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In search of novel solutions to the housing crisis? Look to Calgary



Calgary is tackling its housing crisis with innovative solutions aimed at increasing affordability and availability. The city's comprehensive Housing Strategy, approved by the Council in September 2023, outlines 98 actions to address the growing issue where one in five households struggle with housing costs.


The strategy focuses on several key areas: boosting the supply of affordable housing, supporting affordable housing providers, enhancing service delivery through city subsidiaries, offering diverse housing options, and meeting the needs of Indigenous populations. Specific actions include using city-owned land for non-market housing, establishing emergency shelters for families, and incentivizing the creation of secondary suites.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a federal initiative to inject $600 million into housing innovation, including $50 million for modular and factory-built homes. This aims to streamline construction and reduce costs, thereby increasing the housing stock more quickly.


The city also plans to use a catalogue of pre-designed homes to speed up permitting processes and encourage the construction of high-density housing. Additionally, Calgary's strategy includes potential blanket rezoning to allow townhomes and rowhouses in all residential areas, though this proposal requires further public engagement and approval.


Despite some opposition, particularly around the blanket rezoning proposal, these measures represent a significant push towards solving Calgary's housing crisis. The strategy's success will depend on effective implementation and ongoing support from both provincial and federal governments. 


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