Data-Driven Multi-Scale Planning for Housing Affordability
6 September 2023
Any opinions expressed in this paper are those of the author(s) and not those of the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University or of any of the persons or organizations providing support to the Joint Center for Housing Studies. [...] The overall objective of the paper is to explore how housing affordability as a broad challenge is beginning to reshape the information and analysis tools used for policy, planning, project design, and evaluation at every scale from the site to the nation. [...] The project began with the assimilation of data from numerous sources for the purpose of developing a realistic simulation model of the real estate market in the Vancouver metropolitan area. [...] The first is the testfit phase of the consideration of a development site, in which architects examine the size and shape of the site, its zoning, its surrounding context, and the desired building program, and then design a building form that attempts to meet the requirements of the desired building program while respecting the zoning constraints – unless they are asked to consider variances from. [...] While the exact building form and floorplan layout were not precisely what the city would ultimately approve, the tool enabled rapid iteration in the identification of the number of units of different unit types and levels of affordability that could be built on the site, under alternative assumptions on the zoning constraints being modified.