housing wonk YVRYIMBY (Vancouver, Yes In My Back Yard) has created a wonderfully simple yet powerful, data-driven graphical view of Vancouver and its housing crisis.
Consider it a required backgrounder to the premise that land locked up in exclusionary, low-density zoning inflates the cost of land in higher-density zoned areas, due to scarcity. Rezoning more land for higher density should reduce land cost per built square foot and, secondarily, reduce the demolition of existing rental stock.
Needless to say, these ideas attract varying opinion. Sort of like bike lanes did in the bad, primitive olden days.
100 people per year.
That's all that neighbourhoods comprising 25% of Vancouver's land area have been allowed to welcome over the last 25 years.
Ask your election candidate why these neighbourhoods are off limits to ordinary people. pic.twitter.com/cci63OZdrz
— YVRYIMBY (@yvryimby) April 4, 2018
YVRYimby has a longish thread, further discussing the ideas which follow from the data:
If you‘re thinking abt affordability, this is only land price you should focus on.
People live in floorspace not land!
It’s very important for affordability that land cost/sqft floor go down, but raw land cost only matters to farmers and duchy buyers.
— YVRYIMBY (@yvryimby) June 16, 2018
It’s necessary context in the face of the October 2018 civic election, as candidates transition from the “who’s nominated, who’s really running” phase, to the “here’s my platform” phase*, and finally to the “my opponent and their platform is <insert snark and expletives here/>” phase.
Will housing remain the big topic? Will density become untouchable, a poisoned lightning rod attached to the political third rail?
Will the wealthy’s save-the-mansion-zone spinmeisters succeed?
Will tomorrow’s earnest reformers win council and save the day?
*with thanks to Justin McElroy at CBC.ca.