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Affordable housing in Victoria


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#81 G-Man

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 02:35 PM

I disagree with that. I think that old town should be left alone. What i mean by that is the area bounded by Douglas, the harbour, Humboldt and Herald. Within that area i think we should be keeping it to six storeys or less. It is not a huge area and there really are not that many developble lots there. That being siad out side that area we need to be a lot more agressive in our density and height.

I don't think the preservation of old town is going to create less affordable housing but continuing to use old town to stymy projects outside that area does.
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#82 gumgum

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 02:46 PM

We have so many places we could plop condo towers we wouldn't have to worry about Old Town for a long time if ever - unless you think of the Design District/ Chinatown and all those wasted surface parking lots. Otherwise, I'd personally would rather Old Town to stay as it is.
Fill in the empty lots and maybe a few "questionable" buildings in other core areas first.
But our mods will be close to stamping this discussion with an "Off-Topic!", so I digress.

Always the trouble with more affordable housing is how to house families. This is why I've always believed there should be more "family oriented" condo units as well - lots of 3 bedroom units, (which is rare in condos) and connect the building sometimes with small outdoor parklike areas - with playgrounds etc.
I also think that it's very important to always mix people with differing income brackets within a building, within each floor. Have a wide range of condos types within one building. Force people to interact accross the class line. That is how barriers dissapear - physical interaction.

#83 aastra

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 04:20 PM

Constricting supply raises prices.


Another counterpoint:

Wasn't there an article a while back about how increasing condo supply on Vancouver's downtown peninsula was only boosting prices even higher?

Methinks we're oversimplifying the economics on this issue.

The more people you put downtown, the more people will want to live downtown. Downtown's growing popularity is the wild card that mucks up the economics. There's no way an area will become cheaper as it also becomes more popular.

So do you try to build more units downtown in such a way that you don't also increase the appeal of living downtown? (For example, do you deliberately build ugly buildings?)

Or do you artificially skew the prices of a small selection of units in order to keep the average price down?

Or do you do something else?

#84 aastra

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 04:33 PM

Do you allow the developer to build a 25-story luxury tower with supremely expensive units on one part of a lot, but also require the same developer to build a rather ordinary 12-story building with unfinished units (of the type Number Six would like to see) on another part of the same lot?

If so, what's to stop somebody from snatching up several of the cheap units as an alternative to buying a single expensive unit in the luxury building?

#85 Oxford Sutherland

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 04:50 PM

I don't think there's much a city can do about an area becoming popular, but underbuilding is definitely not the answer. Underbuilding can only make it worse.

#86 Rob Randall

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 05:03 PM

An owner can indeed buy two affordable tiny suites and (with permission from the strata) combine them into a large luxury suite. In fact, the developers of the Mosaic building encouraged this. I don't believe anyone took them up on the offer.

In an interview with the Times-Colonist today, I told the reporter that in addition to non-market social housing, the best way to create affordable housing is to increase the overall stock, freeing up space in existing older condos downtown like the Manhattan and Metropolitan which are now somewhat less desirable than the new projects like Astoria and Belvedere.

The large amount of luxury housing being built causes some concern, but I think we'll soon see developers recognizing a market for lower end condos that is waiting to be filled.

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#87 Oxford Sutherland

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 05:26 PM

Here's an idea....use development to make more than one area popular (ie: increase the supply of popular areas), don't just improve a single area like downtown. For example, Hillside & Quadra is very shabby, the area could be very popular if it had some good development and would compete with downtown as a place to buy a new condo. Competition keeps prices down.

Maybe one of the reasons downtown Vancouver is so popular, is because Vancouver hasn't increased the supply of popular areas within Vancouver. Seems like all the nice development has happened downtown, but an area like Fraser & 49th doesn't look much different today than it did 20 years ago, so it's no competition for downtown.

Maybe when a city focuses all the nice new development in one area of the city, that area ends up disproportionately expensive compared to other areas partly because that area has no competition?

#88 Mike K.

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 05:36 PM

^I don't think that's the case.

Vancouver has plenty of areas that are densifying outside of downtown, both within the City of Van and other munis (especially nodes around Skytrain stations).

In Victoria the same is true. Look at the amount of units going up in Vic West or even Gorge (Selkirk Waterfront). Even James Bay has had several large projects go up over the last bit including several projects coming down the pipes.

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#89 G-Man

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 05:36 PM

^ What about Kitsilano, Kerrisdale, SW Marine, Commercial. I don't think a competing cool area will lower prices. But I guess you never know.

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#90 Oxford Sutherland

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 05:55 PM

^ What about Kitsilano, Kerrisdale, SW Marine, Commercial. I don't think a competing cool area will lower prices. But I guess you never know.


Not one of those is a new cool area though

I didn't say there were no other popular areas in Vancouver, I said they haven't really increased the supply of popular areas.

#91 gumgum

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 05:58 PM

But you guys are forgetting one thing. The supply of the materials reflects a significant proportion of the end price of a new condo's these days.

#92 Oxford Sutherland

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 06:03 PM

But you guys are forgetting one thing. The supply of the materials reflects a significant proportion of the end price of a new condo's these days.


I don't think anyone's forgetting that. It's just not really worth mentioning since it's not within our control to influence the supply of glass and cement.

We can (sort of) influence the height of buildings by communicating with city councillors.

#93 gumgum

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 06:11 PM

What I was saying was that increasing the supply of condos increases the demand for materials.
It's something to think about, that's all.

#94 Oxford Sutherland

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 06:19 PM

What I was saying was that increasing the supply of condos increases the demand for materials.
It's something to think about, that's all.


Yeah, but what's the alternative? Not building anything?

That cure is worse than the disease.

#95 gumgum

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 06:22 PM

I agree.
I was making our little project more difficult.

#96 m0nkyman

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 08:46 PM

Honestly? The downtown core costs more than the suburbs. Always has, and always will. The key is making it not so much more than the cost of commuting as to skew it out of reach for all but the super rich and the street people...

#97 D.L.

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 09:57 PM

I wouldn't count on downtown providing much relief to the affordable housing crunch in the city. The problem with downtown is land prices are high and that extra price has to be absorbed in the price of the units. But there are so many other parts of the city where land is not so expensive. If these other areas were zoned to allow larger buildings then perhaps we could get some real affordable housing built.

#98 m0nkyman

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 10:03 PM

I see it more as:
A functioning city, with lots of jobs and vibrancy allows people to afford better homes, because wages go up.

#99 Holden West

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 10:04 PM

Does the SJ Willis school use that huge yard by Hillside and Blanshard? Seems to me they could use an acre or two on the corner for a townhouse condo proposal. Walking distance to Quadra Village and major bus routes.
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#100 D.L.

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 10:08 PM

I could picture a couple of highrise buildings on that site. That's what I mean by increasing the density zoning outside of downtown. But no, residents would fight to the death over that.

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