Feb. 7, 2021

Vancouver’s high-profile professor, planner and author, Patrick Condon, told more than 160 California community leaders at the Livable California Teleconference on Feb. 6, 2021 that “upzoning” of neighborhoods drives up housing costs and cannot create affordable housing.

Many participants asked us to make his powerful presentation and his new book, Sick City (see below), available to share with others.

Vancouver is one of North America’s most expensive cities. The 2019 UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index calls it the sixth-most-concerning housing bubble risk in the world.

Condon, a professor at the University of British Columbia School of Architecture, landscape architect, author, and former city planner, was for years a supporter of widespread upzoning of Vancouver — a theory embraced to reduce housing costs long before the California legislature started doing the same thing. But upzoning in Vancouver backfired.

Condon now says:

“We have incrementally quadrupled the density of Vancouver, but we haven’t seen any decrease in per square foot costs. That evidence is indisputable. We can conclude there is a problem beyond restrictive zoning. … No amount of opening zoning or allowing for development will cause prices to go down. We’ve seen no evidence of that at all. It’s not the NIMBYs that are the problem – it’s the global increase in land value in urban areas that is the problem.”

Prof. Condon’s latest book is Sick City, which addresses why upzoning doesn’t work, and is free to download here.



The slide deck Professor Condon used for his presentation is linked here.