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Mixed-use developments and affordable housing
#1
Study highlights a downside of the LRT
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#2
(02-05-2018, 08:52 AM)Bob_McBob Wrote: Study highlights a downside of the LRT

More around the lines of "Study shows that unregulated gentrification prices housing unaffordably in Toronto. Fair generalizations to Region are presented with caveats." but I guess that's not as punchy.

The tl;dr appears to be that, left unchecked, all the good spots near the LRT line will be developed for the more expensive market. There are presently incentives but no mandates for affordable units or developments.

I like the article. Not sold on the title.
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#3
(02-05-2018, 08:52 AM)Bob_McBob Wrote: Study highlights a downside of the LRT

Study highlights a downside of increasing property values, anyhow.
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#4
The Record has an article about a UW study on mixed-used developments this morning:
https://www.therecord.com/news-story/810...f-the-lrt/

The implication in the study (published in JAPA, which requires a subscription) is that mixed-use developments are unaffordable:

Quote:It looked at mixed-use neighbourhoods in Toronto between 1991 and 2006 and found that housing in mixed-use zones was the least affordable, compared to housing in other parts of the city and in the larger Toronto area.

And later

Quote:"That leads to inequality in the city, and segregation," said Tara Vinodrai, a geography professor at the University of Waterloo and one of the authors of the study.


I can't see the original study to see what the actual conclusion was, but at least the above statement seems to mix correlation with causation. I am sure that new construction near transit is, on average, less affordable than the old buildings it replaces. And I am sure that the cities (including Toronto, the subject of this study) promote mixed-use for new developments. But that does not mean that mixed-use should automatically be less affordable than dedicated residential.

The second half of the article is more focused on the need for affordable housing (which I strongly support) but combining that with "mixed-use" and claiming that the latter is the problem makes no sense to me.
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#5
(02-05-2018, 09:30 AM)chutten Wrote:
(02-05-2018, 08:52 AM)Bob_McBob Wrote: Study highlights a downside of the LRT

The tl;dr appears to be that, left unchecked, all the good spots near the LRT line will be developed for the more expensive market. There are presently incentives but no mandates for affordable units or developments.
"We're doing what we can within our powers, but they're limited," [Tina Malone-Wright] said.

I had to laugh at that, because over the last few years when talking with city staff at the PCCs for the zoning bylaw updates they refused to have different property tax rates for apartments versus condos, or scaled rates based on the amount of units in apartment buildings that are reserved for people participating in affordable housing programmes at any level of government. The response was never "we can't do that" (i.e. because of provincial restrictions in the Municipal Act), but instead it was "we don't want to do that". I could never get an explanation why, just that they dismissed the idea out of hand.
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#6
(02-05-2018, 09:57 AM)tomh009 Wrote: The Record has an article about a UW study on mixed-used developments this morning:
https://www.therecord.com/news-story/810...f-the-lrt/

The implication in the study (published in JAPA, which requires a subscription) is that mixed-use developments are unaffordable:

Quote:It looked at mixed-use neighbourhoods in Toronto between 1991 and 2006 and found that housing in mixed-use zones was the least affordable, compared to housing in other parts of the city and in the larger Toronto area.

And later

Quote:"That leads to inequality in the city, and segregation," said Tara Vinodrai, a geography professor at the University of Waterloo and one of the authors of the study.


I can't see the original study to see what the actual conclusion was, but at least the above statement seems to mix correlation with causation. I am sure that new construction near transit is, on average, less affordable than the old buildings it replaces. And I am sure that the cities (including Toronto, the subject of this study) promote mixed-use for new developments. But that does not mean that mixed-use should automatically be less affordable than dedicated residential.

The second half of the article is more focused on the need for affordable housing (which I strongly support) but combining that with "mixed-use" and claiming that the latter is the problem makes no sense to me.

I think you’re pretty clearly right. A lot of the time “unaffordable” really just means “desireable”. For example, old, walkable neighbourhoods with good transit are often expensive, while many newer, car-dependent suburbs are cheaper. Concluding that we should build the suburban model so that the housing will be affordable is wrong. Instead, we should build what people clearly want (as proven by the fact that they pay more for it).

Sometimes, the limitation is construction costs, but construction costs just put a floor on the price of new construction. Everything else has to do with supply and demand.

Even the replacement of affordable with more expensive housing is unexciting and not something to worry about. Why was the old housing affordable? Probably because it was run-down housing. Why was it run-down? Because the owner was planning to tear it down and replace it with something bigger! It would be absurd for an owner to keep an old house that they intend to redevelop fully maintained.

There is a lot of extremely bad thinking in the area of housing. Just this morning I read in the paper that “rent increases” are pricing people out of certain neighbourhoods. It would be more correct to say that lack of supply is pricing people out of those neighbourhoods. Rent increases are just a natural and unsurprising consequence of lack of supply. Basically, nobody should say anything in any way connected to rent levels unless they understand at least ECON 101.
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#7
There is no paywall (which is good, I've had negative experiences with tandf before).

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.10...17.1406315

I'd say that the Record article adds a slant not present in the original research article, which is more of the tone "if you don't do anything, there will be added inequity in terms of who can pay for the nearby mixed-use".

The article explicitly contains a discussion of supply-and-demand. (I dropped some citations).
Quote:Mixed-use zoning can influence affordability in two opposing ways. First, a greater mix of uses will reduce the cost of housing if it increases the housing supply and/or the diversity of housing types.  Mixed-use zoning should increase the supply of smaller units with lower prices/rents if there are higher density housing developments. Second, highly accessible units are more expensive and command higher prices if they are developed in proximity to transit and other amenities, as is often the case with housing in mixed-use areas. Thus, increases in housing supply in central locations where land values are high may lead to housing cost increases in these locations.
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#8
That's much more reasonable than the Record's interpretation. I really can't disagree with "a greater mix of uses will reduce the cost of housing if it increases the housing supply and/or the diversity of housing types."
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#9
In our local context, affordability of mixed use is going to be more affected by how little area is available to be densified (144/155/Bauer went up, but try imagining any named neighbourhood association hosting even a six storey building, or four, let alone those), how much those same neighbourhoods delay the developments (some research out there on delays estimate thousands of dollars of extra costs for each unit for each month of delay; imagine how much the proposed Alexandrian development has seen its costs go up after years of delays), and how much those same neighbourhoods always cry out for massive parking requirements. These things can realistically add $50-100K+ per unit, which is very much the difference between affordable and luxury on especially the low square footage end.
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#10
(02-05-2018, 01:57 PM)Viewfromthe42 Wrote: In our local context, affordability of mixed use is going to be more affected by how little area is available to be densified (144/155/Bauer went up, but try imagining any named neighbourhood association hosting even a six storey building, or four, let alone those), how much those same neighbourhoods delay the developments (some research out there on delays estimate thousands of dollars of extra costs for each unit for each month of delay; imagine how much the proposed Alexandrian development has seen its costs go up after years of delays), and how much those same neighbourhoods always cry out for massive parking requirements. These things can realistically add $50-100K+ per unit, which is very much the difference between affordable and luxury on especially the low square footage end.

Excellent point. Housing affordability is another reason why parking minima should be abolished. People can decide for themselves how much parking they are willing to pay for. Of course, adjustments to the street parking rules and increased enforcement will likely be needed in some areas but that is no reason to perpetuate an extremely bad system.
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