We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.

VIDEO: Designing the Rental Housing Renaissance

Watch our tour through Canada’s rental history and see how to build into the future.

By Christopher Cheung 25 Sep 2017 | TheTyee.ca

Christopher Cheung reports on affordable housing for the Housing Fix. 2016-17 funders of the Housing Fix are Vancity Credit Union, Catherine Donnelly Foundation and the Real Estate Foundation of B.C., in collaboration with Columbia Institute. Funders of special solutions reporting projects neither influence nor endorse the particular content of our reporting. Other publications wishing to publish this article or other Housing Fix articles, contact us here.

Our Housing Fix reporting project has generated a number of stories on the history of rental housing in Canada and why experts consider housing low-income renters the “ultimate” challenge.

We also answered the question of why there are so many old rental apartment buildings in our cities (you know, those wood-frame walk-ups) and reported on solutions that would result in more, much-needed rental housing being built.

Speaking of those wood-frame walk-ups, we decided to visit them in this six-minute video to give you a visual tour of what our cities have available for renters. Brian Clifford, policy manager at the BC Non-Profit Housing Association, takes us through how those buildings came to dominate the rental market.

Two Vancouver architects, Arno Matis and James Cheng, offer their observations about the challenges of building rental housing. They also share some design tricks that make life inside and outside a rental building more enjoyable and convenient — important as cities like Vancouver densify. And we take a visit to a rental project built over a London Drugs and explore the design approach that makes it work.

Special thanks to Brian Clifford of the B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association, Arno Matis of Arno Matis Architecture and James Cheng of James K.M. Cheng Architects.

Music used: “Safe In Glass Houses” by Dexter Britain used under a CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license, “Backed Vibes Clean” by Kevin MacLeod used under a CC BY 3.0 license.  [Tyee]

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free.

Tyee Commenting Guidelines

Do not:

  •  Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully, threaten, name-call or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, downvote, or flag suspect activity
  • Attempt to guess other commenters’ real-life identities


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls and flag violations
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Stay on topic
  • Connect with each other


The Barometer

Tyee Poll: Do You Think a Non-Essential Travel Ban Should Be Enforced in BC?

Take this week's poll