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Sustainable housing, sustainable community: Exploring Edmonton’s North Glenora affordable housing project

Written By: Arlene Oak, Associate Professor, Department of Human Ecology, University of Alberta & Sara Dorow, Chair, Department of Sociology, University of Alberta Opened in 2018, the non-profit North Glenora Townhomes housing development, comprised of 16 three- and five-bedroom townhomes, is one of Canada’s first and largest net-zero, multi-family residential developments. The story behind this…Continue reading »

Takeaways from Making the Pivot Part 1: Taking action to secure the right to adequate housing in Edmonton

This first virtual workshop was intended to develop some shared understanding of key concepts (equity, inclusion, and justice), establish guidelines for brave spaces in the conversations going forward, and reflect on our own social positions and relative access and power. Key Concepts Equality vs. Equity Image Source:https://www.rwjf.org/en/library/infographics/visualizing-health-equity.html Equity ensures that everyone has what they need…Continue reading »

Housing Innovation: The Cost of Land Acquisition

Our third post in a series of blog posts around our deep dive, ‘How to Build More Affordably” and the lessons we learnt. Find the first post and our overview video here. Written by: Shafraaz Kaba, Principal, ASK For a Better World  In our exploration of the major costs in affordable housing, the cost of land…Continue reading »

Pivot Information Session

On October 14 the AHSL held an information and Q&A session about the upcoming Pivot initiative on Zoom. This was recorded, and can be viewed here: We appreciate all of the thoughtful questions from our attendees, and will be updating this blog entry shortly with some additional information in response. If you were unable to…Continue reading »

Pivot Invitation

We are excited to begin our (pilot) Pivot process and are seeking a diverse group of 40 – 60 individuals to join us. We are pleased to invite…    First Voice Advocates / Individuals with Lived Experience aiming for at least 50% of all participants Academics Professors, Postdoctoral Researchers, PhD Candidates/Students, Masters Students, Undergraduate Students &…Continue reading »

Housing Innovation: Contracting the Design and Construction Team Differently

Our second post in a series of blog posts around our deep dive, ‘How to Build More Affordably” and the lessons we learnt. Find the first post and our overview video here. Written by: Shafraaz Kaba, Principal, ASK For a Better World  One of the simplest ways to reduce the cost of housing is to…Continue reading »

Learning from Our Deep Dive on How Can We Build More Affordably?

The Affordable Housing Solutions Lab culminated in the prototyping phase this Summer. It has been a flurry of activity over the winter and spring, as the Innovations teams focused on new construction and retrofit sites and workshopped almost on a weekly basis. During these sessions, the Innovation teams went down a few rabbit holes but ultimately…Continue reading »

Municipal Policy Levers for the Creation and Maintenance of Affordable Housing

By. Ariel MacDonald M.A., Research Assistant, Affordable Housing Solutions Lab Municipalities are often “stuck between a rock and a hard place”: they are closest to the problem of housing affordability but often lack the financial resources and authority to tackle it. What levers do municipalities have at their disposal? The levers available to municipal governments…Continue reading »

Who’s Invited…

Who is Invited to our Access to Housing Choice Series? We are pleased to invite… all members from our diverse disability communities all disability allies and advocates (including friends and family members) all housing advocates academics architects builders civil servants designers developers engineers manufacturers non-market / public housing sector (all involved) planners policy decision makers…Continue reading »

Access to Housing Series: Core Principles

We ask all attendees participating in our Access to Housing Series to respect & uphold our Core Principles: Housing is a human right Listen to understand, not respond Be compassionately curious, not critical Right time, right place, right people – to move a conversation forward Courage to invite people in, rather than judge or call…Continue reading »

The Affordability of Rental Apartments and Townhouses in Edmonton in 2020

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation released their annual rental market report a few months ago. The report analyzes market trends in large population centres in Canada for the year 2020. Included in the tables that accompanied the release of the report is data on the number of apartments and townhouses in the primary rental market…Continue reading »

Social Architecture: Cures for COVID Isolation – A Virtual Symposium

On April 21, 2021, seven panelists joined the Affordable Housing Solutions Lab and Green Violin Community Development Company to discuss a post-pandemic world where architecture and planning can provide solutions to safely connect people and communities again. Leaders from Architecture, Urban Design, and Community Programming came together at an intersection where we might find solutions…Continue reading »

Tough Enough to Survive? – A Virtual Symposium on Durability in Affordable Housing

On March 10, 2021 representatives from eight community housing providers gathered for a virtual meeting to discuss innovations in building design and construction. The conversation was rich and went beyond the physical structure of housing to explore the meaning of durability in the fullest sense of the term. The virtual event was co-sponsored by the…Continue reading »

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…Continue reading »


Fellow Reflection: Eric Storey

Written by Eric Storey 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…Continue reading »

Fellow Reflection: David Prodan

Written by David Prodan 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…Continue reading »

Fellow Reflection: Roxanne Ulanicki

Written by Roxanne Ulanicki 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…Continue reading »

The Right to Housing in Edmonton: What are your Rights when Renting?

The Affordable Housing Solution Lab (AHSL) is pleased to share our 1st activity in a series focused on the Right to Housing in Edmonton. This video is a zoom recording of a Feb. 24/21 lunch & learn panel session featuring the topic: ‘What are your rights when renting? Invited panelists: * Dr. Damian Collins, University…Continue reading »

Reflections on Deep Dive Workshop #3

Update: The Edmonton Affordable Housing Solutions Lab is nearing the completion of the prototyping phase. Two teams have been working diligently since December in creating prototype solutions with one team considering an existing building retrofit checklist and the other developing a framework for new housing. The teams have leveraged the diverse skills and experiences from…Continue reading »

Fellow Reflection: Shima A. Robinson

Written by Affordable Housing Solutions Lab Fellow, Shima A. Robinson 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…Continue reading »

Upcoming Event: Tough Enough to Survive, A Virtual Discussion Panel

The Affordable Housing Solutions Lab would like to invite you to a symposium on durability in affordable housing. Join us on March 10th! Find all the details and register here. Affordable By Design? Exploring ‘Durability’ in Affordable Housing About this Event Organizations that operate affordable housing need a building that is efficient and durable and which…Continue reading »

Fellow Reflection: Nadine Chalifoux

Written by Affordable Housing Solutions Lab Fellow, Nadine Chalifoux 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…Continue reading »

Introducing the AHSL Fellows (2020-2021)

The Affordable Housing Solutions Lab is based at the University of Alberta and MacEwan University. The purpose of the lab is to support Edmontonians in the innovation and development of effective local affordable housing solutions. This work is undertaken in partnership with a diverse group of housing stakeholders. The aim is to collectively generate and…Continue reading »

Edmonton Rental Market – Year in Review (2020)

Image Source: IQRemix; Link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/iqremix/42276507674/in/photostream/ The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation released their annual rental market report a few weeks ago. The report analyzes market trends in large population centres in Canada for the year 2020. Here are three highlights from the report for metro Edmonton: Vacancy goes up, average rent stays the same The…Continue reading »

Guest Spotlight: “If Minivans Were Manufactured Like Houses”

Written by Yasushi Ohki, Executive Director of Green Violin. Yasushi was raised in Edmonton and has called it home since completing degrees in civil engineering (University of Alberta) and architecture (University of British Columbia). For over 22 years, he has worked in the land development industry, including greenfield development, infill residential construction and project management….Continue reading »

Reflections on Deep Dive Workshop #1

What does success look like? This was our guiding question for our first deep dive workshop with industry experts and folks from the non-profit housing sector. Over an afternoon Shafraaz Kaba, our stellar facilitator, led our group through a series of exercises to answer the question, “what does success look like?”. There were a few…Continue reading »

Upcoming Event: Housing Post-Pandemic

Not Back to Normal: Housing Post-Pandemic Part of the Pandemonium: Urban Studies and Recovering from COVID-19 lecture series from Simon Fraser University. Normal was not good enough before the pandemic — especially when talking about housing affordability, access and sustainability. Our Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy is currently under review, toward a revised Metro 2050 plan. How…Continue reading »

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