Mixed-use developments may actually reduce housing affordability, social diversity

February 5, 2018, University of Waterloo

Making the buildings in neighbourhoods more diverse through mixed residential and commercial developments also makes it too expensive for many people to live in, according to a study from the University of Waterloo.

The study of Toronto neighbourhoods found that the increased cost, which was further heightened by the retraction of for in mixed-use areas, led to the neighbourhoods becoming less diverse and disproportionately impacted people in sales and service occupations.

"Making mixed-use neighbourhoods was done with the best of intentions for our health, happiness and the environment, but as communities become more attractive places to live, demand to live there increases costs," said Markus Moos, a professor at Waterloo's School of Planning. "Walking to a nearby fancy coffee shop is nice, but the premium people pay for that luxury means the barista can't afford to live near their job.

"While mixed-use areas were intended to make things more affordable, factors such as the shift to a knowledge-based economy reduced social diversity in the absence of policies designed to keep housing affordable."

The study examined neighbourhoods in Toronto between 1991 and 2006, at a time when mixed-use developments were prescribed following a rethinking of previous planning that led to decades of urban sprawl. It incorporated existing research on mixed-use developments, as well as , classified as spending no more than 30 per cent of one's income on accommodations.

"Mixed-use neighbourhoods aren't inherently misguided. In fact, they do achieve many of their intended outcomes," said Tara Vinodrai, a professor at Waterloo's Department of Geography and Environmental Management. "But, we're asking who benefits from this? It's not people in low-income groups or in low wage jobs.

"What's needed now is good policy to follow good planning. This includes inclusionary zoning, density bonuses linked to affordable housing, affordable trusts, and other relevant methods."

The study, conducted with Waterloo graduate students Nick Revington and Michael Seasons, was recently published in the Journal of the American Planning Association.

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1 / 5 (1) Feb 05, 2018
When asked why local business groups were supporting government subsidies of public bus service?

They replied honestly. That limited parking in their commercial clusters needed to be preserved and reserved for paying customers. Who expected/entitled to favored treatment including convenient parking.

The low-wage employees were required to ride the available bus service.
not rated yet Feb 05, 2018
So willis
That limited parking in their commercial clusters needed to be preserved and reserved for paying customers. Who expected/entitled to favored treatment including convenient parking
-youre saying that if those buses werent subsidized then the riders would all go out and buy cars?

I thought they were too poor to buy cars.

Make some sense here please? Give it a try.
not rated yet Feb 06, 2018
Would the economic exclusion be any different with anything but a low income unattractive environment? I doubt it.

It might be just as correct to suggest that poorly planned communities around mixed use neighborhoods encourage those with the ability to relocate and limit the access for others, making those worse living environments the cause.

Study seems misleading, devaluing. Multi use has many benefits. Low crime from community social interaction etc.

It seems like the authors blame the concept for not meeting a political benchmark, it did exactly as described, it was more desirable to live in.
1 / 5 (1) Feb 06, 2018
Otto, what I took away from those community meetings was that the employers did not permit their employees parking privileges. Though the shrewd employers did subsidize bus passes for their employees. Win/win for everyone but the employee dealing with family emergencies.

And one of the methods used in our society to enforce social stratification is to entrap the low-wage and deliberately under-educated people with cleverly written contractual debt-slavery.

AM your comment is generally true but inaccurate.

Consider the low paid worker who needs to buy groceries for her family. To find all the local markets cater to high-paid residents. Who want to and can afford to purchase gourmet food items at gourmet prices.

So, where's the store for the low wage slave? Where are the entertainment venues they could afford or for that matter, want to patronize? That won't offend the delicate sensibilities of their betters?
not rated yet Feb 06, 2018
I live in central San Francisco, with huge school debt and limited money to buy food, currently unemployed. Cost of basic food at a grocery store is the same. Trader Joe's, Safeway, Whole Foods (now actually affordable after sale to Amazon) do not charge more for cost per square foot to lease. Small markets in chinatown and the Mission district have great ethnic food ingredients at DIRT CHEAP prices, in true multi use areas. The wealthy dont cook for themselves they eat out, there is no exclusive market for groceries. No I cannot afford to eat out at like 80% of the restaurants, so what I need a better job then I get that, and honestly I can cook better food at home.
1 / 5 (1) Feb 07, 2018
AM, my sympathies on your plight. I've been there and survived that. I wish you good luck on achieving the future you want.

As for where I live, the stores close by do cater to higher incomes with higher prices. I have to travel several miles to find a store in range of my limited income.

And like you, I have developed a real preference for my own cooking. The restaurants I can afford, all offer similarly bland and insipid meals.

Even what use to be local ethnic restaurants and stores are now corporate drones. With declining quality of products that can appeal to my jaded appetite.
not rated yet Feb 07, 2018
And one of the methods used in our society to enforce social stratification is to entrap the low-wage and deliberately under-educated people with cleverly written contractual debt-slavery
... lessee how many brainless t shirt slogans can we count in this 1 post? 1... 2... 3... 4... aw I lost count.
2.5 / 5 (2) Feb 08, 2018
Hey Otto, you're getting better at that counting thing.

Good boy!

You look cute with that gold star on your forehead.

Yes, you do!

Next thing, we'll have you doing sums.

Now finish your milk and cookie. Then take your blankey and pookey bear and lay down for your nap.

What a sweet fella!

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