I’m going to try to gather together an inchoate collection of thoughts for this post but I’m hoping that, like a good Jethro Tull song (1), something sensible will emerge from the chaos by the time I’m done. A local story about housing My story begins at the hyperlocal level, and has to do with a planning issue in my little mid-sized Canadian burg (population about 240K). Like so many other cities in North America, we suffer from a shortage of housing (2). In part because of demand, costs for homes whether purchased or rented are in the stratosphere. If I was a young adult starting out, I’m fairly certain that I would be living in my parents’ basement. I’m no expert in municipal affairs, but an obvious solution to this situation is to encourage more development of affordable housing. Just down the street from me, a developer proposed a fairly intense new development – a couple of towers containing quite a large number of units of varying sizes. The developer also committed to fund affordable housing both on site and in other locations in the city. Following what was described as a marathon session in city council, the proposal was rejected. The frustrated developer is now considering an appeal to a provincial tribunal that adjudicates land use in my province. The proposal was rejected by council for a number of different reasons, but one of the main ones was the concern that the development would “dwarf” neighbouring buildings, mostly detached single-family homes that can sell for a million dollars and are beyond the reach of most people starting out in the market.
My dear Colin, only one year to transform you from skeptically enthusiastic to full-on skeptical? Oh, I don't even know how to begin! Just think of it from this perspective: when architects and urban designers claim their inspiration from parametricism or rhizomes, correctives must be offered. Let's leave it at that. As ever, a wonderful read.