Satellites, Sprawl, and City Six-Packs

Fun with global satellite-derived land use time series.

Jens von Bergmann Nathan Lauster

7 minute read

(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) We’re getting better and more accessible datasets for exploring land use change all the time. We have played with the Global Human Settlement Layer (GHSL) data in the past, where we looked at the population data on a 250m grid to compare how different city’s population distribute spatially, as well as the 1975, 1990, 2000, 2015 time series to see how it changed over time.

Commodity and Keeping it in the Family

A look at non-market transfers of market properties.

Jens von Bergmann Nathan Lauster

11 minute read

(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) TLDR Commodification of housing: what does it mean? Is it a problem? Can we decommodify housing? Can we establish a baseline for often this occurs in property transactions? Here we draw upon a recent Statistics Canada data release and older Census data to walk through some of these questions. Commodification in Property Transactions The commodification of housing has been identified as a problem to be resisted by a wide range of analysts and commentators.

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.

Forced Out in Canada: New Data from CHS

Taking a deeper look at forced moves using CHS microdata. And how it changed over time.

Jens von Bergmann Nathan Lauster

14 minute read

(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) TL;DR The new data release from CHS 2018 enables us to return to looking at mobility, with a special focus on forced moves. We estimate and compare the risk of forced moves for renters across Canada. We also provide some evidence for its sharp decline in BC in 2018, following protections put in place by the NDP. Finally, we compare risk of “forced move” to risk of “choice move” for renters.