Last week, the Urban Development Institute-Pacific Region’s (UDI) January Forecast Luncheon took place. It sold out. And for good reason. This year, the UDI-Pacific Region communications committee, led by president Don Forsgren (Intracorp Projects Ltd.), has introduced an incredibly exciting initiative – More Homes for More People.
The purpose is simple. Strike up a conversation that isn’t just about affordability or density or sustainability – a conversation that focuses on more than just real estate developers or municipalities – with the ultimate goal of promoting more homes in Metro Vancouver for more people.
As Polygon’s Ben Smith (UDI Director, U40 Chair) points out, it means:
• more housing types for more types of people.
• building housing that is affordable so it’s accessible to more people.
• more housing starts for the greater number of family formations starting.
• building sustainably so we can effectively accommodate more people.
• more commercial spaces for more businesses.
• more permits processed for the huge number of people backlogged in the system right now.
And it gets better. UDI is engaging in social media to help push the cause. Go UDI! They’re really, truly inviting everyone to participate in the discussion, no matter what their stance on affordable housing, sustainability or density might be. It’s a radical departure from the way the associations normally handle new initiatives.
A year or two ago, the Pacific Region branch would have advertised their plight; they would have told people how and why housing should be different in the City and left it at that. This year, they’re voicing their opinion through a platform that encourages discussion and collaboration. There will certainly be people who disagree with More Homes for More People and this time around UDI is leaving the doors open for those individuals to say their piece.
Thank goodness, I say. This is an initiative worth paying attention to, regardless of your stance or whether you live in Metro Vancouver or not.
Today, the number of urban residents is growing by nearly 60 million every year. Between 2025 and 2030, the global urban population is expected to grow roughly 1.5 per cent per year. And by 2050, the urban population will have almost doubled. Looking at these numbers, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize we need to find ways to meet the housing needs of more people in our cities ¬– across provinces, across nations, across the globe. Better to figure it out together than alone.