Over the course of 2018, the OAA’s Housing Affordability Task Group (HATG) explored design and regulatory opportunities that address housing affordability in growing urban communities across Ontario. The HATG commissioned SvN Architects + Planners Inc. (John van Nostrand, Liana Bresler and Blair Scorgie) to prepare a report—“Housing Affordability in Growing Urban Areas”—to which the Task Group also provided direction and assistance.
The HATG’s objectives were to identify key design and planning elements to address housing affordability. It set three goals with recommended actions to meet housing supply needs at an attainable level and in a timeframe responsive to provincial population growth projections:
- Increase housing supply by achieving densities recommended in the Provincial Growth Plan (2017).
- Make housing financially attainable.
- Speed up delivery of housing by addressing the barriers to current development approval processes.
The report outlines the current situation and seeks to increase the overall supply of housing, including both new housing as well as renovation and/or expansion of existing stock. It also calls for increased support for a wider range of lower- and medium-density housing types.
Further, the report calls for densities recommended in the Growth Plan to be applied consistently across all high-growth municipal areas, and extended right down to neighbourhood level so that all parties can understand the amount of new housing required to accommodate rapidly growing populations. It also pays particular attention to the need to focus on increasing densities within lower-density neighbourhoods (i.e. the Yellow Belt) that occupy approximately 70 per cent of most urban areas.