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Balanced Supply of Housing 

Community Housing Canada

at home in the north

people, places, policies, prospects

Balanced Supply of Housing

aging in the right place

Balanced Supply of Housing

Principal Investigator

Dr. Penny Gurstein, University of British Columbia

Housing for Canada’s population has reached crisis proportions in many parts of the country, especially in major urban centres, with rampant homelessness and significant mismatches between the cost of housing and average incomes. We will help reduce these problems by convening a critical mass of interdisciplinary academics and multi-sectoral partners from throughout Canada’s housing sectors. Our Node will produce cutting-edge research and mobilize knowledge to support policy decision-making at all levels of government, including for the NHS, thereby bridging gaps between research evidence and housing outcomes.

Our examination of the balanced supply of housing will be guided by four overarching questions. Does the housing system have:

  1. The right balance of housing tenures (i.e. rent, ownership, co-op, social, etc.)?
  2. The right balance of built form and location (i.e. sub/urban, apartment, townhome, detached)?
  3. The right balance of cost and type relative to local earnings (versus outside investment or short-term rental demand)?
  4. What evidence is there that any current (im)balances in housing markets affect population health, demographic engagement and/or economic stability?

Our Node will integrate theoretical frames from health, indigenous studies, economics, and community planning and root these frameworks in feminist gender and community-based research principles. We will rely on a combination of methods informed by our various disciplines, including quantitative and spatial data analysis, econometric modeling, health in all policies analysis, qualitative and ethnographic methods of participatory action and field work, along with innovative public participation and design research methods. Our research questions and team are designed to both generate and mobilize knowledge through community research co-creation. Our knowledge mobilization activities will be guided by the Advocacy Coalition Framework, which has been implemented and refined by one of our lead community partners.

Our team will begin gaps analyses that explore the current housing supply — across tenure, built form, cost, and demand type — to assess current and future needs of res idents in major urban areas within BC, Ontario and Quebec, with the intention to extend to other provinces and smaller communities in subsequent years.

Our team will set up partnerships in the next year to explore land trusts or leases, purpose-built rental, more sustainable and appropriate secondary rental, co-ops, indigenous land tenure. social and supportive housing, public and non-profit housing, and community housing. We will begin to assemble an annotated database of policy options, which will be a living document that we update with future phases of the Node’s activity.

In light of rising prices in Canada’s most desirable cities, numerous policies have been enacted at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels to attack supply and demand forces deemed to cause high prices. Where feasible, we will assess the impacts of these policies by evaluating quasi-experiments and case studies stemming from policy changes that affect some but not all jurisdictions, or differences in policies/practices between like jurisdictions, so that we can deploy methods that isolate cause from correlation.

Central Coordinating Committee

Penny Gurstein
Academic Co-chair
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC

Erika Sagert
Community Co-chair
B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association
Vancouver, BC

Knowledge Mobilization Committee

Paul Kershaw
Academic Co-chair
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC

Cheryll Case
Community Co-chair
CP Planning
Toronto, ON

Reshaping the Financialization of Housing Working Group

Alan Walks
Academic Co-chair
University of Toronto
Toronto, ON

Tom Davidoff
Academic Co-chair
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC

Victor Willis
Community Co-chair
Parkdale Activity – Recreation Centre
Toronto, ON

Innovating in Responsive Land Practices

Susannah Bunce
Academic Co-chair
University of Toronto
Toronto, ON

Nik Luka
Academic Co-chair
University of McGill
Montreal, QC

Joshua Barndt
Community Co-chair
Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust
Toronto, ON

Organizations Representative Location
Aboriginal Housing Management Association Nizar Laarif West Vancouver, BC
Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario Magda Barrera Toronto, ON
Association for Generational Equity Eric Swanson Victoria, BC
British Columbia Non-Profit Housing Association Brian Clifford Vancouver, BC
Evergreen Isabel Cascante Toronto, ON
Kensington Market Community Land Trust Kevin Barret Toronto, ON
Parkdale Activity – Recreation Centre (Toronto) Victor Willis Toronto, ON
Réseau québécois des OSBL d’habitation Jacques Beaudoin Montreal, QC
Ryerson City Building Institute Claire Pfeiffer Toronto, ON
The Neighbourhood Land Trust Joshua Barndt Toronto, ON
University of Waterloo Ruth Knetchel Waterloo, ON
Wellesley Institute Greg Suttor Toronto, ON
West Neighbourhood House Lynne Woolcott Toronto, ON
Name Organization Co-Investigator
Alan Walks University of Toronto Yes
Alex Schwartz New School No
Alexandra Flynn University of British Columbia Yes
Amy Khare National Initiative on Mixed-Income Communities No
Andy Yan Simon Fraser University No
Erika Sagert BC Non-Profit Housing Association No
Cherise Burda Ryerson City Building Institute No
Cheryll Case CP Planning No
Claire Pfeiffer Ryerson City Building No
Cliff Grant Aboriginal Housing Management Association No
Craig Jones Housing Research Collaborative No
David Hulchanski University of Toronto No
David Ley University of British Columbia No
David Wachsmuth McGill University Yes
Elvin Wyly University of British Columbia No
Eric Swanson GenSqueeze No
Isabel Cascante Evergreen No
Jacques Beaudoin Réseau Québécois des OSBL d’Habitation No
Jean-Philippe Meloche University of Montreal Yes
Joshua Barndt Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust No
Joshua Gordon Simon Fraser University No
Kathleen Scanlon London School of Economics No
Kevin Barrett Kensington Market Community Land Trust No
Lu Han University of Toronto Yes
Lynne Woolcott West Neighbourhood House No
Magda Barrera Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario No
Maged Senbel University of British Columbia No
Marika Albert BC Non-Profit Housing Association No
Mark Joseph Case Western Reserve University No
Markus Moos University of Waterloo No
Martine August University of Waterloo Yes
Nathanael Lauster University of British Columbia Yes
Nicole Gurran University of Sydney No
Nik Luka McGill University Yes
Paul Kershaw University of British Columbia Yes
Penny Gurstein Housing Research Collaborative Yes
Scott Leon Wellesley Institute No
Sheryl Staub-French University of British Columbia No
Susannah Bunce University of Toronto Yes
Thomas Davidoff University of British Columbia Yes
Victor Willis Parkdale Activity – Recreation Centre No

Comparative Projects

 Filling the Gaps in Housing: Tracking Legislative Responses to COVID-19 in Emergency Housing Initiatives

  • Principal Investigator: Alex Flynn (UBC)
  • Co-Investigators: Tom Davidoff (UBC), Penny Gurstein (UBC), Nik Luka (McGill), Alan Walks (U of T)
  • Research Themes: Reshaping the Financialization of Housing / Innovating in Responsive Land Practices
  • Funding Window: August 2020

Do higher home prices hurt or help child vulnerability? A multi-level study of home prices, earnings and Early Development Instrument (EDI) data across Canadian regions and provinces.

  • Principal Investigator: Paul Kershaw (UBC)
  • Co-Investigator: Magdalena Janus (McMaster), Eric Duku (McMaster), Nazeem Muhajarine (U Sask), Marni Brownell (U Manitoba), Martin Guhn (UBC), Barry Forer (UBC)
  • Research Theme: Reshaping the Financialization of Housing
  • Funding Window: August 2020

Assessing the Impact of Short-term Rentals on Canada’s Housing Supply

  • Principal Investigator: David Wachsmuth (McGill)
  • Research Theme: Reshaping the Financialization of Housing
  • Funding Window: August 2020

New Directions in Affordability-Focused Land Policy and Practice

  • Principal Investigator: Penny Gurstein (UBC)
  • Research Theme: Innovating in Responsive Land Practices
  • Funding Window: August 2020

Indigenizing Supportive Housing: The Dual Model of Housing Care.

  • Principal Investigator: Penny Gurstein (UBC)
  • Co-Investigators: Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi (ACEH)
  • Community Partner: Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness
  • Research Themes: Innovating in Responsive Land Practices
  • Funding Window: November 2020 

Community-focused Projects

 Partna Housing – Scattered Housing Trust Model Design

  • Principal Investigator: Cheryll Case (CP Planning)
  • Co-Investigators: Alan Walks (U of T), Susannah Bunce (U of T)
  • Research Themes: Reshaping the Financialization of Housing
  • Funding Window: August 2020

Expansion of Laneway Homes in Vancouver: household acceptance and builders’ choices

  • Principal Investigator: Tom Davidoff (UBC)
  • Co-Investigators: Tsur Somerville (UBC), Andrey Pavlov (SFU)
  • Research Themes: Innovating in Responsive Land Practices
  • Funding Window: August 2020

A Community Action Research Project on Tower Rentals in Parkdale

  • Principal Investigator: Joshua Barndt (NLT)
  • Co-Investigators: Martine August (Waterloo), Scott Leon (Wellesley Insitute)
  • BSH Community Partners: The Neighbourhood Land Trust, Parkdale People’s Economy / PARC
  • Research Themes: Innovating in Responsive Land Practices
  • Funding Window: August 2020

Community Capacity Building in Community Land Trusts for Affordable Housing: An Action Research Study of the Kensington Market Community Land Trust, Toronto

  • Principal Investigator: Susannah Bunce (U of T)
  • BSH Community Partners: Dominique Russell and Kevin Barrett, Kensington Market Community Land Trust
  • Research Themes: Innovating in Responsive Land Practices
  • Funding Window: August 2020

Studying Montreal’s financialization of multi-family rental housing: Spatiality, local specificity and empirical methodology

  • Principal Investigator: Cloe St-Hilarie (RCLALQ)
  • Co-Investigators: David Wachsmuth (McGill)
  • Community Partner: RCLALQ
  • Research Themes: Reshaping the Financialization of Housing
  • Funding Window: November 2020

Strategies for improving access to safe, clean, affordable housing during beyond COVID-19: A case study of Lachine

  • Principal Investigator: Nik Luka (McGill)
  • Co-Investigators: Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi (ACEH)
  • Community Partner: Table habitation de Lachine
  • Research Themes: Innovating in Responsive Land Practices
  • Funding Window: November 2020

Urban Indigenous Housing in British Columbia: Municipal responses through housing policy and plans

  • Principal Investigator: Margaret Low (UBC)
  • Co-Investigators: Penny Gurstein (UBC)
  • BSH Community Partners: Aboriginal Housing Management Association
  • Research Themes: Innovating in Responsive Land Practices
  • Funding Window: November 2020