Modular housing offers a rapid, affordable housing solution for those experiencing homelessness, providing immediate help to those in crisis. Yet housing is about more than just shelter. Housing design, location and social programming have an impact on resident wellbeing and the health of communities and neighbourhoods. Assessing the social effects of these healthy housing initiatives is therefore key to their success.
The Social wellbeing in modular housing Solutions Lab will seek to understand the social effects of modular housing. It will bring together modular housing stakeholders to gather feedback to refine prototypes and best practices. It will also develop a model for assessing healthy housing across Canada. These approaches will unlock the potential for modular housing to boost health and social inclusion for people who have experienced homelessness.
3 Key Goals
Engage with residents, creators and supporters of modular housing to understand the social wellbeing of communities using modular housing.
Identify and discuss themes, opportunities and challenges related to modular housing with the goal of improving future approaches.
Share knowledge and strategies through a roadmap that suggests further actions and innovations for modular housing practitioners in B.C.
Project scope and expected outcomes
Seeking refinements to a promising solution
Homelessness is complex. Those who experience it might struggle with addiction and physical and mental health issues. These challenges are exacerbated by social disconnection and other forms of marginalization. In turn, this affects their happiness, health and resiliency.
This Lab will examine the potential of modular housing to nurture happiness and wellbeing for individuals experiencing homelessness. It seeks to ensure that multi-unit buildings are inclusive and resilient, and that they promote social wellbeing. These social connections are key because socially connected people live longer, report higher levels of happiness and are more resilient. Improving social inclusion and boosting supports in modular housing will thus help address homelessness in the long term.
Engaging a community
The Lab will be conducted by the Happy City design consulting firm in partnership with B.C. Housing. Through interviews and workshops with community members, the Lab will investigate the opportunities and challenges presented by modular housing. Its goal is to create recommendations that can help boost the health and social wellbeing of residents. The Lab also aims to create a model for meaningfully engaging and empowering vulnerable populations.
The Lab will occur over 5 phases:
- The Definition Phase involves project planning and identifying members of the modular housing ecosystem to participate in interviews and workshops. This includes designers, government officials, public health authorities and residents of these communities.
- The Discovery Phase will see researchers conduct interviews with the selected community members. This will capture themes, challenges and opportunities to help design an initial Lab workshop. The team also will conduct in-depth research into best practices for vulnerable populations.
- The Development Phase will involve a workshop to expand group understanding of the issues under exploration. Participants will work to widen their perspectives and collectively identify opportunities for potential prototyping.
- The Prototype and Testing Phase will see participants narrow down the list of ideas that have the potential to create a positive impact. They will then work together to outline next steps and identify barriers for testing. The team will engage in further study to ensure the feasibility of prototypes and create plans to test each possible solution.
- The Roadmapping Phase includes a final workshop where participants review the plans and co-create a roadmap for further action. This includes summarizing findings and recommendations to share with stakeholders in B.C. and across Canada.
Sharing results to foster future success
The Lab will produce prototypes for future modular housing practices that are designed to promote the social wellbeing of residents. This will pave the way for greater success for this new affordable housing format.
A roadmap will share recommendations for future actions. It will be intended to be used locally and shared with modular housing communities of practice across Canada.
Project Team: Happy City
Location: British Columbia
Project Collaborators / Partners:
- B.C. Housing
- Vancouver Coastal Health
- MA+HG Architecture
- Better Choices Street Outreach Services
- City of Vancouver
Innovation Consultant: Reos Partners
Get More Information:
Email email@example.com or visit our website to learn more about the initiatives under the National Housing Strategy.