Ah, Look At All The Lonely People – “With Vancouver’s sky-high housing prices, problems around affordability are creating resentment. There are a lot of people that just don’t feel welcome here.”

Vancouver may seem like a paradise, but behind the polite smiles, there’s evidence of loneliness, deep resentment and racial tension among some citizens.
Armed with these findings from two years of research by the Vancouver Foundation, Vision Vancouver Coun. Andrea Reimer is proposing to create an Engaged City Mayor’s Task Force. The 16-member force would devise plans to foster better relationships between citizens, and encourage broader participation in local government.
After surveying 3,841 people from more than 80 ethnic groups this year, the Vancouver Foundation found that one-third find it difficult to make friends in the city, and a quarter are lonely.
Many of the lonely people tend to be those living in high-density housing, and young adults who aren’t yet embedded in careers, Reimer said.
“There are a lot of people that just don’t feel welcome here,” she said.
With Vancouver’s sky-high housing prices, problems around affordability are creating resentment.
Over 60 per cent of residents aged 25 to 34 see Vancouver as “a resort for the wealthy,” with “too much foreign ownership,” according to the survey.
Frustration around housing is leading many to incorrectly place the blame on foreign owners from Asia, according to Reimer.
“There is a strong tension around race,” Reimer said. “We have to get ahead of that.”
Reimer said the task force would be composed of 16 volunteers from diverse backgrounds — half renters and half owners would be one division — and a likely focus of planning would involve encouraging neighbourhoods to get more involved in tapping into existing infrastructure budgets. The idea is to create public spaces “more aligned with what the community wants.”

– from ‘Lonely city: Vancouverites isolated, resentful; city council seeks answers’, The Province, 25 Sep 2012 [hat-tip joe_blown_away_by_high_housing_costs and others]

24 responses to “Ah, Look At All The Lonely People – “With Vancouver’s sky-high housing prices, problems around affordability are creating resentment. There are a lot of people that just don’t feel welcome here.”

  1. SkinnyStreets™. There! Fixed it.

  2. Not to worry, Vancouver’s overpriced real estate will soon be remedied, and once this takes place the discontented people will be the formerly house rich. They will become very familar with the new term which describes them known as “Underwater.”

  3. “Many of the lonely people tend to be those living in high-density housing”

    Truth. While I despise basement suites for a multitude of reasons, from what I’ve seen they provide one of the better ways of solving some of the problems Reimer is attempting to solve.

    I agree with one of the comments on the previous post about “foreign ownership”. It’s ultimately a wealth and civic contribution issue, something quite frankly Reimer needs to think more about than brushing it off as “race”. In my view there need to be tangible, disproportionate, and transparent rewards for civic engagement.

  4. Move. Duh.

    Of course, they’ve probably drank the BPOE Kool-aid already. Too bad for them.

  5. don’t feel too bad, same thing happening in HongKong

    “Tao Dong, Chief Regional Economist for Non-Japan Asia at Credit Suisse, believes Hong Kong housing market has turned into a crazy condition as property rentals keep surging, and he has just sold his own property. He believes property prices won’t go up for long term, but they won’t see any slump either.

    “It is understandable that liquidity moves to property market due to capital restriction in China, Tao said, and hot money is still circulating in the country. Tao stays on sidelines over the housing policy in China, as real estate remains an important sector that backs the Chinese economy. He expects property prices to make correction in long term.

  6. is the solution to Vancouver’s real estate problem the same as Hong Kong… an easing of Capital restriction in China?

  7. I’ve lived in a number of Canadian cities, including red-neck central a.k.a. Calgary (which isn’t nearly as right wing as people like to say it is despite the zombie voting for conservatives.) I have never seen such open as well as subtly polite racism as I’ve seen in Vancouver. There’s obviously a love-hate relationship here in Vancouver towards the Chinese. They bring in money and drive up real estate prices so that the real estate industry flourishes and current home owners are happy, but at the same time Vancouverites resent them because they drive up prices on everything else and prevent new buyers from purchasing cheap real estate like their parents did. This is accompanied by a blindness towards speculation on real estate amongst established Canadians and a recognition that it is established Vancouverites’ greed that is destroying the city they so totally like to call “The Best Place On Earth.”

    … but it’s always easier to blame it on someone else who isn’t from your home town/province/country than it is to take a good hard look at the problems you yourself have created.

    The elitism, racism and exceptionalism I’ve seen in Vancouver makes the Fracophone shit-disturbers in Quebec look comparatively civil and moderate.

    • @Snord you say ” prevent new buyers from purchasing cheap real estate like their parents did”

      Buying real estate cheap is not the issue; fairly priced real estate is. By fairly price I mean prices that can be backed up by long established fundamentals such as price:rent or multiples of average family income.

      An average family making average income should be able to afford an average home, this is not true in Vancouver and it i as real problem for many people.

      • I agree it is a real problem, but an average family may never be able to afford the average home again in Vancouver. Even if prices decline a great deal, it will be beyond what most families can afford.

      • Translation: “buy now or be priced out forever”. Please.

      • Cranston Snord

        I think I’ve been living in Vancouver too long when I unconsciously equate “cheap” with “prices that can be backed up by long established fundamentals.”

        I agree with you though.

        There’s something really fishy when family earning two standard deviations above the mean income can’t afford to buy reasonably sized or quality housing.

      • translation: “be content to rent, forever”

    • concept “ham” -> visible mark, no public voice, good for paranoia, good for sales, good for venting steam

    • Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to detach the race card from Vancouver’s “status” as the most unaffordable city in North America (and one of the most unaffordable in the world). You can easily get an honest simple opinion from your school-aged children if you have them. Children are generally very aware of income/wealth inequality when they experience it every school day even if they can’t rationalize or clearly articulate the reason for it. They simply “know” who “have the money” and it’s difficult as a parent to provide a different/more complete and honest perspective when you, yourself, sometimes experience the same resentment.

      There’s a point when your children nearly come to resent you even if you’ve provided your best coaching on these sensitive and difficult topics because they know deep down what every parent never wants to admit to their children – the conclusion of many adult conversations: “we just can’t afford it”.
      (This may have some bearing on the collosal amount of debt many Vancouver families carry and the stupid financial risks they take.)

      Feelings of resentment caused by income/wealth inequality are established much earlier than adulthood and increased civic participation or whatever will likely do little to change this. Income/wealth inequality is an extremely dangerous condition for a safe well-functioning society and Vancouver is quickly reaching the tipping point. This is often the natural outcome when important markets for essential services like housing are more or less completely un-regulated and improperly managed for the benefit of all. Vancouver, as a city, is obviously managed for the benefit of the rich and the only solution for middle-class families is to take matters into their own hands and leave.

      • Renters Revenge

        Except that Vancouver housing is actually over-regulated. The central planners have given you “Vancouverism” – wether you want it or not.

    • What about all the drug dealers that purchase homes for grow ops with cash. All the illegal activity has contributed to the purchase of homes being paid out right to clean their money. Look at the Hells Angels etc. Did they not confiscate several homes form family members of the a prominent Hells Angels dude. He’s just one that got caught. What about all the many others that do not get caught.l I know about 4 families who have participated marijuana growth and have paid off their houses in full. I do not think the HAM are to blame but are easy scapegoats and good fodder for the media.

  8. I drove by the concord pacific presentation center on no 3 road in Richmond tonight, they were having some swanky outdoor party with a tent, DJ booth lights and everyone was dressed to the 9’s.

    Looks like some people are having fun.

  9. I was at Save on Meats for lunch this week, for nostalgia, and beside me at the bar was a tourist.
    Another diner, who mentioned he works at a liquor store, started chatting him up and they were talking about how great Vancouver was.
    I heard,
    “I almost got stabbed by some punk kid yesterday”
    “You can go snowboarding in the morning and go the beach on the same day”
    “Whistler is expensiveeeee, it is only for rich people”
    “Vancouver has some amazing weed”

  10. Hilarious: please consider as a separate post! This should be widely disseminated.


  11. “Income/wealth inequality is an extremely dangerous condition for a safe well-functioning society and Vancouver is quickly reaching the tipping point.”

    If you want an example of what happens further down this yellow brick road, one need only look at the recent riots in Britain.

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