That is all good ideas Michael. I like them because they focus more on ownership affordability than rental affordability, and to me the former is the real issue.PS: I have read the Bulablog, and will try to join your guys at the event.
Brilliant list, I hope a lot of people down at City Hall are paying attention. I agree with voony, it's really important that these solutions focus on the ownership side. That's the issue that is really holding back the future for a lot of people in Vancouver.
Generally good ideas Michael, but one question: here you advocate lowering parking requirements, but you have also called said at times there are not enough parking spots for laneway houses. Wouldn't lowering parking requirements in laneway houses also help make those expensive units more affordable? And while I don't mean to take away from Voony's points, while affordable ownership is great, so is affordable rental: it's all important. This focuses more on the ownership side, as he said, but we need ideas for stable, long-term rental, too.
Anonymous, the reason I argued for parking spaces for laneway units is that I was concerned that with the potential for 3 units on one 33' lot; the principal dwelling, basement suite and laneway unit, and only one parking space (which might be converted to living space), neighbourhoods would rebel and kill the program. Time will tell if this concern was valid.As for other parking standards, I do advocate that 'minimum requirements' become 'maximum requiements'. However, I do support the need for more visitor parking as resident requirements are lowered.And yes, we need to provide affordable rental housing too. But at a certain point, it makes more sense to own, rather than rent, especially if down payment requirements can be met.
Anonymous, I think creating more options for home ownership will in the long run provide real relief for renters. Those who might like to own will exit the rental market. More units overall will reduce the upward pressure on rents. Undoubtedly many of these new units will be owned by investors, hopefully many of whom will be local residents (ie basement suites, second homes) that rent them out.It seems to me that short term programs should be focused more on the rental side, while the long term affordable housing program should focus on the ownership side.
The Thought of The Day"I think Housing Affordability is a Case of Greed. If we could only tell, to all the people, in the whole world, that they are here temporarily, and... that they take nothing with them... when they go."Adding to your comprehensive, and well thought out List, Michael:Housing Affordability Recipe --> Add Educated People, with Local Jobs, that Pays Well & are Secure... Instead of Rich Foreigners with No English & No Plans to Stay! Stop Politicizing & Reduce Bureaucracy At City Hall. Cut Through the Fee & Approval Process Maze.Mix them all together, let them rest for a while, then bake in the oven for a couple of years. When nicely done, take them out. Let it cool & serve!Enjoy!See? Who Needs a... Task Force? Ok, ok, ok, I know it's not that simple, because if it was, would have made us look almost... human!:-)We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.
These ideas for promoting mostly home ownership are what young families need, especially in Metro Vancouver. I will send this site to a number of local politicians who like the idea of smaller homes on smaller lots, but who are not in a majority on council (yet). Also, here's my Youtube contribution to the smaller homes on smaller lots movement: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRv69nyf4-4 --Keep up the great work, Michael!
Why start with church parking lots? Why not start with mega malls, big pharmaceutical companies and factories that pollute?
I agree that all parking lots are candidates for redevelopment, but I srarted with churches since it's Christmas! MAG
These are all excellent ideas! The focus on affordable ownership is refreshing--I recall being very excited about laneway housing until it became clear they were intended for rental. Regarding parking, I think flexibility is key and in some neighborhoods it could be a non-issue. My low-rise building has zero parking spots per unit, presenting no challenge to us here in Gastown. Down in Fraserview, it might not work out so well.
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It appears that no one wants to address the issue of unaffordability as it relates to uncontrolled speculation by non-reidents in multiple houses in and around Vancouver. Our city is fast becoming a real estate warehouse for the very rich who have decided that a political jurisdiction that puts no boundaries on off shore ownership is an open invitation to store wealth in homes that are in many cases left empty. My street is not only unaffordable to most people who earn a living working in Vancouver, it is also virtually empty. There is no community in a warehouse. Whereas it is certainly attactive to think that smaller in-fill housing solves many problems, creative architecture and innovative zoning, does not address the nub of our particular predicament.
Throughout Vancouver, small, older homes, many perfectly sound, are being demolished to built larger homes to the maximum size allowed. The value of the land on which these small units exist is determined by their potential for development. If City Council stopped demolition of sound homes, this potential would disappear, and the homes would sell for less. I think getting a demolition permit for a sound home should be much harder!
Thanks Michael for these nice and "affordable" ideas. As so many new immigrants, I also dream to have my own home here, something that nowadays sounds really hard to achieve in Van.Merry Christmas!
December 18thDear Michael, Thanks for your terrific ideas. I am hopeful, like you, that they can become actualities, and not only wishes. I would be interested to hear your opinion of another concept I have read about: that of (some) condos being built with an attached, fully self-contained 2nd suite (a la hotel suites attached via a lockable double door) so that the owner could live in one suite and rent out the other as a legal mortgage helper (or for use as a nanny suite or in-law suite/granny flat) or choose to use both units as their dwelling space if they prefer. I can only think this is not being done here due to zoning permits?... and/or bank mortgage allowances/practises?... and/or perhaps because it is not the highest and best use of land/space and thus is not favoured by developers. Any thoughts? Happy holidays ...and happy (affordable) home ownership in 2012and beyond!My best to you, Sally, and your family.--Steph Nicolls
To Steph Nicolls,The City of North Vancouver has actually discussed this option. I'm not sure where it sits in their processes, but it has been discussed on several occasions in council chambers.
Thanks to all for your comments. Stephanie, if you check out the tenth day of christmas, you'll see an illustration of what you're suggesting. It's been built at SFU and Vancouver has amended some zoning bylaws to allow it to happen here...but I'm not yet aware of anyone following up.
Of course in several municipalities in Metro Vancouver since 2003 parking requirements in developments have best been minimized by providing carsharing with shared access in the development - through Modo! Each carsharing vehicle happily serves about 16-30 people with driver's licences, making buying a home more affordable since car payments/purchases are not needed.
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