The Canadian affordable housing landscape

October 26, 2020 in Housing

How can we provide housing that is more affordable, environmentally friendly and livable, all at once? Throughout the next few months, we’re exploring this type of question. With a fantastic team of collaborators, we’re running the Better Housing Solutions Lab, which is funded by the Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation. The hope is that the lab will be a catalyst to drive action and innovation in the affordable housing sector. 

Our team initiated this lab alongside 

This episode is a second installment of the Better Housing Lab Series that explores issues surrounding affordable housing and serves as homework for our lab participants.  

To understand how we might innovate and improve future housing projects, we wanted to understand the Canadian housing context. What is the history of housing in Canada? What are some key challenges and factors of success? 

Today John chats with a former professor of his. Dr. Sasha Tsenkova joins us for a conversation to better understand the affordable housing landscape across the country. 

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.


50(ish) Episodes!

September 21, 2020 in Uncategorised

We started 360 Degree City in 2018 as a way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of our company Intelligent Futures and to share the conversations we were having about cities beyond just the boundaries of the projects we were working on. this is our 50th episode – not bad, considering that, besides listening to podcasts, our team had ZERO idea how to put one together when we first got started. 

The name of the podcast – 360 Degree City – was intentional. We wanted to explore cities from a variety of angles. Cities are the most complex creation that us humans have ever come up with and we wanted to explore the diversity of issues that cities have faced in the past, are grappling with today and will need to address in the future. In our first 50 episodes, we have covered areas such as:

  • Urban agriculture
  • Walkability
  • Citizen science
  • The impact instagram is having on cities
  • Cycling, both winter and non-winter
  • The mental impact of city spaces
  • Green buildings
  • The impact COVID-19 is having on cities
  • ….and many many more

But what’s exciting is that in many ways, we have just scratched the surface. Our team has a list of dozens of new ideas to explore and after our summer break, we are ready to start rolling out episodes every second Monday again. 

As architect Daniel Libeskind said: Cities are the greatest creations of humanity.

Over half of the world’s population now lives in cities and that is projected to continue to grow over time. It’s important that everyone understands how they can individually and collectively make these places better. Our aim is for every listener to see cities from a slightly different angle than before they listened. 

Looking back over this first 50 episodes covering a wide range of topics, I have observed some important themes that span specific issues. This episode takes a look back at what we’ve heard from our amazing guests. 

Let’s dive in.