(NOTE: THIS PAGE IS STILL BEING WRITTEN & EDITED -- A WORK IN PROGRESS) Here are some of my ideas to deal with housing & livability:
move towards a "Vienna model" where large percentage of city housing is non-market -- use vacant city land to build coops and other non-market housing solutions
immediately start to build modular housing on city land (it can be easily moved elsewhere as permits and financing are secured for more permanent non-market dwellings)
can containers be placed side-by-side to create 2- & 3-bedroom units, or do they all have to be studios?
how to fund this?
options to explore:
a tax on speculative financial transactions, like investment property flipping, which goes into a "bank" to build new non-market housing
higher property taxes for those who are not paying local income tax
can city have a regional wealth tax? (sales tax on cars over $100,000, luxury consumer goods, etc.?)
rent tied to unit, not to tenant? (still need to explore potential consequences...)
reduce building permit wait times, especially for homeowners who want to build rental suites in their own homes
interest-free or low-interest loans to help homeowners renovate to comply with permitting and bylaws (smoke detectors, egress, etc.)
require developers to build/fund classroom space at local schools when building 2+ bedroom homes to avoid Olympic Village/Yaletown-style classroom space issues in future
more building inspections to ensure safety & quality standards of new construction
encourage home retrofitting to upgrade and adapt to 21st century climate (construction jobs, lower energy costs = win-win)
in social safety net, if you want strength you need to fund the "knots"
services/needs converge in certain spaces, like hospitals and schools
put social/medical/legal/mental health supports where they are likely to impact the greatest number of people
city has key role to play in the provision of these supports, even though funding mostly comes from province
Vancouver housing is a depressing topic. Rents and property values have soared far beyond the reach of most people trying to eke out a living in this city. The irony of huge single family homes sitting vacant while thousands upon thousands of us are homeless and/or housing insecure is impossible to ignore. Neighbourhood businesses are closing down due to loss of customers as neighbourhoods hollow out, staffing challenges as employees move to other cities where rents are more affordable, or rising business costs due to soaring property values. Vancouver is not alone in its diminishing stock of affordable housing. Around the world, late-stage global capitalism has resulted in wealthy investors who view property as a stable investment driving up home prices until they are unaffordable for local people. The difference is that in cities like London, New York, and San Francisco, many more people earn high enough incomes to offset the rising costs. And even though housing is the issue on everyone's lips this election, there are many other factors to consider in what makes a city liveable. Why are developers able to add thousands of units of new housing, many of them meant for school-aged children, without a requirement to fund additional facility space and adequate staffing at the local schools? What will Vancouver look like in the year 2070? We are already seeing stronger storms, changing ocean currents, and rising sea levels. Will our civic infrastructure--our schools and hospitals, parks, sewers, roads and transit infrastructure, and electrical grids--still be standing strong?