On September 16, Hey Neighbour Collective and Happy Cities co-hosted an online workshop to explore cultural, financial, and policy-level challenges to building socially connected, affordable multi-unit housing communities. We were joined by architects, community organizers, developers, funders, housing industry advocates, housing providers, planners, policymakers, property managers, public health experts, and researchers.
Six presentations showcased promising design, policy or programmatic practices that foster social connectedness in multi-unit housing. We recorded five of them and made them available below.
Presenters were: Michael Epp (City of North Vancouver); Maura Chestnutt (Catalyst Community Developments Society); Carla Guerrera (Purpose Driven Development); Dana Sharon & Natalia Manzano (Brightside Community Homes Foundation); Jeanette Moss (Salsbury Community Society) and Leslie Shieh (Tomo.)
Learn more about the workshop.
“The desire for socially connected, cohesive communities is included in all the broad community plans. But that vision gets filtered out as you build something because it’s not mandated in actual development processes.”— A workshop participant (architect)
Break-out dialogue summary: challenges and preliminary solutions
We’ve summarized discussions during the “Solutions Room” breakout activity, which was the final segment of the workshop. The resulting document below highlights some of the preliminary ideas for breaking through some of the challenges to building socially connected, affordable multi-unit housing. We grouped those loosely into three categories:
- Policy challenges: Governmental or other relevant policies that hinder stakeholders’ ability to design and program multi-unit housing that fosters social connectedness.
- Financial challenges: Funding issues that hinder the development or maintenance of social spaces and programming in multi-unit housing.
- Cultural challenges: Ingrained attitudes and practices that discourage stakeholders from committing to build social connectedness with and among residents.
We intend to continue hosting conversations over the coming months and years that dig further into solutions and practical paths to achieving them.
Recordings from the workshop
Thank you to our sponsors: LandlordBC, BC Non-Profit Housing Association, Catherine Donnelly Foundation, Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Coastal Health.