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In the wake of the NDP monster rally about housing affordability, reported below, provincial Housing Minister Rich Coleman rose in the legislature to say that Vancouver “has to learn from Burnaby” how to do density properly. I can’t find a story on-line to link to, but perhaps a diligent reader can. Brent Toderian, the former director of planning for Vancouver, said on his regular “On The Coast” gig on the CBC yesterday that he “picked his jaw up off the floor” when he heard Coleman’s statement.

This, and Brentwood, is the kind of development Coleman is apparently referring to:

lougheed

Full story here from Vancitybuzz.com.

I could be back at UBC in 1970, taking pre-architecture courses, with the professors getting us to read Le Corbusier’s Vers Une Architecture Moderne and study the Radiant City, while we all wanted to read Jane Jacobs!

It’s an interesting contrast with this quote from a Barbara Yaffe column in the Sun at the beginning of the month:

Local politicians for years have tried valiantly to convince Lower Mainlanders the only real solution to unaffordable housing is densification.

But if results of a new survey on preferred development are to be believed, there is a big problem with their strategy: The public is not buying it.

Incredibly, 44 per cent of those surveyed last July said, “All or most future development should be single, detached homes” — a category of shelter considered something of a relic in a region with a shortage of land and housing stock.

This is the dreamscape (hallucinatory!) at work, but it speaks to a deep desire people have for their own little plot of land, somehow, somewhere, that is theirs and theirs alone. A corollary is the suspicion many people have of strata-title, of strata councils, of all the potential mess of collectively managing a huge asset. The demand for fee-simple housing, which is far outrunning the supply of it in Vancouver and elsewhere, explains its skyrocketing price.

Could Vancouver provide more opportunities for fee-simple, ground-oriented housing on small lots (say, 30 x 66 feet, like some of the end-block houses in old neighbourhoods like Mount Pleasant and Grandview)? The townhouse-building community hasn’t responded, to my knowledge, with fee-simple rowhousing. Could the RS-1 McMansionland on the west side of the city be carved up into smaller lots, densifying along the way, while retaining the opportunity for fee-simple ownership?