I am a great believer in the benefits of diversity — of ethnicity, of language, of sexual orientation, of economic status, of building form — in the creation and evolution of neighbourhood communities. To say the least, I am no fan of gated communities or ghettos or redlines or restrictive covenants.
I believe that city-wide inclusionary zoning can go a long way to ensuring that neighbourhoods enjoy the social benefits of having a mix of economic “types” in the area, and can also be a part of the fight to stop any deliberate ghettoization of our poorest residents. It is used already in a limited way in Downtown Eastside.
OneCity gets this and, in their debut policy announcement, they propose city-wide inclusionary zoning for all developments larger than 5 units. Their plan suggests a ratio of 20% affordable housing in every project. Just as important, they are specific in their definition of what “affordable” actually means: 30% of income.
OneCity’s commonsense definition of “affordable”, agreed to by many experts in the field, should be contrasted with Vision’s view, as expressed by Kerry Jang, that “affordable housing is something that somebody can afford.” It’s up to people to make “decisions as to what’s affordable to them”, the Vision Vancouver politician explained.
Their opinion was formalized in the multi-flawed Vision policy called Rental100 under which, after legal pressure, they set an “affordable” rent at $1,517 for a one-bedroom apartment — way more than 30% of the median income in Vancouver.
I look forward to OneCity’s next policy announcements.