One of many to enjoy while shopping there.
One of many to enjoy while shopping there.
Tim Davis of Portland Oregon alerted Price Tags to this extraordinary public art work in Shorewood Wisconsin-“The Ghost Train” designed by Marty Peck of Creative Lighting Design & Engineering, an architectural lighting specialist. Using lighting and sound, Peck has created “the allusion of a Ghost Train crossing the bridge twice each evening to recall the schedule, speed and drama of the passing of the historic 400 train. At other times the bridge will have a subtler artistic illumination. Both the Ghost Train and bridge lighting will be a permanent installation.”
From the official website for the Village of Shorewood, this public art installation enables “visitors to travel back in history, imagining the round-trip journey of the ‘Twin Cities 400’ which was operated by the Chicago & North Western Railway and crossed that same location from 1935-1963. Touted as the fastest passenger train in the world, the Chicago & North Western Railway’s ‘400’ routinely covered the 400 miles between Chicago and St. Paul, MN in just under 400 minutes – including its travel through Shorewood along the route of today’s Oak Leaf Trail. “
This installation was a partnership between Shorewood’s Public Art Committee and the Shorewood Historical Society. Since the project commenced in November 2016, 100 to 150 people a night come to watch the train’s “performance”. A detailed story about the installation written by Marty Peck is available here in “The Ghost Train – Revealed.“
There is a Ghost Train Committee and a schedule of “Ghost Train Departing Times”, with the train going north and south on the tracks mimicking the actual speed and sound. There is an excellent short video on the official website, and here is a short clip from YouTube showing the opening night party and the train action starting at the 56 second mark.
Riffing on consumer culture, perhaps. At the VAG late last year — November.
Remember when you shared your coloured pencil crayons in school and the other kid didn’t give the black pencil crayon back? That is what Public Art artist Anish Kapoor is accused of doing.
The Smithsonian magazine says it all. “Earlier this year, Kapoor sparked outrage from artists all over the world with the announcement that he had made a deal to become the only person in the world allowed to use the blackest pigment of black paint ever developed. Known as Vantablack, the unique carbon nanotube-based pigment is produced solely by a British company called NanoSystem, and was originally developed for military technologies. However, Kapoor made an agreement with the company that he is the only person allowed to use it for artistic purposes.”
Kapoor’s “Cloud Gate”(2006) repainted in the Vantablack paint he is alledgedly not sharing
Other artists are upset. Said artist Stuart Semple”When I first heard that Anish had the exclusive rights to the blackest black I was really disappointed… It just seemed really mean-spirited and against the spirit of generosity that most artists who make and share their work are driven by.” Learning from Kapoor, Mr. Semple has released his own special colour pigment that he calls “Pink”. And everyone in the world can use it-except Anish Kapoor.
“Semple is currently selling “Pink” through his website for £3.99 per pot (about $5). However, before purchasing the powdered pigment, buyers have to agree to a legal disclaimer that states they have no intention of letting it fall into Kapoor’s hands.”
Mr. Semple sums the banned black paint up this way: [Kapoor is like the] kids who wouldn’t share their felt pens. They just sat there in the corner without any friends.”
Joe Wai needs no introduction to Vancouverites-this extraordinary advocate, citizen and architect has shaped how we think about place, culture and our responsibilities to our city. If Joe saw you walking by on the street he would run across to say hello, shake your hand, and ask you how you and your family were doing. He quite simply personified all that was good in community and neighbourhood, and worked hard to make good things even better.
If you were to check Joe’s “Linked In” profile, he has written very simply “I have been around for a while“. That is typical Joe Wai and also a very typical understatement. Joe received his bachelor’s and master’s in architecture from the University of British Columbia and worked for iconic architects in Vancouver and in London England before setting up his own practice in 1978. Joe was involved with the Strathcona Owners and Tenants Association (SPOTA) who successfully challenged the expropriation of housing for the creation of a public housing project and a freeway that would have carved into Chinatown.
Joe’s energies and interests were legendary. As The Tyee notes “Joe has been involved with senior/social housing and a volunteer in Chinatown community issues for over 40 years. He is also the architect of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, the Chinatown Millennium Gate, the Chinese Cultural Centre Museum and Archives, the Chinatown Parkade and Plaza, and the Commemoration of Block 17 as well as many restorations of the early Chinatown Society buildings.”
Henry Yu has written a memory of Joe Wai that describes more of Joe’s work and philosophy. You may also want to leave your own thoughts and stories about this extraordinary Vancouverite below. He will be greatly missed.
When the Price Tags Editorial Board was considering the 2016 “Gordies” award for the most puzzling planning work, the new Vancouver Art Gallery design did come up. There was a quick scuffle online to find that the design was actually revealed in September 2015 and therefore could not qualify for the 2016 most puzzling planning work award.
In 2014 Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron were chosen to come up with a design for the new Vancouver Art Gallery, but not at the current site at 750 Hornby Street. The Hornby Street location is the 1913 Rattenbury designed courthouse that was renovated in 1983 by Arthur Erickson to accommodate a 172,320 square foot gallery. The new art gallery was to be located at 688 Cambie Street on land provided by the city on a 99 year lease. The original report to council in 2013 proposed a new art gallery that was double the size of the current gallery with 85,000 square feet of gallery space.
The project was to cost 350 million dollars in 2013. The Federal government and Provincial governments conditionally pledged 200 million dollars with the remaining $150 million to be raised by private fundraising. It should be noted that this amount of money has never been privately fundraised for one project in Canada. To get people excited about the new gallery, Herzog and de Meuron who have also built the Tate Modern in London and the National Stadium (the Bird’s Nest) in Beijing drew up a conceptual drawing and model.
Herzog and de Meuron-Tate Gallery-London, National Stadium-Beijing
When the new design was released by Herzog and de Meuron, reaction was mixed. This is a firm that likes the grand gesture without scaled interest on the ground plane that would be warm or welcoming to building visitors. Critics noted that there were also plans to fence in the bottom for more exhibition space, and there was no vision on how this space would work with that of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre’s open space across the street.
Herzog and de Meuron proposal for New Vancouver Art Gallery, 688 Cambie Street
This 310,000 square foot wood clad building would be approximately 20 storeys high but have seven floors for the public and two floors below grade for storage and parking. There would be 85,000 square feet of galleries, a new education centre, an auditorium, and library and archival services.
There’s not been much news about the new gallery’s progress at the new location on Cambie Street. The current 750 Hornby Street location with the wonderful lions at the entrance still functions as one of the city’s primary places to meet, greet and people watch. Price Tags is watching too.
A compelling video from 2014 (quoting 2014 budget prices) is narrated by Vancouver architect Peter Cardew about how the current Vancouver Art Gallery could be renewed and expanded. Peter Cardew was commissioned to look at the gallery spaces a decade earlier, and his take is very similar to that of the late architect Bing Thom’s-the current location of the art gallery is the centre of pedestrian traffic and importance in the downtown. Bing Thom Architects developed a “post-gallery” plan below the building’s North Plaza.
Like many Vancouverites, the late Bing Thom architect extraordinaire loved the current site of the Vancouver Art Gallery on Hornby which is the place to sit, to people watch and functions as the navel of the city. Bing proposed a remarkable redo of the old gallery once vacated to include a light-filled entrance to a 1,950 seat underground concert hall, a multi-use theatre and retail stores. Importantly he also proposed reopening the Georgia Street entrance of the building and focusing a new plaza on Georgia Street as the City’s primary public space and square.
Peter Cardew thought the Vancouver Art Gallery should stay on this site. In this article Peter Cardew thought “ as much as 176,000 square feet of additional space can be added to the historic courthouse building by creating additional underground spaces underneath the outdoor plaza facing West Georgia Street. It includes an underground “Grand Hall” measuring approximately 300 feet long and 70 feet high that incorporates a glass ceiling from the plaza to allow natural light to stream in. The vision also proposes to renovate the existing gallery spaces and repurpose UBC Robson Square into added space for the museum.”
At that time in 2014 dollars, Peter Cardew estimated that the cost of changes would be $100 million less than the proposed $300 million dollar Larwill Park site on Cambie Street across from the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. And there are precedents-both the Louvre in Paris and the Tate Modern in London expanded their facilities at existing galleries.
“I don’t know any gallery in the world that has such a prime site as the Vancouver Art Gallery does. If it were a vacant site that is where the Vancouver Art Gallery would be.” -Peter Cardew
From the Business in Vancouver’s Glen Korstrom is preliminary evidence showing decreased use of private vehicles in Vancouver.
“Insurance Corp. of British Columbia (ICBC) data provided to Business in Vancouver showed that 270,000 passenger vehicles were registered in the city of Vancouver at the start of 2016. That’s 3.8% more than at the start of 2012, but Vancouver’s population during that same period rose 5.2% to 666,996, according to BC Stats.”
The annual City of Vancouver survey of 2,500 citizens conducted by CH2M and the Mustel Group had already identified this trend, showing that 50 per cent of trips were being made by walking, transit or cycling. That is an increase from 47 per cent in 2013. As well 26 per cent of driving aged citizens had access agreements to car share, an increase from 20 per cent in 2014.
“Simon Fraser University city program director Andy Yan is eager to see the results of the 2016 census, which asked about transportation modes. He expects that data to be released in November and be more reliable than the city’s survey, given the census’ large sample size.” While Vancouver is doing an admirable job, more work needs to be done across the metropolitan area to make transit a viable option for residents in the region.
Today is the final day of the Gordie Awards where the Editorial Committee of Price Tags ranks the good, the bad, the fun and the just plain puzzling Transportation and Planning stories of 2016.
Today’s Gordie Awards goes for “Moments of Courage”-when work occurs that is not what is normally anticipated or expected, but meets an unfulfilled need.
There were two winners in this category:
Moments of Courage
Housing Crisis Forum
A forum was held in November 2016 that was an inclusive discussion of ” The Housing Crisis is Global! Anti-Imperialist Perspectives on the Foreign Investor Myth in B.C.” This forum provided a diverse discussion and was inclusive of the dispossession of First Nations peoples from their lands. While so much could have gone wrong at such a meeting, it didn’t . Here is the link to the meeting:: https://www.facebook.com/events/329547804095114/
Standouts about the meeting included translation in many languages, including simultaneous interpretation in Cantonese and Mandarin, the discussion of complex topics including race and housing with underexposed demographics, the meeting was held at a location that was not downtown, and lastly provided free child care.
There is nothing more important than protecting and assisting the most vulnerable of our citizens, and ensuring that appropriate care is given. This award is given to the City of Vancouver for responding to urgent need. A City tax increase was approved by Council for increased first responders as the death toll rises in an awful epidemic of death.
This concludes the Awarding of the 2016 Gordies for Transportation and Planning Stories of 2016. What will 2017 bring for inclusion in next year’s awards?
While lovely lamps and retro-referencing designs go in above the Burrard Bridge’s deck, more contemporary work adorns the water level pillars. Seen from one of Vancouver’s real treasures — the False Creek Ferry.
According to the Online Slang Dictionary:
loaft [verb – intransitive]…… to be unproductive.
And note the style and graphic elements here which give a sense of the look of the upcoming legal cannabis industry’s advertising.
The Reputation Institute gets a lot of attention when it publishes results like this, whether it’s companies, countries or as in this case — cities.
City RepTrak® is a global survey based on more than 22,000 consumer ratings, collected in the G8 countries, which ranks the world’s 55 most reputable cities based on levels of trust, esteem, admiration and respect. Perceptions are then grouped into three dimensions: Advanced Economy, Effective Government and Appealing Environment. Cities with strong reputations are perceived positively in all three dimensions.
What value is there in this ranking? Aside from a chance to see ourselves as others see us. Well, according to Forbes:
The World’s Most Reputable Cities: There is a direct link between a city’s reputation and people’s willingness to visit, work and live there. By focusing on reputation drivers, cities can improve their reputation scores and benefit from increased support from their stakeholders.”
Scan the list of cities HERE. With a nifty photo gallery.
You’ll need to register to get the full RI report HERE.
The Urbanarium Debates recommence on Wednesday January 18 at Robson Square from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. with the central question: Does Vancouver repel Creative People?
Vancouver has been a creative hotbed for environmentalism, urban design, art and social policies – but is that coming to a halt due to high prices and other factors?
Arguing the PRO side are Sandy Garossino and Caitlin Jones:
Sandy Garossino is Associate Editor at the National Observer, as well as public commentator and arts advocate. A former independent book publisher, Garossino has nurtured and promoted independent street artists and cultural diversity. By coincidence, four of her adult children have careers in film and music outside Vancouver.
Currently Executive Director of the Western Front Society in Vancouver, Caitlin has worked at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Rhizome.org, in NYC. She writes extensively about contemporary art and most recently the impact of Vancouver’s real estate market on art and artists.
Arguing the CON side are Mark Busse and Jane Cox:
Mark Busse is Director of Creativity and Engagement at HCMA Architecture + Design, helping lead their interdisciplinary design team and TILT Curiosity Labs initiative which explores creativity, design, and engagement in all its forms, including an artist in residence program and community initiatives such as Likemind Vancouver, CreativeMornings/Vancouver, and Interesting Vancouver.
Jane Cox is the Director and Founder of Cause+Affect, a strategic brand consultancy. She is a recognized leader in culture building, social entrepreneurship and civic engagement. Cox’s clients benefit from her extensive experience and insight into transforming detailed business plans and strategic objectives into active and compelling brands that inspire, connect and drive impact.
Tickets are available here.
As renovations continue on the venerable art-deco themed 1932-era Burrard Street Bridge, here is an architectural detail of the new sidewalk lighting. To me, these are lovely and stylish echoes of other details on the original bridge structure. And so are the pillars they rest on.
It’s the time of early nights and festive lights. Here’s the Burrard Hotel and St. Paul’s Hospital, a lovely scene at Burrard and Helmcken.
In one of those inspirational moments, Metro News reports on a pretty savvy campaign by the City of Vancouver to enhance interest in enrolling on the “Talk Vancouver” online consultation panel on all things city.
This program has more than 12,000 participants that were engaged in 50 surveys by the city in 2016. Using the ingenuity of the local Lego Club a design was developed for a miniature duplicate of the City Hall in Lego, complete with a clock and the flag.
There are 50 Lego mini-city halls to be given out.
To qualify, residents can join the online engagement tool Talk Vancouver between Dec. 12 and Dec. 23. Existing members can also qualify for the two draws by responding to an email from Talk Vancouver.
The latest iteration from Patrick Condon and David Beers, in The Tyee:
Why have we become so willing to leave behind our paradise? It must not be lost. …
Therefore be it resolved that Vancouver will, by the year 2050, become the World’s Slowest City. …
To achieve this Lotus Land 2.0, the City of Vancouver has set out four measurable goals:
OUR FOUR GOALS
Goal #1: Transportation (Slow motion)
Slogan: What’s your hurry?
Lotus Land 2.0 chooses to see time spent getting from one place to another not as a collective waste but as a resource. Thus, we will incentivize and enforce the slowest ways to do so: Drivers, rather than roar through, will putt along. Bicyclers and joggers will maintain a pace that produces a smile rather than grimace of pain. Walking will be much encouraged, perambulation particularly. …
By 2050, a city-wide speed limit of 30 kph will be imposed and enforced (city streetcars in dedicated lanes occasionally exempted).
Goal #2: Housing (Grow your own homes)
Slogan: Let’s get hive!
This starts by recognizing our impoverished catalog of housing types amounts to just two: the tower and the bungalow, which unfortunately afford ideal investments for the world’s One Per Centers pushing our market out of sight. …
Limit or eliminate parcel assembly. Relax zoning otherwise to allow rebuilding by right for up to six dwelling units per parcel, conditional only on preserving (in most cases) the original structure. …
Lotusland 2.0 bylaws will promote adapting detached existing buildings into restored and expanded buildings. On-site parking requirements will be eliminated. Parking passes for on street parking will be available at 2,000 dollars per year. Proceeds will be poured back into the housing fund and/or for free bus and tram passes for all citizens.
Goal #3: Jobs (That are actually workable)
Slogan: Serving up something new every day!
We are realistic. We know that 80 per cent of all jobs are service sector jobs, and that proportion is still growing. Service jobs may not pay a lot, but in this age ruled by algorithms they retain a human connection. …
By 2050, Vancouver will be famous for its full embrace of the service and craft economy. We will have the most brew pubs, food trucks, local bistros, dentists, accountants, nurses, teachers, artists, furniture builders, carpenters, transit drivers, music producers, graphic novel authors, disc jockeys, painters (fine and house) and home-stay purveyors in North America.
Goal #4: Public life (More hang time)
Slogan: C’mon. Have a drink! Or whatever!
At the heart of the Lotus Land 2.0 vision lies a network of social gathering spaces for true communion. … We dare to imagine, as building blocks for our hassle-free civic culture, places that combine pub, community centre, seniors social club, yoga studio, art gallery and coffee shop cultures. Places where the absence of our octogenarian friend Joe for more than a day would ring alarm bells.
Life in Lotus Land 2.0, ultimately, will not be a lazy life, really. But it will be a life much different from what we are told must be Vancouver’s frenetic future. …
What is the virtue of achieving a city run purely on green power if its residents are drained of their own energy by the struggle to rush around and pay the bills? Why should Vancouverites fight harder and harder to live in a global hot spot that, by design, keeps turning up the competitive heat on its own citizens?
Cool it everyone! That is the counter-message we deliver here today. Fellow Lotus Eaters! None of us should get busy doing anything! (Except, of course, implementing this, the Slowest City Action Plan for Vancouver.)
For the full version of this highly edited excerpt, go here.
If you hit the above link, you can watch a 360 degree video of the artist walking through the park, explaining why it is “the best park on this planet”. He also describes those aspects of urbanism that makes parks special for him-“People here are great. They are smart, friendly, and they read books”.
Thanks to the quick eye of an artist and an article in a British newspaper, a large piece of public art has been shielded from view in Shanghai and is being dismantled.
Why? Because while it is art, is an exact copy of Wendy Taylor’s Timepiece which sits close to Tower Bridge. An ardent fan of Ms. Taylor’s work saw the installation in Shanghai and sent a photo of the work to her. Trouble was that while it was certainly a copy of Ms. Taylor’s work, it also certainly had not been authorized by her.
“At first I thought someone had done a clever Photoshop and changed the background, but then I looked more closely and thought ‘oh my god no, this is a complete copy’,” Ms Taylor said.“They only difference is the angle has been changed for the time.”
This isn’t the first time a work of art by a famous public artist has appeared unauthorized in China. A very surprising replica of Anish Kapoor’s masterpiece “Cloud Gate” (which is in Chicago and installed in 2006) replicated itself in Karamay, China.
You may also remember Florentiijn Hofman’s work Rubber Duck that toured cities around the world. Apparently a set of large rubber ducks appeared in China too, except they were not Hofman’s.
While Ms. Taylor has decided that life is too short to go after the City of Shanghai for plagiarism, the city’s other 3,500 pieces of public art will now be analyzed. A few have already been identified as potentially replicated from other sources.
Mark Busse – “design professional, creative community activist & food fanatic,” as well as host of Creative Mornings – needs to tap other creative minds to answer this question:
Does Vancouver drive away more creative people than it attracts? Affordability aside, what other factors influence this issue? In particular, what are the forces that draw people here? Where does the potential lie?
And we know that Price Tags contributors have a lot to say on that. You can say it directly to Mark by going to his Facebook page here. Lots of interesting comments too. (Or you could go directly here: 6 Things I Learned After Moving from Montreal to Vancouver.)
A proposal for increasing attainable home ownership and/or rental that builds on the City of Vancouver’s Heritage Revitalization Agreement (HRA) policy – developed by Jake Fry, the owner of Smallworks Studios and Laneway Housing Inc.
A Proposal for Increasing Home Ownership and/or Rental using Vancouver’s existing Heritage Revitalization Agreement Policy
The core idea is to use the HRA tool to promote an initiative that would provide easy and significant incentives for property owners, resulting in both more housing and heritage retention.
The proposal is to develop a three-tiered system of development streams, with each tier representing an incremental increase in housing density.
Allow a homeowner to preserve an existing character home by designating it through the HRA program, whereby the incentive is to allow the construction and strata-titling of a typical-sized (approx. 600–900 sq. ft. or 0.16 FSR) laneway house (laneway houses in Vancouver are currently not allowed to be strata-titled, only rented).
This incentive would increase the number of houses that would be heritage designated (thus saving such homes from demolition), add more housing density in a neighbourhood-compatible form, and offer an alternative to renting (thus appealing to a wider range of potential residents).
Allow a homeowner to preserve an existing character home by designating it through the HRA program, and to add a modest amount of additional density (say up to 0.9 FSR) over current permitted levels in RS zones, and to build an infill house such as is allowed in the RT8 zone (e.g. Kitsilano, Mount Pleasant, etc.).
In this option, the principal building (the original home) would be permitted to be divided into up to 4 strata-titled units, plus the strata-titled infill house.
In this model, all the units thus created would have restrictions placed on their resale price, to reduce speculation and maintain affordability. Such restrictions could lower resale prices by 15-20% of market value, and keep this housing stock below market value in perpetuity.
Allow a homeowner to preserve an existing character home by designating it through the HRA program, and to add a modest amount of additional density over current permitted levels in RS zones, and to build an infill house such as is allowed in the RT8 zone (e.g. Kitsilano, Mount Pleasant, etc.).
This option is similar to the Tier Two option in terms of the building form, however in this option the housing units thus created would be required to stay as rental units (no strata-titling allowed). In exchange the homeowner would be allowed to have a little more density (say 0.95 FSR) and the principal building (the original home) would be permitted to be divided into up to 5 units, plus the infill house. In addition, the main house could also have the opportunity to create a lock-off suite.
Under this proposal, this initiative would be available to any single-family character or heritage home. All lot sizes could work as long as there is (as in current laneway houses) the safety requirement of a minimum 1.2 m (4 ft.) wide access path to the infill/laneway house in the rear, plus the standard 4.8 m (16 ft.) separating distance between the homes.
The City’s approvals process is key to the success of this proposal. It needs to be easy, quick and simple to get approval. The approvals process should be expedited. The City could even go so far as to put specific time limits on development application staff, within which permits must be issued under this process.
Unlike in a typical HRA, there would be less focus on ‘heritage revitalization’ and more on ‘character preservation’: this proposal seeks to keep the subject houses largely as they are rather than restoring them to a specific heritage style.
Parking is also addressed in this proposal:
In the Tier One option, only 1 on-site parking stall would be required. This will free up more of the site for the proposed development, reduce demand for vehicles, and encourage alternative means of moving about the city.
In the Tier Two and Tier Three options, 2–3 on-site parking stalls would be required for lots over 12 m (40 ft.) in width. The City could consider parking relaxations for sites narrower than 40 ft.
Any infill housing triggered by character home retention under this proposal potentially can have a lot of flexibility, meaning it would not have to be exclusively traditional infill or a laneway house.
The infill housing that existed in the pre-laneway housing era was taller (24 ft. in height whereas laneway houses are 20 ft.) and usually comprised more square footage than a laneway house.
An infill building on a character/heritage home site could differ from property to property, depending on the lot size, location of the existing character home, and surrounding character context.
‘Character Home’ will need to be defined with specific criteria developed by the City, in order to determine whether an application is eligible under this program. There are a number of ways in which this can be defined such as a date cutoff (e.g. all home older than say 1940, etc.), specific design criteria, a set of characteristics/attributes that are spelled out by the City, etc.
VHF: Martin Knowles
Under this proposal, the result does not have to be what we have done in the past. The HRA process is potentially very flexible if the program is administered in a progressive and more facilitative manner. For example:
In short, the building form could be tailored to meet Council’s agenda. More importantly, this can be done without having to go to any committee or rewriting any bylaws – it just needs the right people supervising the HRA approvals process, with approval subject to the Director of Planning’s discretion, which could be delegated to the staff person managing this program.
Firstly, it is important to remember that this would not be implemented city-wide. Whereas it would be available everywhere across the city, it would only be taken up by those homeowners proposing an infill project in association with character home protection through an HRA. There are a limited number of character homes.
This in itself will be a great regulator of price as this is not a bare land strata, and such projects will come with encumbrances associated with a heritage designated property. This is in addition to the price regulation proposed in the Tier Two option.
It is important that this become a homeowner-driven program – one which gives real incentives for homeowners to consider this option over simply selling their property, to open up potential equity in their homes.
It is worth bearing in mind that the hesitation by Council to allow strata-titling of laneway houses at the time this policy was introduced was two-fold:
This dynamic has existed in the older parts of Kitsilano for a long time and we have not seen a price jump because of speculation but rather because of lack of volume of these small housing forms. This is not a housing form typically being bought by speculators but rather by owner-occupiers. For example, a look at recent sales in Tatlow Court reveals an older cohort lining up to buy there because there are no similar options allowed elsewhere.
Add to this dynamic that with a greater volume of smaller homes becoming available we will see market volumes help keep prices down, or at least slow price increases. In addition, if we allow more living units on a given property without a large increase in permitted density (FSR), as this proposal suggests, we will inherently get smaller units. As such, even if prices do not decrease (as expressed in $ per square foot) the price will go down per household, as we will have more options for smaller ground-orientated living units.
The City has some options around covenants/resale restrictions. The most appropriate might be:
A covenant on resale:
This scenario lets the market set the price initially, but as a property is resold there is a fixed increase in price. This approach has been used in other cities and works to ensure that ownership is connected to occupancy, not speculation.
There could also be a scenario where price is limited to a specified profit margin (e.g. indexed to cost of living, linked to inflation, resale cap, etc.)
This program could also be used to develop by non-profit housing projects.
Some Final Thoughts
This proposal is not intended to replace or eliminate other forms of infill housing in locations or on sites that would not qualify under this program. There remain significant opportunities for other small infill housing projects in single-family neighborhoods across Vancouver.
It is important to remember that the fundamental idea behind this proposal is to privilege rental co-ownership – both in units per lot and the size of units, so that rental (versus strata title) could very well remain the most attractive option for many homeowners taking advantage of this program.