29 Mar 30Network: Where are we at and Where do we want to be?
After the excitement and curiosity generated at the first cohort meeting, the 30Network was keen to begin learning, discussing and ideating during their first full-day meeting. The purpose of the day was to develop a broader understanding of the current reality and challenges facing millennials with regards to affordable housing in Vancouver, as well as build a vision of what affordable housing would look like in their ideal city. With a breathtaking view of Science World, False Creek and BC Place from Vancity’s Head Office, the 30Network got to work.
The cohort developed a deeper understanding of Vancouver’s current reality through sharing their own lived experiences and from interviews with fellow millennials outside of the cohort, as well as through expert context. The 30Network discussed their findings from the 90+ interviews they conducted, adding to the diversity of perspectives in the room. From these interviews, majority of respondents felt they have sacrificed either amenities, possessions, or future opportunities based on their current housing situation. In fact, 30% of respondents did not feel housing secure. 80% of respondents were renting, with many attributing poor or positive mental health changes with their housing situations. Many felt that if they lost their current housing, they’d be forced to leave Vancouver. In conclusion, these interviews showed the cohort that housing in Vancouver is not oriented as a right, but a privilege, and that there is a lack of focus on the less wealthy in housing development.
Following this discussion, the cohort received rapid fire presentations followed by intimate group discussions with the following partners and sponsors:
- Kira (Vancity) Setting the challenge
- Charles (Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association) Employment and impact of affordability
- Sarah Ellis (City of Vancouver) Housing Reset Strategy
- JB McEown (BC Housing) Working with different housing models
These presentations covered a wide scope of the challenges surrounding housing affordability, from why Vancouver’s millennials have the lowest discretionary spending in Canada, to the ‘missing middle’, as well as the province’s role in affordable housing.
With a deeper understanding of the current reality of affordable housing in Vancouver, the cohort shifted their focus to honing in on an audience, and building a vision. The 30Network identified five underserved groups of young people aged 19-30 in Vancouver, and identified ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’ that these groups face when it comes to housing and affordability. By using their shared knowledge, each group built a vision surrounding what an ideal city would look like for each particular group. Some common trends in these visions include a city of options and opportunity, equity and accessibility, and security and creativity. In addition, the cohort saw a city that encourages connection and community-building through proactive policies that support rather than restrict all types of citizens and their desired housing lifestyle.
With this core understanding of affordability in Vancouver, and vision of what an ideal and inclusive city looks like, the 30Network will explore what solutions they want to create, and how they will deliver them in our upcoming sessions. Stay tuned to what this cohort gets up to over the next month!
Special thanks to Vancity Credit Union, Cities4People, the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, Generation Squeeze, the Real Estate Foundation of BC, LandlordBC and RADIUS for their generous support in making the 30Network possible.
Take a look at the pictures from this session here.
This post was written by Claire Crowther of CityHive.