The housing stock in the Dunbar area of Vancouver has undergone significant change in the past five years. Originally a working class neighbourhood with many quite modest homes surrounded by lovely gardens, it is now a neighbourhood that 99% of the people working in Vancouver cannot afford because the replacement homes are built to the maximum footprint and cost millions. Greenspace has been reduced. Included on this website are photos of many (not all) of the disappeared houses.
View Teardowns in the Dunbar area of Vancouver, BC in a larger map

Demolitions West of the Dunbar Community Centre

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

London, England and Vancouver, BC, Canada

In the July 5, 2013 issue of The Guardian Weekly, Patrick Collinson has an article entitled: “Number of £1m homes rises by a third”.  Some cities in the UK promote people to buy derelict homes for £1, and there are areas in the nation where many homes sell for under £50,000. This is in contrast to what is happening in well-to-do London.  A quote: “Overseas buyers are behind much of the boom in what upmarket estate agents are now referring to as a new mini city-state, PCL – prime central London. In 2012, of 7,000 new-build homes, more than 5,000 went to overseas buyers, and the estate agency Knight Frank said buyers from just two countries, China and Singapore, bought 40% of them. But buyers rarely occupy the properties, leaving parts of prime central London empty of residents. The main beneficiary has been the Treasury, which in March last year imposed a 7% stamp duty on home sales above £2m.”

Is there a similar phenomenon in specific neighbourhoods of Vancouver with unoccupied houses and condos? People in the Dunbar area decry the deterioration in neighbourliness that is a result of houses left unoccupied. Other results:

  • the local economy is not supported (aside from landscape maintenance and security businesses)
  • children are not enrolled in schools
  • participation in community centres, places of worship, and other local organizations does not take place 
  • the pool of residents for civic engagement is reduced
  • the opposite of densification happens
  • public transit is not used
  • fewer people out and about taking walks and gardening can mean less safety

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