Understanding affordable housing providers

October 5, 2020 in Housing

In Canada, the building industry produces 35% of the waste that heads to the landfill. Worldwide, the building industry consumes more than half of the world’s physical resources, and accounts for up to 40% of the world’s energy use.

Environmental performance is often seen as an expensive, non-essential feature to affordable housing solutions. Yet, when considering broader implications of sustainability and livability, integrating environmental performance into affordable housing makes sense. Over the next number of months, our team at Intelligent Futures will be exploring the following question:

How can environmental performance be fundamentally integrated into the economic model of affordable housing projects in order to enhance the long-term livability and viability of projects?

This question is guiding the Better Housing Lab, a Solutions Lab that is funded by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. The CMHC Solutions Lab program is intended to be a catalyst for driving action and innovation in the affordable housing sector.

Our team initiated this lab alongside Attainable Homes CalgaryAlberta EcoTrust the City of Calgary Affordable Housing Division and Dr. Sasha Tsenkova of the University of Calgary.

For the rest of 2020, the podcast will be focussed on all things related to the challenge question of our Solutions Lab. The episodes will explore the variety of factors that influence affordable housing, economics, environmental performance and livability and will also serve as homework for the dozens of folks who are participating in the Solutions Lab process. 

Today, you’ll learn about two organizations who provide affordable housing at different points on the housing continuum: Catalyst Community Developments Society and Attainable Homes Calgary.


Not-for-profit Development

October 21, 2019 in Community

We are in the home stretch of the Federal Election here in Canada. During the campaign, most leaders have discussed the issue of affordability. Whatever your political stripe, and whoever wins the election, housing affordability is an issue that faces families across Canada and indeed around the world. And of course, politicians play a role in affecting housing affordability. But another key player that impacts the cost of housing is the development industry. It’s a profit-driven industry, which means developers aren’t always motivated to make housing affordable. Today, John talks with Robert Brown who works in the non-profit development sector.

In this episode, Robert and John talk about

  • What it means, and how it works, to be a non-profit real estate developer
  • How Catalyst Community Developments Society defines “affordable housing”
  • Advice Robert has for community organizations considering redevelopment
  • The potential future of non-profit real estate development


  • Learn more about Catalyst here
  • Follow Catalyst on Twitter 

On another note, we’re starting to collect denonyms from around the world. A denonym is a word used for the people that come from a particular place. If you know of a good demonym, please let us know. We plan to make a mini episode with some of our favourite denonyms. Grab your smart phone and record a short message with your name, where you’re from and what the denonym is for your city. You can email the file to hello@360degree.cityand we’ll compile these for future episodes.