Affordable housing and urban design

Last Fall, in my capacity as a member of the Vancouver City Planning Commission, I helped organize a conference on affordable housing from a longer-term urban planning perspective. The final report is now available here. It features a summary of what happened at the conference, written by yours truly, but also contains lots of great visuals that were developed and used during the conference as “brain candy”.

We tried to be strategic by bringing together planners, architects, NGOs, developers and the general public, and situating our discussion in the context of the Mayor of Vancouver’s EcoDensity plan (we even invited the Mayor to come and open the conference). I’m proud of the result. It is not particularly radical, though the report calls for a review of the City’s $2 billion Property Endowment Fund and how it might be put to work for affordable housing purposes. I’m guessing that the powers that be on City Council must have thought this a step too far, as I was recently bounced from the Planning Commission (not re-appointed, that is). Ah, politics … As I like to say, I love policy but I hate politics.

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