Vancouver is located on the west coast of Canada and is the most populated city in British Columbia. It regularly appears on lists of the best cities in the world for livability and quality of life, and was the first city ranked in the top ten for ten consecutive years according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. However, this has also made Vancouver one of the most expensive cities in the world, often appearing along the likes of London, Hong Kong and San Francisco as one of the least-affordable cities on Earth.

The recent impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is only set to make things worse, as the Bank of Canada recently cut interest rates dramatically, encouraging Canadians to stop saving and start buying. This has further pushed up house prices even further as demand far outpaces supply.

Vancouver struggles with incredibly strict zoning laws that make almost every type of housing illegal in most city neighbourhoods, other than single-family detached homes. No apartments or townhomes alongside escalating fees, red tape delays and planning approval processes that undervalue the underhoused and resulted in a depleted housing stock that cannot match buyer and renter demand. The Vancouver Affordable Housing Challenge is tasking participants with designing a solution to the city’s current housing crisis. They are encouraged to consider designs that are both flexible and capable of accommodating different unit sizes including families, single professionals and couples.

There is no set competition site, size or height requirements, and so participants are encouraged to be as creative as possible in the solutions they design. The jury will be looking for projects that challenge typical ideas of housing, design, and the community at large, while at the same time maintaining a practical element that could potentially see these designs realised.

Vancouver  Affordable 
Housing Challenge