Cities and Towns, The Affordable Housing Problem

February 8, 2023

People living on the street have come to symbolize the global housing crisis but they are only the tip of the iceberg. While the examples of Finland and Houston demonstrate a focussed plan pursued diligently can resolve the housing situation for the chronically homeless, addressing the affordable housing problem is much more complex.  Defining Affordability […]

Cities and Towns 8, A City is About People

January 19, 2023

Kings Cross, once a thriving industrial and transport centre in London, was effectively closed  off  to the public by the end of the 20th century.   Then in 1996, the decision was made to move the British terminus for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link from Waterloo to St-Pancras. The landowner saw a re-development opportunity for […]

Places to Live – Cities & Towns 5

December 8, 2022

A Tale of Two Cities This is a Tale of Two Cities. Houston, Texas is the fourth largest city in the United States. It has a population of about 2.4 million people and Harris County about has about 4.3 million residents. Over the past ten years Houston / Harris has reduced chronic homelessness by 63%. […]

Places to Live – Cities and Towns 4

November 21, 2022

So how did Finland accomplish these results? As already set out in an earlier instalment, Article 19.4 of the Finnish Constitution establishes housing as a basic human right in.  Finland bases its resultant strategy on four guiding principles to eliminate homelessness: 1 – Housing enables independent Lives The homeless can go straight to living in […]

Places to Live – Cities and Towns 3

November 8, 2022

Think First of the Homeless When I think about places to live, I think first of the homeless. Imagine  standing on a street corner at eight o’clock in the evening with all of your earthly belongings. It is drizzling and cold. You have no where to shelter, call your own, sleep, or feel safe. Maybe […]

Lawns – Issue 79

August 22, 2022

Love your lawn? Do you hanker for a perfect carpet of green fescue? How many hours do you dedicate to weeding, watering, and mowing to get those perfect geometric stripes?  Has this summer proven difficult for lawns where you live? Watering restrictions? Pests? Perhaps your lawn wars begin in the spring when you take on […]

Homelessness one more time  – Issue 75 

April 22, 2022

I enjoy exploring towns and cities and this year we spent a month in Paris and Strasbourg. Sadly, I always expect to see some level of homelessness. However, I wasn’t ready for the number of little encampments that I saw in France this year. Tents and cardboard shelters near the Louvre, in shopping arcades, just […]

Municipal Elections, Issue 59

October 26, 2021

Québec has municipal elections on a set date every four years. Candidate campaigns are now in full swing with voting scheduled for November 7. Items high on the agendas in most municipalities – housing and population density. Focus Pointe-Claire I live in Pointe-Claire, an on-island suburb of Montréal. It has a lot going for it […]

Public Spaces, Issue 55

August 9, 2021

Sociologist Ray Oldenburg coined the term  “Third Place” in 1989. He defined home as the First Place and “the office / factory floor/ etc” the Second Place. Oldenburg’s Third Places were neither home space nor work space. Boundaries between work, home, and play fade Since 1989, information and communication technologies have helped fade the boundaries […]

Hands Off Chinatown, Issue 51

June 1, 2021

Developers have their eyes set on Montréal’s Chinatown, a tiny  but very accessible area of the city near the central business district. This distinctive neighbourhood just a short walk from Old Montreal, University of Montréal Hospital Centre, and McGill University, anchors Montréal’s Chinese community. Additionally, it is an area of the city where people congregate. […]

Part 4, Solving the Housing Crisis, Issue 48

May 4, 2021

Targeted Housing should come in many formats and could be a dynamic part of any neighbourhood.

Part 2, Solving the Housing Crisis, Issue 46

April 21, 2021

Any serious strategy for the ambitious development of  Targeted Housing requires affordable land. Private developers scour city neighbourhoods to find the best locations. In many municipalities, market forces have driven up prices to “beyond affordable”. Post acquisition,  developers spend years seeking various zoning changes for usage and density through height. Without these changes most planned […]