What is “Social Housing?”

The City of Vancouver is revisiting the definition of “social housing.” Activists fear that a new definition will water down the definition of social housing that guarantees housing for low income families with something more palatable for developers.

Housing affordability has recently become a major issue in Vancouver due to the rising cost of homes. This continues to fester on several fronts. A recent Vancity study has shown that the average cost of a detached home will cost $2.1 million by 2030. My new friend Andy Yan warns that the previous $1-million “line” (Ontario Street) that once divided the city is now disappearing as housing prices continue to rise. Oh, and homelessness is still a real problem despite goals to end it by 2015. We are truly in a housing crisis.

And now the very definition of what constitutes housing affordability is being questioned. What next, Vancouver? Will we as a community step up to the challenge and ensure that the basic right to shelter and housing is preserved? Or will we let the chasm widen between rich and poor?

Interview on CBC On The Coast: Comparing Monterey Park and Richmond BC

Hey folks

I had the chance to share my thoughts on the similarities of Richmond, BC and Monterey Park, CA concerning the Chinese-only signage issue with Stephen Quinn on CBC’s On The Coast radio. Check it out! The interview starts around 31:11:

March 13th – CBC On The Coast with Stephen Quinn

One thing I wish I could take back: “not to say that racism and prejudice exist nowadays.” Instead I meant, “not to say that overt racism and prejudice exist on the same scale in Richmond as back then.” Racism is definitely alive and well. Otherwise, I think the interview went well.

Let me know your thoughts.

Nat

Community Workshop in Richmond BC Tonight

There has been some grumblings around Chinese-only signs in Richmond, BC. Having worked on VERY similar issues in Monterey Park, CA, I’m curious how city leaders will balance the discussion of “community harmony” and feelings of “exclusion.” Like Monterey Park, the recent wave of immigrants has changed the demographics of the city drastically and is now the city in North America that has the largest proportion of Asians.

Here is an article with some background from CBC.

The City of Richmond is hosting a community workshop tonight at the UBC Boathouse at 6:30pm. I think it might be “sold out” but if you’re interested in attending email signconsult@richmond.ca to RSVP. For more information, check out the City’s webpage on the matter.

I’d also recommend reading up a bit on the City’s Social Development Strategy and Intercultural Strategic Plan.

I’ll be there making observations and tweeting, so look for me! Things I’ll be looking for: language translation, interactive exercises that get people talking to each other, room arrangement, establishment of discussion guidelines, and, of course, FOOD!

Happy planning folks,

Nat

First blog post!

Hello there,

My name is Nathanel Lowe and I am a recent transplant to Vancouver from LA. You can call me Nat. My partner recently found a job here so that means I’m currently looking for full-time work as a community and social planner (hire me!). To learn more about me, please visit my biography page! Or if you’re interested in working with me, please check out my resume.

This blog will be a place to make observations, provide analysis, and learn. I’ll be writing about some critical issues in Metro Vancouver region: immigrant integration, sustainability, and social planning. I’ll provide my analysis and insights from the perspective as a community planner and as someone who has intimate knowledge of working in and with immigrant communities.

Please feel free to reach out to me in the comments. I’m looking forward to getting to know you!

Nat Lowe