UBC Economist Tom Davidoff has some thoughts about how to deal with housing unaffordability.  His ideas involve increasing density within the vast swaths of Vancouver land that are now zoned for extremely low density.  Plus complex review of real estate taxation, CAC’s and political responsibility for control of land usage.

His ideas presage a political challenge to shift hearts and minds from the entrenched viewpoint that living in a single family home is the inalienable birthright of every person in Canada. Not to mention the simple resistance to change from the status-quo — those now comfortably housed in Vancouver’s old car suburbs.

To my thinking, it’s a better solution than pushing car suburbs onto the ALR.

Davidoff would like to see the province step in to mandate density targets. He suggested municipalities could then hold auctions in which developers could bid to build to those density targets.

Instead of developers contributing a community amenity contribution, which are set by the city and are different for each project, Davidoff proposed the affected community come up with the amount they expect to be compensated for “the economic loss if you allow townhomes, if you allow condos.”

“If we do contributions for density that way, we extract as much wealth as we can from wealthy homeowners and builders, and we give a lot of benefit to locals so they have a reason to accept density.”

Thanks to Jen St. Denis in Metro

In this 33:48 video Prof. Davidoff discusses his ideas in much more breadth and detail. With PowerPoint slides too!!  At 24:30, things get interesting with recommendations on a market-based approach to densification.