Presentation on theme: "Affordable Housing and a Bit More on Jobs. Please come to the student presentations on Friday in Building 356, Room 109 at 12:30. A book I highly recommend."— Presentation transcript:
Affordable Housing and a Bit More on Jobs
Please come to the student presentations on Friday in Building 356, Room 109 at 12:30. A book I highly recommend is Common Ground in a Liquid City: Essays in Defense of an Urban Future by Matt Hern. The library has it in both hard copy and e-format. I talked to Laura-Jean Kelly again from Horticulture about the possible charrette on the China Steps area of downtown. Rather than making it a third class assignment, I think I would like to offer doing some background research for it as an option for extra credit. This could include surveying business owners in the vicinity, users, and others, and possibly doing some research on optimal charrette formats.
Condon offers 6 rules for changing the relationship of jobs and land use: Dont assume new jobs will smell Discourage land-inefficient job sites (e.g. single-storey industrial parks) Integrate jobs into streetcar arterials Wherever possible fit jobs into existing blocks Dont place ones hopes on one mega- employer Redevelop strip commercial, when under- used, into a location for jobs.
Residential land uses consume between 70 and 85 percent of all developed North American metropolitan lands (p. 96). Low-density single-home districts are ecologically costly in two ways: they make people drive further and their lack of shared walls ensure that their energy consumption per unit is higher – more than twice low-rise multi-family dwellings. House sizes have expanded drama- tically (162% from 1970 to 2005) while household sizes have shrunken. Its not uncommon for 1 or 2 people to occupy a 3 or 4-bedroom house.
The tower is not necessarily the most energy-efficient alternative to single- family homes. They lose heat to winds, their glass sheathing allows heat to penetrate in the summer and cold to penetrate in the winter, and their construction materials involve more embodied energy. According to Condon, the most GHG- efficient dwellings are medium to high-density low-rise structures between 20 and 65 dwelling units per acre. The trend in Vancouver is to build more of these and more towers because of the high cost of land.
Table 1: Density for Various Building Forms Dwelling Type Gross Density Low Density Single detached on: 60 lots 50 lots 40 lots 5-8 upa 5 upa 6 upa 8 upa Medium Density Small Singles on 30 lots Semi-detached on 30 lots Semi-detached on 27 lots Interlots Quattroplex Uniquattros Street Townhouses Courtyard Townhouses upa 11 upa 11 upa 12 upa 14 upa 15 upa 16 upa 15 upa 18 upa High Density Stacked Townhouses Walk-up Apartments Low-rise Apartments Four to eight storey Eight + storeys 20+ upa upa upa upa upa 80+ upa Depending on the size of the development area, higher levels Table 1: Density for Various Building Forms Depending on the size of the development area, higher levels (source: CMHC)
Zoning has been used, Condon notes, as a tool for segregating populations by income. Except in exclusive neighbourhoods like Shaughnessy, this kind of uniformity was far less common in the period before WW II. In addition, the poor were often herded into housing projects such as Pruitt-Igoe (St. Louis) or Regent Park (Toronto). These replaced functional neighbourhoods.
Introducing density into existing low-density neighbour- hoods – e.g. duplexes and townhouses (not fool-proof) Converting single-family homes to multiple dwelling units (easier when there is an economic incentive) Imposing a fixed percentage of affordable units – sometimes called inclusionary zoning. In Concord Pacific, they had to donate 20% of the land for housing (to be funded by senior levels of government – ha ha!). In the U.S., developers are often forced to build the units themselves. In the South False Creek neighbourhood where I live part-time, the City owned the land and mandated that it would be one-third upper income, one-third medium income, and one-third lower income, with the different structures intermixed, which they are. This was supposed to be the pattern for Southeast False Creek, but it was axed by a subsequent right-wing Council.
According to Wikipedia, [m]ore than 200 communities in the United States have some sort of inclusionary zoning provision. Montgomery County, Maryland, is often held to be a pioneer in establishing inclusionary zoning policies. It is the sixth wealthiest county in the United States, yet it has built more than 10,000 units of affordable housing since 1974, many units door-to-door with market-rate housing. All municipalities in the state of Massachusetts are subject to that state's General Laws Chapter 40B, which allows developers to bypass certain municipal zoning restrictions in those munici- palities which have fewer than the statutorily defined 10% affordable housing units. Developers taking advantage of… 40B must construct 20% affordable units as defined under the statute. All municipalities in the state of New Jersey are subject to judicially imposed inclusionary zoning as a result of the New Jersey Supreme Courts Mount Laurel Decision and subsequent acts of the New Jersey state legislature.
In 2007, Smart Growth BC published a Review of Best Practices in Affordable Housing (see ). In that report, they review a number policies, programs and strategies, including inclusionary zoning density bonusing rent control resale price restrictions secondary suite policy rental housing banks, and housing funds, etc. In addition, they also talk about the value of co-ops, co-housing, and community land trusts.
Other possible measures include: a speculation tax (In the case of the U.S.) disallowing tax credits on second and third homes rent vouchers disallowing conversion of rental to condo, or conversion of multi-suite single-family to single-family Can you think of other possible measures? As Matt Hern writes, The market puts us in a Faustian bargain: almost any attempt to beautiful improve, develop, or embolden a community inevitably means it will price out its most vulnerable citizens and under- mine all that good work. The irony, as he points out, is that the Sunnyside neighbourhood in Portland where City Repair has done so much good work is now longer affordable for the activists!
GENTRIFICATION OF OLDER, FUNKY NEIGHBOURHOODS
Its also important to distinguish between affordable housing and social housing. The latter is purpose-built housing for people on social assistance. Both the federal and provincial governments essentially pulled out of social housing in the early 1990s, though the glare of the Olympics forced the province to create some temporary shelters and to renovate some single- room occupancy (SRO) hotels run by non-profit agencies. The 252 units of social housing promised for the Olympic Village (after the 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 ratio was abandoned) were axed and turned into 126 market rentals, and 126 below-market rentals, some being supplied by a new co-op.
There are a number of obstacles to achieving more affordable housing, apart from rampant real estate speculation and frenzied market conditions. These include: a reluctance to interfere with property rights lack of political will lack of senior government financial support lack of appropriate fiscal instruments at the municipal level, and NIMBYism (resistance to change in existing neighbourhoods). What was your reaction to the two articles by Mark Hasiuk? Racism and xenophobia or suggesting that foreigners of any ethnicity should not be able to distort a housing market beyond its tipping point?