Hannah Allen, Hannah Kim, Raphael Lopoukhine and Tim Sun

In the not-so-distant past, middle-class families could reasonably achieve homeownership in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA); however, that expectation is now far from possible. Over the last decade, the cost of homeownership has been steadily rising at an unreasonable rate. Population growth has outstripped supply, and available housing is not designed for families. Wages have not kept pace with housing prices, and renting has become an insecure lifestyle. Innovations in size, materials and social constructs are few and far between. However, affordable solutions, such as purpose-built rentals, co-ops, and low-rise multi-unit buildings, have been squeezed out of the supply.

The housing system status quo, squeezing out innovators and non-market solutions, has been driven by the downloading of housing responsibilities to municipalities that were beholden to local interests and not equipped to solve collective problems. Change-adverse neighbourhood associations have leveraged their power over municipalities to preserve the character of their neighbourhoods, complicate the approval process, and oppose new approaches. In this system, the escalating prices and single-family dominant housing type have reinforced the housing-as-an-investment paradigm, fuelling the crisis.

In order to build a more fair, just, and equitable housing system, we need multiple interventions to re-balance supply with demand, improve the approval process, and empower innovators and non-market solution providers, all while challenging the commoditization of housing.


Pre-proceedings drafts are available for review. The corresponding paper number is at the end of the title.

Posted September 2022
Posted September 2022

©­ Author, published by the Systemic Design Association

Open Access article published under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License. This permits anyone to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or form according to the licence terms.

Suggested Citation Format (APA)

Author(s) (20##). Article title. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD#) Symposium. rsdsymposium.org/LINK.