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.

Bartholomew's dot destiny

Bartholomew made projections of what a Central Vancouver penninsula (UBC, Musqueam 2, Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster) with 1 million people would look like. We no just about hit that number time to compare how his projections stock up.

Jens von Bergmann Nathan Lauster

6 minute read

(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) How did early planners envision Vancouver’s future growth? Fortunately for us, they left a prediction in dot-density map form! Here we compare their prediction to a dot-density map from today. Let’s check out how our dot destiny unfolded! Vancouver grew rapidly from its incorporation in 1886 right up to the great crash of 1913, followed by WWI and a raging influenza epidemic (which we all know way too much about now).

Commuter growth

As our population and jobs grow, so do commuters. Taking a look how commuters grow.

Jens von Bergmann

7 minute read

Metro Vancouver is growing, both in terms of population and jobs. That means the number of people commuting to work is growing and putting a strain on our transportation system. The nature of that strain depends to a large extent on how people are getting to and from work. The Canadian census started collecting data on how people get to work in 1996, which allows us to see how commuters and commute choice have changed over time.

Shaughnessy Townhomes

Some thoughts on council's vote to kill the Shaughnessy townhomes.

Jens von Bergmann

8 minute read

City of Vancouver council rejected the development application for 21 purpose-built rental townhouses in Vancouver’s exclusive enclave of Shaughnessy last week, and the owner is now proceeding with building a mansion on that lot instead. Councillors gave a variety of reasons for the rejection. Some were voicing concerns of about the compatibility of hospice use with the 3 1/2 storey townhouse development next door, which seems far fetched as a quick look at St John’s hospice at UBC (the low building on the right in the picture here) shows.

Frequent transit zoning

Quantifying zoning in Vancouver's frequent transit network.

Jens von Bergmann

3 minute read

Today I saw a particlarly uninformed tweet claiming that “the most important areas to densify are near transit and are mostly upzoned already”. I tend to agree with the first part, but the notion that our frequent transit network is “mostly upzoned already” is plain wrong. I suspect that a lot of other casual observers share the misconception. So I decided to take this as an opportunity for a quick post to quantify zoning in our frequent transit network.