Monthly Archives: April 2021

England: Social Rent Housing Deserves A Better Rep

exterior of four council homes
“Hey! Did you know that social tenants in England have lower mental health scores than private tenants and home owners?” “That’s really not surprising. Considering the amount of hype around the virtues of home ownership. If I were a social renter, I’d be bummed out...

Oopsy, Homeless: Covid Frontline Workers Give The Lie To Meritocracy

A Black frontline worker inoculates an older white woman in a wheelchair
Lurking in the depths of conservative thought, the idea of a meritocracy is never far from the surface, at the very least as a convenient excuse for inaction. Merit-based thinking accompanies the current, if somewhat shopworn, brand of conservatism called neoliberalism. In a meritocracy, there...

In The Quicksand Of Housing Activism, Shared History Offers A Solid Footing

A crane towers over a new building rising beside a busy street
Looking towards a better future, why begin with a lengthy story of past failure? The question seems especially pertinent when no official record has been struck to carve the woeful mistakes of the past in stone. Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani, an artist and urban scholar, was asked...

Does COVID Spur Unexpected Partnerships?

Multi storey stately brick building, headquarters of Aetna Insurance
In the United States, local community development agencies and large health care organizations have been teaming up to improve health outcomes for people living in disadvantaged communities. COVID has been a challenging time for both groups. Community development agencies support people who are more likely...

Canadian Arctic Housing: Cozy On The Outside. Now Have A Look Inside

Looking from a slightly higher elevation over snowbound houses to the arctic sea beyond
In the fall of 2020, Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, the Member of Parliament for Canada's far north, visited eight communities. Her purpose: to see the housing conditions of her constituents.For an account of this tour, try: Housing Conditions In Canada's Far North: Bad Enough To Make...

Why Canada And New Zealand (At Least) Need Public Housing For All

attached two storey house in Toronto
Imagine! A gambling chip you can plonk down on the casino table that is no gamble at all. Guaranteed to make money! Canada is close to perfecting that chip, with the government providing the guarantee. It's called housing. The commodification of housing in Canada is rapidly moving...

Do Public Housing Tenants Really Need Continous Ass-Kicking On Their Way Out The Door?

In the foreground the hat and shoulder of a drill sergeant. Out of focus in the background are a group of marine recruits
Just recently, we published a post questioning the (very old) wisdom of "up and out" policies, which impose work requirements on people who are living in public housing, with the goal of moving them out. The policies are vocally supported by the new U.S....

Public Housing And Proud Of It? You Can Shout NIMBY, Too

A crowded anti demolitin protest featuring hand drawn signs and a majority of black faces
NIMBY is an enduring feature of proposals that bring "undesirable elements" into some form of contact with established neighbourhoods, usually ones that are at least firmly middle class. Manning the battlements, long-standing residents find many reasons to protest the possible incursion of undesirable change....

London, Ontario Looks To Expand Its Residential Licensing Program

exterior view of balconies in poor repair
London, Ontario currently licenses student accommodation and smaller private rental buildings. The City's Council recently debated whether to expand its licensing system to include rental apartments and townhouses. The idea was referred to staff for further consideration. Local governments in Ontario are responsible for enforcing...

Making Private Market Housing Sustainable For Tenants With Low Incomes

High Rise buildings in a Toronto neighbourhood
The Wellesley Institute is a champion for the social determinants of health in Canada. The Institute has focused considerable attention on the link between housing and health. One example is the Healthy Housing Quality initiative. The initiative aims to improve the overall quality of...

Activists: EU Must Pursue Green Building Solutions Without Creating More Homeless

apartment topped with a green roof
Homelessness in the EU has increased dramatically over the past ten years. The numbers are expected to rise as post-pandemic evictions put those out on the streets who have lost income and cannot afford the rent. Meanwhile, EU "Green" Planners are eyeing requirements for more...

A Missed Opportunity For Hotels To Prevent The Spread Of COVID

exterior of hotel in Manchester, England
Vicky Spratt, writing in i, argues hotels were a missed opportunity to prevent the spread of COVID in England. She draws on research by Rebecca Tunstall at York University in England and government data sources to make her case. Hotels provided safe isolation spaces for...

Unattainable Housing “Affordability” Definitions No Hope For Aging AU Women

An older white woman, a wisp of hair across her face gives a small, kindly smile to the camera
What's in an affordable housing definition? Developers happily slice and dice the housing market into "affordability" segments. If they're clever enough, they may even attract government subsidies. Both government and developer can then claim the credit for providing "affordable" housing. How affordable? For example, consider...

UK Gets Personal To House And Treat People With Addictions/Other Health Issues

Who knows best about suitable treatments for someone with addiction and/or health issues? Why, the individual with the problems, of course! Well, maybe that person doesn't exactly know BEST, otherwise a lot of mental health professionals would be out of their jobs. But it's undeniable...

Elder Housing: Can Singapore Try For Something More Than Homage To Aging Frailty?

A closeup of 2 older women with oriental features watching a television that is not in picture
Singapore is a world-famous success at creating high quality, affordable public housing for all, not just the poor. Its principal focus from the beginning has centred around families, given the importance of that institution and to the mix of cultures that reside in this...

Even Without A Grand Master Rapper, New Orleans Shows Food Deserts Can Be Beaten

A big, practically empty parking lot stretches in front of a suburban supermarket
A modern view of old fashioned, much neglected, American public housing: push it into the trash. But there's a growing recognition that for all the hype for complicated government/free enterprise partnerships, year after year, they fail to deliver housing in the volume needed to deal...

Pandemic Response By New York School System Pioneers Community Food Outreach

green bronx machine display
In England this past pandemic year, there was for a time an extraordinary reluctance by the government to extend traditional school meal service during closures. This in spite of plentiful evidence that families with low incomes were struggling to both pay the rent and...

Public Housing, “Reverence For Pre-Existing Structures” Captures Architecture’s Top Prize

refurbished apartment building with street sign reading Rue Andrée Putman
World-wide, it might seem that there are few opportunities to bring meaningful architectural design to the budget constraints of public housing construction. Certainly this lament can often be found in architectural journals, even when celebrating a recent and fulfilling design opportunity.Here's a recent example...

Benefits And Challenges of Green Social Housing As Low Income Security For UK

With housing firmly established as suitable gambling chip in the world's stock markets, it is becoming increasingly difficult for those with lower incomes to even rent it, let alone imagining its purchase. Increasingly, more and more housing needs to be deliberately removed from the roller-coaster...

Huntingdon, UK Reveals The Spirit of True YIMBY: Yes In My Back Yard!

Huntingdon street mall
NIMBY — Not In MY Back Yard — has become a common term for the seemingly inevitable push back by neighbourhoods against any influx of housing and housing agencies that support "undesirables" — people experiencing homelessness, as well as households with very low and...

Can Vertical Forest Splash Save Netherlands Social Housing Cash?

There can be little argument that Milan's pioneering "Vertical Forest" building is a striking feat of architecture.Or rather, it will become one at some time in the future. Built in 2007, twelve years later a 2019 a photo of the building with its young...
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