In recent years, communities have been embarking on a path toward sustainable urban development. This includes sustainable buildings and green neighbourhoods with features to reduce the carbon footprint or provide healthy living environments. Unfortunately, these projects don’t always provide enough affordable housing.
The Affordable Housing and Sustainable Development Solutions Lab will explore ways to enable the construction and maintenance of affordable and sustainable housing. Bringing together various stakeholders, the project will seek to better understand the barriers holding back sustainable and affordable housing supply. It will also propose solutions to improve housing affordability in projects that attempt to follow the principles of sustainable development. The goal is to bridge the current gap between sustainable living environments and affordable housing.
3 Key Goals
Develop a strategy to help stakeholders improve sustainable housing affordability.
Ensure that development and construction projects lead to sustainable, affordable and quality housing.
Build inclusive communities by adding affordable housing to quality mixed-use green housing projects.
Project scope and expected outcomes
Maintain sustainability standards while keeping housing affordable
There are two ways to provide affordable housing: protecting current affordable housing from rising in price and building new housing that is affordable. One way to make new housing more affordable is to reduce construction costs. This solution does have some disadvantages, however. It can force vulnerable populations to live in poorly located units that don’t meet standards, which negatively affects their health and access to employment. It can have an impact on young adults who want to buy their first home or find quality rental units. It can also affect seniors who need safe and affordable housing close to activities and amenities.
One of the main objectives of green housing projects and sustainable neighbourhoods is to improve the quality of housing. Specifically, they aim to use healthy materials that don’t negatively impact the residents’ health. However, they may be more expensive to purchase than the average equivalent. If we could maintain sustainability standards while keeping housing affordable, we could improve the housing situation for vulnerable populations.
Housing affordability in sustainable developments
This Lab will propose a strategy to help stakeholders improve sustainable housing affordability. It will examine best practices that significantly increase the proportion of affordable housing that is also sustainable. The resulting strategy will create viable communities, sustainable buildings and affordable housing in green projects.
The Lab will bring together experts interested in housing affordability in projects that exemplify sustainable development values. This includes developers, organizations that support social and community housing, governments, municipalities and architects.
The Lab will be conducted in 5 phases:
- The Definition Phase will detail the problem in order to identify issues that require analysis. The work plan will be fine-tuned, tools and methodology will be specified, and partnerships will be confirmed.
- The Discovery Phase will consist in preparing and conducting the Exploratory Workshop. This workshop will provide participants with an overview of the context and challenges associated with sustainable housing affordability. It will also call on their expertise to clarify these challenges.
- The Development Phase will include a solutions workshop that will build on the issues identified and clarified during the Exploratory Workshop. A multi-pronged strategy will be developed by the participants to make sustainable urban development more affordable.
- The Prototyping and Testing Phase will compare the various strategy elements from the previous phase with the reality of implementation. Feedback will then be sought from the individuals and organizations previously identified as ultimately responsible for implementing the strategy. A final workshop will examine and optimize the strategy based on feedback gathered during the tests.
- The Roadmap Phase will seek to refine the strategy so that it can be fully implemented. The final strategy will be written and published, and lab results will be communicated.
A roadmap for the future
A progress report and roadmap for the future will be created during the final phase of the Lab. A series of articles on the results of the labs will be published online and in trade journals.
Project team: Vivre en Ville
Location: Québec City, QC
- City of Québec
- City of Pointe-Claire
- Société de développement Angus
- Office municipal d’habitation de Québec
- Cohabitat Québec
- FORMES magazine
- Voir vert
Innovation consultant: Deloitte Canada
For more information:
Please email Innovation-Research@cmhc-schl.gc.ca or visit our website to learn more about National Housing Strategy initiatives.