Friday, May 19, 2017

Our current housing crisis: don't blame the consumer

The current housing crisis seems to have many theories but very little accountability. Let's ask ourselves who's been in positions of authority throughout the decades of our decline in affordability and insufficient efforts in sustainability. Our democratically elected governments are the ones who have been creating questionable policy (monetary, land use, building codes, etc). Our urban planners have brought these policies into action. And our housing industry hasn't really done a great job of planning for demographics or sustainability. The consumer in large cities is left with a dwindling supply of inventory, which unfortunately has caused bidding wars and a crisis in affordability.

Who's to blame? The consumer, the one left struggling to make ends meet because of rising costs which far outpace their salaries? Or is it our leaders who are ineffectively reacting to crises rather than seeking out global best practices?

I've tweeted many times on the subject of Canada's adoption of the United Nations New Urban Agenda 2030 (which happened on October 20/16) by using the hashtags #NewUrbanAgenda2030, #NUA2030 and #NUA. Habitat III was the UN's largest conference in history (35,000 attended) and many countries adopted the NUA2030. Here's it is as a download:

What I like about the New Urban Agenda, and its associated Sustainable Development Goals, is the fact that thousands of experts have collaborated in its creation, and thousands more are involved in ensuring its successful implementation (see @urbancampaign). I also like that sustainability in the New Urban Agenda is environmental, financial and social, and encompasses 17 goals to transform our urban landscape (see I'd much rather put my faith in thousands of experts, drawing on global best practices, than on our current system of reactive policy that's failed consumers miserably.  My hope is that Canada's National Housing Strategy, due some time in November, will have a heavy emphasis on the wisdom within the New Urban Agenda. Let's keep in mind that the World Bank is monitoring sustainable development ( so this will have a bearing on monetary policy at some point in the near future.

I look forward to the next few months to see how our policy makers, urban planners and the housing industry respond and adapt to transformative change in new housing that is so desperately needed because consumers are at a breaking point.