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Renter Realities and Another Housing Policy Paradox

The Federal Government of Canada recently revealed the details of a ban on foreign/non-Canadian purchasing residential properties. This legislation was initially proposed in April’s 2022 budget to ‘curb foreign investment and speculation’ – a source of increasing housing costs. Starting on January 1, 2023 until January 1, 2025, ‘non-Canadians’ are restricted from directly or indirectly…

Tenant Realities & Realizing the Right to Housing in Edmonton

Part of the work of the AHSL is exploring access to adequate housing. Within this context, tenant organizing is an area of increasing interest that community members, community partners, and the public (especially renters) are interested in learning more about. Particularly as tenant organizing and collective bargaining is one way that households and individuals may…

Expanding, Growing, Renovating: Investing in Edmonton’s Community Housing Sector

By: Bon Swanson & Joshua Evans, Affordable Housing Solutions Lab Introduction  Like food, water and education, adequate housing is a fundamental human right. Today, Canada’s housing system is unable to fulfil this basic human right for everyone. Housing deprivation among vulnerable populations remains a pressing issue in Canadian society. It has been more than two…

Pivot Progress Report & Upcoming Final Pivot Event

Making the Pivot: Designing Participatory Action Research for Housing Justice in Edmonton, Alberta BackgroundLike water, food, education and healthcare, adequate housing is essential to human dignity and wellbeing and is therefore a human right. This was recognized nearly 75 years ago in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states, in Article 25, that:  Everyone…

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, Professor, 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…

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…

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…

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 attend…

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 participantsAcademics Professors, Postdoctoral Researchers, PhD Candidates/Students, Masters Students, Undergraduate Students & StaffArchitectsBuildersDesignersDevelopersEngineersHousing…

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…

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…

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…

Who’s Invited…

Who is Invited to our Access to Housing Choice Series? We are pleased to invite… all members from our diverse disability communitiesall disability allies and advocates (including friends and family members)all housing advocatesacademicsarchitects builderscivil servantsdesignersdevelopersengineersmanufacturersnon-market / public housing sector (all involved)plannerspolicy decision makersprivate (market) rental & homeownership sectorresearchersskilled tradespeoplestudentsanyone else directly or indirectly involved in…

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 rightListen to understand, not respondBe compassionately curious, not criticalRight time, right place, right people – to move a conversation forwardCourage to invite people in, rather than judge or call people outThe wisdom of…


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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Reflections on Deep Dive Workshop #2

The second workshop in our deep dive created space to learn from others in innovative ways, and to break out into two teams to tackle the challenge. We started the day off by hearing from our first guest speaker, Mark Erickson, from Studio NORTH. Mark shared the project they had developed which won the City…

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