Making Space for Families: Municipal Policy Options to Create High Density Housing for Families with Children Bohle, Sean
Many observers of urban life are seeing changes in where people want to live. Downtowns are being revitalized into engaging centres for living as well as for commerce, and suburban town centres are being densified and redesigned to provide the conveniences and aesthetic of an urban core. Vancouver leads the way in the transformation of its urban areas into desirable communities, but like many other cities experiencing new inner city growth, families with children are conspicuously absent. Many of the youthful urbanites who helped make downtowns vibrant again find that there are too few housing options for them when they begin to form families and have children, and many families who embrace urban environments find that there is no place for them in those areas. In places where low density family housing, such as detached houses and townhouses, are especially expensive, families with children can find themselves relegated to living in distant suburbs, no matter their locational preference. They take with them their skills, purchasing power and the children that could add much to urban areas and settle for a lifestyle that requires excessive driving and pressures on undeveloped land. Some municipalities are taking active steps to counteract the housing pressures on families with children by adopting policies that encourage the development of new housing for families in dense areas. While many of these policies are familiar because of their application for affordable housing and other public benefits, applying them to family housing is relatively new territory for cities. This report was created first to identify the economic barriers to the creation of family housing and second, to elucidate the policy options available to municipalities and their impacts on high density family housing.
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