First Peek at Population and Household Data During COVID & Caveats

A deeper look at population and hosehold estimates, how thes estimates are made and what early data can tell us about shifts during COVID times.

Jens von Bergmann Nathan Lauster

17 minute read

(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) In this post we look at the most recent population (and household) estimates to see if we can detect any signals concerning how the COVID-19 pandemic may have impacted how (and where) we live. This is inherently tricky; lots of things changed during COVID times, including how well our normal methods of estimation work. That makes time series less reliable, even as we’re especially concerned with how conditions have changed.

Fixing parking

Paving the way for removing minimum parking requirements.

Jens von Bergmann Nathan Lauster

15 minute read

(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) New parking proposal just dropped! As Vancouver City Council once again discusses parking it seems like a good time to give a brief overview of the trade-offs involved, with special focus on the progressivity of parking permit fees. Vancouver proposed to introduce a city-wide parking permit program, requiring residents to buy a $45/year parking permit to park their vehicles on city streets (reduced to $5 for people with low incomes), or pay a $3 overnight visitor parking fee.

Transnational property ownership in Canada

We talk a lot about people living abroad owning property in Canada, let's take a look at Canadians owning property abroad.

Jens von Bergmann Nathan Lauster

6 minute read

(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) We know transnational ownership of properties is real. But how should we define it? And how many properties are owned by who where? First to definitions. We’re primarily interested in ownership of dwellings, where we can define ownership of properties in terms of titles and – in the relatively rare case of corporate ownership – in terms of beneficial ownership. Given this start, we can define transnational ownership of properties in at least two ways, the key distinction being how we locate property owners.

Lots of Opportunity: Estimating the Zoning Tax in Vancouver

Zoning bylaws restrict the size and frontage of lots, preventing lots from getting subdivided. The opportunity cost of freezing City of Vancouver land use in RS zoned areas in amber is enormous, it amounts to around $40 billion from preventing 2:1 lots splits, and an additional $100 billion from preventing further subdivision beyond that.

Jens von Bergmann Nathan Lauster

20 minute read

(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) TLDR We estimate the land value lost by lot subdivision restrictions in the RS (single-family) zoned lands of Vancouver. These restrictions, also known as the zoning tax, subsidize hoarding of land for the wealthy at the cost of those who wouldn’t mind sharing. We conservatively estimate the overall cost of preventing splitting of lots at $43 billion, or an average of 37% of existing lot land value.

Basement Confidential: Vancouver's Informal Housing Stock

Basement suites are the Schrödinger's cat of dwelling units, they span the space betweem formal and informal housing, viewed by some as the problem of, and by others as the solution to Vancouver's housing woes.

Jens von Bergmann Nathan Lauster

12 minute read

(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) Informal housing While housing is highly regulated via zoning bylaws, building code, and fire code, in situations of housing scarcity we often get informal housing that exists outside of - or only partially covered by - the existing regulatory framework. We often associate slums or shantytowns with the term informal housing, but it also applies to more organized settlements like Kowloon Walled City, or, in the context of subterranean Vancouver, a good portion of our secondary suite stock.