June 24, 2019

Survey Says~We are Ready for Denser Neighbourhoods

empty two black chair

Photo by Saviesa Home on Pexels.com

Vancouver’s man with numbers Mario Canseco has his finger on the pulse of Vancouver and his latest survey in Business in Vancouver suggests we are moving towards inclusive ways to house and age in place in neighbourhoods, and that we still value neighbourhood character.

Firstly around modular housing~74 percent of people surveyed were in favour of building more housing for the homeless. From Provincial sources there is now  data showing that despite the fears  of some residents modular housing placed in Marpole has the “lowest number of emergency services of all the modular housing buildings in the city”  and no calls for overdoses.

Secondly, survey respondents value older heritage housing, which provides a grounding between the past and present of Vancouver. Seventy-four percent of those surveyed wanted heritage buildings maintained even if it meant less rental housing construction.

Lastly when asked whether duplexes, fourplexes, townhouses and three-to four-storey apartment buildings should be allowed in our “single-family” zones, 71 percent were in agreement with densifying that way, with only 22% disagreeing with that. The majority of those against the diversity of housing in single-family zones were over 55 years of age.

The discussion of what should or should not be in “single family housing areas” has also been picked up by CityLab.

In talking about single family housing areas, there are lots of different interpretation of what a “formal family” is according to zoning by-laws across this continent, but most of them preclude unrelated people from legally “co-habiting” a house. CityLab talks about the  “Scarborough 11” who sued in Massachusetts court that their family of 8 adults and three children did indeed constitute a family and could live in a single family house in a single family zone. They argued that the discrimination they faced was because their family was functional, not formal as described by the zoning code.

While Mario Canseco’s survey shows Vancouverites are more likely to accept different housing forms in single family areas, we need to morph the definition of who a single family house functions for as well. Can this form be housing be for a group home or a group of retired seniors living together (with a nurse in the basement suite?).

Lack of acceptance of societal change is not an option to discriminate between different forms of housing occupancy.  Mario Canseco’s survey shows that we are ready to have the discussion on how to make our neighbourhoods denser with  housing forms that will also ensure more sustainability and affordability for the people that live here and in the future.

You can take a look at Research.Co’s poll results here.








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  1. A good reminder that the loud, often hyperbolic, voices that dominate public hearings are not representative of the general public.