What's causing Canada's housing crisis?
Eavesdrop on a conversation in Toronto and Vancouver and you're likely to overhear someone fretting about housing: their children will never be able to find an affordable place to live; friends are diving deep into debt to buy a tiny condo in a glass tower; others are moving out of the city altogether and commuting to their jobs.
Urban lodging is in short supply to rent or buy. And it's no wonder. More than 115,000 people move into each of Canada's two largest cities every year — the equivalent of the population of a small town.
- The Sunday Edition:Why Canada needs a new National Housing Policy — now!
The average cost of a house in Vancouver has edged over the million dollar mark, while Toronto is not far behind at around $900,000.
And as the need increases, we are confronted by unprecedented urban sprawl, which is poorly planned and very costly to taxpayers in dozens of obvious and hidden ways.
Unbridled growth leads to pressure on city's infrastructure — everything from transportation to social services, schools and parks.
In this segment, we discuss how we got into this mess and what can be done about it. Our guests are:
- Jon van Nostrand, the Founding Principal of SvN Architects and Planners. Over the last forty years he has been the driving force behind the firm's domestic and international architecture, planning and urban design practice. He also has extensive experience leading large, multi-disciplinary consulting teams on complex regional planning and rural and urban development projects across Canada and around the World.
- Pamela Blais, a city planner and Principal of Metropole Consultants. She is the author of Perverse Cities: Hidden Subsidies, Wonky Policy and Urban Sprawl, which was shortlisted for the 2011 Donner Book Prize. Ms. Blais has a Master's in Planning from the University of Toronto and a PhD in urban economic geography from the London School of Economics.
- Josh Gordon, Assistant Professor at the School of Public Policy at Simon Fraser University. His main research interests are labor market policy and the Canadian housing market. Professor Gordon has published two reports examining the housing affordability challenges in Toronto and Vancouver, and has published several op-eds on the topic.
Click 'listen' above to hear the full interview.