Fellow Reflection: Yasushi Ohki

Written by Yasushi Ohki

The Fellowship Program brings together experiential partners, researchers, practitioners, housing providers, policymakers, planners and housing advocates to collaborate over a 6-month term. During this time, Fellows work together to identify and explore innovative affordable housing solutions and to provide the lab direction with regard to community learning activities. These blog posts will describe how each of the Fellows became interested in housing and why they think housing is important.

  1. How did you come to be involved in the field of housing?

I became involved in the field of housing because of my education and interest in house design (my architecture degree) and then my subsequent career in land development where our customers for serviced city lots were single and multi-family builders. I have been building houses “on the side” for my entire career as well. And then when I worked at the City in the Housing and Homelessness Section, it really opened my eyes to the spectrum of housing needs that were necessary in Edmonton, yet not being met by the development industry. That’s when I really started collecting ideas and turning my focus onto housing solutions.

  1. Why is housing important?

Housing is important because a secure place to sleep is the foundation to getting a person’s wellbeing reserve refilled. And from that wellbeing springs forth more opportunities to function and contribute to our community and our society.

  1. In your opinion what is innovative when it comes to affordable housing?

Innovation comes in three forms: how we pay for our own housing (the economics of securing housing for ourselves); how our own housing interacts with other housing (the urban built environment); and what is our housing constructed out of (green construction technology and durability).

Examples of the economics of securing housing innovation would be the mixed-market model on a land trust parcel of land with market values of the housing being suppressed.

Examples of how our housing interacts with other housing is the Co-Living House arrangement where common areas are shared, but micro suites are self-contained and secure.

Examples of green construction technology is embedding highly insulating glass in a monolithic wall system and challenging our concept of what is a the purpose of a “window”

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