The City of Vancouver recognized thirteen entries from a competition launched in May.
The designs set out a variety of plans to increase density while dropping real estate prices, from building long houses in lanes to constructing bridges of housing atop existing buildings.
Christina DeMarco’s Thin Streets concept, which pitches narrowing streets and adding row units, took home an award.
“I came up with the idea by cycling to work across the city every day and I realized there was a lot of under-used road space in the city,” she said. “There’s still enough room for a sidewalk, a road, and street trees.”
“UBC student Andrew Neuman won an award for his shared equity concept, which divides properties and adds housing where residents would buy shares in co-ownership.
Neuman says it could reduce the price of a dwelling on a $1-million lot to as little as $100,000.
“So it brings down the cost of housing through sub-division and shared equity.”
Neuman said the issue of affordability in Vancouver hits close to home.
“Unless something like this sorta comes about, I will not be able to afford to live here,” he said.
“I’ve been an architect student … my wife is a teacher. We have three kids and on those salaries alone, based on … the cost of housing in the neighbourhoods that we’re currently living in, in a small basement, we won’t ever be able to afford to buy anything like that or move up in that way.”
– from ‘Vancouver eyes new affordable housing ideas’, CBC, 31 Jul 2012
[hat-tip Jeff Murdock]
Let’s not forget that we’re still near the peak of a speculative mania in housing prices, and that most current ‘increase density’ plans also have the effect of maintaining the high relative cost of housing; they amount to “pay a bit less; get a lot less” plans.