Metro Cities: What must be considered to build better housing
Justin Trudeau called housing a human right. But how can Canada ensure that right is upheld?
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The federal government rolled out a National Housing Strategy last fall calling for $11 billion over 11 years for social and public housing. Combined with other partnerships, nearly $40 billion will go to create sustainable housing. At the time, Justin Trudeau called housing a human right. But how can Canada ensure that right is upheld? Here are five crucial elements for public housing:
Leaders who will lead:
From Singapore to Chicago to London to Toronto, a major predictor of a family's ability to access affordable housing is whether politicians at every level make it a high priority. New York Mayor Bill De Blasio has made affordable housing his city's top policy objective, financing 40 per cent of his ambition plan to preserve or create 200,000 housing units by 2024.
Renovate vs. reinvent:
The Bois-le-Prêtre tower in Paris underwent a three-year retrofit that turned a dark 16-storey concrete tower into a light glass-walled modern building without massive upheaval to the current residents and a lower cost than constructing a whole new home.
Let people grow:
Vienna has one of the strongest social housing programs; nearly 60 per cent of city residents live in social housing. Vienna allows low-income renters to remain in social housing even after they begin earning enough to no longer be considered low income.
Communities, not projects:
Rather than building "projects" with minimum standards like the former towers of Chicago's Cabrini-Green complex, smart social housing builds communities designed to appeal to all income levels and lifestyles — parks, sports areas, restaurants, grocery story and so on.
In Melbourne, Pearcedale Parade is designed to be sustainable and beautiful. The multi-coloured housing works to preserve residents' dignity and thus lessen the stigma of social housing.