The Extent of the Canadian Urban Housing Crisis
by Tristan De Iure-Grimmel on October 5, 2017 - 9:42am
In my article, the author, Richard Florida, explains the new housing crisis in Canada and how it has much to do with other urban problems such as inequality and the oppression of the poorer strata. The heart of the problem, according to him, is the surge of the young and educated in great numbers into the city. This has not only lead to the increase in housing price in our biggest cities, but most importantly in a sharp decline of house affordability. Indeed, when compared with the world’s most costly cities to live in, such as New York and London, Vancouver ranks third and Toronto ninth in terms of housing cost to income ratio. Another survey measured that the housing price in Canada’s 40 largest metropolitan areas ranges from unaffordable to severally unaffordable. Coincidentally, income inequality has also been on the rise, especially in cities such as Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto where it is the highest in all the country. Plus, the unaffordability of the housing has driven much of low-wage working class out of the core and into the fringe. Recent political movements, such as the election of Donald Trump and Brexit, have highlighted workers’ frustration with the present situation and the need for a change in their conditions. Finally, the author prescribes that, to solve the crisis, federal and municipal governments alike must invest in solving those problems. They must address the problem of inequality; build dense, affordable housing and new infrastructure; invest in transportation and increase the minimum wage for service workers to be able to support their family. Thus, the solution is fairer urbanism and more of it.
The housing crisis meets all the criteria for it to be considered a social issue: it is a national problem that affects the majority of the population including the white middle class; there are many solutions to the crisis, some of which the author examines; there is a gap between what is wanted (affordable housing, equality) and what the society is really like (unaffordable housing, rise in equality); there is a public outcry against it worldwide in the form of a populistic political movement.
My opinion on this article is that what is happening is a natural phenomenon that has to do with the increase in the population in urban areas. Indeed, our suburbs have expanded to a point where they are located too far from the city. Thus, by lack of space in the fringe but also out of the efficiency of living in the core have people started moving back in. The increase in demand has led to the increase in price and eventually unaffordability. If my assumption is true, then the flow of people into the city will never stop, as suburbs have expanded to their maximum, making the crisis difficult to solve. In fact, I doubt that the problem will ever be resolved and I believe it can only be slowed down because the flux of people into the city is constant, but also because the government rarely fulfils its promises as fully as it promises. If the problem is to be addressed, it will be taken care of over a significant amount of time because the solution will necessitate the cooperation of the municipalities with the federal government, a great investment by both, a study of the situation and a well thought out plan. In other words, the crisis will likely not end soon.
Florida, Richard. "It's More than a Housing Crisis." The Globe and Mail, Apr 24, 2017, Canadian Major Dailies, https://proquest-crc.proxy.ccsr.qc.ca/docview/1890953314?accountid=44391.